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Consumer beware: What to know before buying a funeral casket

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Posted at 11:38 AM, May 23, 2022

Funeral planning is hard, but consumer advocates say you still need to keep your guard up, especially when it comes to buying a casket.

Joshua Slocum with the Funeral Consumers Alliance says some funeral homes do a lot to try and discourage people from buying third-party or retail caskets, which are often more affordable than buying from a funeral home.

“I saw a policy statement from a Wisconsin funeral home that said, not only will the consumer need to be here to accept it, but while you are waiting for the casket truck to deliver it, you may not use our facilities for waiting, you have to stay outside in the parking lot in your car,” Slocum said.

He went on to say, “that same policy also said that you the consumer family are responsible for removing the packaging from the casket. And we will not allow you to do that indoors. You may only do so in the parking lot, but you have to make sure you're out of public view.”

There are FTC rules to protect you.

]Funeral homes may not require a customer to be present when a casket is delivered.

They can't refuse to sign for delivery.

They also can't charge a fee to store a third-party casket or to dispose of casket packaging materials.

“It’s just as important to shop the funeral homes prices. Looking for a price on a simple cremation, you are likely to find one around $1,000. And at the other end, you're likely to find it for closer to $3,000. That is how big the price differences are,” Slocum said.