Tips on Purchasing Memorials on the Internet
Buying a headstone online is a great way to save money. But many people across the United States have yet to realize that. Cemeteries and other companies that sell headstones to people who have lost their loved ones do not relish the idea that people will discover that they are not alone in the headstone market place. So they do their best to avoid all talk of their competitors. Hence, because of their great power in the market place, many families still today never hear the great news that the memorial marker they are planning for their deceased family member can cost hundred– or even thousands of dollars less – if the family would simply contact a different retail outlet before they agree to a purchased.
Nevertheless, it remains true. While companies that manufacture headstones directly for their customer remain a competitive and viable option for families who are wanting to install a great looking upright monument as a tribute to their deceased relatives, families who are most interested in a simple, flat marker will likely save a lot of money by buying a headstone online.
And, still further, even upright markers are, increasingly becoming available from online retailers who can offer prices that local manufacturers simply cannot match in any reasonable manner. What follows is a guide to making sure that, if you or your family are in the market for a headstone or grave marker that will be a great permanent memorial for your loved one who has passed away, you can be assure you are getting the best price and the best, highest quality produce by simply considering all options, especially the option of buying a headstone online.
Why Buy a Headstone Online
The best reason to buy a headstone online is, simply put, to save money. Headstones purchased through a memorial products retailer that sells headstones online can often be had for a fraction of the cost of a headstone purchased directly from a cemetery. And the sad part of this scenario is that, in many cases, the headstone available form an online retailer is exactly the same as that which can be purchased from a cemetery. It is a little known fact that manufacturers who supply headstones to retailers across the United State also offer those same grave markers to cemeteries. So, in a great many cases, customers can receive a price quote from a cemetery for a headstone and then, after just a few minutes of searching on the internet once at home, be surprised to discover that the very same headstone is offered for a far lower price from an internet site that specializes in serving customers electronically. To further make purchasing from such a company an attractive alternative, if the internet site happens to be based on some locale that is not in the same state as the consumer, there is no sale tax price added to the purchase (and many internet-only retailers even offer all of their goods on a “no sales tax added,” basis. This is not to say that the company does not pay sales taxes prices on goods sold to customers in it’s home state, but, rather, that it, more or less, “eats” the sales tax price on sales made to companies in its home state.
No matter what the case, online retailers are typically operating with much lower overhead expenses than cemeteries, funeral homes, and other retail outless that offer headstones to the genreal public. So, their prices to customers can often be expected to be much less expensive that other outlets. And, in general, customer service issue can typically be expected to be handled with the same compasion and efficiency that customers can expect from cemeteries and other local retail outlets. So, as many consumer advocates who follow the death care industry will testify, it makes little sense for anyone in the market for a grave marker or flat headstone – particularly a flat marker that is not as elaborate as the sophisticated upright models that are typically offered by local cemeteries and other retail outlets.
Types of Headstones Available Online
In is generally the case that upright headstones are avaible less readily online than they would be from a cemetery or (especially) a local monument company that serves customers whose loved ones have been buried in their local area. In most cases, large up-right headstone are best purchased from a local manufacturing facility because the delivery and installation expense associated with making sure a large headstone is properly installed in a local cemetery is well above what would be practical if the headstone were manufactured far away and then shipped to the local area. Large-scale production facilities that manufacture headstones, then, typically stick to flat headstones, those moderately sizes pieces for which shipping is not a cost prohibitive endeavor.
Though it is true that many online retailers have begun to offer up-right headstones at prices that are extrememly competitive against those prices of local manufacturers and cemeteries (who almost always contract their sales orders to local manufacturers), it is also the case that, in today’s modern memorial products industry, locally oriented sales tend to focus on upright markers where as online retailers are generally considered the best bet for anyone interested in a flat marker, no matter the size of the flat marker.
Who Can Sell Headstones Online
Funeral directors and other representatives of funeral homes and cemeteries may insintuate otherwise, (thought, legally speaking, they may not outright make this suggestion) but, the fact remains that anyone can sell headstones online. Anyone also may sell headstones in other venues, but, for our purposes in this article, we are strictly focusing on online sales of headstones. Despite what may be common and reasonable assumptions specific licenses are not required for the sale of headstones anywhere in the United States. It is the case that establishments who sell headstones must be licensed in their state as any other business would be required to be, but, other than that, there are no regulatory requirements that have been implemented by any state legislature or agency of the federal government. Aside from the requirement that any business would have that it report its revenues to state agencies and federal officials for the purposes of federal and state income and sales tax, there is no other requirement that companies who sell headstones online must meet in order to do business.
This may be in direct conflict with the ideas that a person who sells headstones for cemeteries or a funeral home may wish a family who as lost a loved one to believe. But it is, nevertheless, the truth, and consumers would do well to make sure they are abreast of this fact. Any time a person who sells headstones attempts to counter a lower priced offer by insinuating that the person who made the offer may not be “qualified” to sell headstones, it is best that consumers quickly cease to communicate with the sales person in question and, instead, begin to strongly consider buying a headstone from be beleaguered competitor. If one should find himself or herself unable to fully trust what he or she knows about a headstone retailer, a quick check with the Better Business Bureau will likely be a great idea. In most cases, reputable companies that sell headstones online will be happy to provide a prospective costumer with reliable information (such as web links) that lead to details of their record with the BBB. And, in fact, the Better Business Bureau typically provides its members with links that can be added to their website code to allow visitors to check the company’s record with the Bureau quickly and easily even without asking. If a company does not happen to provide such links on its website, that is not necessarily an indication of potential malfeasance, but it is worth investingating by the customer. It should be noted that, often, the Better Business Bureau in a particular locale is more expensive than a particular company can afford, and, from a consumer advocate perspective, that should not preclude a family of a deceased loved one from doing business with the company. What should be of concern, of course, is a questionable record of the company the Better Business Bureau files.
How to Buy a Headstone Online
Buying a headstone online is typically a very simple process. Every website that offers the headstones has a different process, so we will not get into excessive detail here, but, in general, customers should expect that their initial payment would be made via credit card that offers excellent protection against fraud. After that payment has been confirmed (but not necessarily “made”), the headstone company will then typically check with the cemetery in question to make certain that the company will accept delivery of the headstone once the manufacturing process is completed. Any online retailer that does not indicated it will do this step on behalf of the family that has ordered a headstone should be view with at least a little suspicion, and consumers should be well aware that there are many companies that provide such service as a matter of routine.