Risks When Buying Headstones Online

Deciding on a headstone for a loved one can be a difficult experience for anyone.  Oftentimes people may find that a solution is to search online, where they can browse from thousands of pre-made designs quickly and easily.  

When buying a headstone, however, it is always important never to rush.  A headstone is a long commitment and you must always take the time to ensure that you get exactly what you are expecting and what you feel is a fitting tribute.


1. Photos can be misleading

We’ve all heard of people buying things online and when they arrive they’re far smaller or larger than they had anticipated.  When it comes to size, photographs can be misleading.


2. It looks different in real life

It can be hard to faithfully replicate stone grains, textures and colors online.  Add in the fact that everyone has screens with different brightness levels, being viewed in places with different amounts of light and you can see why problems with appearance can easily occur.  To avoid disappointment you may not want the risk of making a decision based on an online photograph.


3. They may not know local cemetery requirements

Most of the time cemeteries have their own regulations surrounding what types of stone and what colors they will permit in their grounds.  They will also have different rules regarding setting and the size and shapes that can be placed in their plots.

Local monument dealers will often know first hand what these requirements are, or at least be able to find out; online headstone sellers, however, may have more trouble finding out this information, or may not even find out for you at all.  This can all lead to added stress that many people simply don’t need.


4. Inadequate / missing guarantee

When committing a lot of money to such an important memorial you rightly want to know that you have some protection should something go wrong.  Unfortunately some headstones face unintentional problems over time, such as leveling issues, cracks and fading. If you have a sufficient warranty/guarantee then you are more likely to be protected in these cases.  Most good local sellers provide this. Always make sure when searching online to find out exactly what the guarantees are.


5. Difficulty speaking to a real person

It’s not uncommon for people to have a lot of questions during the headstone planning and design phase.  Understandably you want to get it right and want to make sure every detail is correct and as expected.  Finding the answers to all your specific questions isn’t always so easy however. As with any online stores, different headstone sellers have different types of customer service, some are available by phone or live chat, others only by email, though the times of response may be more limited.  When you deal with a local headstone company it’s standard practice to sit and talk through all of your questions, once if not multiple times, and you always know they’ll be on the end of a phone line, dedicated only to a small number of clients they’re dealing with at a time.


6. Surprise charges

Buying a headstone online can soon become more expensive than you intended.  Be sure to thoroughly check for additional charges such as:

  • Shipping and Receiving Charges
  • Setting Charges
  • Foundation Charges
  • Installation Charges

To be totally sure you may consider calling the company before parting with any credit card information to be sure exactly what you will be expected to pay, when and why.


Online headstone stores serve a big market of people who want something simple and straightforward. However if you want a personalized headstone with less risks then you may want to consider a local company rather than taking a chance on an online seller.