Comparison shopping is a key bargain-hunting strategy — especially, as it turns out, when you're planning for your last big purchase.
Funeral service and cremation prices vary widely. Even a simple direct cremation — with no ceremonies, viewing or casket — can range from $495 to $7,595, according to a new survey from the Consumer Federation of America and Funeral Consumers Alliance. The report solicited pricing information from 142 funeral homes and cremation businesses in 10 major cities.
"This extreme price variation provides compelling evidence of the need for effective price disclosure," CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck said in a news release.
Even in the same city, the difference can be thousands of dollars. In New York, for example, direct cremation might run as little as $550 or as much as $10,125 — more than 18 times as much, according to data from comparison site Parting.com. That's a potential premium of more than 1,800 percent.
The new CFA/FCA report is a follow-up to research the consumer advocates released in 2015, which found full-service funeral prices ranging from $2,580 to $13,800. Even within the same city, the groups said, highs and lows often had variances of more than 200 percent.