'Predatory' Funeral Industry Comes Under Fire

Big industry players take advantage of the bereft, says watchdog
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 5, 2008 6:21 PM CDT
The watchdog group aims to promote green funeral practices.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – The funeral industry preys on bereft customers, artificially raising prices and taking custody of bodies it has no right to handle, argues a watchdog group. The Funeral Consumers Alliance aims to push fair and environmentally friendly death-care practices, Newsweek reports. “Funeral corporations use predatory sales tactics and aggressive marketing to get people to spend on services they don't need,” says the group’s director.

About 11% of the multi-billion-dollar industry is controlled by four of these firms, and death-care lobbyists hold heavy sway over state lawmakers. “I want people to be shocked," said the alliance director. "In some states, the body belongs to the mortuary by state law. And once a funeral director has got a body," he'll charge thousands in fees. The group is suing the corporations over their business practices.