A few recently filed lawsuits concerning funerals said to have gone horribly wrong really makes you think about the exorbitant cost you’re paying.

In one, an 85-year-old woman passed away and a funeral home in Franklin in charge of her service is alleged to have put the wrong corpse in her coffin. Her loved ones entered the first viewing only to find a stranger wearing her jewelry. They were ushered out of the viewing room and after half an hour allowed back in to view the correct loved one.

But, according to a lawsuit filed by the family, her body was “disheveled and bruised.”

In another case, a funeral home in Manalapan is accused of burying a deceased woman in the wrong cemetery and in someone else’s clothes. An exhumation had to take place.

Many have called these mistakes appalling. But what’s really appalling is the money charged for funerals even when they are flawless.

New Jersey is the 9th most expensive state for funeral costs. The average funeral in the Garden State is $9,712.

attachment-Average Funeral Cost by State 2022

The largest expense of a funeral is usually the coffin. And the markup is sickening. A 500 percent markup on what the funeral home paid for it is not uncommon. So that $3,000 casket you bought for grandma? Yeah, it could have been as little as $600.

That feels wrong to do when a family is grieving and must make quick decisions and isn’t likely to be shopping around.

But you don’t have to pay it. Did you know there’s a federal law that says funeral homes have to accept outside caskets? Yes, even Costco sells them or you could buy a coffin online and a funeral home can’t have anything to say about it.

Funeral with coffin in hearse

It feels absurd that New Jersey families are spending nearly $10,000 on average for a sad event no one wanted to happen and are sometimes subjected to being steered toward unnecessary, lavish expense.

Don’t be a victim. Here’s a great website from the Federal Trade Commission that explains your rights and how to not get taken to the bank for funeral expenses.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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