|♦♦ Topic 13 ♦♦|
COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS
THROUGH THE CENTURY
about funerals and the funeral industry
These statements show that, from its beginning until now,
the entire funeral industry has been greedy and corrupt -
caring more about money than about families.
"As early as 1903, social workers were complaining that the undertakers
invariably managed to find out the amount of industrial insurance carried
by the deceased, and then make sure that their bills were sufficiently
large to ABSORB ALL of the insurance money available."
--The American Way of Death, famous investigative book
by Jessica Mitford, 1963
"... as long as the public is IGNORANT of what funeral service and
merchandise SHOULD COST and as long as (it is) possible for
inefficient and superfluous (mortuaries) to continue there is
LITTLE HOPE of lowering funeral prices to the public or
correcting the flagrant abuses."
--Funeral Costs, John Gebhardt, 1928 (examination of 15,000 funeral invoices
-- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company)
A 1958 nationwide survey of clergymen found that 51% of Protestant
clergymen and 41% of Catholic clergymen believed that
morticians exploited their congregations.
(However, most denominations and churches have done little to stop the rip-off or
protect their congregations. Many bishops and clergy even help with the rip-off.)
"It is highly probable that the most satisfactory funeral service for the
average family is one in which the COST has necessitated
some degree of sacrifice.
This permits the survivors to atone for any real or fancied neglect
of the deceased prior to his death."
-- National Funeral Service Journal, August 1961
(This idea enables morticians to NOT FEEL GUILTY about cheating every family.
The MORE MONEY a mortician ROBS from a family, the more he can
pretend that he helps them with their grief.)
"In Florida, the most outrageous misrepresentation, intimidation,
and harassment of bereaved survivors are a matter of frequent
public record. ... (the unfair practices are) not isolated occurrences
confined to the unethical few.
... There is no significant movement from within the business, however,
even from the ethical practicioner, to reform what has become
a ghoulish, profit-above-all , final ripoff. ..."
-- "Final Ripoff Can't Last Forever" Editorial, Miami Herald,
June 20, 1978
1972-75: Federal Trade Commission's nationwide investigation
of the funeral industry.
1976: 526 page Report proposes "Funeral Rule" regulations to prohibit
hundreds of abuses.
1976-1982: FTC is forced to "water down" the proposed regulations
four times by industry lobbying.
1984: FTC's "Funeral Rule" finally goes into full effect.
"What is the greediest, most rapacious industry in America? ...
Mortuaries are the most rapacious industry ... Many pad costs
in a unconscionable manner, inflating the wholesale price of caskets
by up to 900 percent, charging exorbitant fees for minimal services.
... [W]ith a handful of exceptions, much of the industry takes advantage
of people at their most vulnerable time.
... The clergy bear a special responsibility for this state of affairs ...
[They] often make recommendations based on the myth that
all mortuaries charge the same prices or on little real knowledge of costs.
... price gouging, exorbitant prices and deceptive practices
should be held up to public scorn."
-- The American Way of Death is Unnecessarily Expensive."
The Arizona Republic newspaper, December 29, 1985
"There are so many horrible things happening in the industry here
that I can't honestly tell consumers where they can go to get a funeral
in California done properly."
-- Member of the California Cemetery Board, 1992
"Nearly every family in nearly every community is ripped off
by nearly every mortician in the U.S."
-- Rev. Henry Wasielewski of our IFIC - 90 million television viewers
saw and heard his words three times - during the 1993 Super Bowl broadcast,
in previews for his appearance on NBC-TV's "DATELINE" funeral investigation
program a few days later.