Put it where we can see it

Charles 5 Comments


In the US, funeral directors are required by law to give funeral shoppers a copy of their itemised General Price List (GPL). You can see an example here.

A funeral director must also give you this price information over the phone.

Time moves on, and the internet is now, for many funeral shoppers, their first interaction with a funeral home. The state of California has become the first state to  bring things up to date:

As of January 1, 2013, a funeral establishment that maintains a Web site will be required to post the list of funeral goods and services that are required to be included in the establishment’s General Price List (GPL), pursuant to federal rule, and a statement that the GPL is available upon request via a link from the home page, unless a phrase containing the word “price” links to the establishment’s GPL.

Here in Britain the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) requires the following of its members:


1) The funeral director shall have available and on display a price list or
lists showing:-

a) a brief description of The Simple Funeral Service;

b) itemised charges and descriptions of the constituent parts of the funeral
director’s services (other than for The Simple Funeral Service);
ie professional services; removal charge; coffin or casket;
embalming; vehicle charges and all other services available;

c) descriptions of other types of funerals available.

2) The funeral director shall make copies of the price lists available to be
taken away by clients or prospective clients.

3) The funeral director shall ensure that all literature detailing coffins and/or
caskets available shall include prices, and that coffins or caskets
displayed on the premises are accompanied by the price.

In addition to ensuring that this requirement is observed, is it not time the NAFD required all its members with a website, however crap, also to display their prices on it? 

Many funeral directors would regard this as very bad form, simply not done, wholly at odds with their noble calling. Here at the GFG, having in mind the beastly backstabbery and the dark and nasty underhand arts practised by many funeral directors to ensure a steady supply of dead people, we submit that open competition is the best disinfectant.

Read the excellent Federal Trade Commission consumer guide to funerals here





  1. Charles

    The internet has altered many things. It’s made previously impossible ventures a reality, and through clever web design and marketing (whether honest or otherwise), it can “drive” a tired and sluggish business to new heights, or “kick-start” a new business to the top of it’s class in a very short time.

    A website gives the opportunity to present the entire picture to potential clients. Yes, not only pickies of the new Mercs and that rather tasty flock wallpaper, but the things that matter – including a detailed price list.

    True, it is possible to cause confusion by listing every single item, but transparancy is surely the better option.

    The previous website for JE Gillman was a credit in that respect. Roger Gillman (one hell of a decent chap) included a complete and full web price list years ago. All credit to him.

    I personally think that the trade organisations have come to a point where they really need to “catch-up” a little with modern trends. They appear more pre-occupied with counting spoons than getting ahead of the game.

    The tick-box culture is alive and well, but needs to embrace the web element at the earliest opportunity in order to maintain their credibility.

    I’ll vote for price transparancy.


  2. Charles

    Definitely agree.
    Of course all the good ones do already don’t they? The honest, decent ones with nothing to hide… One of the FDs -whose names cannot be mentioned – display their prices in a large naff photo frame in the consulting room, not in the reception, no sign of a take away menu there. The website says ‘call for a quote’ and if you dare to call they are picking up your dear departed before you can say ‘compare the market.com!’ Of course if they do it here you’ll have to put your name, address, phone number, where the deceased is and coffin size before you’ll be allowed to get the prices .

  3. Charles

    Transparency and openness are the way forward, without a doubt. I dared to go one step further and put my competitors’ prices on my website, and within days they were on the phone telling me they were wrong, but they weren’t, and they backed down when I pointed out certain things. The threat of “we’ll have to see what our directors think of that” didn’t do much good.

    There’s almost a crossover with another post a couple of days ago “Panning for Gold” about recommended funeral directors and keeping up standards isn’t there? Not being a huge fan of the NAFD or SAIF, I chose not to join either. I used to work for the membership secretary of one of them, and my application would just have gone in the bin anyway.

    The trouble with making rules, in whatever form, is that they need to be policed, and that costs money. Anyone can sign a piece of paper saying they will abide by a Code of Practice, but whether they actually will or not is a different matter. I’d be willing to bet that if you walked unannounced into several NAFD members’ premises, you’d find a very large percentage didn’t comply with what they’ve signed up to. So given that they can’t comply within their offices, what chance is there of them complying on the internet?

  4. Charles

    I’m proud to say my new website (up and running hopefully in days now!) will definitely feature a price list. It’s taken ages to do and along the way I concluded listing every option was impossible but the spirit of transparency is the point. I too may add my big business competitors basic cost details. Let us not forget that the large network FD’s often vary their charges due to local ‘market forces’. Time will tell if they join the enlightened or stick with what they think works.

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