for funerals, caskets, cremation, cemetery plots.
FIND a FAIR-priced mortuary - regardless of
         its distance
- up to 75 miles away or more.
 In Arizona, use a Good Shepherd Program mortuary.
In other states, phone mortuaries until you find a
         fair-priced one.
OR phone your local FCA.
      Your local FCA (Funeral Consumer Alliance) is a non-profit,
         volunteer consumer group that surveys mortuary prices in
         your area. It can give you a short list of the lower-priced
         mortuaries affiliated with it. It monitors these to make sure
         that families are happy with the prices and services.
      Go to or phone 1-800-765-0107, the
         national office, to obtain the phone number of your local
         group. There is usually a membership fee of about $30 to
         pay for their phone, printing and mailing expenses.

2. Have viewing and ALL services in your nearby church,
         synagogue, or home - so that you're not forced to use
         a high-priced mortuary nearby.
 The industry works hard to maintain the myth that you should
         use a nearby mortuary - so that you will use it and pay its
         outrageous prices because you believe the myth.
      High-priced mortuaries give
gifts/bribes to many clergy to coax
         them to
not permit you to use your church for some of the
         services - to force you to use a nearby mortuary. If your pastor
         does this, call your denomination, bishop, newspapers and TV
         to stop the bribery and injustice.

3. Don't buy costly, fraudulent "Protective seal" gasket
         caskets that bloat and severely damage every body.
     MOST families are tricked into buying them because
         morticians make a
huge profit from each one. Morticians
         force families to buy them by displaying only these, and few
         or none of the hundreds of the beautiful, non-gasket caskets.
Buy a beautiful, less-costly, safe, non-gasket casket.
     Many models and colors are offered by wholesale distributors
         in every community, delivered free in two hours.)

4. "Don't Prepay for Your Funeral" is the warning of
MONEY magazine in its "Retire With Money" newsletter.
     Be cautious with "pre-arranging" a funeral because many
         mortiicans try
coax you to change this to "prepay" and
lose every cent of thousands of dollars you prepay.
- - Site established 1995

                              MORE THAN
                used by most mortuaries, cemeteries and prepay plans.

or benefits from them.

              In addition to the ridiculous high prices for funeral services and caskets,
these deceptive tactics greatly INCREASE the rip-off, and can even DOUBLE it.

                      Several of the tactics SEVERELY DAMAGE EVERY body.


130+ DECEPTIVE TACTICS used daily nationwide:

    Of the 130+ tactics used daily by mortuaries, cemeteries and prepay plans nationwide, here we list more than 50 of the most frequently-used tactics.

    MANY of these tactics WILL BE USED with your family.

  You need to read through ALL of these tactics in this list so that you will NOTICE them when they are being used with your family (by a mortuary, cemetery or a prepay plan salesperson in your home) - and be ready to AVOID them, COMPLAIN about them, or END your visit and contact another company.

     By KNOWING about these tactics, you can save thousands of dollars of rip-off and severe damage to every relative's body.

     DON'T BE BASHFUL about objecting to these tactics; the mortician is not bashful about using them to rob you. Even if you notice a tactic and object to it, he will be not be bashful about using all the other tactics he has ready for you - so keep your eyes open regarding everything that happens.



     First, we explain one tactic in detail so that you can see how much money can be made from just one tactic, and how easily a mortician can use a tactic without your noticing it. Often, a dozen or more tactics are used on each family.

Example: SEVERAL DIFFERENT PRICE LISTS at the same mortuary:

     Some mortuaries print five or more different price lists, such as lists A, B, C, D and E. Each list may have a total price higher than the previous list - perhaps $1,000 higher - for exactly the same services and caskets.

     (Price List length: All of a mortuary's prices could be put on one page, however, mortuaries stretch them out to five, eight or ten pages or more to confuse families and make it easier for them to trick families into buying more things than they intended.))

     The mortician, to decide which list to use with your family,  asks about your dad's address, the kind of work he did, the number of brothers and sisters coming to the funeral, etc., to estimate how much he thinks he/she can help or trick your family to spend.

     He then gives your family the list with the highest prices he thinks will help him get the most money from you. He leaves you for a minute to secretly ask the secretary to change price tags on all caskets to match the prices on the list he has decided to use. (He needs to do this to obey the FTC "Funeral Rule" that requires that prices on the price list must match the price tags on each casket in the display room.)

