|Funerals: A Consumer Guide
When a loved one dies, grieving family
members and friends often are confronted with dozens of decisions about the
funeral - all of which must be made quickly and often under great emotional
duress. What kind of funeral should it be? What funeral provider should you
use? Should you bury or cremate the body, or donate it to science? What are you
legally required to buy? What other arrangements should you plan? And, as
callous as it may sound, how much is it all going to cost?
Each year, Americans grapple with these and many other
questions as they spend billions of dollars arranging more than 2 million
funerals for family members and friends. The increasing trend toward pre-need
planning - when people make funeral arrangements in advance - suggests that
many consumers want to compare prices and services so that ultimately, the
funeral reflects a wise and well-informed purchasing decision, as well as a
Funerals rank among the most expensive purchases many
consumers will ever make. A traditional funeral, including a casket and vault,
costs about $6,000, although "extras" like flowers, obituary notices,
acknowledgment cards or limousines can add thousands of dollars to the bottom
line. Many funerals run well over $10,000.
Yet even if you're the kind of person who might haggle with a
dozen dealers to get the best price on a new car, you're likely to feel
uncomfortable comparing prices or negotiating over the details and cost of a
funeral, pre-need or at need. Compounding this discomfort is the fact that some
people "overspend" on a funeral or burial because they think of it as a
reflection of their feelings for the deceased.
To help relieve their families of some of these decisions, an
increasing number of people are planning their own funerals, designating their
funeral preferences, and sometimes even paying for them in advance. They see
funeral planning as an extension of will and estate planning.
Thinking ahead can help you make
informed and thoughtful decisions about funeral arrangements. It allows you to
choose the specific items you want and need and compare the prices offered by
several funeral providers. It also spares your survivors the stress of making
these decisions under the pressure of time and strong emotions.
You can make arrangements directly with a funeral
establishment or through a funeral planning or memorial society - a nonprofit
organization that provides information about funerals and disposition but
doesn't offer funeral services. If you choose to contact such a group,
recognize that while some funeral homes may include the word "society" in their
names, they are not nonprofit organizations.
One other important consideration when planning a funeral
pre-need is where the remains will be buried, entombed or scattered. In the
short time between the death and burial of a loved one, many family members
find themselves rushing to buy a cemetery plot or grave - often without careful
thought or a personal visit to the site. That's why it's in the family's best
interest to buy cemetery plots before you need them.
|You may wish to make decisions about your
arrangements in advance, but not pay for them in advance. Keep in mind that
over time, prices may go up and businesses may close or change ownership.
However, in some areas with increased competition, prices may go down
over time. It's a good idea to review and revise your decisions every few
years, and to make sure your family is aware of your wishes.
a good idea
to review and revise
every few years.
Put your preferences in writing, give copies to family members
and your attorney, and keep a copy in a handy place. Don't designate your
preferences in your will, because a will often is not found or read until after
the funeral. And avoid putting the only copy of your preferences in a safe
deposit box. That's because your family may have to make arrangements on a
weekend or holiday, before the box can be opened.
Millions of Americans have
entered into contracts to prearrange their funerals and prepay some or all of
the expenses involved. Laws of individual states govern the prepayment of
funeral goods and services; various states have laws to help ensure that these
advance payments are available to pay for the funeral products and services
when they're needed. But protections vary widely from state to state, and some
state laws offer little or no effective protection. Some state laws require the
funeral home or cemetery to place a percentage of the prepayment in a
state-regulated trust or to purchase a life insurance policy with the death
benefits assigned to the funeral home or cemetery.
If you're thinking about prepaying for funeral goods and
services, it's important to consider these issues before putting down any
||What are you are paying for? Are you buying only
merchandise, like a casket and vault, or are you purchasing funeral services as
||What happens to the money you've prepaid? States
have different requirements for handling funds paid for prearranged funeral
||What happens to the interest income on money that
is prepaid and put into a trust account?
||Are you protected if the firm you dealt with goes
out of business?
||Can you cancel the contract and get a full refund
if you change your mind?
||What happens if you move to a different area or
die while away from home? Some prepaid funeral plans can be transferred, but
often at an added cost.
