|Date: 10/03/2002 06:06 pm
From: "Pat White" <[redacted]>
CC: "Betty Brown" <[redacted]>
Subject: FTC workshop on e-commerce: casket and funeral panel
FTC workshop on e-commerce: Casket & Funeral Panel:
My husband and I own a retail casket store (The Casket Store). We do not presently have a website, but we believe there should be a law that anyone selling prepaid funerals should be required to place that money in a trust fund and not be allowed to touch it until the persons death. The following is a quote from an article in the Consumers Report magazine dated May 2001. "Houston based Service Corporation (SCI) and Stewart Enterprises of Metairie, La were so desperate for cash last year, they took $84 million from their Florida customer's prepaid funeral trust accounts to make debt payments, replacing the money with surety bonds -IOUs. The switch was apporved by the state Board of Funeral and Cemetery Services, an appointment group that oversees Florida's funeral homes and whose chairman is employed by Stewart". What happens to the customer's money should these companies go under? As we are all aware this can happen.
The following companies, Batesville Casket Co., York Casket Co, Auroa Casket Co and Wilbert Vault Co all refuse to sell to retail casket stores. How can retail stores compete on an even playing ground when these companies refuse to sell to us? Is this not restriction of trade?
Bob & Pat White