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Yes, you have rights when shopping for funeral services

Many consumers these days are pretty savvy about comparison shopping for goods and services. But they might not know that they have certain rights when it comes to buying funeral services.

The Federal Trade Commission sent out a reminder this week, after suing an Alabama funeral home for failing to provide pricing information as required.

Consumers are entitled to only buy the goods or services they want when it comes to funeral planning.  According to the FTC, consumers should receive an itemized price list when they go into a funeral home to arrange a service. And they can’t be required to buy a casket or make other purchases from the funeral home as a condition of getting other funeral services, the FTC said.

The FTC added these tips: Shop in advance at two funeral homes at least to compare prices. The federal agency also notes that state laws can vary so check out what your state requires in terms of burial services.

For anyone who has had to make funeral arrangement for a loved one, this is a very difficult time and there are so many decisions to make. It’s hard to separate emotions from purchases — you don’t want to skimp on the dearly departed. But that can also lead to overspending on things that the departed wouldn’t want you to waste your money on.

Also, one of the more helpful things an older parent can do for adult children is to write down what sort of casket or other services he or she wants. This can prevent a lot of guilt overspending.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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