Be sure to tell your
family about the plans you've made; let them know where the documents are
filed. If your family isn't aware that you've made plans, your wishes may not
be carried out. And if family members don't know that you've prepaid the
funeral costs, they could end up paying for the same arrangements. You may wish
to consult an attorney on the best way to ensure that your wishes are
Most funeral providers are professionals who strive to serve
their clients' needs and best interests. But some aren't. They may take
advantage of their clients through inflated prices, overcharges, double charges
or unnecessary services. Fortunately, there's a federal law that makes it
easier for you to choose only those goods and services you want or need and to
pay only for those you select, whether you are making arrangements pre-need or
The Funeral Rule, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission,
requires funeral directors to give you itemized prices in person and, if you
ask, over the phone. The Rule also requires funeral directors to give you other
information about their goods and services. For example, if you ask about
funeral arrangements in person, the funeral home must give you a written price
list to keep that shows the goods and services the home offers. If you want to
buy a casket or outer burial container, the funeral provider must show you
descriptions of the available selections and the prices before actually showing
you the caskets.
Many funeral providers offer various "packages" of commonly
selected goods and services that make up a funeral. But when you arrange for a
funeral, you have the right to buy individual goods and services. That is, you
do not have to accept a package that may include items you do not want.
According to the Funeral Rule:
||you have the right to choose the funeral goods
and services you want (with some exceptions).
||the funeral provider must state this right in
writing on the general price list.
||if state or local law requires you to buy any
particular item, the funeral provider must disclose it on the price list, with
a reference to the specific law.
||the funeral provider may not refuse, or charge a
fee, to handle a casket you bought elsewhere.
||a funeral provider that offers cremations must
make alternative containers available.
What Kind of Funeral Do You
Every family is different, and not everyone wants the same
type of funeral. Funeral practices are influenced by religious and cultural
traditions, costs and personal preferences. These factors help determine
whether the funeral will be elaborate or simple, public or private, religious
or secular, and where it will be held. They also influence whether the body
will be present at the funeral, if there will be a viewing or visitation, and
if so, whether the casket will be open or closed, and whether the remains will
be buried or cremated.
Among the choices you'll need to make are whether you want one
of these basic types of funerals, or something in between.
|"Traditional," full-service funeral
This type of funeral, often referred to by funeral providers as a
"traditional" funeral, usually includes a viewing or visitation and formal
funeral service, use of a hearse to transport the body to the funeral site and
cemetery, and burial, entombment or cremation of the remains.
|It is generally the most expensive type of
funeral. In addition to the funeral home's basic services fee, costs often
include embalming and dressing the body; rental of the funeral home for the
viewing or service; and use of vehicles to transport the family if they don't
use their own. The costs of a casket, cemetery plot or crypt and other funeral
goods and services also must be factored in.
Every family is
The body is buried shortly
after death, usually in a simple container. No viewing or visitation is
involved, so no embalming is necessary. A memorial service may be held at the
graveside or later. Direct burial usually costs less than the "traditional,"
full-service funeral. Costs include the funeral home's basic services fee, as
well as transportation and care of the body, the purchase of a casket or burial
container and a cemetery plot or crypt. If the family chooses to be at the
cemetery for the burial, the funeral home often charges an additional fee for a
The body is cremated
shortly after death, without embalming. The cremated remains are placed in an
urn or other container. No viewing or visitation is involved, although a
memorial service may be held, with or without the cremated remains present. The
remains can be kept in the home, buried or placed in a crypt or niche in a
cemetery, or buried or scattered in a favorite spot. Direct cremation usually
costs less than the "traditional," full-service funeral. Costs include the
funeral home's basic services fee, as well as transportation and care of the
body. A crematory fee may be included or, if the funeral home does not own the
crematory, the fee may be added on. There also will be a charge for an urn or
other container. The cost of a cemetery plot or crypt is included only if the
remains are buried or entombed.
Funeral providers who offer direct cremations also must offer
to provide an alternative container that can be used in place of a casket.
Choosing a Funeral
Many people don't realize that they are not legally required
to use a funeral home to plan and conduct a funeral. However, because they have
little experience with the many details and legal requirements involved and may
be emotionally distraught when it's time to make the plans, many people find
the services of a professional funeral home to be a comfort.
Consumers often select a funeral home or cemetery because it's
close to home, has served the family in the past, or has been recommended by
someone they trust. But people who limit their search to just one funeral home
may risk paying more than necessary for the funeral or narrowing their choice
of goods and services.
