Granite & Monument Co.
2050 West Laskey
Toledo, Ohio 43613
Always Remember Granite &
Until recently, the only place where you could purchase any funeral related items was from a licensed funeral home … they more or less had a monopoly. Over the past few decades, the funeral business has mushroomed into a multi-billion dollar-a-year industry with consumer expenses spiraling into the stratosphere. Not long ago, the Federal Trade
Commission started regulating the funeral homes and instituted certain fair trade guidelines.
These guidelines, known as the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule are business codes that protect you, the consumer!
These new rulings are no laughing matter. Each violation against a funeral home or its’ operators can result in up to a $10,000 fine by the federal government.
The Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule is made up of several key components:
TELEPHONE PRICE DISCLOSURES
When you begin the process of making funeral arrangements or pre-arrangements, you are now able to call different funeral homes in your area. BY LAW the funeral director or his staff member must give you price information over the phone. Furthermore, he must disclose to you different terms and conditions relating to his goods and services, along with reasonably answering any other questions that you might have.
By using your telephone, you are able to easily compare prices among different funeral providers in your area. Getting price information about the service costs of a funeral home, embalming, casket and outer burial container prices, or other costs will help you in selecting which funeral home to handle any services and just what goods you might wish to purchase from them … if any.
THE GENERAL PRICE LIST FORM
The “General Price List” is the cornerstone of “The Funeral Rule”. When you visit a funeral home - if you request a price list, the funeral director MUST give you a written itemization of all goods and services provided by the business. The General Price List also discloses important legal rights of the consumer, and requirements regarding funeral arrangements. The only item on the price list that is non-declinable is the “Basic Service Fee” … this is a subject that we will get to in a moment.
THE GENERAL PRICE LIST MUST MAKE 7 DISCLOSURES
THE CONSUMER HAS THE LEGAL RIGHT TO SELECT ONLY THOSE GOODS AND SERVICES THEY WISH TO PURCHASE, UNLESS STATE OR FEDERAL LAW STATES OTHERWISE.
For instance, you may wish to use only the services of a funeral home and provide your own casket, clothes, flowers or other such items. You are entitled to do so!
THE FUNERAL HOME MAY NOT FALSELY STATE THAT EMBALMING IS REQUIRED BY LAW. IT IS NOT, EXCEPT IN CERTAIN SPECIFIED CASES.
Such specified cases includes:
The instance of infectious disease
Public viewing with an open casket
A prolonged period before burial
Furthermore, the funeral home may not charge a fee for unauthorized embalming unless it is required by state law.
ALTERNATIVE CONTAINERS FOR DIRECT CREMATION
This has to do with direct cremation; and informs the consumer that they have the right to use a fiberboard or particleboard container instead of a traditional casket.
THE BASIC SERVICE FEE OF THE FUNERAL DIRECTOR AND HIS STAFF---IS THE CHARGE FOR ARRANGING THE SERVICES ALONG WITH THE OPERATING COSTS OF THE BUSINESS SUCH AS MORTGAGE, INSURANCE, TAXES AND PAYROLL.
It is important to note, that although this is the category where the director should list his fee or profit, he has the option of arranging his profit structure any way he wishes. Even though all services and goods are also marked up, it is not uncommon for the funeral director to add profits onto a blind item such as caskets, where it isn’t as visible as the basic service fee. At any rate, the lower the basic service fee, the more room you have to maneuver in other areas.
CASKET PRICE LIST (WITH PRICES)
This listing of in stock goods should have a description of each item offered and the date of the last price change. It must be furnished upon request.
OUTER BURIAL CONTAINER PRICE LIST (NO PRICES)
As with the previous disclosure, it must be furnished upon request with descriptions and price information. Please note that state and local laws do not require a purchase of such containers, but certain cemeteries do, in order to prevent the ground around the grave from settling.
CASH ADVANCE SALES
The funeral provider is required by the Federal Trade Commission to disclose in writing if they charge a fee for any cash advance items they arrange for such as flowers, death notices, pall bearers or clergy honorariums.
BEWARE OF PRESERVATIVE OR PROTECTIVE CLAIMS
Although this is not spelled out in any written disclosures, a very important element of the Funeral Rule prohibits funeral directors or their staff from claiming that caskets, outer burial containers or vaults … or any service they might provide can indefinitely preserve the body or keep out dirt, water or other graveside substances. THIS IS NOT TRUE !!! In other words, those expensive self-sealing caskets don’t preserve forever!
If you do business with a funeral home, they must provide you with a written, itemized statement.
STATEMENT OF FUNERAL GOODS & SERVICES
Let’s take a look at the average pricing of today’s traditional funeral with expenses. Now … let’s get right to the bottom line. Let’s ask ourselves one big question … Do you really want to pay for a mansion that you are never going to live in or a Cadilac that you will never drive, because that is what you are paying for! Don’t get me wrong - most of the funeral directors in your communities are nice enough people, B-U-T they are in business to make a profit - to make a living, and a darn good one at that! Your area funeral director is, nevertheless, the licensed professional who handles certain arrangements - there is no way around it - but how do you determine which services and what goods, if any, to purchase?
SHOP AROUND AND COMPARE PRICES
It is recommended that when shopping for a funeral home to do business with, that you get three prices. This can be done by calling different funeral homes to have them send you price lists. As a matter of fact, we encourage people that are making appointments with us, to get funeral home prices, and T-H-E-N come to see us.
DO NOT MAKE AN APPOINTMENT FOR AN ARRANGEMENT OR PRE-ARRANGEMENT CONFERENCE UNTIL YOU HAVE FIGURES AND KNOW WHAT KIND OF CEREMONY YOU WANT!
