Funerals - A Consumer Guide

Funerals -- A Consumer Guide

The last blog in our series about free government brochures is Funerals: A Consumer Guide. However, the catch with this brochure is… it’s a dollar. Not a high price by any means but the Federal Trade Commission wrote it and evidently they want a dollar for every copy sold!

I think that the FTC has done a fair job regulating the funeral industry in this country, and don’t really have a beef with their federal laws, after all, I’m a consumer too.

However, this is the only brochure I’ve reviewed for you that I really don’t like and wouldn’t recommend. It reads like it was written by a very angry person that doesn’t like funeral service. I realize that sometimes unfortunate situations may occur surrounding the events of a funeral; but 99.9% of the funeral directors in this country are upstanding members of their community and are working very hard to serve their families in their time of need.

The language in the brochure is a little scary at times, and makes it sound like it’s not a matter of “if” something goes wrong, but rather “when” something goes wrong. Providing information without bias to an industry or those serving in it is what should be done. It is a disservice to the public to make them feel like they are going to get ripped off before they even meet their local funeral director.

Here’s an example from the brochure of what I mean: “So it’s in the seller’s best interest to start out by showing you higher-end models. If you haven’t seen some of the lower priced models on the price list, ask to see them- but don’t be surprised if they’re not prominently displayed, or displayed at all.” It is not in the best interest of the funeral director to sell a casket to a family that the family can’t afford, have a receivable on the book for a year, and eventually have to take a loss because they could never collect. A smart funeral director will sell a casket to a family that serves the family’s needs, is affordable to them, and the funeral director doesn’t have to carry a receivable on.

Here’s another example in the context of speaking about the funeral director, “They make take advantage of the clients through inflated prices, overcharges, double charges or unnecessary services. “ There are bad apples in every industry and funeral service is no different. But it’s in very poor taste for the FTC to make the consumer feel bad about decisions they haven’t even made yet. And, oh yeah, who was it that wanted the dollar for this brochure? That’s right, the FTC.