Consumer Group Opposes Merger (Continued)

  • SCI’s Eden Memorial Park in California is embroiled in a similar class action case that remains ongoing. “ The evidence indicates there has been a pervasive practice of grave disturbances and desecrations at Eden Memorial Park Cemetery spanning an approximate 30 year time period. A number of groundskeepers and supervisors have admitted under oath they routinely damaged and broke burial vaults containing human remains,” according the lead law firm.
  • Funeral Consumers Alliance has collected hundreds of complaints from families around the country. These families report SCI funeral homes and cemeteries have violated federal regulations protecting grieving consumers from funeral fraud, that strangers are found buried in graves families bought decades before, and that aggressive salespeople (SCI calls them “family service counselors”) have blatantly lied about non-existent government regulations so consumers would be forced to buy expensive burial services they didn’t want.

Funeral Consumers Alliance reminds the Federal Trade Commission that funeral purchases are unlike any other in their potential to harm the customer. Families buying funeral and cemetery services are incredibly vulnerable and have been subject to deceitful and egregious conduct. Indeed, the FTC’s own “Funeral Rule,” enacted in 1984, was a response to the overwhelming record of routine deception and consumer abuse across the funeral industry.

“This is not a run of the mill merger; this isn’t about whether a $20 retail product will cost consumers $5 more,” Slocum said. “We’re talking real money here. Funeral consumers often make great economic sacrifices to bury their loved ones. The average full-service funeral runs in excess of $7,000 and often for much more at SCI’s Dignity locations. Especially when it has faced less competition, SCI has increased prices and we can expect more of the same if this merger occurs. Given the lack of knowledge about funeral options and the stress of grief, we can’t just say a ‘rational consumer’ will vote with their dollars and choose another funeral home.  That’s not how the unique funeral transaction works, and that reality is why the FTC specifically regulates funeral homes.”

Josh Slocum

FCA Executive Director


802-233-6326 (cell)