The caskets are often purchased wholesale for around 1/3 of the selling price. The cheapest are the steel ones. Most funeral homes capitalize on your grief to stick it to you. My aunt buried her husband and paid up front for the costs, having carefully had them worked out before hand, because he’d been ill for a long time. Right after the funeral, with a few days, she was sent a $300 additional bill, for things like the use of the limo – which drove her and the family 200 feet from the ‘chapel’ to the plot.
We told her to send the bill to her lawyer, but she was so wrapped up in her grief that she did not want to hassle and paid it. These places count on things like that.
Just today, listening to the radio, I heard something about a funeral home being brought up on charges because they disposed of their garbage in the caskets of the dearly departed. Instead of paying the usual trash fees, they stuffed the stuff in the coffin after final viewing, when no one was around and the attendants were getting the casket ready to take to the grave site.
Last year, some exposure program disclosed how funeral homes rip people off by tagging on unneeded services and how they buy a lot of the caskets cheaply from overseas and sell them high to local consumers. One funeral home dealing with minorities was caught cutting costs by watering down the embalming fluid or just flushing the body out with straight water. People got suspicious when one funeral was delayed a day or so and the body began to smell.
Those brass urns for ashes are cheaply purchased for under $50 and sold to the bereaved for around $200. Ashes, being human remains, are not allowed to be shipped via regular post or courier, but require special handling which costs more. A lot of funeral homes ship ashes and urns via Federal Express or Airborne Express by not marking the boxes as human remains and saving a bundle in costs. You can imagine that the shipping cost, doubled, gets tagged on the customers eventual bill.