Sunday, November 7, 2010
FUNERAL HOME "SERVICE PACKAGES", OR ARE THEY?
So you experience a death in the family. The family has tasked you with finding a facility to handle the arrangements. You review different locations on the internet and SOME even have funeral packages at really affordable pricing. You call the location and the counselor tell you, “Oh yes, all the services are included” In fact, the counselor is not lying to you. But you being inexperienced in the industry confuse SERVICES with MERCHANDISE and the way the counselor presents it to you, it sounds like all the merchandise is included in the package, when in fact, it is not.
A funeral contract is made up of three different fields, By LAW!
· CASH ADVANCES
Services consist of ANYTHING that is NOT merchandise and you DON’T pay taxes on, such as:
· Basic Service of the funeral director and staff
· Transport to the funeral home
· Church or Chapel Service
· Graveside Service
· Coach use
· Limousine (If the funeral home owns a Limousine)
Merchandise is defined as anything you buy that you can keep, claim as yours and PAY TAXES ON.
· Casket (cremation or burial)
· Burial Vaults
· Grave markers
· Cremation Containers
· Register Book, folders or prayer cards
· Casket cross
· Memorial DVD’s
Cash advances consist of, but are not limited to;
· Church usage fees
· Cremation fees
· Death Certificates
· Funeral Escorts
· Air fare
· Limousine service if it is “Contracted out”
· Flower services
So as you can see, if it is not stated on the so called “FUNERAL PACKAGE” it is probably not included.
Review the package offered and selected. Ensure that if it is offered as a “PACKAGE” that it is just that, a package. Package is defined as all inclusive, everything needed. When a funeral home offers a package it should take into consideration everything that perhaps the family may want. If it is just a bunch of select services offered from the “services” section of the price list, you are being misled.
Allot of the pricing you may incur is in fact from merchandise. Find out by printing a copy of the web page you find the package on, on the internet, take the copy to the funeral home and tell them, “no this is all we want, we will provide the rest” Watch the counselors jaw hit the ground, because in reality, you can provide all the rest, and he has to honor his package offered on the internet at that price.
The funeral industry is a “Service” Industry yes, so if you choose to use just the SERVICES of any funeral location, you are well within your right. The funeral home must still honor the SERVICES side of the contract, even if no merchandise is bought. You would be surprised how many provide you with substandard service because you choose to buy your merchandise elsewhere. (Its called saving money, not being CHEAP)
It has been my experience in the past that people have even shopped around for caskets and merchandise from other locations. This is not illegal as well. Some funeral homes, like Avenidas Funeral Chapel offer a line of caskets and merchandise with personalized printing for purchase and delivery to ANY FUNERAL HOME IN THE VALLEY, it is legal, and quite ethical. Our imported casket line is extremely affordable and available to the public for purchase and delivery.
Do your homework, be aware and ensure you screen your funeral service provider no matter who they are with. The above topic is to help you save and provide a service well within your budget.
…or don’t, and let them get the best of you, or your pocket book!