Last week, I wanted to do some research so, I called the nearby funeral homes in Chester and Ludlow. The law says that anyone anywhere can call a funeral provider to request a copy of the general price list.
When I asked for an email with their GPL, the manager said (and I am not paraphrasing here): I will have to mail you a copy of our GPL. I don’t have it in electronic format to email. This is the largest funeral provider in the world and they can’t email a copy of the general price list?
Last year this company made $363 million in profit. Can’t they afford a computer or the technology to email a copy of the most important document to protect a funeral consumer? I looked for another solution and got the GPL by fax.
By the way, the General Price List for WRCS is always available on my website. (
Back to the research… At first glance it looked like they lowered their service charges. Awesome. I felt that I had made an impact. Capitalism at work. I helped to lower their prices due to the competitive business, WRCS, down the street. I had an impact on the largest funeral provider in the world!
Then I looked closer. The prices had changed since the FCA issued a comprehensive report last fall. I reached for the calculator. THEY WENT UP? The most expensive funeral home in the state is now more expensive. The price for services as compared to every other funeral home/crematory in the state is now $2,000 more.
After a $6,010 basic service charge, you still have to purchase a casket. (Average casket cost is $3,200.) Liners are $1,095 (which is a minimum requirement at most cemeteries.) Vaults will cost between $1,500- 3,795. With a middle range casket and a liner, the final costs can range from $9,200 -$10,000.
There are additional costs for other services (cash advances) such as grave opening and closing, installation of liner/vault, newspaper notices, honorayem for clergy, stipend for organist and cantor, and cemetery equipment. These can total another $1,000+/-.
And then, if you want to hold a reception… this is additional. Depending on the size, it could be costly. This could total over $13,000. I know reading GPLs can be confusing but I know what I am looking at …and this is still mind boggling.
With a gleam in my eye, I reviewed my GPL. WRCS can provide the same services (minus calling hours in an old out date building) for $3,560. Our average casket is $1,600. Our liner is $700. Our total cost is $5,860 for the same services and comparable casket and liner. My prices are $7,140 less than the other funeral provider in Chester or Ludlow.
Prices from these large funeral corporations show no respect for its customers. For families, these are emotionally difficult times, during possibly very difficult financial times. The fact that they are thousands of dollars more than ALL other funeral business in Vermont makes no difference to the large corporations.
It’s the 1% taking advantage of the 99%… that familiar story. It’s hard to believe that can be happening in our own backyard.
Please, be a smart consumer. If you can’t understand that corporate GPL, call me; I’ve read over them hundreds of times. My cell is(802) 353 0021