Senior Resources » Elder Law » Consumer Rights in Funeral Planning, with Dan White

Consumer Rights in Funeral Planning, with Dan White

Dan White at Evergreen Washelli talks about consumer rights when it comes to funeral planning, governed by the FCC. When shopping and pre-planning for either a casketed funeral or cremation is that the company is required to be able to present a general price list covering services as well as a casket price list.

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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.

The following podcast is a special presentation of answers for elders featuring evergreen was shelley, and welcome to answers for elders radio everyone. I am here with Mr Dan White, who’s the Northwest Territory Manager for Abby View Memorial Park, with evergreenwash shelley. Dan, glad to have you back today. Hi, Suzanne, glad to be here. You know, one of the things that we all think about in this is an unpleasant topic for a lot of us, but we have to. We’re all going to die some day. And yet, you know, I think it’s interesting. You shared with me something that I think is really valuable and you talked about the fact that there is actually consumer rights when it comes to funeral planning and that you’re governed by the FCC. Is that correct? Yes, so to see what US why don’t we talk a little bit today about, you know, the consumer rights if you’re going to come in and plan a funeral, what are your rights as a consumer if you go to to make those plants? Well, in today’s world, everyone, especially with the Internet and the consumer is Suir is a lot smarter. They’re more informed their shopping and they are shopping right. They are shopping. So one thing to to know about when you are shopping and preplanning for either a cremation or for a full body casketed funeral h that when you contact that particular company right they are required by the FTC to be able to present to you what’s called a general price list, which is simply a listing of the services that we provide, and also a casket price list, which also then details as far as the caskets of which we carry in their their relative pricing, and the purpose of this is so that you have something to where you can compare apples for apples. So I have a question for you. If I go on the Costco website, I can buy a casket. How does that? How is that different than, I guess, going directly to you? It’s not. Well, it is different because they’re a casket company. This selling you a cast or just a distributor. There are just that’s just a product. All right. You, when you come to do your your the plan your funeral or cremation, you’re talking about services for your loved one and the actual process that may include embalming, may include viewing the services of a funeral home or are mation provider. Okay, not just the product. We sell those same products and so we have to provide those. Were governed that way, but they’re just a manufacture, just like you can go online and lots of urns and sets it right package, but you can disco to you can provide to us your own casket if you want. Got It, so you don’t have to buy a top casket through you it. I mean, that’s right and that’s one of the things that I think maybe people don’t understand that they may choose to have their service every greenwash ally, they may choose to be buried at Abbey view, they might choose to you know, but they could, they can kind of assemble anything that they pretty much want, not locked into one location, and I think that’s something that’s unique that I I know. I didn’t think that there was a difference. And the thing of it is, when you’re preplanning, and if we’re speaking to preplanning, you’re probably better off to go ahead and have us provide absolutely the casket because we lock in the pricing. If you’re buying it from Costco, like you say, then they will deliver it and it’ll sit in your garage. So if that’s what you want to do, that’s okay, you can. It’s it’s not what we would recommend now, but your answer, and I’m sure people they will call Osco and have delivered to the you know, the funeral hall. I’m assuming great, that happens. That does happen in an at need situation. If someone had yeah, that’s what I was passed in the Yes, I was kind of surprised when I saw that. Yeah, I thought Costco sells caskets. Yes, they do, and I’m you know, and and it’s ever changing and obviously, like you said, the Internet has changed things and the world has changed and I know when I’ve been on like think sites like etsy and Ebay, you know there’s like people that actually do things like specially made earns and things like that, and you don’t have to. There’s there’s a lot of things that we as consumers don’t even realize that we have an opportunity to correct. So other places besides the FDC here in the state of Washington, a good place to go would just be to the access Gouv site and you can there are our CW’s title Sixty Eight, Uh Huh, which really regulates cemeteries and morgues and the treatment of human remains. So you can go and you can read. It’s quite extensive right, you know, in the middle of night, if you’re up late and nothing better to do, you could go ahead to do that, but I will let you know that we are we are regulated. So obviously you must get a lot of phone calls from people like just you know, if they’ve just lost a loved one. That has what you know? What are you allowed to tell people on the phone and what are your requirements to say on the phone, and what are the things that they made? People might, you know, want to know, but you you, you know, you’re you’re not in a position to obviously quote certain things too. Well, we are required if someone