Losing a loved one is a difficult and emotional experience. It can be overwhelming to make arrangements for a funeral, and unfortunately, some funeral homes in Canada take advantage of this vulnerability to sell unnecessary products and services. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to avoid being sucked into predatory commission sales schemes when making decisions at funeral homes in BC.
Forewarned is forearmed, and the best way to avoid being taken advantage of is to plan ahead. No one wants to talk to their loved ones about their end-of-life wishes, but it is an important conversation to have. A pre-need contract, which is a funeral services contract that is entered into while the person it’s for is still alive, secures today’s pricing and can provide a little bit of peace of mind.
Whether or not you’re able to have that conversation, take time to research funeral homes and their prices. Funeral homes are required by law to provide you with a general price list, which outlines the cost of their products and services. By doing your research, you can compare prices and make an informed, level-headed decision without having heightened emotions leveraged against you.
Ask for a breakdown of costs
When you meet with a funeral director, ask for a detailed breakdown of costs. Ask them to explain every item and service they are offering and what it entails. Some funeral homes will try to sell you packages that include unnecessary items, so it’s important to ask questions and understand exactly what you’re paying for.
Don’t be afraid to say no
Funeral directors are salespeople, and it’s their job to sell products and services. Don’t be afraid to say no to something you don’t want or need. You have the right to decline any item or service that you feel is unnecessary.
If need be, you can even cancel a pre-need contract (as long as you are the person who entered into the contract or the representative of the deceased). You may not get 100% of your money back, depending on the contract, but the option is there.
Bring a friend or family member to advocate for you
It’s always helpful to have a second set of eyes and ears when making important making decisions at funeral homes. Bring a trusted friend or family member with you to the funeral home. They can provide emotional support and help you make informed decisions. Sometimes, even something as small as having someone who knows when to say to the funeral director, “Thank you for your time. We would like some privacy to discuss our options,” makes a huge difference.
There are alternatives to traditional funerals that can be more affordable and just as meaningful. For example, you could consider cremation, which is often less expensive than a traditional burial. You can also hold a memorial service at a location of your choosing rather than at a funeral home.
In conclusion, planning ahead, asking for a breakdown of costs, not being afraid to say no, bringing a friend or family member, and considering alternatives are all ways to avoid being sucked into predatory commission sales schemes when making decisions at funeral homes in BC. Remember, you have the right to make informed decisions that are in the best interest of you and your loved ones. For more information, check out this Consumer Protection BC’s Funeral Rights Article. For information on funeral cost support from the provincial government, check out this article on Funeral Costs. For the funeral guidelines from the federal government, click here.