Tag Archives: “FTC”

Cremation Costs can vary by Thousands of Dollars-Your Funeral Guy

17 Jan

Cremation costs can vary by thousands of dollars. This is is an important factor when considering funeral costs and cremations costs. We have addressed this subject in several places before,-it is important to address this subject again.

You can view a video on this with more info here.

As with funeral cost, and cremation cost- it is very important to shop around.

The remains were brought to the cremation center at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City. Dickson was quoted a price of $2,425 for what is called a “direct cremation.”

“I just told ’em I wanted the bare basic just the ashes in a box no services no nothing,” he says.

At the time he thought it seemed like a lot of money for what he was getting. “I thought of it, but I thought what am I going to do, they’ve got the body here.”

Dickson paid the bill. But a few weeks later, an acquaintance of his wife said he had paid for a cremation around the same time and it only cost $600.

Dickson hit the phone and called about five different crematories in the valley — he received quotes of $400 to $2,400 for the same service.

But according to Arizona law, the Sunland Memorial Park did nothing wrong.

“We cannot control the prices. In other words this is free enterprise. A business is able to charge whatever they may want,” says Rudy Thomas, executive director of the Arizona Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers.

Thomas has heard the complaints before, but the FTC dictates that funeral homes nationwide don’t limit pricing. A consumer must physically be given a guide to funeral information if they are inquiring about services.

via www.myfoxphoenix.com

It is important to note that Sunland Memorial Park is a corporate facility specifically a Service Corporation International facility( NYSE: SCI)

Although this event is not a Service Corporation International Scandal, it does show the high pricing that can occur at an SCI Facility. This is something that the Funeral Consumer must be continually be made aware of.

Many times it is best inorder to save on Funeral Cost To Avoid a Corporate Funeral Home.

Funeral Industry| Funeral News| Funeral Blog by Your Funeral Guy

It is important to remember that the FTC does not regulate Funeral or Cremation Cost.

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FTC gives Approval For SCI Keystone Purchase|Final Condition|YourFuneralGuy

5 May

Service Corporation International Logo

The World’s Largest Funeral  Corporation Has been Given Final Approval for Purchase of the Fifth largest Funeral Group in North America by the FTC. The deal will go through  only after a 30-day Public comment period at the Federal Trade commission.

Service Corporation International (NYSE:SCI) has turned to it’s 1990’s acquisition strategy to increase it’s bottom line . With current unrealized preneed losses of 43.8 Million dollars. The Funeral Industry Giant has decided to take on  acquisitions to offset the recent history of Declining Revenue.

On one Level the whole deal, and I say this kindly, is quite corrupt. Financial Partners LLC, the company picking up the SCI divested properties is a newly formed company of  Former Keystone Executives. They are the ones who benefited financially from the purchase, and through the  new company same folks are picking up their same properties. The good old boy leading this circus is Jim Price.

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final settlement order in the matter concerning Service Corporation International and Keystone North America, Inc. The final order settles charges that SCI’s acquisition of Keystone would have reduced competition in 16 funeral service and three cemetery markets in the United States, and requires that SCI divest properties in each market.

Pursuant to the settlement order, SCI is seeking FTC approval to sell a total of 23 funeral homes, cemeteries, and combination properties to resolve the FTC’s competition concerns raised by its acquisition of Keystone. The FTC is seeking public comment on SCI’s application

Under SCI’s request, the company would sell the 23 properties to Foundation Partners Group, LLC. The facilities are located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington State. A

via www.ftc.gov

Funeral industry| Funeral News| Funeral Blog by Your Funeral Guy

Help Pass The Bereaved Consumers Bill of Rights Act|Your Funeral Guy

4 May

Tomorrow the Bereaved consumers Bill of Rights Act of 2009 comes up for a hearing, before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. There will be a vote to move the legislation to a full house vote.

This legislation (HR 3655)will be good for the Funeral Consumer and the Funeral Industry as a whole. The legislation is known as the Rush Bill or Funeral Rule 2.

