Know Your Rights

Purchase the headstone from whomever you want

Your rights as a consumer include being able to choose where to purchase the cemetery headstone. While most cemeteries operate in an honest manner, some will resort to unethical tactics to try and discourage a customer from purchasing cemetery headstones from an outside dealer.

A cemetery may flat out say they do not accept cemetery headstones from outside sources. Or they may say that an installation fee will be levied if you purchase from another dealer, but not if you purchase from them. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) this is considered illegal by federal law as it is restrictive of free trade.


You can report incidents to one or all of the following agencies:

Know your rights 1

Again, although the majority of cemeteries operate in a fair and ethical manner, there are some that may not. Here are some of the things that may be said by the cemetery personnel to keep you from purchasing from another source.

  1. You may be told that if you purchase from an outside dealer there will be an additional fee. The truth is this may be illegal as they are penalizing you for purchasing elsewhere. Along with this are two violations of Federal Trade Laws:

    1. Deception – charging you the same installation fee that they do an outside monument dealer, but making you think you are paying more by purchasing elsewhere.

    2. Having two different fees for installation or foundation

      1. A lower fee charged to a family purchasing directly from the cemetery.

      2. A higher fee charged to outside monument providers.

Both of these violations carry high fines and possible imprisonment

  1. They may say they are not responsible for cemetery headstones purchased from an outside dealer. This is the most popular statement we hear. While they may not be responsible for damages incurred during delivery, acts of nature or vandalism, they certainly are responsible if it is damaged due to worker negligence after they accept it.

  2. They may try to question the quality of the cemetery headstones from outside dealers. The fact is many monument dealers obtain granite and bronze plaques from the same sources that cemeteries do.

  3. You may be flat out told that they do not accept cemetery headstones from outside dealers. As long as the cemetery headstone meets their requirements, they have to accept it.

If you feel you are being treated unfairly by the use of scare tactics, simply tell the cemetery representative that you will report them to the Federal Trade Commission and the local Better Business Bureau. In most cases this will usually keep them from pursuing the topic.

Beware of High Pressure Sales approach.
Your counselor should be respectful and attentive without being pushy.

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Memorial Shapes

Monument Styles

Grass Marker

Placed into the ground; the face of the memorial is flush with the ground.

Bevel marker

Placed above ground with a foundation underneath it. The Back of the marker is usually 2 inches higher than the front of the marker, and the face has a slight slant to it.

Slant Marker

Placed above ground with a foundation underneath it. The standard slant marker is 16 inches tall.


Placed above ground with a foundation underneath it. It consists of an upright tablet that sits on a base.