The Undertaker…there to take all your money and prey on your grief at a time when you need someone to help. That has been the adage for many years.
We are taught from a very young age the old saying “Let the buyer beware,” but often times we do not listen or pay attention to that very sound advice.
Today, more than ever, you need to be aware that many cremation companies are advertising online, and some of these companies are ‘shell companies’ that are not even licensed by the Texas Funeral Service Commission. These websites simply exist to entice you to call a toll-free number or a virtual local phone number for “Simple, Easy Cremation Arrangements – No office visit necessary, etc.”
What you do not know is the company may be located away from the city you actually need help in and they are simply cremation brokers, hoping to entice you with a low price. What happens typically is your loved one is taken to a third party company: for lack of a better term, a ‘body contractor.’ Even worse, your loved one may be taken to a facility in a distant city and you never know it happens.
How Can You Prevent This?
- A Funeral Establishment or Crematory Establishment must be licensed by the Texas Funeral Service Commission. You can go to this website, License Search, and see if the company you are doing business as is truly licensed. Another helpful link is the Better Business Bureau. There, you can find out if the business is accredited and in good standing.
- Ask Questions. Many times asking simple questions can tell you if the company you are talking to is local or not.
- Where is my loved one cremated?
- Do you own the crematory?
- Can I come visit your facility?
- Can I see the crematory?
You will be surprised to know many of the predatory cremation firms use multiple websites and phone numbers to draw consumers to their business. This deception is designed to make it look like you are viewing several different companies when, in fact, you are looking at a website that ultimately lead you to the same company.
Texas law prohibits a funeral home from using multiple trade names: Texas Administrative Code Chapter 203 Rule 203.29 Section (2) Irrespective of the name on the website, provisions must be made on the website so that an individual who wishes to consummate a funeral-related transaction must not be able to complete such a transaction without openly and apparently dealing with the licensed entity under the licensed name as reflected in the records of the Texas Funeral Service Commission. (3) All locations advertised shall be licensed by the Texas Funeral Service Commission.
So let the buyer beware! If a company is willing to mislead you to get you in the door, what are they willing to do after they get your loved one there?