funeralIf you’ve lost a loved one, the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time researching funeral homes to find the best prices. Unfortunately, funeral homes do not make it easy to figure out how much a funeral will cost. A survey by two consumer groups found that prices between funeral homes varied widely and getting information about pricing was difficult.

The Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) teamed up to survey 150 funeral homes from different regions of the United States. Researchers started by looking at the homes’ websites for pricing information. If prices were not disclosed on its website, the researches emailed and then phoned the funeral home. The survey found that only 38 (25 percent) of the 150 funeral homes surveyed disclosed their prices on their website and 24 (16 percent) failed to disclose pricing on their website or in response to an email and a phone call.

At the same time that the survey showed how difficult it can be to get pricing information, it also demonstrated how important it is for consumers to be able to shop around. The researchers priced three different funeral options: direct cremation without burial, immediate burial without ceremony or cost of casket, and a full-service funeral. The survey found that prices among funeral homes in the same region varied by as much as 200 percent. For example, in Atlanta the cost of a full-service funeral could be as low as $3,370 at one funeral home and as high as $11,050 at another.

The FCA and CFA are asking the Federal Trade Commission to update its Funeral Rule, which currently requires funeral homes to give consumers price information over the phone or a price list to people who visit the home, to require disclosure of prices on websites.

To read about the survey, click here.

For an article on “The 10 Facts Funeral Directors Don’t Want You to Know,” click here.