I always enjoy your notes and comments. Today, I have a letter that I received from someone in the Houston, Texas area who decided to ask the right questions when considering a funeral or cremation provider. She writes:
I contacted a cremation society in my area, to ask a few questions, based on your guidance in an earlier post. First, I was transferred to their funeral director. The lady immediately interrupted me and said that she could did not give pricing information over the phone. Is that not a violation of some sort? I know that other funeral homes in the area have always provided details over the phone.
The young lady informed me that she is tired of being shopped and that she now only allows face-to-face meetings. I am guessing that she probably loses a great deal of business this way. She was very cold and quite rude. Based on her telephone skills, I would never do business with her, but I was curious to know how she would answer questions face-to-face and set an appointment.
Upon my arrival, I realized this cremation “society” was actually a converted house in a less than desirable part of town. As soon as I walked in, there was a dog freely roaming around, which I would think might not be appropriate for all guests. The funeral director’s personality had not changed much from our phone conversation, but she did indicate that it was the owners dog and she just had to “put up with it.”
Using your guidance, I asked about whether or not they owned their own crematory. She said they have access to one. I asked here where it was located and she said it is not nearby, but didn’t offer any other information. I asked her if she had ever been there. She said she had not. So, I asked how she could offer services from a place she had never been to. Her reply, “just like I work here, but don’t own it.” I asked who transported the bodies to and from this crematory. She said the crematory had “a guy.” I asked her if the crematory had refrigeration for those waiting to be cremated. She could not answer that.
Needless to say, I gathered the pricing information and politely told her I would think about it. As soon as I returned to my car, I muttered “fat chance!” I can not believe this funeral director has any business at all. Just thought you might find it interesting. Also, after further research, I found another provider who was able to provide appropriate answers. As always, I enjoy your blog and thank you for looking out for consumers.
Thank you Nanette!
Wow, what a great letter. I hope you can now see why it is so important to ask questions before making a decision. Also, the failure of the funeral director to provide pricing information is a violation of the Federal Trade Commission. I am sending you their address and ask that you make a report. With the popularity of cremation on the rise, so will the number of questionable and unethical practices, I am afraid. It is very important to do just what you did and ask questions.