Hopefully you’ve made pre-arrangements and know exactly who you’re going to call. If you haven’t made arrangements, whether it’s in the middle of the night, or the middle of the day, any funeral home will readily get someone out to pick up the body. However, if it’s in the middle of the night, probably what they aren’t ready for is a family calling to shop prices. Since we don’t know when death will come, that’s yet another reason to prepare in advance.

     Be aware, although laws like the FTC funeral rule (see article this page for more info on FTC Rule) are in place to protect family members, there are still shady characters in the funeral business. Like ambulance chasers, there are companies sitting in wait to pick up bodies. These are likely the same companies that will shoot you a low-ball price, when you call up and ask “how much do your services cost.”

     You may think you’re being diligent. You’ve called three funeral homes and compared prices, but have you actually compared apples to apples. That extra low price one company quoted you may not include all of the things your family needs or wants, or worst of all, that low price may not actually exist.

     The flip side of low-balling occurs, when a family fails to comparison shop and they call a funeral home a friend or neighbor used without any consideration for price. This might work out well, but it might not. There’s something positive about working with a company that has a good reputation and good references. However, if your budget isn’t as big as your friends, the costs may be more than you can afford to spend.

     Thanks to the FTC Rule, on need “price inflating” rarely happens at funeral homes, but cemeteries, mausoleums and monument companies are not bound by the FTC rule. Walking in with an immediate need, (I need it now) could involve some price inflation.

     How do you avoid these kinds of problems – plan ahead. We know some deaths happen unexpectedly and to people who would otherwise be expected to live for decades more, and it may be difficult to begin preplanning a funeral for a child, or someone in their 20’s. However, when a loved one is ill and the doctor says the end is near, yes, pray to God for a good outcome, but don’t fail to at least consider the possibility of death. Start shopping, or at least pricing funerals, and avoid the strain that comes from short-term planning.

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