Preneed Casket Bait and Switch

One of the most common complaints FCA receives regarding prepaid funerals is that the customer picked out and paid for a specific casket, while the family is told (at the time of death) that “this casket is no longer available . . .you’ll have to pick out another one.” Of course, the family usually has to pony up more money for the “new” casket.

But sometimes, the funeral director apparently decides that if the pre-selected casket is “not available” at the time of death, then the best solution is to pawn off a cheaper, flimsier version on the grieving family:

“Dear FCA,

My mother passed away last week. We had already made the pre-funeral arrangements. We had selected a casket. When the time came that we were in need of the casket, they told us that they did not have that casket available and could not be ordered in time. They gave us a choice of 3 other caskets, we were not really happy with the choices but what could we do.He said they had no place to store them and therefore it was not available [EDITOR’s NOTE – This seems an unlikely excuse to us. Most funeral homes keep only a limited number of caskets in stock, and routinely order them from local distributors on an as-needed basis] I informed him that what was the use of selecting a casket if chances are years from now they would not have it available.

After the funeral, the cemetery personnel tried to sell me the preplanning funeral arrangements. It was a different company. I then discovered that the casket my mother was buried was 1,000 less than the one we had pre-selected at the time of the funeral arrangements. The one we had selected was 18 gauge steel and the one she was buried in was 20 gauge steel. Therefore, I feel they were not equal in quality. When I asked the funeral director about it, he tried to give me different reasons for it. I was still not satisfied. ”

Aurelia Rivera, Brownsville Texas”

We’ve encouraged Ms. Rivera to file a complaint with the Texas Funeral Service Commission, and we’ll post updated information on her complaint as it becomes available.

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