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Beware of Sneaky Fees in Low-Cost Cremation

When you make end of life plans, it is hard to escape the financial part of the equation.

When you make end of life plans, it is hard to escape the financial part of the equation. 

While your family traditions, religion, values, and beliefs may all play a part in your end of life choices, for many, cremation’s generally lower cost can be a deciding factor.

Buyer Beware

Even those who do their best to do some comparison shopping, may be swayed by artificially low advertised prices. 

But often when you see a low-cost cremation advertised, what the advertising is actually displaying may just be the “starter price” of that provider’s services. Families can face additional fees for add-ons like transportation, removal of implants and delivery of remains. The care of larger-sized loved ones may also add additional costs. 

Suddenly, what started under $1,000 is now hundreds more. In fact, the national median price for direct cremation is about $2,500, according to national price surveys.

Transparent Pricing

Consumer surveys have found that companies that are transparent about their cremation prices usually also offer the lowest price. While some funeral homes make finding the final price difficult, others provide a single price with no additional fees. Sometimes a package with one price may be the best option, but be sure not to pay for services you don’t want or don’t expect you’ll use. Whether you choose a package or an a la carte option, you have a right to know the “out the door” price.

Tips for Comparing Costs

The Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule protects consumers. You can find tips on the FTC website that will help you know your rights and compare prices. 

Families have a right to a funeral home’s General Price List (GPL), so look carefully to see if you will encounter additional charges for direct cremation. Many funeral homes will list these on their websites. All are legally required to provide them if you phone. 

The FTC Funeral Rule also gives you the right to: 

  • Only buy the funeral arrangements you want 
  • Use an alternate container for the cremation 
  • Bring in your own urn to store remains  
  • Make arrangements without embalming 
  • Receive a written statement before you pay 

The bottom line is, when you’re searching for affordable cremation services, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask if the quoted price is the full and final cost. Will there be additional fees? Will you be charged for small requests or delivery? It’s your loved one. You’re not doing anything wrong simply by asking for easy-to-understand pricing and service information. 

You can also ask if package deals include the funeral services you want without the ones you may not need or care about. 

It’s hard to navigate these choices when you are also grieving, so don’t be afraid to ask a friend or relative to help you and choose a business where the staff is supportive of you and your family. 

While thinking about money may feel strange when you are dealing with grief, it is a reality that you will want to find a comfortable fit for your loved one at a price that is reasonable for your budget. Understanding a few of these consumer tips should help you make sense of the process and help you find your way through.

Afterall providers are committed to price transparency, and offer a variety of services to meet your specific needs. From low-cost cremations to all-out funeral celebrations, contact your nearby Afterall location today.

For more information about potential scams you may face after you've lost a loved one, read our article: Bereaved Beware: 3 Scams to Look Out For. If you'd like to learn more about preplanning a funeral in advance, take a look at our helpful resource here.