What are my rights as a consumer?
The Funeral Rule, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, makes it easier for you to choose only those goods and services you want or need and to pay for only those you select. According to the Funeral Rule, you can find out the cost of individual items whether you shop by telephone or in person.
If you inquire about funeral arrangements in person, the funeral home must give you a written price list of available goods and services (GPL or General Price List). Keep in mind that when you arrange for a funeral, you can buy a package of goods and services or individual items. If you want to buy a casket for example, the funeral provider must supply a list that describes the available selections and their prices. Remember, the funeral provider may not refuse or charge a fee, to handle a casket you bought elsewhere. Be wary of funeral homes that do not have any caskets priced below $2,000. This is a sure sign you are paying far too much.
For more information on this rule, click on these helpful websites:
http://www.ftc.gov./funerals , http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/funerals/coninfo.htm
Have you done your homework? Are you an informed consumer?
Far too often high mark-ups are passed on to unwitting consumers by funeral homes. Caskets are often marked up 4 to 6 times the actual cost to the funeral home. And with 3 large conglomerates now controlling more and more of the funeral business in the United States and Canada, the industry lacks healthy price competition. It's a situation that invites pricing abuses. This is why the FTC passed the Funeral Law in 1994.
Jules Polonetsky (NYC Consumer Affairs Commissioner) says the cost of burying a loved one is becoming unreasonable as a result of deceptive trade practices and consolidation in the funeral home industry. An investigation by his office found grieving consumers were misled or tricked by funeral directors into buying services or items they didn't want or need."
Will my funeral home accept a casket or urn I purchase from MemoriuM?
Yes. It is against Federal Law for a funeral home to refuse a casket purchased elsewhere. Refusal to do so results in a $10,000 fine per incident to the funeral establishment and may possibly lead to the suspension of their license to operate a funeral business.
If I choose to have my remains cremated, do I have to buy a casket?
A casket is not required for cremation by most states laws, but a combustible cremation container is. The container must be one that can be closed and is leak-resistant. A cardboard box constructed for this purpose is acceptable. You do not have to buy the container from the funeral establishment or crematory, but it does have to meet the standards set by the crematory.
How do I store cremated remains?
In most states, you may choose any of the following methods of disposition of cremated remains:
Placement of the urn in a niche columbarium or mausoleum - there may be additional charges for endowment care, opening or closing, recording, flower vase, nameplate, and urn.
Burial of the urn in a plot in a cemetery - there may be additional charges for endowment care, opening or closing, recording, urn, outer burial container, flower vase, and marker.
Retention of the urn at your residence - the funeral establishment or crematory will have you sign the Permit for Disposition showing that the remains were released to you and will file it with the local registrar. You may not remove the cremated remains from the urn, and you must arrange for their disposition upon your death.
Storing of the urn in a house of worship or religious shrine if local zoning laws allow.
Scattering in areas of the state where no local prohibition exists and with permission of the property owner or governing agency. The cremated remains must be removed from the container and dispersed into the soil, or buried, so they are not distinguishable to the public.
Scattering of the remains in a cemetery scattering garden.
Scattering at sea, at least 500 yards from shore (this also includes inland navigable waters, except for lakes).
The material presented here are for informational purposes only. There are federal, state and local laws which govern your area. It is not our intention to offer legal advise. Contact your attorney before making any legal decisions.