Today.you can call and file a complaint with the FTC  about a Funeral Home. As of today You cannot file a complaint against a cemetery, or certain third party funeral and cemetery providers. Last July I received a call from a governmental authority investigating the Burr Oak Cemetery Scandal. I had to tell the attorney on the line that there was essentially no effective State Regulation and No Federal Regulation that  Existed for the tragedy at Burr Oak Cemetery outside of Chicago.

Contact Congress today, stop these tragedies and let there be a place (The Federal Trade Commission) where Folks can File a Complaint if they have a problem with a grave or cemetery!

PASS HR.3655-LET THERE BE NO MORE BURR OAK CEMETERY SCANDALS.

Phone the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee “to SUPPORT H.R. 3655.”

(202) 225-2927

Phone your  friends, colleagues and  co workers and ask them to immediately call the  phone number listed above to FULLY SUPPORT  H.R. 3655.

Phone your Congressman and tell him/her to contact the Energy & Commerce Committee to express SUPPORT and stop opposition to H.R. 3655.

The new LAW would call on the FTC (FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION)to setup rules requiring all cemetery, crematory and mausoleum owners to provide clear  disclosures and pricing information about their funeral, cemetery products and services, including preneed contracts, memorials, graves , grave and vaults.

Funeral Industry|Funeral News| Funeral Blog by Your Funeral Guy

Displaced Funeral Execs Maintain Control SCI Divested Property|Your Funeral Guy

29 Apr

Service Corporation International (the world’s largest funeral corporation) recently purchased the #5 Funeral Corporation . In an effort to maintain control of property required to be divested(sold as part of the deal and required by the FTC.) several Keystone execs(#5) will maintain control of the businesses sold.

Several Keystone Executives have formed a company and purchased the property. This shows the extent corporate leaders in the Funeral Industry go to maintain, control of your funeral dollar.

Snippet from the Memorial Business Journal-

It seems that the funeral home/cemetery acquisiton market has a new player. What was speculated for months is moving closer to fruition as three former top executives at Keystone North America have formed a new company and are moving forward with the acquisition of the properties the Federal Trade Commission last month ordered divested by Service Corporation International in order to complete the company’s acquisition of Keystone.

The company, Foundation Partners Group, will be headed by Steve Shaffer, who is president and chief executive officer. Shaffer was previously chief financial officer at Keystone. Jim Price, who co-founded Keystone in 1996 and was the company’s chief operating officer, is Foundation Partner’s executive vice president and chief operating officer; and Chris Thomley, who has served as Keystone’s chief accounting officer since 2005, becomes chief financial officer.

via memorialbusinessjournal.wordpress.com

Funeral industry| Funeral News by Your Funeral Guy

FTC and the disposal of third party Casket packaging |Your Funeral Guy

22 Apr
3d image of a casket

FTC has issued some information on Caskets from third parties like Walmart and Costco

One of the way Funeral directors have tried to get around NOT BEING ABLE TO CHARGE families and consumers for third party Caskets in the USA is to charge the Consumer for Packaging disposal. Costco and Walmart distributing caskets have upset funeral directors so much that the National Funeral Directors Association, the NFDA had a board member recently testifiy before Congress on third party casket.

The Chief Counsel of the National Funeral Directors Association recently examined an Opinion letter  issued by the FTC on third Party caskets. The lawyer for the NFDA , advises funeral directors and funeral home owners what they can and cannot do when third party caskets are purchased.

What all this indicates is that the Funeral Industry is doing all it can to squeeze evey dollar out of the funeral family, the funeral consumer. If you obtain a third party casket which I recommend you do, do not pay for packaging disposal.

