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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).


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UPDATE 8.11.2010—St. Joseph's Abbey is suing the state of Louisiana for the right to sell coffins.

UPDATE - No sooner had we posted the story below about Louisiana trying to stop a Catholic church from selling caskets to the public, but we discovered the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors is up to even more shenanigans. The minutes of their March 5 and 6, 2008 meeting, contain these gems:


  • Discussion re: the FTC and their regulations concerning when to present a GPL to a possible consumer ensued. It was suggested by Mr. Pellerin that our State consider, and actually apply for Federal Exemption if our State laws as they relate to the FTC are equal or greater than the FTC regulations. “FROP” is a term meaning Funeral Regulation Offense Program and is used by the FTC when making visits to funeral homes where a violation of the Rule is found.

So the state thinks its consumer protections are so good that it should be exempted from the FTC Funeral Rule? Funeral Consumers Alliance will certainly oppose such efforts.

  • It was also suggested that the State Associations be contacted and informed that the FTC will be visiting Louisiana funeral homes as mock consumers, in the very near future. Mr. Rasch was requested to write a letter to the FTC inquiring what the time frame is to provide consumers with a copy of the GPL.

In case that wasn't clear - at least one member of the state board (which is legally required to protect consumers) thinks the government should warn the funeral directors' trade associations that the Federal Trade Commission is going to conduct secret shopper visits to make sure funeral homes are complying with the law. (Read the whole story by clicking "read more" below). . .

Last Updated ( Monday, 28 October 2013 11:08 ) Read more...

You Want to Do What?

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Bonnie Kauth sends us the following report on her saga to get doctors and medical examiners to understand her intent to carry out her mother's funeral privately, without funeral home involvement. We can never figure out why doctors, of all people, would be so weirded out by death. . .

It's been exactly three months since I talked to you about getting the "permit to transfer a body" issue sorted out here in Iowa.  (Considering that there is  a 48 hour death to grave requirement, thank goodness we didn't need the permit.)
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 15 July 2008 15:07 ) Read more...

Green Burial Comes to Georgia

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Georgia's first green cemetery has opened in Conyers, according to a feature article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Honey Creek Woodlands is run by the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, and the cemetery is open to all.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 13 May 2008 13:35 )

FCA Conference a Hit in Seattle

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We're back from our biggest national conference yet, and the attendees are calling the event "inspiring," "packed full of information," and "hosted by the nicest, most helpful volunteers" (hats off and thanks to Peoples Memorial Association!).

Here are some highlights of the three-day event:

  • FCA presented Elvira Hoffman of the FCA of Long Island and New York City with the Award for Oustanding Consumer Advocacy for her tireless work lobbying for funeral consumer rights.
  • FCA gave Valerie Bayham (at left, addressing the membership at the Saturday banquet) of the Institute for Justice our first award to an outside organization for funeral consumer advocacy. IJ's work protecting funeral consumers and small business owners - like casket retailers - from anticompetitive regulations is unparalled.

Couldn't Make It? Then Download the Speaker Presentations Below:

(right-click any of these to download the files. They're in Adobe PDF format)

Last Updated ( Sunday, 12 October 2008 09:40 ) Read more...

North Carolina Regulatory Board Targets Funeral Consumer Group

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What's the state board doing sending threatening letters to a retired consumer advocate?

Which of these is a threat to consumer safety:

  • A. A funeral director who dips into customers' prepaid funeral money to buy a new hearse
  • B. Funeral homes that rent out their embalming rooms to fly-by-night tissue brokers who dissect bodies and sell them for profit
  • C. A retired woman volunteering for a nonprofit organization that helps protect grieving consumers from overspending and fraud

Most people would pick A and B. But on March 19, 2007, the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service apparently thought the most important thing they could do with taxpayer dollars was send a letter to a Funeral Consumers Alliance volunteer threatening her with criminal prosecution for - wait for it - helping a grieving family. Mary Brack, President of the FCA of the Central Carolinas (FCACC), was shocked to receive a letter from NCBFS attorney Stephen Dirksen telling her to "cease and desist from this behavior immediately and take whatever steps are necessary to prevent future representations to the public that FCACC may practice funeral service in North Carolina . . . .North Carolina law provides clear criminal liability for anyone who practices funeral directing without a license" [see attachments below].

Download this file (bayhamtodirksen.pdf)bayhamtodirksen.pdf[Institute for Justice Letter to NCBFS]74 Kbm/j/Y
Download this file (bayhamtodirksen1.pdf)bayhamtodirksen1.pdf[IJ Response to NCBFS]95 Kbm/j/Y
Download this file (bayhamtoncag.pdf)bayhamtoncag.pdf[Institute for Justice Letter to North Carolina Attorney General ]126 Kbm/j/Y
Download this file (brackresponse.pdf)brackresponse.pdf[Mary Brack's Response]377 Kbm/j/Y
Download this file (dirksentobayham1.pdf)dirksentobayham1.pdf[NCBFS Response to IJ - first]185 Kbm/j/Y
Download this file (dirksentobayham2.pdf)dirksentobayham2.pdf[Second NCBFS Letter to IJ ]204 Kbm/j/Y
Download this file (dirksentobrack.pdf)dirksentobrack.pdf[NCBFS Letter to Mary Brack]1074 Kbm/j/Y
Download this file (slocumtoncbfs.pdf)slocumtoncbfs.pdf[FCA National Letter to NCBFS]118 Kbm/j/Y
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 December 2007 11:10 ) Read more...

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