The Office of the Attorney General said an investigation into funeral home practices in D.C. found a wide variety of pricing for services.
The probe was already underway when families complained about the Austin Royster Funeral Home in northwest Washington. The attorney general for D.C. said the home was operating without proper licenses.
In its expanded investigation, the AG office sent letters to nine of the 38 funeral homes in Washington, demanding their price lists. Only one funeral home responded.
Undercover agents were sent in and found the basic services fee ranges from $965 to $9,200, with the average around $2,100.
“Where we had that kind of business charging prices in these huge ranges, we think it even more important that consumer to know that there are other funeral homes that might charge less money,” said Attorney General Karl Racine.
Lavon Bond paid the Austin Royster Funeral Home more than $2,500 for her mother’s funeral, which never happened. She is trying to get a refund to give her mother a proper funeral almost a month after her mother’s death.
The D.C. government seized five bodies and 103 cremated remains from the funeral home in November. Since then, only one body has been returned to a family for burial.
The AG office has information about shopping for funeral services and how to contact them if there is a problem on their website.