2008 1st Quarter
Don’t Get Stung: What You Need to Know About Everestfuneral.com’s Calls to Funeral Homes
Two years ago, Everestfuneral.com launched what they billed as a funeral planning and concierge service. One of the products offered is a “PriceFinder Report,” which offers a comparison of funeral home pricing data in a specific geographic area. To compile these reports, Everest contacts funeral homes by phone and asks for information contained in their GPL. Everest has recently contacted a number of NFDA-member funeral homes. If you receive a call from Everestfuneral.com, or anyone else, you have certain obligations under the Funeral Rule:
Disclosing Prices Over the Phone: The Funeral Rule requires funeral directors to answer telephone inquiries regarding funeral services and prices. Therefore, if you receive a call from an Everest representative, or any consumer, for that matter, inquiring about the cost of various goods and services, you MUST provide that information over the telephone. This requirement applies even though Everest is not a consumer; you are required to provide this information to anyone who calls regardless of whether the caller is a consumer.
Mailing or Faxing a Price List: The Funeral Rule only requires funeral homes to distribute a GPL if there is a face-to-face discussion involving funeral prices, arrangements, services or goods. Therefore, you are not required to mail or fax your GPL to Everest or anyone else who calls and requests a price list. It is up to you to determine whether you want to honor that request, but you are not required to do so.
In the past, Everest employees have implied a relationship with NFDA; please know, NFDA is in no way affiliated with Everestfuneral.com. Should you have questions, please call your personal Member Services Representative at 800-228-6332.
Veterans Administration Publishes 2008 Allowance for Private Purchase of an Outer Burial Receptacle in Lieu of a Government-Furnished Graveliner for a Grave in a VA National Cemetery
Under 38 U. S. C. 2306(e)(3) and (4) and Public Law 104-275, section 213, VA may provide a monetary allowance for the private purchase of an outer burial receptacle for use in a VA national cemetery where its use is authorized. The allowance for qualified interments that occur during calendar year 2008 is the average cost of Government- furnished graveliners in fiscal year 2007, less the administrative costs incurred by VA in processing and paying the allowance in lieu of the Government-furnished g r a v e l i n e r.
The average cost of Government-furnished graveliners is determined by taking VA’s total cost during a fiscal year for single-depth graveliners that were procured for placement at the time of interment and dividing it by the total number of such graveliners procured by VA during that fiscal year. The calculation excludes both graveliners procured and pre-placed in gravesites as part of cemetery gravesite development projects and all double-depth graveliners. Using this method of computation, the
average cost was determined to be $201. 00 for fiscal year 2007.
The administrative costs incurred by VA consist of those costs that relate to processing and paying an allowance in lieu of the Government-furnished graveliner. These costs have been determined to be $9. 00 for calendar year 2008. The allowance payable for qualifying interments occurring during calendar year 2008, therefore, is $192. 00.
NFDA’s Consumer Hotline Highlighted in Consumer Reports Article
Consumer Reports magazine recently mentioned NFDA’s Funeral Service Help Line in an article about consumer complaint resolution. Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union, an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. Even a small mention by Consumer Reports is significant.
The Funeral Service Help Line (800-228-6332) helps consumers:
· Make informed decisions about funeral service and funeral service providers.
Recognize, understand and go through the grieving process in the most appropriate manner.
Address concerns about funeral service experiences.
Find information to help celebrate a loved one’s life in the most meaningful and personal way.
When giving community presentations, writing press releases or updating your funeral home Website, consider including the Funeral Service Help Line number (800-228-6332) as a resource for members of your c o m m u n i t y.
Small Business Administration Expands Content to Help Small Businesses
The Small Business Administration’s Business.gov Website recently launched a new search feature and expanded content to make it easier for small businesses to find essential information, including free forms, licenses, permits and regulatory information from federal, state and local governments. This expanded site gives small business owners access to more than 9,000 state, territory, county and city government Websites. The new search feature makes research easier by delivering results to the specific your geographic area.