Comparison shopping need not be difficult, especially if it's
done before the need for a funeral arises. If you visit a funeral home in
person, the funeral provider is required by law to give you a general price
list itemizing the cost of the items and services the home offers. If the
general price list does not include specific prices of caskets or outer burial
containers, the law requires the funeral director to show you the price lists
for those items before showing you the items.
Sometimes it's more convenient and less stressful to "price
shop" funeral homes by telephone. The Funeral Rule requires funeral directors
to provide price information over the phone to any caller who asks for it. In
addition, many funeral homes are happy to mail you their price lists, although
that is not required by law.
|When comparing prices, be sure to consider the
total cost of all the items together, in addition to the costs of single items.
Every funeral home should have price lists that include all the items essential
for the different types of arrangements it offers. Many funeral homes offer
package funerals that may cost less than purchasing individual items or
services. Offering package funerals is permitted by law, as long as an itemized
price list also is provided. But only by using the price lists can you
accurately compare total costs.
sure to consider
of all the
In addition, there's a growing trend toward consolidation in
the funeral home industry, and many neighborhood funeral homes are thought to
be locally owned when in fact, they're owned by a national corporation. If this
issue is important to you, you may want to ask if the funeral home is locally
Funeral costs include:
1. Basic services fee for the funeral director and
The Funeral Rule allows funeral providers to charge a basic
services fee that customers cannot decline to pay. The basic services fee
includes services that are common to all funerals, regardless of the specific
arrangement. These include funeral planning, securing the necessary permits and
copies of death certificates, preparing the notices, sheltering the remains,
and coordinating the arrangements with the cemetery, crematory or other third
parties. The fee does not include charges for optional services or
2. Charges for other services and merchandise
These are costs for optional goods and services such as
transporting the remains; embalming and other preparation; use of the funeral
home for the viewing, ceremony or memorial service; use of equipment and staff
for a graveside service; use of a hearse or limousine; a casket, outer burial
container or alternate container; and cremation or interment.
3. Cash advances
These are fees charged by the funeral home for goods and
services it buys from outside vendors on your behalf, including flowers,
obituary notices, pallbearers, officiating clergy, and organists and soloists.
Some funeral providers charge you their cost for the items they buy on your
behalf. Others add a service fee to their cost. The Funeral Rule requires those
who charge an extra fee to disclose that fact in writing, although it doesn't
require them to specify the amount of their markup. The Rule also requires
funeral providers to tell you if there are refunds, discounts or rebates from
the supplier on any cash advance item.
Calculating the Actual
The funeral provider must give you an itemized statement of
the total cost of the funeral goods and services you have selected when you are
making the arrangements. If the funeral provider doesn't know the cost of the
cash advance items at the time, he or she is required to give you a written
"good faith estimate." This statement also must disclose any legal, cemetery or
crematory requirements that you purchase any specific funeral goods or
The Funeral Rule does not require any specific format for this
information. Funeral providers may include it in any document they give you at
the end of your discussion about funeral arrangements.
Many funeral homes require
embalming if you're planning a viewing or visitation. But embalming generally
is not necessary or legally required if the body is buried or cremated shortly
after death. Eliminating this service can save you hundreds of dollars. Under
the Funeral Rule, a funeral provider:
||may not provide embalming services without
||may not falsely state that embalming is required
||must disclose in writing that embalming is not
required by law, except in certain special cases.
||may not charge a fee for unauthorized embalming
unless embalming is required by state law.
||must disclose in writing that you usually have
the right to choose a disposition, such as direct cremation or immediate
burial, that does not require embalming if you do not want this service.
||must disclose in writing that some funeral
arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing, may make embalming a practical
necessity and, if so, a required purchase.
For a "traditional," full-service funeral:
A casket often
is the single most expensive item you'll buy if you plan a "traditional,"
full-service funeral. Caskets vary widely in style and price and are sold
primarily for their visual appeal. Typically, they're constructed of metal,
wood, fiberboard, fiberglass or plastic. Although an average casket costs
slightly more than $2,000, some mahogany, bronze or copper caskets sell for as
much as $10,000.
|When you visit a funeral home or showroom to shop
for a casket, the Funeral Rule requires the funeral director to show you a list
of caskets the company sells, with descriptions and prices, before showing you
the caskets. Industry studies show that the average casket shopper buys one of
the first three models shown, generally the middle-priced of the three.
|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 not on display at all.
