Caskets "On the Cheap" have Funeral Directors Scrambling

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Caught off-guard by lost sales to independent web based competitors, old style sales methods are not serving big funeral homes like they used to.

The big funeral tycoons are on notice

On-Line discount casket retailers are wreaking havoc on traditional funeral homes who rely on substantial product mark-ups to cover overhead and drive profits. Once viewed as a minor nuisance, cyber casket sales are now taking a big bite out of what once was the exclusive domain of the funeral business elite.

It has taken over 20 years for the Federal Trade Commission's "Funeral Rule" to finally have a measurable impact on the funeral industry. When the new law was enacted in 1984, funeral home operators had little to fear because the average consumer had no knowledge of the available alternatives to paying fixed and often grossly inflated prices for caskets at funeral homes.

The FTC's Funeral Rule says in part that you may purchase a funeral casket from a third party retailer and if you do, funeral homes must accept and use that casket in accordance with your wishes.

Dan Garza, Financial Consultant and co-founder of on-line retailer "The Casket Place" sums up his view saying, "When we first started, few people were aware that operations like our even existed… 10 years ago you would have been hard pressed to find an independent discount casket retailer and very few people were inclined to even try."

It all started for Garza when he was asked to assist with arrangements for the funeral of a close family member. "I was stunned to find out how much mark-up there was on the Casket in particular. After some searching we managed to find the same casket and bought it for $3,000 less than the funeral home was getting. That's when I knew that we could and should help others in the same situation and it's why we created a place for them to go."

Not unlike many well established industries, the internet has impacted the funeral business in ever increasing ways. "The big funeral tycoons are on notice" Garza continues, "The days of preying on the weak emotional state of grieving family members for profit is fast approaching its end."

Unique to other on-line casket discounters, TheCasketPlace.com offers to share a printable on-line casket buying guide resource, available for the asking at no cost. Garza goes on to say, "Whether a person uses us for their needs or not, we want anyone who is faced with the daunting expense of a funeral to know the truth. Our guide tells it and funeral homes would rather you not see it."

In September 2007 The Casket Place announced its partnership with Delta and Continental Airlines to ship Caskets, at a discounted rate, to families in need.

"The Casket Place" and "TheCasketPlace.com" are DBAs of Half Cost Quality Casket Co. L.P. based in Houston TX serving families throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Dan Garza, director of public relations
The Casket Place
281-583-7800
http://www.thecasketplace.com

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KEITH HICKMAN

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Daniel Garza