This handy guide discusses your funeral rights as a consumer and offers tips and suggestions to help you locate a funeral service provider in the Pittsburgh area. Included are a variety of excellent resources and tools that you can use to answer questions about the process of making funeral arrangements along with ways to cover the costs and make it more affordable.
Having laws in place as mandated by the federal government is one way that consumers can have peace of mind when shopping for a funeral service provider. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created the FTC Funeral Rule in 1984 in the effort to eliminate unacceptable business practices and protect consumers. Examples of the way in which the FTC Funeral Rule achieves this goal include:
Funeral service providers must inform consumers about any potential legal issues associated with the use of a cemetery or crematory in the form of a written statement.
Consumers have the option of purchasing a burial container from a business other than the funeral home that is administering the requested services.
Caskets are not required when the service arrangements include cremation. Service providers that offer cremation must inform consumers of their options.
Embalming is not a requirement under state law to preserve a body. Alternative options include refrigeration or cremation when burial does not take place immediately.
Helpful resources on the Internet that consumers can use when shopping for funeral service providers include Dignity Memorial. Their nationwide network has listings of more than 2,000 providers in the United States and Canada. Dignity Memorial’s search tool locates funeral homes and similar services in the Pittsburgh area, the results of which include service options and features. The Better Business Bureau’s (BBB), which has a searchable online directory of funeral homes, is another excellent resource.
The Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) is another excellent resource where consumers can find information about burials, caskets, cemeteries, funeral homes, financing, and more. The FCA answers many common questions often asked by consumers during the difficult process of choosing the right service provider and offers suggestions and helpful tips. The Funeral Ethics Organization (FEO) highlights state guidelines that cover the basics of making funeral arrangements and the rights of consumers within Pennsylvania.
The traditional funeral service is usually the most expensive when it comes to managing the costs associated with making arrangements. As a consumer, you have several other options available that are less expensive. You can prepay for funeral services with advance payments to cover the costs. Both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) outline a variety of ways you can make prior arrangements.
Prepayment choices include setting up a trust fund, purchasing a life insurance policy, or opening a savings account, to mention a few. Other ways to save money include considering the option of cremation or donating the deceased body to science for the purpose of medical research. Take your time as you shop and compare the prices of several funeral service providers as this will ultimately save you money and make the process more affordable.
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