For questions, contact Josh Slocum, Executive Director, Funeral Consumers Alliance, 802-233-6326,

  • The Federal Trade Commission requires all funeral homes to give consumers price quotes by phone, and to give them a printed complete price list when they show up in person. In this current situation, families should ask a funeral home to email/fax a copy of their complete price list.
  • Consumers have the right to buy only what they want, item by item, from a funeral home’s list of services.
  • Every funeral home in the US offers two simple services. These are called direct cremation, and direct burial. Both are only the basics. They do not include any ceremonies, embalming, etc. They are the least expensive options.
  • YES, you should compare prices first before engaging a funeral home! Funeral prices vary, even within the same neighborhood or city, depending on which funeral home you call. As you will see from the accompanying spreadsheet, these price variations are substantial, often thousands of dollars, for exactly the same simple service.
  • For those choosing burial—Remember that even if you choose the least expensive “direct burial” from a funeral home, you will still have cemetery fees to pay. The quoted price on a direct burial from a funeral home does NOT include cemetery fees. In many areas, assume that you will have at least $2,000 to $3,000 in additional cemetery fees, on top of the fee you pay to the funeral home.
  • Some states help low-income families who don’t have the money to pay for funeral expenses. This is administered through the county department of social services, and this is the first call any low-income family should make.
  • No, there are no charities that pay for funerals or cremations. Families should not make plans beyond what they know they can afford, hoping that they’ll find a charity to make up the difference. That does not exist, and it will only lead to overspending that will follow the family as a debt long after the death. Counting on “GoFundMe” type online fundraisers is very unwise.
  • For information on indigent burial, meaning burial for people in desperate need, click here.For additional questions about all things related to funerals, burials, cremations, and costs, see our website Click on the menu item “consumers”. Our literature is free to the public as a charitable service. Spending just a modest amount of time learning your rights and options will save you thousands of dollars in unnecessary fees, and will help you choose final arrangements with confidence.

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