Business, Preneed

Canadian Pricing Investigated

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A recent investigation by the Toronto Star and CBC was published in the Hamilton Spectator and pointed out consumer issues with pricing in Canadian funeral homes.

Reporters focused in on funeral homes owned by Toronto based Arbor Memorial and the United State’s death care giant, Service Corporation International (SCI).  In a contrast to what we hear very often in the lower 48, reporters generally experienced lower markups and less aggressive sales practices at the establishments owned by SCI than they did at Arbor Memorial facilities.  According to the article Arbor Memorial has nearly 90 homes in Canada and SCI has over 160 funeral homes in Canada, many operated as Dignity Memorial locations.

The article is very complete and also touches on the pre-arrangement side of the funeral industry.  It gives examples of families who thought that everything was paid for but later found out that it wasn’t. . . in some cases, to the tune of $6,000 additional.

Funeral Director Daily take:  This is a really good article, albeit critical of the way the funeral industry handles pricing.  A really good takeaway from this article is that Funeral Directors and Pre-Need Advisers really need to educate not only the people who are pre-arranging, but also their families on what an actual pre-arrangement covers.  Our funeral home never “Guaranteed” pricing for the funeral selections.  We would tell the client families that the pre-arrangement allowed for a “Bag of Money” that could be used to apply against funeral expenses at a later date.  That system worked very well.  Over the years we also, thru acquisitions, inherited some “Guaranteed” pre-need accounts that inevitably caused confusion between what the survivors thought was included and what was documented.

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