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At some point in your life you will likely be involved in planning the funeral of a loved one. Despite the best laid plans, mistakes and misunderstandings with the funeral home can arise. The good news is that you have the right to file a complaint. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has established laws for funeral homes and state regulatory boards exist along with consumer watchdog groups such as the Funeral Consumers Alliance to hear complaints.
Get a copy of the Federal Trade Commission's laws before making any funeral plans or arrangements. Choose a funeral home accredited by the state. Be aware of the regulations set by your state's funeral regulatory board.
Choose your funeral home carefully. Consider whether the funeral home offers an itemized lists of fees, various types of arrangements and a variety of products and services, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Keep careful notes as soon as problems start to occur. Record names, dates and conversations. If a friend or family member is working with you on the funeral, have them keep notes as well.
Meet with the funeral home director to discuss the problems. Be courteous but honest. Working from your notes, give a clear description of the problems. Let him know how you feel and what you want by way of a resolution. A good funeral director will work with you to correct errors and find ways of solving problems. If the meeting does not result in actions to address your concerns, that is the time to file a complaint.
Write to the FTC immediately if the funeral home is in violation of their laws. Again, work from your notes and be specific in terms of dates, times and the nature of the problem. Mail a copy of your complaint to the funeral director, another to the funeral regulatory board of your state, and another to the Better Business Bureau. Complaints that are not FTC violations can be sent to the latter organizations. Copies should also be sent to the Funeral Consumers Alliance. Investigations will probably be conducted by your state's regulatory board. You may be able to get a partial or full refund. The company may be fined or reprimanded. In extreme cases the director may lose his license. By filing a complaint you could help to improve conditions and the service by other customers.
Jennifer Allen obtained her Bachelor of Arts in economics and a Bachelor of Arts in political science, and has worked in finance since May 2006. She completed her Master of Arts in human resource management in December 2009. Allen has written a variety of articles that are published on various websites.