Traditionally, caskets have been sold only by funeral homes.
But with increasing frequency, showrooms and websites operated by "third-party"
dealers are selling caskets. You can buy a casket from one of these dealers and
have it shipped directly to the funeral home. The Funeral Rule requires funeral
homes to agree to use a casket you bought elsewhere, and doesn't allow them to
charge you a fee for using it.
No matter where or when you're buying a casket, it's important
to remember that its purpose is to provide a dignified way to move the body
before burial or cremation. No casket, regardless of its qualities or cost,
will preserve a body forever. Metal caskets frequently are described as
"gasketed," "protective" or "sealer" caskets. These terms mean that the casket
has a rubber gasket or some other feature that is designed to delay the
penetration of water into the casket and prevent rust. The Funeral Rule forbids
claims that these features help preserve the remains indefinitely because they
don't. They just add to the cost of the casket.
Most metal caskets are made from rolled steel of varying
gauges - the lower the gauge, the thicker the steel. Some metal caskets come
with a warranty for longevity. Wooden caskets generally are not gasketed and
don't have a warranty for longevity. They can be hardwood like mahogany,
walnut, cherry or oak, or softwood like pine. Pine caskets are a less expensive
option, but funeral homes rarely display them. Manufacturers of both wooden and
metal caskets usually warrant workmanship and materials.
Many families that opt to have
their loved ones cremated rent a casket from the funeral home for the
visitation and funeral, eliminating the cost of buying a casket. If you opt for
visitation and cremation, ask about the rental option. For those who choose a
direct cremation without a viewing or other ceremony where the body is present,
the funeral provider must offer an inexpensive unfinished wood box or
alternative container, a non-metal enclosure - pressboard, cardboard or canvas
- that is cremated with the body.
Under the Funeral Rule, funeral directors who offer direct
||may not tell you that state or local law requires
a casket for direct cremations, because none do;
||must disclose in writing your right to buy an
unfinished wood box or an alternative container for a direct cremation; and
||must make an unfinished wood box or other
alternative container available for direct cremations.
Burial Vaults or
Burial vaults or grave liners, also known as burial
containers, are commonly used in "traditional," full-service funerals. The
vault or liner is placed in the ground before burial, and the casket is lowered
into it at burial. The purpose is to prevent the ground from caving in as the
casket deteriorates over time. A grave liner is made of reinforced concrete and
will satisfy any cemetery requirement. Grave liners cover only the top and
sides of the casket. A burial vault is more substantial and expensive than a
grave liner. It surrounds the casket in concrete or another material and may be
sold with a warranty of protective strength.
State laws do not require a vault or liner, and funeral
providers may not tell you otherwise. However, keep in mind that many
cemeteries require some type of outer burial container to prevent the grave
from sinking in the future. Neither grave liners nor burial vaults are designed
to prevent the eventual decomposition of human remains. It is illegal for
funeral providers to claim that a vault will keep water, dirt or other debris
from penetrating into the casket if that's not true.
Before showing you any outer burial containers, a funeral
provider is required to give you a list of prices and descriptions. It may be
less expensive to buy an outer burial container from a third-party dealer than
from a funeral home or cemetery. Compare prices from several sources before you
select a model.
Preservative Processes and Products
far back as the ancient Egyptians, people have used oils, herbs and special
body preparations to help preserve the bodies of their dead. Yet, no process or
products have been devised to preserve a body in the grave indefinitely. The
Funeral Rule prohibits funeral providers from telling you that it can be done.
For example, funeral providers may not claim that either embalming or a
particular type of casket will preserve the body of the deceased for an
When you are purchasing a cemetery plot, consider the location
of the cemetery and whether it meets the requirements of your family's
religion. Other considerations include what, if any, restrictions the cemetery
places on burial vaults purchased elsewhere, the type of monuments or memorials
it allows, and whether flowers or other remembrances may be placed on
Cost is another consideration. Cemetery plots can be
expensive, especially in metropolitan areas. Most, but not all, cemeteries
require you to purchase a grave liner, which will cost several hundred dollars.
Note that there are charges - usually hundreds of dollars - to open a grave for
interment and additional charges to fill it in. Perpetual care on a cemetery
plot sometimes is included in the purchase price, but it's important to clarify
that point before you buy the site or service. If it's not included, look for a
separate endowment care fee for maintenance and groundskeeping.
