Why Transparent Cremation Prices Are Also the Lowest

As a report by two nonprofit consumer advocacy groups confirm, giving consumers transparent pricing for funeral and cremation costs will save them money.

Transparency loophole exploited in California

The Funeral Consumers Alliance and the Consumer Federation of America looked into prices in California, the only state where the law requires funeral prices to be posted online.

But a loophole in the law meant 25 percent of funeral homes hid their prices from consumers.

As the FairWarning article explains, the lack of price transparency has led to a huge spread of prices across the funeral home industry. For example, the report found cremations that cost as much as $4,115.

“It’s very easy to pay four, five, six times what we consider to be a reasonable rate,” Josh Slocum, executive director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance told FairWarning. “I do not think $4,000 is a reasonable price for cremation.” A 2016 study also revealed a wide variation in cremation prices. “Grieving people are really the perfect customer for an ‘upsell,'” Slocum recently told the New York Times.

Hidden fees push up cost

The report’s authors use a restaurant analogy to explain why inclusive pricing is also important. A lobster special is advertised for $39.95, but when the bill comes, there’s a “lobster fee” of $9.95, so the total cost is really $49.90. Additional fees like these are commonplace in the funeral business.

Solace’s inclusive pricing

Unlike many competitors, Solace Cremation will never add hidden and surprising extra charges. Our transparent and inclusive pricing means you know your complete and final cost will be $895. The only other fees you’ll face will be the cost of death certificates or other county fees, like medical examiner charges. Those prices vary by location.

Beware of ‘starter prices’

When you are comparing costs, be aware that some of our competitors may list a lower starter price, but then charge extra for hand delivery or mailing of remains, the removal of medical devices like pacemakers or for caring for loved ones weighing over 300 pounds. These additional charges can add up, so make sure you always compare “apples to apples” and ask for the final price.

Protections under the ‘Funeral Rule’

Consumers can be prepared with information and questions. The Federal Trade Commission offers tips and advice on its website. The federal government’s Funeral Rule gives you many rights throughout the cremation process, including being able to ask for prices and use alternative containers.

The 1984 rule also prohibits funeral homes from being able to sell you unwanted items such as coffins, urns or unnecessary embalming, as Consumer Reports explains.

The FTC is reviewing the funeral rule to see if updates are needed. Meanwhile, many advocates have pushed to make the online posting of prices mandatory in every state.

The AARP offers more sound advice on how to avoid paying too much for a loved one’s arrangements.

Photo by Alain Pham

Solace Cremation offers online arrangements for direct cremation services with one flat price and 24/7 customer service. Solace proudly serves the Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland and Seattle metro areas. Learn more.

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