This guide to managing funeral services will come in handy and ease you through the stressful process of finding a provider and making arrangements. Included is an overview of your funeral rights as a consumer along with some helpful suggestions and tips on how to budget and save money when you shop for services.
Being aware of your funeral rights as a consumer will help to avoid potential problems when dealing with service providers. It is important that you understand the laws as outlined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Guidelines stipulated under the FTC Funeral Rule include:
Consumers have the right to receive prices from funeral service providers over the telephone without any obligations or the need to reveal personal information.
Funeral service providers must give consumers a price list that outlines the costs of their caskets before viewing them.
Consumers have the option of acquiring a burial container such as a casket or urn from another service provider other than the one that will administer the funeral arrangements.
When making funeral arrangements, consumers have the option of using refrigeration instead of embalming as a method to preserve the deceased’s body before burial or cremation.
Several excellent resources are available online to help you find a funeral service provider. Dignity Memorial offers consumers a nationwide network of more than 2,000 provider listings that includes providers in the Richmond area. Another source to check out is the online directory of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which maintains a listing of funeral homes and accredited service providers.
The Funeral Ethics Organization (FEO) highlights several helpful topics on their site that include detailed information for Virginia residents. You can read about your options for funeral services such as burial at sea or consider the possibility of organ or body donation for medical research. Consumers may also want to explore the resources provided by the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA). Suggestions and tips along with answers to many commonly asked questions are highlights of the FCA site.
The benefits of being a knowledgeable, well-informed shopper apply to any purchase including that of funeral service arrangements. When you buy items such as a home or car, you go through the process of comparison-shopping to see what is available and to get the best price. This method of shopping also works well when contacting potential funeral service providers.
Have a checklist such as the one posted on the website of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handy when you begin the process of comparison-shopping. The list will help you to narrow down your choices, so you do not overspend money on unnecessary items that you do not need. You can save a lot of money by selecting the least expensive caskets and eliminating other services. Have your family friends cater the reception at one of their homes and get people to volunteer to bring buffet-style menu items to enjoy.
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