Watch out for scams when you plan a loved one's funeral - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Watch out for scams when you plan a loved one's funeral

Source: MGN Online Source: MGN Online
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

It's something that we all have to deal with eventually. Planning a funeral can be both an emotional and expensive time for any family. So what should you watch out for as a consumer?

"Make sure you always talk to a licensed funeral director number one," said Austin Brooks, the president of the Alabama Funeral Directors and Morticians Association."

Brooks says before you make any decisions, you should know what each one will cost.

"The funeral director should go over the price list with you before you go into any selection room to make a selection for a casket or urn or whatever."

That regulation and others are part of what's known as "The Funeral Rule." Enacted in 1984, it outlines the rights of consumers.

"To the extent not to tell funeral homes what they should charge or how much they should charge, but how they can charge it," said Brooks.

For example, did you know that embalming is only required in certain circumstances?

"Only a funeral home can charge that, if a family wants a particular service that requires embalming, like a service with a viewing or a visitation," said Brooks.

Caskets are also another area of concern.

"Caskets are like automobiles," said Brooks. "It just depends on what the consumer wants."

Brooks says if you find one elsewhere, you can actually have it shipped in.

"And the funeral home cannot turn it down. They have to accept it."

Bottom line? Brooks says that funeral planning is a business, and like anything else, consumers need to be aware.

"Like a shopper. If you want to know about a potential funeral home, do a little research on that funeral home."

For more information

Funeral Cost and Pricing List - http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0301-funeral-costs-and-pricing-checklist 

Violations of Consumer Protection Law - http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2013/07/ftc-conducts-undercover-inspections-funeral-homes-eight-states-0

Powered by Frankly