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
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.