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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).

1 out of 4 Mass. Funeral Homes Violating FTC Funeral Rule

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11/25/2009 — The Massachusetts Division of Public Licensure has found 25 percent of funeral homes they inspected were illegally hiding prices from consumers. Click here for the report, and the names of the accused funeral homes (and hats off to the state for such diligent work, and for making the information public).

Last Updated ( Friday, 15 January 2010 13:25 ) Read more...

Mausoleum Sued for Propping Open Caskets

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Mausoleums are marketed as a "clean and dry" alternative to burial. In reality, gases and fluids can build up (especially in so-called "sealer" caskets), leading sometimes to  leaks or even explosions that breach the crypt. Understandably, mausoleum owners would prefer caskets be vented so the remains dehydrate. Families-whose fears are exploited and stoked by businesses that sell them a bill of goods about "clean and dry" burial products - want their dead "safely" sealed up.


Wal-Mart Enters Casket Business

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Following Costco's lead, Wal-Mart is now selling caskets to the general public. Reuters reports:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc is now catering to its shoppers' needs from cradle to grave.The world's largest retailer has introduced online sales of caskets, expanding a merchandise selection that spans engagement rings and baby gear to a new major milestone in its shoppers' lives.

Shoppers can choose from the Lady de Guadalupe steel casket for $895 or a sienna bronze casket for $2, spokesman Ravi Jariwala said it is selling the products as a "limited beta test" that launched within the last few weeks.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 November 2009 22:52 )

AARP Bulletin Features FCA; Smart Advice

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October 5, 2009 --- AARP Bulletin tells the stories of several families with out-of-control funeral costs, and how you can avoid getting taken to the cleaners when you buy a final send-off. The article has good information on home funerals (DIY, no mortuary involved) and green burial, too. Excerpts:

"After her husband of 35 years died unexpectedly while working in Louisiana, Beckey Poplin of Lubbock, Texas, needed to use insurance proceeds to pay a local funeral home more than $16,000. She told local TV station KCBD that she wasn’t given a price quote before receiving the final bill, didn’t know how to read the contract and wasn’t sure what was included. Asked why she hadn’t requested a price estimate, she told the station, “You don’t do that at that time. You don’t really care. You have other issues to deal with.”

. . .
There is a way to avoid pressure tactics and indecision at the funeral home, according to the Funeral Consumers Alliance. It advises families to discuss funeral plans in advance, much like they would if they were planning a wedding, a home purchase or making a major life decision. Avoiding the topic will make the funeral more difficult, and likely more expensive, for survivors."

Last Updated ( Monday, 02 November 2009 17:55 )

Congress Introduces Bill to Protect All Funeral Consumers: Bill Expands Rules to Cover Cemeteries

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Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) is pleased to support The Bereaved Consumer’s Bill of Rights Act of 2009, introduced as HR 3655 by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL). The bill sets national standards for the protection of funeral and cemetery consumers — a goal FCA’s federation of nonprofit consumer education groups has been striving for since the 1970s. The Act will direct the Federal Trade Commission to strengthen and expand the Funeral Rule, which currently applies only to funeral homes, but not cemeteries. The Bill requires the FTC to enact rules that will:

  • Compel cemeteries to give consumers accurate prices before the sale
  • Give cemetery consumers the right to buy only the goods and services they want; families will be able to buy markers, monuments, or grave vaults from less expensive retail vendors rather than being captive to the cemetery’s prices
  • Bar cemeteries from forcing families to buy entire packages of goods or services, if the family wants to choose item by item
  • Require cemeteries to disclose rules and regulations, and consumer rights, before the purchase
  • Require cemeteries to keep accurate records of all burials sold, and where remains are interred, and to make those records available to regulators
  • Bar cemeteries from lying about the law - claiming state laws “require” vaults to surround an in-ground casket, for example

Cremation-only businesses (those that aren't part of a funeral home) that serve the  public directly will also be subject to the price disclosures and consumer rights the Rule currently mandates for funeral homes.  The bill will also require retail monument dealers and casket-sellers to offer accurate price information to consumers and refrain from misrepresenting legal requirements.

“When a friend or relative dies, families are in shock, they’re confused about their options, and they’re vulnerable to misinformation and high-pressure sales pitches,” said FCA executive director Joshua Slocum. “The FTC Funeral Rule has helped correct some of these problems, but only when families are at the funeral home. Rep. Rush’s bill extends those protections through the whole funeral transaction.”

The Bereaved Consumer’s Protection Act grew out of a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection on July 27, after the discovery that 300 graves may have been dug up and resold at Chicago’s historic Burr Oak Cemetery. FCA executive director Joshua Slocum testified before lawmakers, urging them to take a broader look at an industry riddled with deceptive practices that take advantage of vulnerable families. While heart-wrenching scandals like Burr Oak grab headlines, he said, many ongoing abuses of funeral and cemetery consumers never make the news and get swept under the rug. FCA offered Congressional staff comments on what provisions the bill should include, and we’re very pleased with the final product.

About FCA: Funeral Consumers Alliance, Inc., is a nonprofit federation of nearly 100 local organizations that educate the public about sensible funeral planning and stand guard against exploitation of grieving consumers. Founded in 1963, the federation helped push for the successful enactment of the FTC Funeral Rule in 1982, the first national regulations to curb funeral industry abuses. For more information or interviews, contact executive director Joshua Slocum at 802-865-8300, or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated ( Sunday, 01 September 2013 15:26 )

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