FUNERALS and RIPOFFS
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                                       READ
                 MAGAZINE and NEWSPAPER
                                  ARTICLES

           
              about funerals and the funeral industry

       Articles about the funeral industry, prices, unfair tactics and other aspects.
(TO READ:
Below this condensed list, click on an article's site address to read the article. Use your BACK arrow to return to this window.)



1)  Cover: "Don't Die Until You Read This", U.S. News & World Report magazine, March 23, 1998.

     Article: "The Deathcare Business: The funeral industry goliaths make lots of money off your grief." Extensive national article describes the industry;  huge chains raising funeral prices by buying mortuaries and cemeteries in most U.S. cities;  church participation in the rip-off;  and the years of reform efforts of Rev. Henry Wasielewski, one of the founders of our IFIC.

2)  Article: "Why the steep prices?", Episcopal Life magazine, February 1, 2004; by Nan Cobbey.

3)  Article: "THE FINAL PAYMENT: The Funeral Industry is Greedier Than Ever. Here's How To Avoid A Gouging On Your Funeral", Money magazine, Sept. 1/1997.

4)  Article: "Funerals: Confusion, high prices", The Arizona Republic newspaper, May 18, 2008

5)  Cover: "Dead Wronged: Shocking mistakes by area funeral homes have left some grieving families with few answers and little recourse", Times newspaper, Phoenix, Arizona, July 2008.
   
Article: "Dead Wronged", Times, July 2008.
   
Article: "Dead Wronged II", Times, August 2008

6)  Article: "Last Wrongs", Commonweal, a national Catholic magazine, August 13, 2004.

7)  Article: "Funeral Industry Colludes With Clergy to Fleece Laity", Insight on the News,  Dec. 11, 2000,  by Armstrong Williams, nationally syndicated radio host

6)  Articles in the Los Angeles New Times newspaper - regarding the contract for the Stewart chain to build its own mortuaries on nine archdiocese cemeteries; and the new cathedral.
 
                                                      (More articles coming)
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                                   ARTICLES:

1)  Cover:  "Don't Die Until You Read This", U.S. News & World Report magazine, March 23, 1998.

    Article: "The Deathcare Business: The funeral industry goliaths make lots of money off your grief." Extensive article.
    To read,
click:  www.interment.com/articles/goliaths.html
   
Click your BACK arrow to return to this window.

     In the article, Fr. Wasielewski of our Interfaith Committee is quoted as condemning LA Cardinal Mahony's actions as "sinful" for contracting with Stewart Enterprises. Metairie, Louisiana to build its Stewart mortuaries on the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese's nine cemeteries (now increased to nine mortuaries over the six in article). (Type "henry wasielewski" into Yahoo, Google).

     The director of the archdiocese's cemeteries says "Cemeteries are a big revenue generator for the diocese." The cathedral's final cost is $200 million, up from the projected $100 million in article.

     To estimate Stewart's markup and profit, the writer asked Wasielewski for the wholesale price of the Batesville "Kensington Green" casket, priced at $3,495. The wholesale cost was $675, thus a markup of 5.17 times wholesale, for a profit $2,820. This is TWICE as much markup and profit as the "2.5 times wholesale" that morticians often say is the most that any mortuary would charge.

     In the "POINT system code" that morticians use (so that people and reporters won't know what they are talking about if they overhear them), morticians would say: "Our mortuary charges SIX POINTS on this casket," which means a "6 times wholesale" markup. This means charging $3,000 for a $500 wholesale casket, for a high profit of $2,500 on the $500 box. "Point" comes from the point in "2.5 times wholesale", which they refer to as "two point five" markup in their code.

     The article has photos of the cardinal digging the first shovelful for the new cathedral, of Wasielewski in the Yaqui-style cemetery in Guadalupe, and of Eddie Chavez. Chavez, retired but selling caskets from Tempe, was a funeral director and was manager of a casket distribution center in Phoenix. Because he was supplying caskets to Botimer's fair-priced mortuary, sugar was put into his trucks' gas tanks to destroy the motors, and a casket manufacturer cut off its supply of their caskets to him. It resumed supply when Botimer threatened a lawsuit.

2)  Article: "Why the steep prices?", Episcopal Life magazine, February 1, 2004; by Nan Cobbey.
    To read, click:
www.episcopalchurch.org/26769_55215_ENG_HTM.htm
    Click your
BACK arrow to return to this window.

