General Price List

You may download a copy of our General Price List (GPL) by clicking here.

It is –without a doubt – one of the most important tools you have for controlling and understanding funeral costs, as it lists all the goods and services the funeral home offers, along with the price of each. Like a menu in a restaurant, the GPL allows you to select only those items you want, and it tells how much each will cost.

The Federal Trade Commission's Funeral Rule compels funeral homes to give customers a GPL at the beginning of any discussion of arrangements. The funeral director must give you a copy to keep, and it's a good idea to ask the director to leave the room so you can contemplate the GPL in private. Better yet, take it home and discuss it with your family, if time permits, so you can make an informed decision.

Required Items on the GPL

General Price Lists must print certain disclosures, which must follow the wording approved by the FTC. The disclosures must state that:

- Consumers may select only the goods and services desired

- Embalming is not required by law except in certain special cases

- "Alternative containers," such as those made of cardboard, are available for direct cremation

- A Casket Price List is available

- An Outer Burial Container (vault)

The Funeral Rule requires that GPLs list the prices of 16 items - if they are services the funeral home offers - including the basic services fee, embalming charge, cost of picking up the body, the price of a viewing, the price of a funeral or memorial service, the cost of funeral vehicles, and other commonly offered goods and services.

How to Interpret the GPL

These choices can seem daunting to people who are making funeral arrangements at any time, but this is especially true if they have just experienced a death in the family. Here at A Special Touch Funeral & Cremation Service, Sharon tries to make the whole experience easier and more comprehensible. She wants you to know:

- Buying a "package deal" may offer savings over the price of each separate item, but it's a bargain only if you would have chosen all the items anyway.

- The simplest options - direct cremation and immediate burial - include pickup of the body, the basic services fee, the filing of death certificates, and transportation to the crematory or cemetery.

- For cremation, remember to ask if the price includes the crematory fee - some funeral homes don't include that fee in their price and the family is surprised when it appears on the final statement.

- For immediate burial, costs for interment (usually charged by the cemetery) and a graveside service are extra. The cost of the casket for immediate burial is also extra unless the funeral home offers an immediate burial option that includes a particular casket.

- Anyone who wants more elaborate services will have to start with the basic services fee. This is the only fee on a funeral home's price list that the customer cannot decline to pay. It was originally intended to cover services that were common to most arrangements - filing death certificates and obtaining copies for the family; coordinating plans with the cemetery and crematory. This fee may also include overhead costs and charges for the arrangements conference, securing permits, preparing notices, and coordinating arrangements with third parties (such as the cemetery).

- Aside from the basic services fee, you can choose freely. For example, you might want to schedule a funeral ceremony, but skip the viewing and embalming.

If you want a service that is not listed on the GPL, be sure to ask. Sharon will be glad to accommodate your wishes. For example, you might choose to have a private family viewing without embalming. Many funeral homes don't charge for this. Or there may be a lesser charge if a brief family viewing is held on the same day and immediately before the funeral. Call Sharon at (925) 875-1343 should you have any questions or concerns about the General Price List.