This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Scandal at the Morgue: Beware Shady Expenses

By Eric Reed

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- When you bury a loved one, the last thing you want to deal with is a pushy salesman. Yet, for many people, it turns out that's exactly what's happening.

According to a report from the Federal Trade Commission, a recent investigation found nearly 20% of funeral homes visited were in violation of the agency's consumer protection laws. The businesses in question, 23 out of 127, are spread across eight states and were visited by undercover investigators posing as consumers.

The parlors in question were found in violation of the Funeral Rule, a regulation enacted in 1984 that requires every funeral home to deliver a specific, itemized list of all goods and services called a General Price List, or "GLP." The funeral home must deliver this GLP before offering any kind of package deals and must include realistic information about the customer's actual needs.

The FTC adopted this rule to make sure that businesses don't take advantage of consumers when they're at their most vulnerable, swooping in with tied-together packages and easy paperwork for families who are only worried about how they'll deal with the death of a loved one. Easy paperwork is admirable of course, especially during a difficult time, but not when it comes with extra costs lining an imported teak wood coffin.

According to Craig Tregillus, Funeral Rule Coordinator for the FTC, this kind of predatory practice used to be commonplace.

"Back in the '50s and '60s and '70s if you walked into a funeral home and only wanted a direct cremation, as many people do today, you basically had to pay the price for a full funeral," Tregillus said, "because that was the only thing the funeral home would sell you. And that was why the Funeral Rule was put out, to unbundle that service so that you could buy only what wanted or needed."

Similar, somewhat ironically, to weddings, every aspect of a funeral seems loaded with meaning. When a funeral director pushes expensive packaged options, customers can often feel like it's disrespectful to a loved one's memory to eliminate them based on money. Unfortunately, this can also lead to spending far more than the customer had wanted.

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,804.80 +26.65 0.15%
S&P 500 2,070.65 +9.42 0.46%
NASDAQ 4,765.38 +16.9840 0.36%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs