PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 April, 2006, 12:00am

Funeral directors are often vague about what their packages cover. Some customers have been charged $1,000 for a paper-lantern offering. But it's hard to know if the services are fair even when prices are listed.

Experts offer the following tips to avoid being overcharged:

Ask what the package includes

Get recommendations from friends who have used undertakers

Don't give a big down payment if it isn't returnable

Get quotes from a few operators before making a decision

Pay attention to the quality of products and services, rather than just the price.

To learn more about funeral arrangements and prices, check with the St James' Settlement charity (85 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai, tel: 2831 3232), which runs a seminar every two months. The group is also designing a website about funeral services and charges to raise public awareness.