does call in and they ask specifically, for instance, if they called and say what do you charge for a direct cremation, we are required to tell them, okay, okay, because they ask this specific question. Okay, all right. So we if we are knowledgeable in that, if we are a funeral director or if we are a family service counselor and we can answer those questions, and we do. If it’s simply a receptionist to his answering the phone and does not deal with that, then she can say I can schedule time for you to speak with a funeral director who could then assist you. Okay, so that is what happens generally. When we take those calls, we will generally try to get somebody’s email, sure, and will email them a coin be of our general priceless list, our casket price list, and we’ll try to answer their questions because most of the time when they’re doing that, they’re just trying to decide on who will be picking up their loved one and bringing them into their care M and so we try to give them as much information as we can and answer their questions so that they can better talk with the rest of the family and make the decisions. Sometimes will even invite them in to come to sit with our funeral director and begin to and just talk and ask questions and, you know, before they make that decision. Sure, sure, and you know, I can only imagine at that time of someone’s life when they’re trying to figure out what to do with their their loved one because they didn’t make plans in advance. I reminds me I have a friend that that happened to about two years ago and her mother was up and Bellingham. She lived down here. She wasn’t that close to her mom. The mom was kind of a hoarder and all of a sudden somebody found her dead and she’d been dead several days. It was a horrible ordeal and she all of a sudden had to figure out like how do you deal with all this? And mom was up and Bellingham, she was at the you know, corner, corner, and they had to you know, she had so much time to you know, not very much time to actually make those decisions and correct and it was kind of overwhelming, I remember, for her because you don’t you know, she lives down here. She didn’t know the resources in Bellevue and Bellingham right so she kind of had to go on this little adventure of how do I figure this out and what do I do? And I know how hard this has got to be for families trying to figure out what the best plan is. And of course, obviously, when you’re stressed out, that’s not the time to be at the telling shopping no, it’s not. It’s definitely isn’t, because sometimes you you you know what I you don’t want to regret the decisions that you make right, and so the best way to help plan for that is to preplan. You’re right, really is. I mean and it, and you know you stated it with with your friend being stressed out, and can’t imagine. We all love our loved ones and when we do experience that death, I don’t know, even if you were expecting it, it’s still is a shock and is just go into grieving and you forget things, you are unsure, you try to make quick decisions because as you think you have to, and so all those emotions are building within you and you can make mistakes. It’s a good ideal to be able to do that when everybody’s healthy, when you have an opportunity to talk about really what you want to occur. Get it down on paper, have it, have it in a safe place, even go to the point of choosing the funeral home that you want to use and do the preplanning so that that’s done. If you’re going to have her a placement, choose a cemetery, take care of either buying a niche for cremation or where what your wishes are. If you’re going to be scattered, make that known as well, sure, and if you’re going to have permit places with an apportionment, make that. Make that known. And it’s so interesting you’re saying this, because I took care of my mom for the last six years of her life. I was a stressed out caregiver to the to the Max. Yes, and I knew that day was eventually going to come for her to pass away. Right and when she finally did, all I had to do is pick up the phone and make a phone call, pull the little card out of her wallet and it was done. I didn’t have to worry about a single thing, a single thing. It was incredible. The only thing, I think I had to to pay was it because she had preplay mad pay prepaid her funeral for snohomish county. YEA, and there was an additional tax because she died in King County. Yeah, that’s a that’s that’s a King County medical examiner death certificate review fee. That’s what it is. That’s exactly right. They called Mesa. Well, we have to have this, and I went what? And that goes up. It was up. Yeah, I think it was like three hundred bucks or something like that. Maybe. No, there is, it’s it wasn’t that much. Now it’s seventy currently. I was seventy and it was sixty last year. When seventy this year? Okay, well, something else I had to pay. It was like three hundreds, but maybe I’m I’m losing it. I could have been some some additional fees, but that certainly would have been yeah, okay, so obviously. So, Dan. How do we reach to? You can reach me at Abbey View Memorial Park by calling four to five, four hundred and eighty three, five, five, five, or reach me by email at d white at wash shelleycom. Dan, as usual, it’s always educational. Thank you so much for being here. Thanks you, Dan. My pleasure. This has been a special presentation of answers for elders featuring evergreen. Was Shelley for more information about Evergreen, was shelley. Their website is was shelleycom. That’s WA SHALL ICOM


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Originally published January 27, 2018

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