There is often confusion amongst bereaved families about funeral directors and funerals. From distressing stories about price gouging to misleading advertising claiming that everyone wants to be put in a cardboard box and cremated without any fuss. The local funeral director is often the target of a barrage of criticism by confused consumers. But are these attacks based on the truth or are they baseless? Here we dispel some common myths that are leaving families unsure about their funeral options.
A funeral will cost up to $15,000
We’ve all seen the claims by some direct cremation providers which combine the cost of burial and cremation funeral services to come up with an eye watering average fee for a traditional funeral service. But these claims, while based on bona fide data, can be misleading. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll most likely discover that the actual charge for a traditional funeral is well below the fee suggested by some companies. Bereaved families who shop around can often find a local independent funeral director who will arrange a funeral much lower than the ‘average’ cost. A simple funeral including crematorium fees can be arranged for a significantly lower price in most places. Beware of reports by direct cremation providers, which have a vested interest in people being worried about the price of a funeral.
Funeral directors want to sell you the most expensive funeral
In recent years, it’s been impossible to avoid stories of bereaved families being left distraught after receiving an invoice far in excess of what was expected when they sat down with the funeral director to arrange a funeral. In reality, no independent funeral director wants to be in that position. Our Fair Funeral Promise and Australian Fair Trading Laws both require member independent funeral directors to give bereaved families a full costings estimate before proceeding with the funeral arrangements. As small business owners, the last thing our member funeral directors want is to burden a grieving family with a debt they cannot service. For those reasons, eziFunerals members will provide the best funeral for your individual needs. And it’s good to know that an eziFunerals independent funeral director will treat you with the same care and respect no matter how much you wish to spend on your funeral.
Direct cremation is the cheapest way to do a no fuss funeral
Adverts for direct cremation funerals are big business these days. It’s hard to scroll through your Facebook feed or turn on daytime TV without being bombarded with messages about how a direct cremation will remove the hassle from arranging a funeral. Well, here’s a little secret. A good independent funeral director is all about removing the hassle from arranging a funeral anyway. That’s what they do. Many small funeral homes have been providing this service for bereaved families for decades if not centuries. And here’s another secret. A direct cremation is not a funeral. It’s merely a process for disposing of human remains. It might be appropriate in some circumstances but it’s devoid of any farewell and ceremony, and careful consideration should be given before going down this path as it might complicate the grief journey. Remember you only get one chance to get it right.
Smaller funeral businesses don’t offer direct cremation
Many people we speak to believe that their local independent funeral director did not offer direct cremation. This perception is probably due to aggressive advertising campaigns by direct cremation providers, who transport deceased people across the country to a central crematorium for what is essentially a conveyor belt service. But as a matter of fact, your local independent funeral director will most likely be able to arrange a direct cremation. And what’s more, it will be delivered with dignity. Loved ones will be cared for locally, giving bereaved families a chance to spend precious time saying goodbye if they wish. There may also be an option to witness the committal with a small group of close friends or relatives. This is not possible with direct cremation providers, whose business objectives are the commodification of funerals for the benefit of big investors.
It’s too hard for bereaved families to shop around
Some people believe that once you’ve spoken to a funeral director, you’re most likely to use that company’s services even if it’s the first business you’ve approached. The truth is, many people use a local funeral director because they have a good reputation in their neighbourhood and are trusted by generations of families. But thanks to digital technology, it’s never been easier to shop around and compare funeral directors. It’s also now a legal requirement, in most States, for funeral businesses to display their full price list on their websites. But as with any service, whether it’s a building contractor or a mechanic, choosing the right provider for your circumstances should go beyond price considerations. You’ll also want them to do a good job and meet your expectations on a range of fronts, from attention to detail and location to availability and products and services offered.
Funeral directors expect families to pay a large deposit
In recent years, media reports about the funeral profession have highlighted that some funeral directors have demanded a deposit from bereaved families before proceeding with arranging the funeral. There’s a bit of a misunderstanding here. Most if not all funeral directors will ask for a deposit up front. But that isn’t due to a lack of trust. The charges, which can be as much as 50% of the total invoice, or virtually all of it in the case of direct cremation, are paid up front merely to cover third party costs, such as cremation or burial and doctors’ fees. These are also known as the disbursements. The funeral director’s invoice for the professional fees is issued after the funeral has been delivered.
eziFunerals supports individuals and families cope with end of life decisions, death and funerals. We are an independent, Australian-owned and operated company. We are not part of any other funeral company.
Our member Funeral Directors operate in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Australia wide. They are chosen for their knowledge, quality, service, personalisation and experience. They go above and beyond, and will take the time to support the family.
For more information or to make contact with a trusted Independent funeral director, call eziFunerals on 1300 236 402 or visit www.ezifunerals.com.au.