FCA and its local member organizations nationwide helped enact the Federal Trade Commission's Funeral Rule, the first and only federal protections for grieving consumers. The Rule, passed in 1982, gives families important rights when dealing with funeral homes, but it doesn't cover cemeteries, crematories, and other death-related vendors. For decades, FCA has urged policymakers to extend these protections to cover all aspects of the funeral and burial transaction. But despite numerous scandals involving the mistreatment of the dead over the past decade, nothing has been done. Bills that would have expanded federal oversight of the death industry have gone to an unmarked grave.
We think meaningful reform is now possible. On behalf of FCA's member organizations, our 400,000 individual consumer members, and indeed, on behalf of all Americans who will have to deal with the death services industry, we thank Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Rush and all the Representatives for taking up this important and often-neglected cause.
We've reproduced our 10-page testimony in a web-friendly format below. We welcome your comments and questions (just leave us a comment in the box at the end of this entry). You can also download a .pdf copy of our testimony here.
Here's a sample of the media coverage of these historic hearings:
Relatives testify at cemetery hearing - ABC7 News (this report has a short clip of Slocum's testimony for FCA)
Burr Oak Cemetery: Congressional leaders to seek federal oversight of cemetery industry - the Chicago Tribune's coverage of the hearings
HOW YOU CAN HELP - Funeral Consumers Alliance is the only national nonprofit dedicated to speaking out for the rights of the dead and the bereaved. We stand up for you to make sure lawmakers understand the needs of grieving families, not just the profit interests of death services lobbyists. But we can't do it without you! Believe it - funeral and cemetery interests have a lot more money, and a lot more lobbyists on the ground than we do. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to FCA to help ensure grieving families have an advocate for their rights. Thank you for your support!
Click the READ MORE button below for our full testimony.