Remember … an educated consumer has the power of choice - so get the necessary prices - then, take a step back and try to determine two things:
1. WHAT TYPE OF FUNERAL CEREMONY DO I WANT?
2. WHAT CAN I AFFORD?
This is the tough part … in dealing with the funeral director, you have to take charge – don’t let the funeral director tell YOU what arrangements he thinks are appropriate. If you need help, discuss this subject with your family members or your clergy. These can be tough decisions for an individual to make alone. No matter how nice a person your area funeral director may be, it is his job to get you to spend you hard earned dollars … and remember … he’s a professional;.
In the pricing of funeral arrangements there are three items that figure into the equation:
BASIC SERVICE FEE + TYPE OF CEREMONY + CASKET = FUNERAL PRICE
Once again, remember that the “Basic Service Fee” is the only non-declinable item.
BASIC SERVICE FEE OF THE FUNERAL DIRECTOR AND HIS STAFF
I would suggest that when pricing funeral homes, you also ask exactly what services this fee includes.
Does it include the cost of bringing the remains to the funeral home?
Does it include the cost of storing the remains?
When you shop for a funeral home to do business with, regardless of what you decide upon for services that they may provide....remember, that the higher The Basic Fee, the chances are that your overall cost will be higher. The lower the Basic Service Fee, the more room you’ll have to maneuver. There’s no question that the single most important price to bear in mind is this non-declinable Basic Service Fee.
TYPE OF CEREMONY CAN VARY COST BY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS!
There can be as much as a $1500 to $2500 cost difference between a ceremony with an open casket viewing and a funeral home visitation, and a simple but dignified graveside service and church ceremony.
STATEMENT OF FUNERAL GOODS & SERVICES
Let’s add up
Use of the facilities
Adding the service fee and whatever type of ceremony at the funeral home accounts for up to 50% of the total cost.
Throughout America, many people are beginning to take a long look at today’s funeral process. Today, many people are asking themselves if the commercialized funeral bears any resemblance to the last rites that are in the scriptures. Today, many people are asking themselves, “What is the meaning and the purpose of this final rite of passage?”
Today....more and more people are using the services of a funeral home less and less. They’re opting for an immediate “Graveside Service “. They’re foregoing the embalming, the viewing and the other costly items that go along with it. Instead, people are choosing an “Immediate Burial”, followed by a Memorial Service at their church, and maybe some sort of a reception or gathering afterward.
The result of this, is that with some planning, the funeral becomes a much more meaningful process and far less costly. It also means that by taking the time to shop around you can save substantially on your funeral expenses. The third part of the equation, the casket, accounts for the rest of the expense!
TYPE OF CASKET
Funeral home casket prices run from $500 for a minimum standard or alternative container to $2,500 - $4,000 for a nice steel or hardwood casket, on up to $10,000 or more for a mahogany, copper or bronze casket. Because of the Federal Trade Commission’s rulings, you, the consumer have the right to purchase your casket anywhere you want, and furnish it to the funeral home. Our business, Casket Royale, is in the business of selling top quality caskets to the general public at a savings up to 25% - 75% of funeral home prices…Whether you decide to look outside of the funeral home or not, shop around and compare prices.
No matter what you decide upon for your type of funeral ceremony or casket, we’ve accomplished something with this seminar if you walk away, understanding the importance of shopping around and asking questions. There’s no question, that armed with knowledge you the consumer, have ability to cut your funeral expenses dramatically!
If you want to save still more money, see the questions at Funeral Director Question List.
Plan a memorial service after the burial with the family members in attendance. Granted, this doesn’t have all the ceremony that goes along with a full traditional funeral, but the savings are huge!
All across America, there are people just like yourselves … people who are beginning to wake up and take charge of their final chapter. One such woman lives in Colebrook, New Hampshire. She sent us a letter a few weeks ago. It seems as though she and her husband had been shopping around with different funeral homes looking into prearranging their funerals. The more they looked, the more shocked they became at the high cost of today’s funeral. Reluctantly, they were about to go the cremation route, even though this went against their personal and religious beliefs; even though it meant breaking their family’s long-standing tradition of a burial in the family cemetery plot. These folks felt as though they didn’t have a choice - they simply could not afford to spend $12,000 - $14,000.
One day, the wife was going through her local newspaper, and saw an advertisement for a local seminar. At a point of complete frustration in trying to make affordable funeral pre-arrangements, she convinced her husband to attend the seminar.
Well … to make a long story short, these folks took some of our suggestions, and used some of the tools they had learned at our seminar.
In the letter that this lovely woman sent us, she said that she and her husband had just received the two caskets that they had chosen, and had them stored away. They had made the necessary arrangements for a simple and dignified ceremony at the cemetery, followed by a memorial service at their church, but best of all - they were able to save thousands of dollars that she and her husband have decided to put toward their grandchildren’s college education.
In a nutshell, this sums up what we are all doing here today. There is no question that the funeral process is important - there is no question that this final sendoff is important for our loved ones - But, MONEY IS FOR THE LIVING. Why not use it now, or leave it for family members … Why bury it with you !!!
There is one final note … whatever you decide upon for your arrangements … whatever you decide upon for your casket - when you are dealing with the funeral director, be careful that you tell him what YOU want, don’t let him tell you what he thinks you ought to have … and please … please … if it is at all possible … take charge of this final chapter of your life - Don’t be held hostage by fear - Don’t leave this important planning to loved-ones who are all - too - often unable to deal with decision making in a time of grief.
MAY GOD WATCH OVER EACH AND ALL OF YOU ….
MAY GOD GIVE YOU GOOD HEALTH …
BLESS YOU, EACH AND ALL
THANK YOU !!