Universal Casket Company, which supplies the caskets that are sold by Costco, recently sought guidance from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) staff about the delivery of third-party caskets to funeral homes. In response to that request, FTC Funeral Rule Coordinator Craig Tregillus issued an opinion letter on April 19, 2010 that addressed several important issues, including whether funeral homes must assist in unloading third-party caskets from delivery trucks and the disposal of packing materials. Highlights from the opinion include the following:

“Disposal of Packaging. In a footnote in the Staff Advisory Opinion, Mr. Tregillus provides guidance on the increasingly troublesome issue of third-party casket packaging. Funeral homes have reported that casket shipments that originate from Costco and Wal-Mart often are packaged in crates which require the funeral home to incur labor and disposal cost. The FTC Staff Advisory Opinion indicates that while funeral homes may not charge a consumer for the cost of disposing of the packaging, the Funeral Rule does not prevent a funeral provider from requiring that all casket suppliers take any casket packaging with them and dispose of it after a delivery. In other words, as long as the funeral home requires casket wholesalers from which it purchases caskets to dispose of casket packaging materials, it may also impose the same requirement on third-party casket shippers delivering caskets to the funeral home.”via www.nfda.org

Funeral Industry|Funeral News|Funeral Blog by Your Funeral Guy.

Charging for Disposal for packaging is simply funeral home anger for purchasing a casket from a third party.

Bullied In Funeral Arrangements?|YourFuneralGuy

3 Apr


3d image of a casketIt is possible to be bullied in your funeral arrangements and in your grief.
There is a report coming out of Elk Grove Village Illinois outside of Chicago. If what the customer says is true there are some outright violations of the Funeral Rule, the law which occurred.

Under the funeral rule one has the right to purchase a casket from a third party outside of the funeral home.  A Funeral customer cannot be told they are not  to purchase a casket from a third party. One also cannot be charged a fee for purchasing a casket outside the funeral home.

“Anyone who’s lost a loved one knows how tough it is to do what you have to do. It’s a time we’re most vulnerable.

That’s one reason for tough rules governing funeral homes.

But, as 2 Investigator Pam Zekman found, one family trying to deal with its grief and financial problems at the same time may have put those rules to the test.

Judy Havlik still breaks down talking about her ordeal arranging a funeral for her mother, Margaret Lundgren.

The cost at the Grove Funeral Memorial Chapel and Funeral Home in Elk Grove Village was estimated at between $8,000 and $10,000, including cemetery costs on the initial itemized statement.

“We knew this had to be done, so we had to find a way to do it,” Havlik said.

The itemized statement included $1,900 for a wood casket and $925 for a vault she selected at the funeral home.

When Havlik got home she went online and found a less expensive and acceptable alternative, including a metal casket she thought her mother would love, and a grave liner.

“The savings would have been a total of $1,660,” she said.”

via cbs2chicago.com

In most cases you can get a casket(and usually the same one) off the Internet(Walmart sells them online)for less than you will pay in a funeral home showroom. In the case described an astute reporter got a hold of a FTC attorney for comment

Funeral Industry|Funeral News| Funeral Blog

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Service Corporation International cleared for Keystone Purchase|YourFuneralGuy

24 Mar

Dignity Memorial is an SCI logo

Service Corporation International(SCI) Has been cleared by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to purchase Keystone North America. Translation: The Worlds Largest Funeral Corporation #1 in North America has agreed to purchase the #5 Funeral Company in North America.

In an agreement with the FTC  Service Corporation International agreed to sell off  specified Keystone and SCI assets(22 Funeral Homes and 5 cemeteries).

This is not an indication that all is  well at SCI, Keystone or the Funeral Industry. It is an indication that all is not well. Service Corporation International is coming off one of it’s worst years in it’s history. It seems that it s reinstating it’s 1990″s strategy of acquiring properties  to  help the bottom line. In 2009 SCI had scandal after scandal.

Service Corporation International (NYSE: SCI), the largest provider of death care products and services in North America, announced today that it has received an early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Act from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) in connection with SCI’s tender offer (the “Offer”) for all of the issued and outstanding common shares, including those represented by income participating securities, (the “Keystone Shares”) in the capital of Keystone North America Inc. (“Keystone”) (TSX: KNA, KNA.UN). With that regulatory clearance, SCI, through its wholly owned subsidiary, SCI Alliance Acquisition Corporation, intends to take up all of the Keystone Shares tendered to the Offer as of the expiry time, provided that the 66 2/3% minimum tender condition and the other conditions of the Offer are met.

via www.foxbusiness.com

Funeral Industry|Funeral News| Funeral Blog by Your Funeral Guy