     The prices for your funeral's items on Price List A add up to $4,000 total.(although $2,000 is a fair price for the items) so the family suffers a $2,000 rip-off.  The family with List B pays $5,000 total for the same funeral and casket - for a $3,000 rip-off.

     If he gives you List E, you will pay $9,000 total for the same funeral and casket as all the others, for a total of $7,000 rip-off. And the mortician is nice to you, and tries to seem to be honest and caring the whole time. He doesn't have to be rude or use any pressure to rip you off of $7,000. He is so nice that you may recommend him to other families.

     So easy: The high prices charged for each item of your funeral and the 130+ deceptive tactics make it so easy to rip you off of thousands of dollars by your "honest, caring" mortician.

     FAMILIES LOSE $8-9 BILLION each year:  Trusting families lose $8-9 billion each year from the
outrageous prices and deceptive tactics.


DECEPTIVE PRACTICES - Divided below into 10 categories:

     More than 130 deceptive tactics are used by every part of the industry: 1) casket
manufacturers, 2) National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), 3) industry lobbyists in
Washington and your state legislature, 4) public relations firms, 5) insurance companies,
6) prepay plan companies, 7) conglomerates and chains, 8) mortuary schools, 9) your state funeral board members, 10) mortuaries, 11) cemeteries, and 12) salespersons of plans, mortuaries and cemeteries.

     In addition, religious and hospital representatives, denominational executives, dioceses, bishops, ministers, priests, nurses and social workers are coaxed (often by means of generous gifts/bribes) to help with the ripoff.

     In this column, we have divided more than 50 common tactics into 10 categories in the approximate chronological order in which they occur - or the order in which families encounter them. These 50 most common or most harmful tactics are listed in the categories below to give you an idea of the various types of tactics in each category.

     A number of these tactics are also described, with photos, in various pages of this site.

     Many of the tactics are ILLEGAL - against FTC regulations and federal, state, and local laws - but they are used because companies don't think that they will be caught.

     If you notice one or more tactics being used on you, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urges you to phone them immediately at 1-877-382-4357 (FTC-HELP).

     Also call your State Attorney Generals Office ("Fraud Line"), State Funeral Board, Better Business Bureau, and your radio and TV stations, and newspapers. All of these want to hear your story.



    a► Manufacturers' and prepay companies' tactics:

        (1) Manufacturers put no ID identification on caskets so that families and reporters can't
                  compare caskets between various mortuaries or prices listed on this site;

        (2) Make some caskets ugly/"vulgarized" for mortuaries - for mortuaries to use in
                  "bait-and-switch" price-gouging (described below).

        (3) Produce destructive, fraudulent "Protective seal" GASKET caskets;

        (4) Publish fraudulent warranties of 15, 25, 50 and 75 years;

    b► Deceptive contracts are designed, including deceptive "fine print" for mortuaries,
             cemeteries and prepay plans;

    c► "Sales closer" tactics are designed, along with other tactics for salespersons;

    d► Rough sales tactics are designed: Rough mental and physical tactics to be used
             with customers, especially with
elderly at home (such as: disconnect the home's
             phone and refuse to leave until the contract is signed);

    e► Lobby for legislation to benefit the industry and cripple the media and families
              (with U.S. congress, FTC, state legislatures, and county and city officials);

    f ► Religious leaders cheat their people:  Bishops/denominations contract with chains
             to build and operate
unjust mortuaries and cemeteries for them. Allow them to use
unfair high prices, deceptive tactics, deceptive prepay plans/salespersons.
                (As: Baptists, Los Angeles and Montreal archdioceses, Tucson and other dioceses);

    g► Catholic bishops operate unjust mortuaries, cemeteries and prepay plans with unfair
             high prices
and deceptive tactics. (Denver, Phoenix)



    a► Coax U.S. Senators, federal agencies, radio and TV hosts, and local eporters to give
false prices and false statements in hearings, publications, and national TV programs.
False comments such as: "Most morticians are honest", etc..
Harmful advice such as: "Choose a mortuary near your home", etc.)
"Don't Believe" topic page for more examples and names.

    b► Diseminate misinformation to influence the entire public;

    c► Appear on radio/TV programs to deceive the public;

    d► Spread misinformation in national and local TV and radio programs, magazines,
              newspapers, books;

    e► Produce deceptive advertising/press releases/books/pamphlets;

    f ► Plant stories in publications and programs;

    g► Hold public seminars for families, elderly (at churches; food at restaurants, etc.);

    h► Hold hundreds of deceptive presentations every day throughout the U.S. for church and
             senior groups, nursing home residents, nursing and social work classes;


