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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).

Utah Counties Take Advantage of Home Funeral Families

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3/25/2010 — Thanks to the incredible advocacy of Joyce Mitchell, President of the FCA of Utah, lawmakers repealed a 2006 that had made Utah families' deceased loved ones the virtual property of the funeral industry. The 2006 law made it illegal for anyone but a commercial funeral director to sign and file a death certificate, thereby forcing families to pay whatever the funeral home demanded of them. In 2009 consumer advocates and casketmakers David and Marcia Robles joined Mitchell to successfully lobby for a bill to preserve citizens' rights to conduct a funeral without interference from the commercial mortuary industry.

Last Updated ( Friday, 14 May 2010 19:00 ) Read more...

FTC and New York City Inspectors Find Widespread Funeral Home Violations

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3/18/2010—Both the Federal Trade Commission and the New York Department of Consumer Affairs released the results of undercover inspections at funeral homes, and the results aren't pretty. The FTC's press release on its 2009 undercover investigations found that a full one-third of funeral homes they inspected in eight states had "signficant violations" of the Funeral Rule. The Rule gives consumers the right to printed price lists, the right to choose only what they want, and the right to buy caskets from an outside retailer (funeral homes can't force you to buy their merchandise): CLICK READ MORE BELOW. . .

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 20 April 2010 20:35 ) Read more...

The $14,000 funerals. . .that cost $28,000

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3/6/2010— Another example of the financial dangers of prepaid funerals. This Iowa couple was shocked to discover they'd have to pay almost $28,000 in insurance premiums for funerals that would cost only $14,000.  Read their complaint below.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 25 March 2010 14:11 ) Read more...

Iowa County Officials Deny Man Right to Bury His Father Privately

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UPDATE — Within minutes of sending our open letter (see below), Polk County attorney Micheal O'Meara responded:

Mr. Slocum,

The Office of the Polk County Attorney stands by the legal counsel it provided to the Office of the Polk County Recorder and the Office of the Polk County Medical Examiner, as independent legal officials under the laws of the State, in the situation you reference.  We will engage in no further communication with you in this regard.

Why, thank you for your kind attention and thorough attention, Mr. O'Meara.

2/26/2010 — The Polk County attorney's office denied a local man the right to a burial permit he needed to bury his own father without using a commercial funeral home. This appears to us to be a bureaucratic snafu, based on misinterpretation of Iowa laws and regulations. Whatever the reason, a grieving son who'd prepared for his elderly father's death and wanted to keep in it the family was forced to relinquish his father to a commercial funeral home (though the funeral home kindly helped Mr. Sindric for free). According to the Indianola Record-Herald:

An Indianola man says state officials committed a grave injustice when they denied him a permit to transport his dead father’s body to the cemetery.Richard Harold Sindric, 55, could not convince anyone to issue him a burial transit permit that would have allowed him to move the body of his father, Richard Nicholas Sindric, who died at Taylor House hospice in Des Moines on Feb. 3.

. . . .

The younger Sindric had planned his father’s burial arrangements for months. He built a coffin and hoped to transport his father’s body to the Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Van Meter. His goal was to avoid any and all involvement by funeral directors, whom he believes have an unfair monopoly over the burial industry.
“It seems like you should be able to perform simple services like moving a body without paying someone,” Sindric said. “And I’d like to get through to (state officials) that this was the intent of the law."

Funeral Consumers Alliance has published an open letter to Iowa officials, with a copy sent directly to Polk County Attorney Michael O'Meara. Click READ  MORE for the text of the letter.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 18 March 2010 18:50 ) Read more...

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...

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