The pricing of cremation services is "highly variable" and "misleading" according to a new report released September 12, 2016, by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA). Of 142 funeral homes and cremation businesses surveyed in 10 metropolitan areas in 2015, prices for Direct Cremation ranged from $495 to $7,595.
"Direct Cremation" = a simple cremation with no ceremonies, no viewing of the body, and no casket.
By law, funeral homes must list 2 price options: 1) if customer supplies a casket or alternative container, and 2) if customer purchases the funeral home's least expensive alternative container. But 23% of the surveyed funeral homes "failed to list legally required options and disclosures on their general price lists," thus violating the Federal Trade Commission's "Funeral Rule."
Another problem is ambiguity about whether the listed price includes the actual cost of the cremation process (typically done by a third party). Family members can be shocked to find a separate "crematory fee" added to the bill.
Do we find evidence of these pricing problems here in western Massachusetts? Yes. Our 2016 price comparison study reveals similar problems and challenges. Twenty-two funeral homes did not send us their price lists; sixty-one (71%) did respond, but not all of those comply with the Funeral Rule requirements. Three lacked prices for cremation. Several failed to submit a proper General Price List (GPL). The range of reported prices for Direct Cremation was $1150 to $3875, though on closer examination, we found a discrepancy with the $1150 price (the funeral home had also listed $1300 on another page, for same service). We now report the range as $1295 to $3875. Only 10 of those prices clearly include the crematory fee.
See our 2016 Funeral Home Price Comparison report on this website.
Come to our Annual Program October 23, 2016, 2-4pm. Cremation is the topic.
Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed here in "Sandy's Blog" are written by one individual (volunteer Sandy Ward) and may or may not reflect the views, opinions or positions of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Massachusetts.