Time for another fun funeral fact per the FTC Funeral Rule. You have the right to get prices over the telephone! Did you know that? Most funeral directors would prefer you come in and discuss their services in person, as understandably, there are lots of details and options to discuss. Giving a price over the phone seems so cold, since for the most part the services they offer do involve more than just a cash exchange for a product.
But what about the those things not in “the most part”?— those items which don’t involve personal service, where a decision can be made strictly on price. Direct cremation is one of those instances: there is no viewing, no service, no casket. The funeral home merely picks up the body and delivers it to a crematorium (providing accompanying paperwork). This service can be purchased on price alone, and shopping around allows you to compare prices, as the difference can be in the thousands of dollars! Yes, you read that right… for the exact same service.
A personal example and admission (!!!) is that I am planning to donate my body to science, which in Pennsylvania is through the Humanity Gifts Registry. Aside from the good-deed-ness of this (medical schools depend on donated cadavers for their students), it’s very economical —you’re essentially getting a free body disposal. That’s a great deal! Their policy is to pay $100 towards the transport of the body from place of death to one of their medical schools. Now I want to make sure I’m within that $100, hopefully taking my last breath not too far from home! What I need to do is shop around local funeral homes and find out who offers the least expensive transport, so I can put them my funeral plans for who I want called when the big time comes.
I haven’t done that yet. And truth be told is that I keep finding excuses not to make the phone calls! For the very same reasons I ‘warn’ people about — when it comes to your own funeral, it gets emotional and weird. You freak out about calling a funeral home because you’ve never done it before. It’s scary and intimidating. That’s where I am.
Sometime in the next three weeks I will get this done, and I’ll write a blog post reporting my experience. Wish me luck.