Funeral Consumers Alliance

 
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Thanks for all the . . . Flies?

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7/30/2012
-Josh Slocum, executive director

Keith Tomaszwesky called me about phorid flies, or "crypt flies" or "corpse flies," as they're better known. Yes, they're just what you think they are. Are they normal in a mausoleum, he wanted to know. Yes, and they're not dangerous.

But Tomaszewsky described a scene involving more than just a few flies at the Chapel of Angels and Light Mausoleum where his mother has been interred for two years. Flies all over the walls. Flies all over the religious iconography. Flies in the chalice used for communion wine.  Flies in the face of his niece while the family tried to visit grandma's crypts, causing the child to scream and beg to leave. This is not normal. Check out this report by WISN, which features an interview with Tomaszewsky—while flies land right on him during taping. Then come back for more. 

Back? OK. The mausoleum is owned by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Tomaszwewsky's mother was a devout Catholic, and while he is not, Tomaszewsky is extremely upset that his mother's body is in a sacred space overrun with buzzing flies. For 16 months, he says, he's been trying to get the Archdiocese to do something about this. So far they've only installed two ozone devices, Tomaszewsky says, when there should be at least eight. 

 

What further galls him is the disconnect between the cemetery's proclaimed religious concern for its mission and the nonchalant way they've treated the problem. From the Archdiocese website:

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We'll be sending an email to the Archdiocese to alert them to this post and will look forward to their response.


In a Larger Context

Tomazsewsky's long slog to get the mausoleum cleaned up illustrates a larger point. The reality is religious cemeteries don't have a better track record of maintenance or fair treatment of consumers than non-religious burial grounds. Discovering untended graves, double-sold plots, or problems like crypt flies upsets any family, but complaints to FCA from families with relatives buried in religious cemeteries come with an extra sense of betrayal. How, they ask, could my synagogue, church, or parish cemetery treat a member this way? Well, religious congregations are made up of human beings; the problem, to my mind, is the expectation that a declaration of high-minded principles will result in their enactment. Religious, secular, and commercial cemeteries all deal in business transactions. They pay staff, they have to meet budgets, etc. Human beings are just as prone to cut corners, cover up mistakes, and act with profit motivations regardless of their religious beliefs.

This is not to say people like Tomaszewky shouldn't expect decent treatment. It is to say that every death-care-related business regardless of its religious affiliation should be held to the same minimum standards and regulations. Nearly every state exempts religious cemeteries from regulatory oversight, so easily cowed are officials by cries of "religious persecution" or "government interference in the practice of religion" should anyone suggest a faith-based cemetery might have more mundane motivations.

Wisconsin is typical; religious cemeteries are exempted from licensure and regulatory oversight by the state Department of Safety and Professional Services. But what makes a burial transaction costing families thousands of dollars different if the name of the cemetery is Chapel of Angels and Light or Fernlawn Memorial Park? Do grieving religious people deserve less recourse when they're treated unprofessionally? It would be one thing if any government were proposing to dictate the specific rites and rituals performed at religious cemeteries. Obviously that isn't the case. It's quite another to claim "government interference in religion" when regulators propose to require all burial grounds to disclose prices on paper, post rules and regulations, and adhere to transparent and fair business practices. But this is exactly what the Catholic Cemetery Conference argued when it successfully convinced the House Subcommittee on Commerce and Consumer Protection to exempt religious cemeteries from a bill that would have extended the Federal Trade Commission's Funeral Rule to burial grounds. Despite our protest, religious cemeteries remain exempt from the current version of the bill.

This situation will not change until consumers who are members of churches, synagogues, and houses of worship demand the same basic consumer protections. It is important to remember that one's interests as a church-goer and a bereaved consumer are not necessarily the same interests motivating the bureaucracy of a religious organization. Faithful consumers and legislators who quickly concede to declarations of pious intent and approve regulatory exemptions for religious burial grounds (even those that run multi-million-dollar operations) should question whether they've been mislead by emotional appeals to in-group loyalty. And they should consider whether they want to help ensure their own friends and family will have no regulatory agency to turn to should they be mistreated at the hour of death.

 

 

Last Updated ( Monday, 03 December 2012 15:27 )  
Comments (4)
1 Friday, 07 September 2012 10:23
Milagro
BEWARE!!!! OF DEMARCO-LUISI FUNERAL HOME
2755 South Lincoln Avenue
Vineland, NJ 08361
I lost my beloved father, a Veteran of these United States on 8/17/2012. My grieving was intensified by the unethical, rude, heartless dealings with "Skip" the director. On the morning of my fathers viewing we met with "Skip" to discuss the charges and clarify details of the conversation he and I had the night before, which I had written down as he dictated. When we met on Friday morning, he walked into the office where we were waiting and the first thing he said was "that will be 1,750.00!!! We (my sister, my uncle and I) were in shock! I then said "well, good morning to you too". That set the indescribable tone and it just got worse from there! He immediately went into the charges, he was negotiating, went from one price to another always reminding us how he was doing us a favor!!! At one point in the conversation I said something regarding the understanding I had and how we were strapped for the money, his reply was "I DON'T GIVE A SHIT"!! I then told him that I did not appreciate his course language and how rude and unprofessional he was, giving him the opportunity to apologize, to no avail! At the end of the 'sale' I again mentioned the his offensive comment giving him a 2nd opportunity to apologize, which he completely ignored. Now; this is the morning of my fathers viewing!!!? He is a heartless, cut throat, unprofessional, egotistical poor excuse of a human being.
I just wanted to warn any and every one about my nightmare and horrible experience.
By the way; this is the very short version of the whole day and experience. I only wish I was knowledgeable of my rights.
I will be pursuing legal action against them, in hopes that this is not a recurring theme and maybe help someone and advise them to do their research before dealing with any funeral services.
I want to thank any one that took the time to read this and welcome any comments or advice.

