Chicago, IL-February 15, 2012 - At an average
cost of $7,000, funerals are one of the more expensive purchases made by
consumers. During an emotionally-charged time it can be easy to spend more than
might be necessary. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern
Illinois (BBB) recommends the following advice for navigating the funeral
providers offer a variety of package plans that include products and services
most commonly sold. However, it’s important to remember that no package is
obligatory and it’s important to take the time, even though it may be
constricted, to find the individual products and services you prefer. The “Funeral Rule,”
enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, requires funeral directors to give
you itemized prices in person and, if asked, over the phone.
“Arranging a funeral
often becomes an economic and emotional burden on the surviving relatives,”
said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving
Chicago and northern Illinois. “This makes it imperative that
people get all details in writing and obtain more than one estimate before
signing on the dotted line.”
The BBB has the following advice for those planning a funeral:
- You have the right to choose the funeral goods and
services that you want (with some exceptions);
state or local law requires you to buy any particular item, the funeral
provider must disclose it on the price list, with a reference to the specific
funeral provider may not refuse, or charge a fee, to handle a casket you bought
funeral provider who offers cremations must make alternative urns available.
“Most importantly, don’t be
afraid to ask questions and read contracts before you sign,” notes Bernas. “If
you feel as if you are being pressured into buying something you do not want or
need, ask to speak to a different funeral director or go to a different funeral
One way to reduce stress during
a time of grief is pre-planning. Learning the funerary preferences of loved
ones ahead of time may help families create a budget and a plan they can
reference in the future.
The BBB provides Business
Reviews on funeral homes and mortuary service providers across northern Illinois for free at www.bbb.org
As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better
Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve
buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration.
BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable
organizations. BBBs develop and issue reviews on businesses and nonprofit
organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before
making a purchase or donation.