If you plan to bury your loved one's cremated remains in a
mausoleum or columbarium, you can expect to purchase a crypt and pay opening
and closing fees, as well as charges for endowment care and other services. The
FTC's Funeral Rule does not cover cemeteries and mausoleums unless they sell
both funeral goods and funeral services, so be cautious in making your purchase
to ensure that you receive all pertinent price and other information, and that
you're being dealt with fairly.
All veterans are
entitled to a free burial in a national cemetery and a grave marker. This
eligibility also extends to some civilians who have provided military-related
service and some Public Health Service personnel. Spouses and dependent
children also are entitled to a lot and marker when buried in a national
cemetery. There are no charges for opening or closing the grave, for a vault or
liner, or for setting the marker in a national cemetery. The family generally
is responsible for other expenses, including transportation to the cemetery.
For more information, visit the Department of Veterans Affairs' website at
www.cem.va.gov. To reach the regional Veterans office in your area, call
In addition, many states have established state veterans
cemeteries. Eligibility requirements and other details vary. Contact your state
for more information.
Beware of commercial cemeteries that advertise so-called
"veterans' specials." These cemeteries sometimes offer a free plot for the
veteran, but charge exorbitant rates for an adjoining plot for the spouse, as
well as high fees for opening and closing each grave. Evaluate the bottom-line
cost to be sure the special is as special as you may be led to believe.
Most states have a licensing board that regulates the funeral
industry. You may contact the board in your state for information or help. If
you want additional information about making funeral arrangements and the
options available, you may want to contact interested business, professional
and consumer groups. Some of the biggest are:
601 E Street, NW
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to helping older
Americans achieve lives of independence, dignity and purpose. Its publications,
Funeral Goods and Services and Pre-Paying for Your Funeral, are available free
by writing to the above address. This and other funeral-related information is
posted on the AARP website.
Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.
Blvd., Suite 800
Arlington, VA 22203-1838
Better Business Bureaus are private, nonprofit organizations that promote
ethical business standards and voluntary self-regulation of business practices.
The BBB's website offers information about pre-need funeral planning.
Funeral Consumers Alliance
PO Box 10
FCA, a nonprofit,
educational organization that supports increased funeral consumer protection,
is affiliated with the Funeral and Memorial Society of America (FAMSA).
Cremation Association of North America
401 North Michigan
Chicago, IL 60611
CANA is an association of crematories, cemeteries and funeral homes that offer
International Cemetery and Funeral Association
Preston White Drive, Suite 220
Reston, VA 20191 1-800-645-7700
ICFA is a nonprofit
association of cemeteries, funeral homes, crematories and monument retailers
that offers informal mediation of consumer complaints through its Cemetery
Consumer Service Council. Its website provides information and advice under
International Order of the Golden Rule
St. Louis, MO 63045
OGR is an international
association of about 1,300 independent funeral homes.
Jewish Funeral Directors of America Seaport Landing
Lynnway, Suite 506
Lynn, MA 01902
JFDA is an international
association of funeral homes serving the Jewish community.
National Funeral Directors Association
Brookfield, WI 53005
the largest educational and professional association of funeral directors.
National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association
Snapfinger Parkway, Suite 570
Decatur, GA 30035
NFDMA is a national
association primarily of African-American funeral providers.
Funeral Service Consumer Assistance Program
PO Box 486
Elm Grove, WI 53122-0486
FSCAP is a nonprofit consumer
service designed to help people understand funeral service and related topics
and to help them resolve funeral service concerns. FSCAP service
representatives and an intervener assist consumers in identifying needs,
addressing complaints and resolving problems. Free brochures on funeral related
topics are available.
Funeral Service Educational Foundation
Brookfield, WI 53005
FSEF is a nonprofit
foundation dedicated to advancing professionalism in funeral service and to
enhancing public knowledge and understanding through education and
If you have a problem concerning funeral matters, it's best to
try to resolve it first with the funeral director. If you are dissatisfied, the
Funeral Consumer's Alliance may be able to advise you on how best to resolve
your issue. You also can contact your state or local consumer protection
agencies listed in your telephone book, or the Funeral Service Consumer
You can file a complaint with the FTC by contacting the
Consumer Response Center by phone, toll-free, at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357);
TDD: 202-326-2502; by mail: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission,
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580; or on the Internet at
www.ftc.gov, using the online complaint form. Although the Commission cannot
resolve individual problems for consumers, it can act against a company if it
sees a pattern of possible law violations.
for a Funeral
Shop around in
advance. Compare prices from at least two funeral homes. Remember that
you can supply your own casket or urn.
