Draft Letter to the Your State or Provincial Funeral Regulator
We are writing to express our support for the initiative of the Family Funeralhome Association in
lobbying for a healthy regulatory environment for grieving families. Grieving families are also acutely,
perhaps uniquely vulnerable, especially within the first ninety days after suffering a loss. I/we share the
Family Funeralhome Association’s (FFA’s) belief that those who care for the bereaved (people such as
yourselves), are also uniquely responsible. Therefore I/we accept that it is in part our job to work to try
to explain to you our regulators that this marketplace is unlike others and as such our mutual clients are
not served well by these tactics, regardless of how financially successful, and thus influential the
perpetrators who practice them may be.
I/We are very concerned about the following issues:
1) Ban direct solicitation: no telephone or door to door solicitation of consumers by funeral homes,
cemeteries or monument makers. Mrs. Smith’s experience explains this well.
2) 80% Trusting: 80% of all prepaid funeral, cemetery and cremation related goods and services must
be placed in trust (trusted). Businesses should not be allowed to spend people’s money until they have
earned it. Please STOP prepaid funeral or cemetery costs being placed at risk.
3) No UNDISCLOSED payments or incentives to third parties for funeral or cemetery referrals:
each family must be fully informed of any consideration paid to a third party to direct them as to where
to do business.
4) No UNDISCLOSED public company funeral home or cemetery ownership: many jurisdictions
have noticed the difference in care provided by public company funeral providers versus family owned
funeral providers to be so significant that they now require mandatory legible disclosure of public
company ownership of funeral homes in all advertising, contracts and signs. One conglomerate has
been trying to trademark “Family funeral care” in the US and Canada since 1993. We have defeated
them in Canada and the US, although the US challenge is still far from over.
5) Disclosure of real location: any provider taking out and forwarding local phone numbers to distant
locations must legibly disclose their real address where the deceased is being taken and cared for, to
client families, in all contracts and advertising. If a grieving family called to rent a funeral home for an
hour to say good bye to their mother, for instance, and the “local” number they dialed was actually 40
miles out of town, it’s called “deception”.
6) Salaried Workers: All funeral, cremation, memorial and cemetery workers selling goods and
services to families in their time of loss or need must be remunerated with reasonable wages/salaries to
ensure the bereaved will be afforded adequate information, support and care. The non-commission
based compensation of these workers will prevent up-selling and insufficient service to the bereaved
when they are most vulnerable and in need. The video quotes Mr. John H. Joyce of Harlem New York
who said: “Commissioned sales, just brings the con-men and the hustlers to our profession!”
7) Land reuse and green burial: grave property owners must have the right to reuse property should
they desire, and therefore, must be allowed green burial (no expensive mandatory concrete vaults). Only
North America and Australia still systematically withhold these rights, but unchallenged, if our creator
allowed us to live long enough, our entire planet would become a graveyard! It makes poor sense to
allow cemeteries to continue withholding these rights. It is in reality an environmental and financial
travesty, rendering cemetery plots eco-unfriendly, while in many cases adding a few zeroes to the cost of
burial in subsequent generations. With responsible land use law, there is actually no economic argument
at all for cremation, to say nothing of the massive use of energy and not returning the natural body to the
8) No untrained or unregulated workers: all funeral and cemetery advisors need training and need to
be regulated, both pre-need and at-need. How can someone advise people on how to plan and/or
purchase a funeral when it is illegal for the same unlicensed individual to arrange one in the first place?
9) Cemetery Church or Chapel access: Where a funeral home or church chapel is built in, or adjacent
to, a cemetery, it must be equally accessible to all funeral service providers. To tie the purchase of a
plot, and/or use of the funeral home chapel, to the purchase of a funeral at the adjoining funeral home, is
to tie the selling of the plot to the selling of the funeral. “Tied selling” is a criminal offence in most
western democracies, and should not be allowed. Cemetery chapels, must be accessible to cemeteries, if
they are located there.
10) Accountability: To serve the public interest and to protect the bereaved, any liability resulting from
mismanagement or incompetence must be fully accountable. Any contractual arrangements designed to
abrogate and offset any liability of this nature must be disallowed.
In 1996, the State of Georgia spent a considerable amount of time trying to close a crematorium which
eight years later was found to have accepted money from more than 300 families for cremation, but
failed to carry out cremation of those remains.
I/we are joining in the call upon ethical professionals, clergy, healthcare providers, seniors groups,
consumer watchdogs, municipal governments, not-for-profit cemeteries and the public at large to help
enable our State/Province to establish current and responsible funeral and cemetery regulation here in
State/Province. We also ask the Ministry to ensure effective enforcement of legislation as part of the
enactment. The public is not well served by current regulations as long as they allow, if not promote
abuse. Please add our voice to the growing community of caregivers demanding a healthy regulatory
environment for the bereaved.
Organization or profession (optional)