Cagey Consumer

Consumer Alert: Death Industry Ripoffs

The FTC Funeral Rule is supposed to ensure that consumers are given choices in purchasing funeral products and services. In practice, the value of the rule has proven to be questionable. Nevertheless, a substantial number of funeral homes fail to comply with this rule, as indicated by the latest shopping sweep by the FTC. The FTC also charged a Chicago-area funeral home with failing to abide by a previous FTC order.
From the cost of the cemetery plot to the casket to the "professional services fees" The death industry has always had a big advantage over the consumer. When a loved one has died, shopping for the best deal seems somehow to be disrespectful.

Purchasing such products and services on a "pre-need" basis might seem like a way to avoid this problem, but this approach is also fraught with its own risks.

The following links can help you learn how to avoid being ripped off by the death industry:

Funeral Consumers Alliance Consumer Alerts

Funeral Consumers Alliance Consumer Alerts [Wayback archive]

Casket & Death-Related Links

The Burying Business (Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/2/1999) [Wayback archive]

Industry associations tend to be self-serving... not that this is any surprise. Be wary of any suggestions that they have your personal needs and concerns as their primary interest:
Maine Funeral Directors Assocation
This site indicate that caskets are primarily supplied through the "local funeral home," but fails to mention that FTC regulations require a funeral home to accept your casket from any supplier. Of course, casket purchase is a major profit item for most funeral homes.

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Updated February 16, 2002