UPDATE 5/4/08 - Funeral Consumers Alliance and the FCA of Greater Kansas City have sent a joint letter to Missouri Lawmakers asking for amendments to the flawed prepaid funeral reform bills below. We also sent a line-by-line analysis of what's wrong with a proposed bill from the Missouri Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors.
Missouri lawmakers have two bills in the hopper that would supposedly “reform” the state’s prepaid funeral laws to better protect consumers from losing their money to shady companies that steal their payments or go belly up. Trouble is, the bills don’t go far enough, and they’ll do as much harm as good if they’re passed.
Neither HB 2469 nor HB 2594 [you can download copies of the bills at the bottom of this article] adequately address the worst problem with current law - the fact that funeral directors can pocket a 20 percent commission from consumers’ prepaid deposits, then skim the interest every year from the consumer’s account! Allowing this kind of legalized robbery is not only unfair, it fairly begs shady operators to pad their pockets today with money that ought to be left to fulfill their obligations to consumers at the time of death. To put it bluntly, the law encourages companies to build a house of financial cards by putting short-term greed ahead of long-term stability.