News and Blogs

You Don't Have to Spend a Ton on a Funeral (Here's Why)

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May 2, 2013

Josh Slocum, Executive Director, Funeral Consumers Alliance

As the director of Funeral Consumers Alliance, a nonprofit that helps people avoid funeral fraud, I know all about mortuary mythology. (That’s what I call the collective "wisdom" about death, dying, funerals, and dead people.) Most Americans get their information about how to bury the dead from the people we pay to do it for us — not exactly the most disinterested source.

You don’t walk into the car dealer with a blank check and you shouldn’t do it at the undertaker’s.

Read the full article at


Grave Robbers: Anti-Competitive Regulations for the Dead

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The Freeman
May 7, 2013

Foundation for Economic Education

A host of anticompetitive regulations serve funeral directors at the expense of the grieving.

Read the full artticle at The Freeman


No Grey Suits

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Vermonter Jack Manning's touching, candid, and funny account of the death of his wife, Ann, and the friends who came together to perform her funeral is a must read. If there's a better illustration of the fact that the value in funerals comes from human contact, community, and love, we haven't seen it.

Click the picture to the left to download No Grey Suits as a .pdf.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 June 2013 11:44 )

Montana running amok. . .again

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For the backstory on Montana's war on affordable funerals, see:

Montana Funeral Directors Try to Shut Down Competition

Montana: The Divine Right of Undertakers II

The state's funeral industry and its regulatory handmaidens just won't quit. The latest? Proposed revisions to the Board of Funeral Service's regulations that would sneakily put low-cost, direct-to-consumer crematories out of business. How? By making it illegal for a crematory operator to do the most basic, necessary tasks on his own :

  • Crematory operators would be barred from removing pacemakers (which state law requires, and which could blow up if not removed before cremation) unless they did so in a fully-equipped embalming room in a full-service mortuary. This would be like offering a Jiffy Lube from changing a car's oil unless it did so in a full-service car dealership with diagnostic computers and emissions-control equipment.

    Since no full-service mortuary is going to let a crematory competitor use its embalming room, or would charge a fee, or since the embalming room would be physically distant, this effectively prohibits cremation businesses from operating independent of a competitor.

  • Crematory operators could not even wash, dress, or comb the hair of a deceased person outside the walls of a full-embalming suite at a full-service mortuary. 

  • Anyone selling any kind of funeral—full-service, basic, or cremation-only—could only discuss it with the customer within the physical building of a full service funeral home or branch, unless otherwise requested by the customer. No, it doesn't make much sense to us either, but it appears to be another way to make business impossible for honest, reasonably priced businesses like Central Montana Crematorium

Here's our letter to the state board, which we've also sent to the Governor's office. 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 July 2013 14:59 )

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