Ask for a price
list. The law requires funeral homes to give you written price lists
for products and services.
Resist pressure to
buy goods and services you don't really want or need.
overspending. It's not necessary to have the fanciest casket or the
most elaborate funeral to properly honor a loved one.
rights. Laws regarding funerals and burials vary from state to state.
It's a smart move to know which goods or services the law requires you to
purchase and which are optional.
Apply the same smart
shopping techniques you use for other major purchases. You can cut
costs by limiting the viewing to one day or one hour before the funeral, and by
dressing your loved one in a favorite outfit instead of costly burial
Plan ahead. It
allows you to comparison shop without time constraints, creates an opportunity
for family discussion, and lifts some of the burden from your family.
Make copies of this page and check with several funeral homes
to compare costs.
|"Simple" disposition of the
|| If the cremation process
is extra, how much is it?
||Donation of the body to a medical school or
|"Traditional," full-service burial or
||Basic services fee for the funeral director and
||Pickup of body
||Other preparation of body
||Least expensive casket
|| Description, including model #
||Outer Burial Container (vault)
||Visitation/viewing - staff and facilities
||Funeral or memorial service - staff and
||Graveside service, including staff and equipment
||Forwarding body to another funeral home
||Receiving body from another funeral home
||Cost of lot or crypt (if you don't already own
||Opening and closing the grave or crypt
||Grave liner, if required
||Marker/monument (including setup)
Courtesy of the California
Department of Consumer Affairs, Cemetery and Funeral Bureau
- Alternative Container
- An unfinished wood box or other non-metal receptacle
without ornamentation, often made of fiberboard, pressed wood or composition
materials, and generally lower in cost than caskets.
- A box or chest for burying remains.
- Cemetery Property
- A grave, crypt or niche.
- Cemetery Services
- Opening and closing graves, crypts or niches; setting grave
liners and vaults; setting markers; and long-term maintenance of cemetery
grounds and facilities.
- A structure with niches (small spaces) for placing cremated
remains in urns or other approved containers. It may be outdoors or part of a
- Exposing remains and the container encasing them to extreme
heat and flame and processing the resulting bone fragments to a uniform size
- A space in a mausoleum or other building to hold cremated
or whole remains.
- The placement of cremated or whole remains in their final
- Endowment Care Fund
- Money collected from cemetery property purchasers and
placed in trust for the maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery.
- Burial in a mausoleum.
- Funeral Ceremony
- A service commemorating the deceased, with the body
- Funeral Services
- Services provided by a funeral director and staff, which
may include consulting with the family on funeral planning; transportation,
shelter, refrigeration and embalming of remains; preparing and filing notices;
obtaining authorizations and permits; and coordinating with the cemetery,
crematory or other third parties.
- Funeral Planning Society
- See Memorial Society.
- A space in the ground in a cemetery for the burial of
- Grave Liner or Outer Container
- A concrete cover that fits over a casket in a grave. Some
liners cover tops and sides of the casket. Others, referred to as vaults,
completely enclose the casket. Grave liners minimize ground settling.
- Graveside Service
- A service to commemorate the deceased held at the cemetery
- Burial in the ground, inurnment or entombment.
- The placing of cremated remains in an urn.
- A building in which remains are buried or entombed.
- Memorial Service
- A ceremony commemorating the deceased, without the body
- Memorial Society
- An organization that provides information about funerals
and disposition, but is not part of the state-regulated funeral industry.
- A space in a columbarium, mausoleum or niche wall to hold
- A container to hold cremated remains. It can be placed in a
columbarium or mausoleum, or buried in the ground.
- A grave liner that completely encloses a casket.
can file a complaint with the FTC by contacting the Consumer Response Center by
phone: toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357); TDD: 202-326-2502; by mail:
Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW,
Washington, DC 20580; or through the Internet, using the
online complaint form.
Although the Commission cannot resolve individual problems for consumers, it
can act against a company if it sees a pattern of possible law violations.
The FTC publishes free brochures on many consumer
issues. For a complete list of
publications, write for Best Sellers, Consumer Response Center,
Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20580; or
call toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357), TDD 202-326-2502.