Cemeteries Death + the Law Funeral Industry

The Bereaved Consumer’s Bill of Rights Act of 2011

We’ve seen some pretty nasty cemetery abuses in recent months, from Burr Oak to Arlington. Nancy in Texas tipped off the Death Reference Desk about a new bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that will hopefully prevent some anguish and anger in the not-quite-as-horrifically-egregious-as-outright-corpse-abuse-scandal arena but the still important — and affecting many more Americans — area of consumer protection.

Introduced on March 3 by Bobby Rush, D-IL, the Bereaved Consumer’s Bill of Rights Act of 2011 (H.R.900) will institute protections for consumers from “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the provision of funeral goods or services” (

Read the full text of the bill here. The Funeral Consumers Alliance chews through the legalese with some to-the-point bullets about what the bill will provide:

  • Compel cemeteries to give consumers accurate prices before the sale
  • Give cemetery consumers the right to buy only the goods and services they want; families will be able to buy markers, monuments, or grave vaults from less expensive retail vendors rather than being captive to the cemetery’s prices
  • Bar cemeteries from forcing families to buy entire packages of goods or services, if the family wants to choose item by item
  • Require cemeteries to disclose rules and regulations, and consumer rights, before the purchase
  • Require cemeteries to keep accurate records of all burials sold, and where remains are interred, and to make those records available to regulators
  • Bar cemeteries from lying about the law — claiming state laws “require” vaults to surround an in-ground casket, for example

The FCA is pretty darn excited about this (and so are we). See their site for additional information and links to contact state representatives about supporting this bill.

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