“[U]nderstanding the costs... shouldn’t be so taxing”

funeral consumers face a broken Market

The industry has the advantage.

The 40-year-old FTC Funeral Rule fails to level the playing field for consumers. 

In a recent opinion article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, author, Nedra Rhone recalled her plight as a funeral consumer when her father died. Her column touched on several topics, but one particularly resonated with the mission of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Georgia: the intentional and inherent unfairness of the process. She concludes that  “understanding the costs associated with burying our loved ones shouldn’t be so taxing.”

Her struggles in making funeral arrangements for her father are just like those of many other Georgia consumers. Grief makes funeral consumers uniquely vulnerable to price manipulation.

“… I fully expect criminals to commit criminal acts. I don’t necessarily expect funeral providers to blatantly prey on their grieving customers.”

She found contact information online for funeral homes but they couldn’t get funeral cost information by phone. They had to visit each funeral home and sit through sales presentations.

“I recall sitting in an office numbly looking at images and price sheets, viewing caskets and plots, deciding on markers, and trying desperately to stay focused on what my father would have wanted. It would have been much easier to process everything from the comfort of home rather than listening as sales staff presented a blur of services, products, and packages at different price points in terminology we didn’t always understand.”

She believes “the bulk of funeral providers are honest and seek to help individuals at a difficult time in their lives.” Nonetheless, she calls for several common sense remedies for the unfairness of the process: 

    • “…be transparent and consistent about prices;
    • provide that information in a way that is convenient for families, whether that’s online, by phone, or in person; and
    • be clear about the process and next steps.”

The full article can be found online but may be behind a paywall except for AJC subscribers. The choices of narrative, structure, and emphasis are the responsibility of FCAGa and do not necessarily represent the views of the author or publication from which this information was obtained.

Rhone, N. (2024, February 23). OPINION: Death is certain, but funeral home pricing often isn’t. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.