3) MORTUARIES COAX & BRIBE CLERGY AND OTHERS to funnel families to them:5

    a► Mortuaries coax/bribe churches to distribute advertising calendars, prepay fill-ins, leaflets,
             business cards at Sunday services;

    b► Mislead/coax clergy/medical/ICU staff to sign and give letters promising low funeral
             prices, or business cards to give to families to take to a high-priced mortuary;

    c► Mislead/coax/bribe churches/media/hospitals/police to funnel families to high-priced
             mortuaries and thus also make them
more vulnerable to deception and high prices;

    d► Give gifts/bribes to churches/clergy/hospital, hospice staffs/agency staff/social workers;
             (pave parish parking lot; cars to bishop, clergy; $5,000 each to four pastors in Mesa, AZ;
             golf memberships; vacation trips; full-day entertainment; color TVs);

    e► Give large gifts to religions, institutions (as: a funeral chain provides a free hotel in Rome
             for visiting U.S. Catholic bishops - influencing them to help rip-off dioceses' families);


4] PREPAY PLANS USE FRAUD in homes and at mortuaries:7

    a► Use deceptive wording in prepay contracts (3-worst: "non-refundable", "non-transferable"
              "non-revocable"); 16" sheets of unreadable fine print; many are
valid only after all is paid.

    b► Salespersons use deceptive tactics in homes;

    c► Offer ONLY high-priced items;

    d► Lie about contract words/fine print;

    e► Write incorrect model numbers/descriptions on contract; write non-valid words;

    f ► They don't let families keep a copy; etc.);

    g► Salespersons use rough mental and physical tactics with the person at the home,
              especially with
elderly (such as: disconnect phone and refuse to leave the home until
              the person signs the contract);

    h► Cemeteries change cemetery zoning and regulations after a contract is signed, to require
              families to buy high-priced grave markers, etc.;



    a►  Similar to the funeral prepay tactics above;

      ►  (more tactics will be added)



    a► Misleading answers to persons who call with questions;

    b ► False price information;

       ► (more tactics will be added)



    a► RIDICULOUS HIGH PRICES are set by mortuaries on caskets and funerals.
           (HIGH prices: the PRINCIPAL RIP-OFF TACTIC of the industry, often 1,000% profit.)

                Your NEIGHBORHOOD MORTUARIES claim to be "HONEST" and "CARING," but
ROB EVERY FAMILY in your neighborhood of thousands of dollars each.

                 EXAMPLE: For a Funeral and Beautiful Metal Casket costing mortuaries $1,100:
                      Mortuary A charges $1,952,  for a fair $  852 profit.
                      Mortuary B charges $5,000, an unfair $3,900 profit.
                      Mortuary C charges $9,900, an unfair $8,800 profit.

           SOLUTION 1:  DON'T use a mortuary in your neighboorhood.
                      Find a FAIR-PRICED mortuary regardless of its distance from you.
                Have visitation and all services in a NEARBY CHURCH - so that you don't need a nearby
                      high-priced mortuary's "synthetic chapel".

           SOLUTION 2:  HELP TO STOP the rip-off by warning every family via your church
                      bulletin; and list names of fair-priced mortuaries.
                Tell your newspapers and TV stations to do stories about the situation.

    b►  Mortuaries use DOZENS of tactics with each family to deceive you and increase the final
Each tactic will be listed and explained shortly.)

    c► Use several different price lists (explained in detail at the beginning of this column).

    d► Coax families to allow mortuary name to be prominent in obituary;

    e► Use tactics that degrade funeral and religious ceremonies - to increase profit;

    f ► Morticians want to be SEEN being friendly with clergy at funerals so that families will
                think the pastor is a close friend
of mortician and think the pastor recommends him..
           (Some pastors refuse to be seen talking with a mortician so that they don't give the "close
                friend" impression.
            Industry and other publications have reported about Wasielewski asking morticians to
                leave or sit in a back pew because of their attempts to insert themselves into the
                ceremonies or pass out mortuary literature to families sitting in pews.)

    g► Deceive hospital/hospice/police to allow mortuary to take body;



    a► CASKET PRICES are set UNJUSTLY HIGH by mortuaries: "PRICE GOUGING"
   (HIGH prices: the PRINCIPAL RIP-OFF TACTIC of the industry, often 1,000% profit.)

