As of July 1, 2012 the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act provides important consumer protection.
Here is a brief outline of the law you should be aware of before you enter into a contract.
Funeral, cemetery or crematorium operators must;
- Give you a current price list of all the supplies and services they offer
- Inform you of any relevant business relationships they have for example with receiving commission for referring you to a florist
- You have 30 days to cancel a contract and receive a full refund
- Prepaid contracts must be fully guaranteed
- You have the right to sell a cemetery plot back to the cemetery or to a third party
The Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services web site has a short video and more information.
Researching how funeral homes do business has been interesting and informative. The following are a few areas of interest;
Pricing…in general; funeral homes in a specific area charge about the same prices overall. There are differences in price from one service option to another per business but the end price is approximately the same.
Negotiating a price…some funeral home directors were open to negotiating the final price for a funeral and will consider offering a better price than a competitor.
Openness to different ideas…with some of the funeral directors but others were stuck in traditional, that`s how it`s always been done mode of thinking and doing.
Aftercare…can be 2 different concepts depending on the funeral home and the area you reside in. Aftercare may be the service provided by the funeral home where you get help with a “to do“ list such as filling out government paperwork. In some areas Aftercare may be counselling services offered to the individuals who are grieving.
Resources…are available at many funeral homes in the form of booklets, books or videos on grief and loss.
Funeral Home Services…are not limited to the funeral home in your town. There are online resources that provide services to a large geographical area.
Additional information can be obtained from the Board of Funeral Services at:
777 Bay Street, Suite 2810, Box 117
Toronto, ON M5G 2C8
Tel: (416) 979-5450 (416) 979-5450
Toll Free: 1-800-387-4458 or 1-800-387-4458
Fax: (416) 979-0384
Other postings and newsletters will have more information on cremation and related services
I encourage you to be an informed consumer, speak with a funeral director.