3)  Article: "THE FINAL PAYMENT: The Funeral Industry is Greedier Than Ever. Here's How To Avoid A Gouging On Your Funeral", Money magazine, Sept. 1/1997.
    To read, click:
www.money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/moneymag_archive/
1997/09/01/230943/index.htm

    Click your BACK arrow to return to this window.

4)  Article: "Funerals: Inconsistant costs, wide confusion",  The Arizona Republic newspaper, May 18, 2008.
    To read,
click:
www.azcentral.com/news/articles/
2008/05/18/20080518priceofdeath0511.html

    Click your
BACK arrow to return to this window.

     The article is followed by many readers' comments. Notice that Greer-Wilson Mortuary's price of $1,305 and Phoenix Memorial Park's price of $4,700 DON'T include a casket, so increase their prices by $1,500+ and $2,500 to include a casket like the Good Shepherd program's -- and compare the totals with the Good Shepherd's $1,952 funeral with the casket.

     Angel Mortuary's Direct Cremation at $475 doesn't include all that is needed. This shows how mortuaries mislead families, and how much a family needs to know about cremation, prices and mortuary tactics in order to figure out what the price really is when trying to compare various mortuaries by phone.

5)  Cover: "Dead Wronged: Shocking mistakes by area funeral homes have left some grieving families with few answers and little recourse", Times newspaper, Phoenix, Arizona, July 2008.
   
Article: "Dead Wronged", Times, July 2008.
   
Article: "Dead Wronged II", Times, August 2008
    To read,
click:
www.timespublications.com/july08-feature1.asp and
www.timespublications.com/aug08-feature2.asp
    Click your
BACK arrow to return to this window.

6)  Article: "Last Wrongs", Commonweal, a national Catholic magazine, by John Cort, August 13, 2004. (The article also mentions Laderman 's books "Rest in Peace" and "A Cultural History of Death and the Funeral Home in Twentieth-Century America")
    To read,
click:
www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1252/is_14_131/ai_n9505388
    Click your
BACK arrow to return to this window.


7)  Article: "Funeral Industry Colludes With Clergy to Fleece Laity", Insight on the News,  Dec 11, 2000,  by Armstrong Williams, nationally syndicated radio host.
    To read,
click:
www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1571/is_46_16/
ai_72329022?tag=rel.res4

    Click your
BACK arrow to return to this window.

8)  Articles in the Los Angeles New Times.
    To read,
click:
www.bishop-accountability.org/ca-la/mahony-2001-12.htm
    Click your
BACK arrow to return to this window.

     Here are two articles in the LA New Times regarding funerals, cemeteries and the new cathedral. Cardinal Mahony said the archdiocese couldn't afford $20 million to repair previous cathedral after the 1994 earthquake (however, experts said repair would only be $2.5 mil). But he later announced his plan for a $100 million cathedral; with the final cost: $200 million.

     The articles tell of the contract with the Stewart chain to build its own mortuaries on nine archdiocese cemeteries; and the new cathedral. Stewart's lease at the nine cemeteries is for 40 years. The article mentions Stewart's other money-making deals, Simplicity Plan, and Western Sequoia.

    Pastors of parishes in low income areas wrote complaints against the new high-priced Stewart mortuaries. The cardinal threatened them with removal from their parishes if they didn't write retractions of their complaints.
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Lea articulos de los periódicos y revistas nacional.   >


♦♦ Topic 12 ♦♦
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ESSENTIAL FAMILY INFORMATION
Truthful information -- needed immediately

if a death occurs, or one is expected,
or if considering a prepay plan.


How to Arrange for a Funeral
and avoid the unfair prices and deceptive tactics
used by
most mortuaries, cemeteries and prepay plans.

FAIR PRICES:  Funerals with Beautiful Metal Caskets: $2,200,
not $4000-$10,000.  Cremation: $700, not $1,500-$2,200+.
ESSENTIAL FAMILY INFORMATION
Truthful information -- needed immediately
if a death occurs, or one is expected,
or if considering a
prepay plan.

How to Arrange for a Funeral
and avoid the unfair prices and deceptive tactics
used by
most mortuaries, cemeteries and prepay plans.

FAIR PRICES:  Funerals with Beautiful Metal Caskets: $2,200,
not $4000-$10,000.  Cremation: $700, not $1,500-$2,200+.
© 1995-2011 Interfaith Funeral Information Committee - Founded 1983. .
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