                EXAMPLE: For a $452 wholesale beautiful metal casket:
                      Mortuary A
charges $   652,  for a fair $   200 profit, a 144% markup;

                      Mortuary B charges $4,600, an unfair $4,148 profit, a 1017% markup.


                 MOST metal caskets in mortuaries are this HIGH-PRICED, HIGH-PROFIT type.
                 YOUR family probably always buys this type - damaging every body of your family.
SEVERELY DAMAGE EVERY BODY. They BLOAT them out of shape, turn soft
                        parts into
MUSH, and create gas that EXPLODES many in mausoleums daily.
MOST FAMILIES BUY THEM (including your family) because morticians promote them
don't warn families about the great harm - to obtain the high profit they bring.

              These metal caskets are sold for much HIGHER PRICES than non-gasketed caskets
                        using the
FALSE claim of "protecting" bodies.
promote them (with special placement, lighting, and fraudulent warranties)
don't warn families of the danger in order to obtain the high profit.

                        (Note: Catholic dioceses of Phoenix, Los Angeles, Denver and Montreal cheat their families
                        by displaying ONLY this harmful type of metal casket, or mainly this type; charge high prices;
                        help to
destroy families' bodies; and don't warn families of the harm - for high profit.)

           SOLUTION:  Demand to see some of the hundreds of beautiful SAFE, NON-GASKET
                    metal caskets, or
color photos of them (that every mortuary has).
If they refuse to cooperate, LEAVE and go to a fair mortuary.

    c► "BAIT AND SWITCH" phone tactic of mortuaries: They give the price of their "vulgarized"
                 casket on phone, but families find at the mortuary that this casket has been

[an FTC term] by ugly, rough "Hammertex" [means rough texture] paint
                 sprayed over the entire casket and over its DECORATIONS,
and perhaps also
                 scratching the casket, breaking a handle or hinge, and filling the pillow with
                 shredded-wood (the excelsior used in evaporative coolers) and rubbing the scratchy
                 pillow against a family member's face to "feel the difference".

           [See the "vulgarized" Trindex casket on the "Caskets and Photos" page (also, at lower left
                 in our Good Shepherd brochure).

           [This is the "vulgarized" version of the SAME "copper" casket in the photo below it, the
                 ''Sierra". The ONLY reason that we only show the Trindex is so that families can see how
this tactic is used by nearly every "honest"-claiming mortuary in the U.S.

           [See the up to $2,500 markup/profit of mortuaries (claiming to be "honest, caring") for an
ugly-color/"vulgarized" casket and the up to $5,500 markup/profit for a pleasing-color
                  version of the
SAME casket (column 1 and column 2 of the Houston survey.]

    d► Display only high-priced caskets, although they have others.

    e► Shame the family by saying that a costly casket is "the last thing you can do for your Dad
                if you loved him"
; "Wasn't your husband worth $3,000?"; etc.



    a► Salespersons state or write false information on the contract about cemetery/burial/grave
                 location (as: false grave location; not including all items needed; etc.);

    b► Change cemetery regulations or zoning to require higher-priced items after a contract
                 is signed;

    c► Require buying high-priced vault and marker from cemetery;

    d► High-fee to use vault or marker from outside source;

    e► Bury several families' bodies in same grave;

    f ► Discard bodies or move them.



    a►  Morticians visit families to sell them "bereavement sessions" which are meetings of
                 bereaved family members at the mortuary
claiming to help relieve their grief. (One
                 "wonderful relief activity" is to light a candle and say the name of your relative.)
             However, the
MAIN purpose is to coax the bereaved to COAX relatives and friends
                 to BUY prepay plan
s by falsely telling them that this will really help relieve their grief;-

    b►  State funeral boards are composed of all funeral industry persons or a majority of them
                 so that consumers have little or no chance of getting relief;

    d► Tactics to derail families' efforts at state board meetings to obtain corrections of deception,
                 abuse, errors and unfair charges; etc.;

    e► Chains fly in a group of their lawyers to state board meetings to frighten and overpower
                 families who come to complain.


(More tactics will be added shortly.)

♦♦ Topic 8 ♦♦
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-$2,500+.
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-$2,500+.
Click here to return to the LIST of TOPICS
© 1995-2011 Interfaith Funeral Information Committee - Founded 1983
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