The effects of today’s tough economy are being felt almost everywhere — including the funeral and burial industry. The national group Funeral Consumers Alliance says a bill now being debated in the Colorado General Assembly is really a move by industry groups to protect their profits, but at a cost to consumers.
Joshua Slocum directs the Alliance, and he says the bill could restrict choices for consumers, making it more difficult for families to choose cremation or to bury their dead privately without working through a full-service commercial mortuary or registered funeral establishment.
“Competition is heating up, and so a lot of these groups are inappropriately using their state legislature to shut down competition and protect themselves from change.”
Slocum says the proposed changes would affect such things as home or so-called “green” burials that are gaining in popularity, and those who opt for such burials could potentially face sanctions if the bill becomes law.
He says the bill also makes it difficult for start-ups and alternative service providers in the funeral and burial business.
“Entrepreneurs and upstarts who might bring competition and lower funeral costs for families can’t do it because the bill protects the interests of mortuaries that are already entrenched in Colorado.”
Slocum says his group agrees that there should be regulation in the funeral and burial industry.
“But we’re pro effective regulation and we’re against rules that don’t protect the public, but protect the funeral homes from the public.”
The funeral industry says the bill is about protecting the health, safety and financial interests of consumers and the public, but Slocum says it looks transparently like a move to protect industry interests. He also charges that it contains sloppy writing and contradictions that could create headaches down the road.
— Colorado News Connection