My fellow sales people were not trained in law and family rights in regards to burial, sometimes they would tell families things that were not correct. I do not believe that those who I worked with knowingly told outright lies, but do think that they were often times just as clueless to the law as their clients. Because they were the authority, their words held more weight. Because of the pressure to sell, some family service counselors would try to make their clients feel nervous that if they did not prepay they would lose money and would make their children pay more than they needed to when they died. For example, “Buy now before the rates go up.” Every year the prices would go up 4-5%. If a family service counselor tells you that you cannot dig a grave because of law that probably is not true. I agree that paying over $1000 or more to dig a hole and fill it back is a bit too much. The problem with families digging graves might be the grounds crew has a certain skill in locating graves and digging a tight grave close to another one. What you need to do when you hear something that does not sound right is to ask to see the law in writing. That usually ends all discussion.
Ask to see a price list in a cemetery. This might be a tricky thing, but think about what it would be like going to the grocery store and having to ask to buy an orange and the sales crew would present you with the orange they thought would be perfect for you. It just might be the most expensive orange in the store. You might not be allowed to see the GPL (general price list.). We were trained to not let consumers see our pricelist. In Illinois, consumers have the right to a price list, which is odd because I worked in Illinois after the consumer’s rights were written. Ask to see it anyway. Ask to see a variety of products at different price points. Make sure that you know what kinds of markers are acceptable in their “memorial park” or cemetery. Ask about vaults. More importantly, ask about their minimum requirement for a vault. They might call it a grave box, named so to discourage people from buying it. Wouldn’t you rather place your treasure box (casket) in a vault and not a grave box? If you are doing cremation, ask about their policy on cremation vaults. Ask about the open and close price.
Cemeteries do not have federal regulation like funeral homes do, but make the effort. Feel free to shop around and leave any establishment, cemetery or funeral home that you do not want to work with. You know it when something does not feel right. Trust yourself to know what it is that you want. You should only pay for what you want. Be aware of package plans that might give more than you want. If you prepay for products, there is no guarantee that what you have picked out will be available in twenty years when you go to use it. I had clients who were sure they knew which casket they would get because they had picked it out thirty years ago. Turns out, they do not stock navy blue caskets anymore. Prepay sales make the industry lots of money. On the surface, it looks like you have put away money in trust to be used in the time of need. What often happens in cemeteries is that they deliver the product, install the vault or grave marker, thus freeing the money and pocketing the profit. It’s your show, and you should run it the way you see fit.