Thursday, October 29, 2009

Walmart Saving You Money in Death

Walmart wants to make sure they get your last dollar--literally. The leading discount store has announced it is now selling coffins online. This is good news for baby boomers who may be looking to save money for retirement and beyond. Prices for the caskets range from $999 to $1,699.

Surprisingly, Walmart isn't the first to sell caskets. Costco led the way and has a whole website dedicated to the handling of this delicate matter. Here are some of the Q&A's on their site:

Q: Why is Costco Wholesale selling caskets?
As a service to our members.

Q: If members have more questions, where do they get answers?
First, call Universal Casket Company toll free at 866.458.2800. This customer service number is staffed by qualified representatives who will be able to answer any product, shipping and delivery questions.

Additionally you can call Costco’s Call Center at 1-800-955-2292 or email customerservice@costo.com.

Q: Will funeral homes accept the casket that we order?
Yes, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires funeral homes to accept any casket purchased from an outside source. However it is recommended that the purchaser notify the funeral home of their Costco.com casket order within 1 business day.

Currently, caskets can only be purchased from and shipped to addresses in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Q: If my bill to address is in a state not listed above, but the ship to address is, will my order be valid?
No, at this time your bill-to and ship-to addresses must both be within the 34 states listed above, otherwise your order will be cancelled.

Q: How long before I receive the casket?
Expedited and Standard shipping is available.

Before placing an order for Expedited Delivery, you must call Universal Casket Company directly at 866-458-2800, or your order will not be processed. Expedited Delivery orders must be placed by 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). A casket ordered for expedited delivery will arrive by 5 p.m. (your local time) the following day (Monday-Friday, excluding holidays). For example: if an order is placed on Monday at 2 p.m. EST, the casket will be delivered by Tuesday by 5 p.m. (your local time); however, if the order is placed on Monday at 2:01 p.m. EST, the casket will deliver by Wednesday. Expedited delivery is not available in all areas.

Standard delivery orders may be placed directly through Costco.com without prior authorization from Universal Casket Company.

A casket ordered on Costco.com with standard shipping will be delivered within three business days (Monday through Friday, excluding holidays) from the date the order is placed (for exceptions see below). If your order is placed by 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST), that is considered as one business day. For example, for an order placed on Monday at 12:00 p.m. EST, the casket will be delivered by Wednesday, however if the order is placed on Monday at 12:01 p.m. EST, the casket will deliver by Thursday. Standard orders will be delivered by 5 p.m. (your local time) on scheduled delivery date.

Q: Do I need to be at the funeral home to receive the casket?

Universal Casket Company delivers during normal business hours. You do not have to be present at the time of delivery. A funeral provider’s refusal to use third party merchandise until the consumer has inspected it may place an unreasonable burden on consumer choice, in violation of Section 453.4(b)(1) of the FTC Funeral Rule.

Q: Do I need to be at the delivery location if the casket is being delivered to a facility other than a funeral home?

Yes, if the casket is being delivered to a location other than a funeral home, the carrier will call for a delivery appointment. In this case, someone must be present to accept delivery.

Q: Can you order a casket for preplanning purposes?
Yes, as long as the casket is being shipped to a member's home or storage facility of choice. The order will ship within the stated delivery parameters on the site. However, due to regulations and restrictions, we cannot hold on to any orders for future delivery.

Walmart Execs are also hoping people will start planning ahead. Walmart.com is allowing people to pay for the caskets over a period of 12 months for no interest.

6 comments:

Eileen Williams said...

Boy, retailers are smart. But I actually think this is a good idea because I feel that some funeral homes prey on the emotions of the family at the time of a loved one's death and try to sell them the most expensive casket they can.
Nevertheless, with this idea, Costco and Walmart literally get you coming and GOING!!!

Vicki M. Taylor said...

There's just something fundamentally wrong with buying your coffin from a shopping store warehouse. Where's the dignity?

Debra Shiveley Welch said...

Very interesting. Next we'll be clipping coupons.

Karen O'Bannon said...

I guess in the penny pinching world we now live in it has finally come to this.

Heidi Richards Mooney said...

What I love is that we each have a different perspective on which is right?

I knew that Costco was selling cofins but not WalMart.

pretty soon there will be no little mom and pop shops left because of all the "warehouse stores" Great for consumers... still not sure how it will impact the economy.

Have a great day,

Heidi Richards Mooney, Publisher
WE Magazine for Women

Susan said...

I, too, hate the way the warehouse stores have decimated small business. But I also think that the funeral homes have had virtual monopolies for a long time. Some competition won't hurt them. After all, most people are not going to preorder their coffins and stash them in the back room.