It’s difficult for family and friends to make decisions about funeral arrangements quickly when a loved one passes away. Due to the pandemic or if they live far away, they may need to plan services by phone or online.
When consumers ask for information by phone, the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule requires funeral providers give them accurate information.
Legacy Cremation Services, Funeral and Cremation Group of North America, and their owner of violated the Funeral Rule by making false statements about cremation prices and business locations, the FTC charged in a lawsuit Friday.
Legacy’s online ads make it look like it provides cremation services in thousands of cities and towns, according to the FTC. However, Legacy doesn’t own or operate any crematoriums.
Its staff take customers’ information, give price quotes, and then – often without clear notice to families – arrange for third party crematories and funeral homes to pick up loved ones’ remains and perform cremations. In many cases, the third parties aren’t in the locations Legacy says it operates. And often Legacy won’t tell families the name or location of the crematory or funeral home.
The FTC also says Legacy makes false claims about its prices. People rarely – if ever – get cremation services for the price Legacy quotes when they call, or for $695, which is the low end of prices Legacy lists on its website. When people complained about price increases, Legacy sometimes threatened – or refused – to return cremated remains until they paid the higher prices.
When consumers are looking for a funeral provider, they should see what people say about their experiences. Search the business’ name online plus words such as “complaint” or “review.”
When consumers talk to a provider about a service, they need to ask what’s included in the price. If a provider won’t answer the questions or give the required information, look somewhere else.
For problems, contact the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.