Why are funeral mortuaries so expensive? They steal from us even when dead! Have they no shame? It’s lower than car salesmen or garages – they only rip us off while mortuaries rip us off in our times of utmost weakness, like vampires
My grandmother died in 1993 at age 68. Her funeral cost near $5,500. Coffin was like $2,500-3000. She was embalmed too. They wanted to charge us $250 for a $5 gown; we brought one of hers in. But it’s crazy! I’d feel ashamed to charge more than a 20% markup but these guys act all sweet and nice while charging a 500% markup! And it’s legal!! Why sell drugs?? The dead are where the action is and you won’t get shot in a drive-by or busted by the authorities!
I was browsing through this site again and noticed many facts that are pertinent to my grandmother’s funeral and things the funeral director said. I’ll never think the same about this again. I heard some cemeteries are installing MAC machines on their grounds! It’s not that people are worth more dead than alive (except to mortuaries) but, rather, people cost more dead than alive!
1) Embalming is not required by law. Embalming is meant to hold the body only for a week or so.
2) “Protective” gasketed caskets, sealed vaults will not help to preserve the body.
3) Coffin vaults are not required by law. Grave liners are usually less expensive than vaults.
4) Vaults are not required for the cremated remains. Cremated remains do not need to be placed in an urn and interred in a cemetery. There is no reason you can’t keep the cremated remains in the cardboard or plastic box that comes from the crematory. In ALL states it is legal to scatter or bury cremated remains on private property. Cremation is considered “final disposition” because there is no longer any health hazard.
5) It is not a good idea to prepay for a funeral, to lock in prices. Funeral directors selling pre-need funerals expect the interest on your money to pay for any increase in prices. Any cemetery trying to force such purchases should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission for unfair marketing practices: 877-FTC-HELP.
Ten Tips for Saving Funeral $$$ (just follow a few, not all)
1. Talk about funerals with family members ahead of time.
2. Price shop by phone or in person.
3. Make a simple wood casket. As of July 19, 1994, it is illegal for a mortuary to charge a “handling fee” for bringing in an outside casket. Or choose a “minimum container” from the mortuary and drape it with attractive material of your own taste. If a funeral home charges much more than $400-$500 for a modest casket, it’s a good bet it’s taking a 300%, 400%, or 500% mark-up. That thought alone might be enough to decide on a simple but dignified “plain pine box.”
4. Take a friend or clergy with you. Having someone who will help you resist subtle pressures to spend more than you want can be very supportive when faced with subtle manipulation.
5. Consider cremation.
6. Plan a memorial service without the body present.
7. Consider body donation to a medical school.
8. Remember that it is just a box-for-the-box. If you prefer body burial, ask for a “grave liner”
– rather than a “coffin vault” – at a portion of the price.
9. Handle all arrangements without using a funeral director. This is permitted in 45 states, and families that have done so have found it loving and therapeutic. The book, Caring for the Dead, Your Final Act of Love, tells what permits are required in each state, where and when to file them, plus a great deal of other practical information for families or church groups choosing this meaningful way to say goodbye.
10. Join a Funeral Consumers Alliance. Many have a contract with local mortuaries for discount services. Or some of the price-shopping may have been done for you already.