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I'm currently in the process of writing a small localised book on arranging funerals yourself (D.I.Y funerals). During the process of collating information, I have made phone calls to local funerals related businesses to enquire on the costs for certain things.

I'm planning on putting a small localised list of businesses (a directory if you will), and the quoted prices I was given for things such as their most economical casket, cold storage prices per day etc.

Is it OK to publish this information in a book? I would like to know if publishing a companies prices and there contacts details is allowed?

I will be mentioning that the price was given to me on a specified date. This information is meant to be public knowledge anyway, as funeral related businesses are dealing with the public.

Any comments and further thought's on this would be greatly appreciated.

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Do you mean "Plan it ahead yourself funeral"? I'm struggling a bit to conceive of hosting one's OWN funeral... –  Lauren Ipsum Jul 2 '13 at 21:02
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Unrelated, but I would think that constantly-changing information like this belongs in a website, not a book. –  Neil Fein Jul 3 '13 at 0:48
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@NeilFein That was my thought also. This would be perfect for a website. And those price comparisons are posted on the web all the time, so I can't see legal issues there. –  Lauren Ipsum Jul 3 '13 at 11:25
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@LaurenIpsum: Legal, yes. Welcome, no. The shops/networks/firms whose prices are published that way often fight tooth and nail to have them taken down, and make up all kinds of bullshit excuses (and law violations) to have them taken down. Of course they have no actual legal standing but that doesn't mean they won't try to intimidate you with (il)legal threats, e.g. claiming they have copyright on the prices (obvious bs in front of the court but good enough for a C&D letter.) –  SF. Jul 4 '13 at 8:31
    
@SF. Fascinating! I had no idea. I see price-comparison sites all the time and I had no idea that the vendors gave them any grief. –  Lauren Ipsum Jul 4 '13 at 12:07
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1 Answer

Buying guides, including reviews and prices, are not uncommon, with the quintessential example (at least in the US) being Consumer Reports, a monthly product-review magazine (with web site). Local laws may vary, of course.

Since this is a "small localised list", perhaps there is a matter of etiquette involved. If you live in a smaller town where people tend to know and interact with each other (in contrast to a large city where you might not even known your neighbors' names), then the owners of the businesses you're reviewing might be surprised if the first they hear of it is when your shopping guide comes out. Purely as a matter of courtesy you might consider telling them in advance -- or even giving them the opportunity to review the information you have about them for correctness.

A practical concern (already raised in comments) is the frequency at which this information changes. You wouldn't publish a book listing produce prices at local grocers; they'd be out of date before the ink is dry. On the other hand, it's pretty safe to publish an annual listing of college tuitions. Where on this spectrum do the prices you'll be listing fall?

If you publish prices it's a good idea to date them. I would suggest also putting them on a web site and publishing a URL in your guide so that people can look there for updates. I trust that you will be including contact information for the funeral homes and other vendors you're listing, so that your readers can also call or email them for current prices.

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