Sincerely,
A grieving heartbroken daughter...
2 Tuesday, 25 September 2012 16:24
Angie
Its Sad And I Lost My Grandfather August 19 2012! His Name Was Jose Vazquez! Valdosta Ga Is Where He Died! He Was Sent To New Jersey And His Wake & And Funeral Was At:Jhon F. Pfleger Funeral Home Middle Town New Jersey! I Was His Little Prize In Joy! His Wake Was Sad I Cried For Hours. Think About Him Everyday And Cry! He Was Loved By Many A Great Son,Father, And Grandfather. I Will Miss You My Heart Shaddered And I Have No One To Hange Out With. He Was The Greates Name I Ever Ment. His Wake Music Was Kevin Macleod Funeral Home Music Part1! Please He MY LITTLE BROKEN HEART! I Am Only 10 Yr Old!


Love,Angie
3 Thursday, 20 March 2014 09:07
BEWARE!!!! OF DEMARCO-LUISI FUNERAL HOME
This is a response to the lies and false claims of Ms. Carmen Erazo, who posted a complaint about DeMarco - Luisi Funeral Home in 2012. Our original intention was to not respond to these lies, but being that it is on the internet for all to see we felt that some form of rebuttal was necessary.

DeMarco - Luisi Funeral Home has been in business in the city of Vineland for over 80 years with Mr. Luisi being an owner and manager since 2002. In the matter of the funeral for Carmen Erazo's father; Ms. Erazo was not involved with making the funeral arrangements for her father, her sister was. Ms. Erazo did not pay anything towards the funeral of her father, her sister did. Ms. Erazo asked for a complete refund; however, she did not pay for the funeral. Her sister paid with her own check and we have not gotten a request from her sister.

Several months after the funeral and after this post, Ms. Erazo contacted the New Jersey State Board of Mortuary Science and filed a complaint with them against DeMarco - Luisi Funeral Home. Any complaints filed through the New Jersey State Board of Mortuary Science are taken very seriously and examined thoroughly. The New Jersey State Board of Mortuary Science ruled in the case in favor of DeMarco – Luisi Funeral Home.

Once again, these are lies created by Carmen Erazo and the New Jersey State Board of Mortuary Science has agreed that these claims are false. By posting them on the internet, Ms. Erazo is trying to defame the good name of a funeral home and also the name of its owner/manager. If anyone would like to read the decision of the New Jersey State Board of Mortuary Science please feel free to contact the funeral home and we will be more than happy to email or fax you the complaint that was dismissed. You can reach us by phone at (856) 691-0929 or through email at dlfuneral@comcast.net
Thank you,
DeMarco - Luisi Funeral Home
4 Thursday, 20 March 2014 09:12
DeMarco - Luisi Funeral Home
BEWARE!!!! OF DEMARCO-LUISI FUNERAL HOME Reply
This is a response to the lies and false claims of Ms. Carmen Erazo, who posted a complaint about DeMarco - Luisi Funeral Home in 2012. Our original intention was to not respond to these lies, but being that it is on the internet for all to see we felt that some form of rebuttal was necessary.

DeMarco - Luisi Funeral Home has been in business in the city of Vineland for over 80 years with Mr. Luisi being an owner and manager since 2002. In the matter of the funeral for Carmen Erazo's father; Ms. Erazo was not involved with making the funeral arrangements for her father, her sister was. Ms. Erazo did not pay anything towards the funeral of her father, her sister did. Ms. Erazo asked for a complete refund; however, she did not pay for the funeral. Her sister paid with her own check and we have not gotten a request from her sister.

Several months after the funeral and after this post, Ms. Erazo contacted the New Jersey State Board of Mortuary Science and filed a complaint with them against DeMarco - Luisi Funeral Home. Any complaints filed through the New Jersey State Board of Mortuary Science are taken very seriously and examined thoroughly. The New Jersey State Board of Mortuary Science ruled in the case in favor of DeMarco – Luisi Funeral Home.

Once again, these are lies created by Carmen Erazo and the New Jersey State Board of Mortuary Science has agreed that these claims are false. By posting them on the internet, Ms. Erazo is trying to defame the good name of a funeral home and also the name of its owner/manager. If anyone would like to read the decision of the New Jersey State Board of Mortuary Science please feel free to contact the funeral home and we will be more than happy to email or fax you the complaint that was dismissed. You can reach us by phone at (856) 691-0929 or through email at dlfuneral@comcast.net
Thank you,
DeMarco - Luisi Funeral Home

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