March 15, 2011—When Lamar Hankins’ brother died in 2000, the family held a quiet, private graveside service, and they did it themselves. Using a post hole digger, the family took turns digging the small grave into which they placed a homemade container made of PVC material (you’re familiar with it if you’ve seen the white plastic pipes under your sink).
What a difference 11 years makes.
Greenlawn Memorial Park near Port Arthur, Texas, is owned by multi-national chain Service Corporation International. Hankins parents are both dead, and he combined their cremated remains in a similar, but larger PVC container in hopes of conducting a burial like that of his brother. But the staff
Hankins says cemetery supervisor Mark Root lied by claiming Texas regulations required the family to pay a “second right of interment” for this additional burial. Worse, Root told Hankins state regulations prohibited burial in a PVC container (not only is this a lie in Texas, it’s a lie everywhere in the country. No state laws even require a casket, urn, or vault as a condition of burial, let alone a certain type of material).
Read Hankins’ full complaint here.
This is just more evidence that Congress and the Federal Trade Commission need to kick into gear and expand the FTC Funeral Rule to cemeteries. If a funeral director told these sorts of fibs, he’d be subject to a $16,000 fine under the Funeral Rule. But cemeteries can get away with it.