Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Stiffed For the Bill*

Joseph in IL (*who also came up with the title) sends in this lovely story:

Downstate funeral home keeping cremated remains until debts paid
August 27, 2013 (SPARTA, Ill.) -- A southern Illinois funeral home is defending its decision to hold onto the cremains of two people who died last year until their survivors pay the outstanding funeral expenses and related interest.

McDaniel and Lee Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Sparta, southeast of St. Louis, isn't saying how much is owed by survivors of Shane Inselmann and Deborah Hubert, the Belleville News-Democrat reported Tuesday.
Now, the story from both families is that a third party was responsible for paying the funeral home and in both cases the third party did not in fact make the payment.While it's understandable that the funeral home would want to get paid for services rendered, holding remains essentially hostage until payment is made seems to a fast track to some really bad publicity. Now, given that they've run into two families now that gave the money to Sumdood (who took off with it), it's probably likely that this funeral home caters to a clientele that might not be thinking of funeral expenses in day-to-day life.

There's a suggestion in the article that the way to address this is to hand over the remains and collect payment through other means, like small claims court. It seems that this is at least as likely to result in collection, as it will result in a court summons and legal trail establishing the funeral home's claim to the money. It's hard to see what holding onto the remains will accomplish, other than generating ill will in the community and alienating future clients.

You could say they've urned a bad reputation...

That is all.

5 comments:

Dave H said...

You could say they've urned a bad reputation...

Well, you could say that, if you don't mind making an ash of yourself.

Anonymous said...

But Jay, THIS IS SPARTAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

Illinois.......


:)


Joseph in IL

Rob said...

My daughter died a couple of years back & the funeral home would not touch her remains until the agreed price was paid. She was 20 & had leukemia.
That was a bad week...

Jay G said...

Oh, Rob, I'm so sorry. I can't even imagine.

Dave H said...

Rob, I'm sorry to hear that. My mother-in-law lost both a husband and a child, and she said losing a child was worse by far. My sympathy to you and your family.

I saw an article some years ago where funeral homes have been getting shafted by families who don't want to spend the insurance or inheritance money on a funeral, and the home gets stuck with remains they can't bury. It wouldn't take too many cases of that to prompt funeral directors to demand payment up front.