Alliance is a grassroots
organization, with local affiliates given much authority for
own policies. One matter in which local practice varies is the question
whether a local chapter should focus on securing steep discounts for
members only or be a voice for all funeral consumers in its area.
of the Piedmont
chooses to be a voice for all funeral consumers in the Piedmont Triad.
of our stance, we do not seek agreements with one or two funeral
would benefit our members at the expense of other consumers.
past, it made more sense for local
funeral consumer groups to seek discounts through member-only
Before the Funeral Rule was introduced by the Federal Trade Commission
funeral homes rarely itemized their services individually so that
could purchase only those they wanted. The only way to obtain funeral
a reasonable cost often was through special rates negotiated with one
suppliers who were willing to give up some of their profits in return
changing. Real competition is beginning to occur in the
funeral industry, prices continue to rise but not as fast. Any
consumer is free, thanks to the Funeral Rule, to visit any funeral home
crematory and obtain a general price list without obligation. Because
disclosure laws, affiliates like ours can create side-by-side
local price lists that further restrain prices. Meanwhile, choices for
disposition are increasing. Today, it is far more practical to teach
how to negotiate a final disposition that meets their particular
and preferences than it is to arrange a group package that won’t be
passive role and let someone else – such as their local FCA chapter –
a deal on their behalf. However there are significant advantages for a
to choose the “consumer advocate” model over the “volume discount” one:
- Informed consumers are wise
consumers. You can learn how
to visit a funeral home or crematory, ask the right questions, and
several price lists. In the process, you
can arrive at an affordable solution that is tailored to your specific
- While discounts might
benefit a few, funeral homes and crematories are apt to make up their
revenue by charging other consumers more.
- By carefully maintaining
our neutrality toward local funeral providers, we are not beholden to
commercial interest. We are more apt to be trusted and perceived as a
source of unbiased information.
- Requiring membership fees
as a condition of obtaining discounts might violate IRS standards for
nonprofits, jeopardizing our right to seek donations and grants as
revenue for our work.
Consumers Alliance of the Piedmont joins
with an increasing number of FCA affiliates in its decision to embrace
“consumer advocacy” approach to our work. We invite you to join us in
on behalf of all funeral consumers in our area as we seek to make
meaningful dispositions affordable for everyone.