News and Blogs

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...

Minnesota -2010, Caring for Your Own Dead

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UPDATEHF3151 has passed both the House and Senate, and only awaits the governor's signature to become law. The bill reverses some misguided changes the law that restricted families who wanted to care for their own dead without hiring a funeral director.

The bill:

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

Washington - Disposition Agent 2010

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1/14/2010— Washington is considering SB 6394, which would give citizens the right to appoint a legal agent to carry out their funeral wishes. For status updates, go the legislature's site and click on "bill information."

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