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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).

Lying About the Law

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One woman's experience with a Los Angeles cemetery keen to sell her a vault.



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From the Memphis Commercial Appeal:
"Max Shelton, the court-appointed administrator of the funeral homes, said the state had recovered enough missing money to honor the contracts in full. The announcement appeared to mark an end to months of uncertainty that began in July, when funeral home owner Clayton Smart said there wasn't enough money in trust funds to honor the contracts.

That angered people who had paid in advance to prevent their families from having to sacrifice financially when they died. Families reported paying thousands of dollars extra to bury loved ones.
Download this file (foresthillsuit.pdf)foresthillsuit.pdf[State's Complaint]0.3 Kbm/j/Y
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 December 2007 13:02 ) Read more...


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Yet another undertakers' trade association is trying to take away families' rights and outlaw lower-cost cremations.

Download this file (hb323critique.pdf)hb323critique.pdf[FCA line-by-line critique of the bill]193 Kbm/j/Y
Download this file (hb323summary.pdf)hb323summary.pdf[FCA summary opposing HB 323]83 Kbm/j/Y
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 December 2007 13:11 ) Read more...

A $27,000 Send-Off

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- submitted to FCA by April Fisher

 I thought I would also share my experience with a funeral home when my husband committed suicide in 1996. I was 25 years old, he was 31.

I went in very distressed. My mother-in-law had chosen Restland Memorial Home in Richardson, Texas. It was very beautiful, like a park, and very, very expensive, although I would have no idea until much later.

I wanted him cremated; Michael had always said he never wanted to be buried. His mother vehemently refused; she had a priest come in and tell me that if I didnt bury her son she would stop eating. So of course, I agreed. The next thing the professionally dressed funeral sales lady takes all of us to a board room, gives us a heartfelt speech about how sorry she is, then says she will take us out together to pick the perfect spot for Michael.

We all get in her van and she drives us to a beautiful spot on the lake, --- swans, a gorgeous weeping willow hanging over. I picked the spot right under the tree in front of the water. She says, "wonderful choice." We all go back to the board room. She gets her assistant and whispers some things to her, gets some papers out, starts writing stuff, etc., etc. 10 minutes go by, she walks out, we're all sitting there. We're all wondering how much this is going to cost, but no one can bring themselves to say anything at a "time like this."

The lady comes back and very politely says she has picked out a beautiful coffiin that will complement the gravesite perfectly if we would like to see it now. We would. Its beautiful. White enamal with brass railing --- gorgeous, heavenly. White satin interior.

We go back to the board room. She starts writing again, then finally, my mother sees my anxiety and tears and speaks up. "So are you going to tell us how much this is going to cost and give us our payment options?" The woman says, yes, yes, I was just getting to that. Of course. Ive got it almost figured, you of course want programs, etc., etc., etc.

At this point, my mother catches on even though everyone else in the room is too distraught to say anything. She says "Listen, first we should really talk about how much the plot and casket are going to cost, because my daughter and her husband didnt have life insurance." AT this remark the woman, opens her eyes wide. No life insurance? Well, payment is needed in full before anything can be done. No checks. Cash, credit card, cashiers check.

Then she gives us the prices. Now, remember, this is 1996 and none of us really have any experience with funerals. The plot alone will cost $12,000 and the casket is $10,900. And that is only the beginning. Then there is the mandatory [grave liner], embalming, preparatory services, etc., etc. Grand total: $27,000. I had a panic attack. I couldnt breath. I couldnt get it together. My mother asked the lady to walk outside with her. After about 15 minutes they came back in with papers and handed them out to everyone. They were price lists [editor's note: Federal Regulations state the saleswoman should have given the family the price list at the BEGINNING of this discussion!].

After a horrible 4-hour ordeal, we finally arranged the funeral for the soonest available date: 1 week later. The bare minimum funeral we could arrange came to $12,000 which my parents paid for in full because the home would not even touch the body before they had full payment in hand. That did not include a headstone. I paid for that over the next year and had it placed a year later.


Georgia is Peachy Keen...If You Own a Cemetery

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8/8/06 — Once again, state lawmakers are treating the body politic as their personal playground by serving up citizens as grist for the burial industry's mill. Georgia's lawmakers gave commercial cemeteries a gift at the expense of consumers this year with a bill that gutted some of the consumer protections enacted in 2000. HB 910 wrests control of most cemetery practices away from the Secretary of State's office and gives it to — guess who? — owners of for-profit cemeteries.

"It was all political," said an employee of the Secretary of State's Office. Secretary of State Cathy Cox is a Democrat. "We fought it, we went to hearings — the Secretary of State even sent letters to the Senate on the last day."

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 December 2007 16:29 ) Read more...

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