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FCA recognizes that the dissemination of individual experiences, the reporting of public information, and linking to other sites can help further our mission of educating the public on their funeral rights and options. However, FCA's limited resources and the nature of the Internet make it impossible to verify the content of personal experiences that are supplied by others or to verify the content of linked sites. FCA accepts no responsibility for these. Comments on the contents of personal reports and linked websites should be directed to the author(s).



Monument Company Details Consumer Abuse, Urges Passage of Funeral Rule Reform

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1/10/2010—Cemetery consumers have complained to us for years about the strong-arm tactics they face at the graveyard. Today, we got a letter from Tom Gast, of Gast Monuments in Chicago, confirming once again the need to bring cemeteries under the Federal Trade Commission's Funeral Rule. Gast's letter is addressed to Congressman Bobby Rush, and it urges Rush push for passage of his bill, HR3655, The Bereaved Consumer's Protection Act of 2009.

A few highlights from Gast's letter:

  • "The rules and regulations at many cemeteries have become so complex that a consumer could not possibly be expected to know what questions to ask in order to make an informed decision and cemetery personnel are not always forthcoming with all relevant information."
Last Updated ( Friday, 15 January 2010 13:24 ) Read more...
 

1 out of 4 Mass. Funeral Homes Violating FTC Funeral Rule

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11/25/2009 — The Massachusetts Division of Public Licensure has found 25 percent of funeral homes they inspected were illegally hiding prices from consumers. Click here for the report, and the names of the accused funeral homes (and hats off to the state for such diligent work, and for making the information public).

Last Updated ( Friday, 15 January 2010 13:25 ) Read more...
 

Mausoleum Sued for Propping Open Caskets

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Mausoleums are marketed as a "clean and dry" alternative to burial. In reality, gases and fluids can build up (especially in so-called "sealer" caskets), leading sometimes to  leaks or even explosions that breach the crypt. Understandably, mausoleum owners would prefer caskets be vented so the remains dehydrate. Families-whose fears are exploited and stoked by businesses that sell them a bill of goods about "clean and dry" burial products - want their dead "safely" sealed up.

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Wal-Mart Enters Casket Business

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Following Costco's lead, Wal-Mart is now selling caskets to the general public. Reuters reports:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc is now catering to its shoppers' needs from cradle to grave.The world's largest retailer has introduced online sales of caskets, expanding a merchandise selection that spans engagement rings and baby gear to a new major milestone in its shoppers' lives.

Shoppers can choose from the Lady de Guadalupe steel casket for $895 or a sienna bronze casket for $2,899.00.Walmart.com spokesman Ravi Jariwala said it is selling the products as a "limited beta test" that launched within the last few weeks.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 November 2009 22:52 )
 

AARP Bulletin Features FCA; Smart Advice

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October 5, 2009 --- AARP Bulletin tells the stories of several families with out-of-control funeral costs, and how you can avoid getting taken to the cleaners when you buy a final send-off. The article has good information on home funerals (DIY, no mortuary involved) and green burial, too. Excerpts:

"After her husband of 35 years died unexpectedly while working in Louisiana, Beckey Poplin of Lubbock, Texas, needed to use insurance proceeds to pay a local funeral home more than $16,000. She told local TV station KCBD that she wasn’t given a price quote before receiving the final bill, didn’t know how to read the contract and wasn’t sure what was included. Asked why she hadn’t requested a price estimate, she told the station, “You don’t do that at that time. You don’t really care. You have other issues to deal with.”

. . .
There is a way to avoid pressure tactics and indecision at the funeral home, according to the Funeral Consumers Alliance. It advises families to discuss funeral plans in advance, much like they would if they were planning a wedding, a home purchase or making a major life decision. Avoiding the topic will make the funeral more difficult, and likely more expensive, for survivors."

Last Updated ( Monday, 02 November 2009 17:55 )
 


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