The average cost of a funeral in 2009 was about 6,560 dollars according to the National Funeral Directors Association. This price includes 2,295 dollars for a metal coffin. These costs have increased by 17.5 percent from the year 2004. Top of the line caskets are often offered in the funeral homes however, now with online shopping a quality casket can be shipped rather quickly with large discounts. Walmart.com is one of the online suppliers that offer these discounts to its internet customers. The steel coffins on Walmart’s website range from 995 to 3,199 dollars. Walmart.com also offers a wide selection of urns from 29 to 214 dollars.
Amazon.com is another major online seller for coffins and can offer considerable discounts as well. Starting at about 899 dollars up to 2,799 dollars. Amazon seems to have a larger online selection with shipping costs from about five to four hundred dollars. For floral arrangement needs, many are turning to the online 1-800 Flowers.com for beautiful and low cost flowers.
R. Brian Burkhardt is an author of a book called, ” Rest in Peace an Insider’s Look at the Low Cost Less Stress Funeral “. He also has a website http://yourfuneralguy.wordpress.com where he posts blogs on ways consumers can cut costs on funerals. According to his website, Burkhardt has a professional background in management, but has been in the funeral industry for about ten years. On his site he mentions that the more the bereaved purchase online, the less local funeral homes will be needed and thus producing a decline in the funeral industry. From some of the comments I read related to his posts on purchasing online caskets and giving advice on cutting costs, I think it’s safe to say that Mr. Burkhardt will not be well liked by many in the funeral business, but is well respected by the average consumers for his industry integrity.
The Federal Trade Commission enforces a regulation called “The Funeral Rule“; these regulations protect people who have recently lost a loved one by those in the funeral industry who would exploit it. One of the rules says that an individual has the right to refuse funeral packages offered through funeral homes and cannot refuse to hold the funeral services because a person chose to arrange their own funeral. This means that a customer can buy online funeral items and the funeral home cannot charge you extra fees because you made your own decisions.
However since the funeral industry is seeing a decline in profits due to consumers purchasing online, some funeral homes are making unnecessary burdens on individuals who utilize this method. Funeral homes have been:
Charging storage fees for third party caskets
Charging fees for disposing containers of third-party caskets
Refusing to accept deliveries
With some funeral businesses in a downward slope it is no wonder why the funeral industry, desperate to stay “alive”, utilizes weddings as an additional source of income throughout the year. According to a recent article on www.usatoday.com, about ten percent of just over six hundred funeral home owners returned a survey stating they hold weddings in their funeral facilities.
Having access to a variety of information provided over the World Wide Web consumers feel power in arranging their own burial plans to help ease the burdens of family and friends. A family should not be pressured into high cost funeral packages at the time when they are most likely not to make the clearest decisions. There should not be a feeling of shame when it comes to planning a budget friendly funeral, because those who still live will have other finances to balance in their future. The next time you use a search engine to shop online, consider the world of purchasing possibilities!