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60 Minutes: “Final Resting Place” Story Turns Into 7:00 Minute SCI Bashing [VIDEO]

Last night 60 Minutes lead off their hour-long primetime news program with a story titled “Final Resting Place: Cemeteries Lack Oversight”. The piece portrayed the “death-care” business in a very negative light and one of the things that stood out to many who commented on our Facebook Page was the lack of distinction between locally owned funeral homes and those owned by large corporations.

The hardest hits from the piece were handed to Service Corporation International. The 12 minute and 23 second segment advertised as a look into the corruption of cemetery management spent almost 7 minutes focused on cemeteries owned by SCI.

With a reported $363 million operating profit last year, SCI was pointed out by executive director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, Josh Slocum, as the company that generates “a disproportionately large number of complaints” from consumers.

When asked if the complaints were just because SCI is the worlds largest funeral corporation Solcum said, “I don’t think so because the complaints are so similar. High pressure sales tactics, misleading or outright dishonest information given to consumers, double-sold plots.”

A claim was made by Attorney Michael Avenatti, who has been investigating SCI-owned facilities all over the country, that Eden Memorial Park (Jewish SCI-owned cemetery) charges upwards of $25,000 for a single plot, making it some of the most expensive per square foot property in California.

After watching the 60 Minutes segment commenters on our Facebook Page had this to say:

“Any bad talk of the death-care industry has a negative affect on all aspects because the public tends to believe everyone in the industry is that same way and it’s a negative thing”

“And, Cooper made no effort to distinguish between locally owned and corporate facilities.”

“and I especially did not like the way he kept stressing the families that “spend thousands of dollars, sometimes even tens of thousands”; he said that twice and partially again”

“It was a very biased article.., but what do you expect from 99.9% of the media… If it isn’t shocking, it’s not news worthy..,”

If you didn’t watch the 60 Minutes segment you can view it below.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

CDFuneralNews

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  • funeralfuturist

    Whether cemetery or funeral home, independent or corporate, today is a good opportunity to tell YOUR community that dealing with your firm is safe and respectful and explain why. Today is the time to say something positive.

    I feel that the
    national opinion is lower than the local opinion, and here is an
    opportunity to demonstrate to your local community that your firm is
    different than these national scandals.

    It’s times like these why Ryan, myself and others stress the importance of having a well connected, online social media network so that you can directly communicate to your community. Be proactive on this issue because if it is slow news day, your local media might be trying to “dig something up” in your backyard – take the first step.  

    (Good job Paul Elvig!)

    • Lgervais

      Lousy story for the industry no matter how you slice it.  

      Funeralfuturist is right. The best defense is a good offense. This is when you need to be able to get your message out (if needed) and a free facebook page can do that. Our place started one two weeks ago and we already have nearly 150 likes from people in our community. At least we now have a place to offer our opinions and share stories with our own voice.

  • Loweringdevice

    If you happen to be a low cost sensible simple cremation operator, who advocates scattering of the cremated remains, you are a very happy man or women this morning thanks to 60 Minutes and their very truthful program exposing the bad guys in the dead body business!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lisa-Carlson/578810577 Lisa Carlson

    One of the reasons for running this segment was to stir up support for Congressman Bobby Rush’s bill that would bring cemeteries under the FTC. To that end, I thought this was a good piece even if SCI got some black eye exposure.

  • improver

    The public is not told whether a death care firm is a national corporation or family owned and local. This should be revealed on signs and advertising and in their literature. Also each state’s funeral bureau should post this information online in an easy to find and use format. I know most cemeteries do things right, but it is difficult to discover when they do bad things because the state funeral bureau does not reveal complaints and even if the cemetery or funeral home was found guilty, there is very little in way of punishment–just a slap on the wrist and (for most cases) a coverup of transgressions. We definitely need more enforced cemetery oversight—EVERY active cemetery–supported by licensing and substantial fines. 

  • Ken Vander May

    This is
    nothing more than sensationalism.  There’s no conspiracy exposed here, or
    any kind of prolific bad behavior being revealed.  Every industry has ‘bad people’ in it, our
    industry involves dead people, so when someone does ‘bad’, it’s automatically sensational. 
    60 Minutes and Anderson Cooper are all in “the tank”, and Andy Rooney
    must be turning over in his grave after this piece!  The only solution
    Anderson can see to any problem is ‘government oversight’ and that’s all that
    he suggested as the solution to each issue discussed.  One very important
    and relevant topic Anderson conveniently missed was the utter disaster at
    Arlington National Cemetery.  How convenient to leave out any discussion
    of the largest, federally run
    cemetery which is a disaster itself!  More government oversight is not the
    solution.  How about we use our already-established legal system to find
    the individuals who were responsible for these crimes and prosecute them to the
    fullest extent?  Anderson failed to identify the individuals who made the
    choices to commit these acts.  Why?  Perhaps because when you
    believe, as Anderson does, that society should be controlled and run by
    governments (which is simply passing responsibility to other people), you
    abandon individual responsibility.  Furthermore, selling plots for $25,000
    is called “capitalism”.  Find me one family who was forced or
    coerced into buying at Eden Memorial Park.  You won’t find any because they
    weren’t forced; they made a choice.  It’s their money, let them spend it
    as they wish.  God Bless America.
     

  • Judy Faaberg

    I am a 30+ year veteran of the death care profession. I have served in the private for-profit sector, the educational association sector and the regulatory sector. I was appalled at the shoddy presentation by CBS. Their information was out of date, they made no attempt to substantiate Mr. Slocum’s irresponsible and just plain wrong allegations, and their timing was extremely suspect: the weekend before Memorial Day. This was a hatchet-job.

  • jaime king

    The Media has a SERIOUS leftwing bias. The producers at 60 minutes and some of the reporters have all had trouble with accurately telling the truth. Lying, fibbing, twisting, shining light on a small speck, presenting things in a totally slanted manner is how they get paid for ratings. The story is based on incidents that are isolated, sensational, and in states where there is very little oversight, and during times of private ownership. Every GOOD industry has it’s bad dark side. I wish there was more objective reporting, which states have proper oversight, statitics of the frequency on the incidents being reported against the total volume of transactions. Also, a producer will pick up interviewees that will support their BIASED angle. You Josh are that person. It’s good work you are doing, there are a-moral people in the funeral business, but they are NOT the majority. Why weren’t the families who seriously benefited from the cost savings and who avoided grief decision making (by doing Pre-NEED), instead of getting hammered during a time of need…why weren’t they interviewed, to balance out the BIASED strong angle. I wish FOXNEWS would get ahold of this, and show the BALANCED version of this report and how off kilter alot of Anderson Cooper’s reporting really is, I mean this guy comes from CNN and they are known to fabricate for ratings and not come full circle when they have made mistakes reporting falsehoods.

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  • Dperl

    I just finished watching the 60 minites piece for the second time, why would any of us be surprised by Anderson’s reporting. Someone please tell me the last time a positive view of the Death Care Industry has ever been presented by the main stream media. We as an industry Must get more aggressive in telling the true story.  Everyday Funeral Homes and Cemeteries are touching the lives of families in a postive, meaningful way. If we do not pat ourselves on the back, no one else will. How many of you have provide your services at no cost to a family in need, raised money for a local charity, the list is endless. I hope and know you do these things because it is the right thing to do, and it’s not for the publicy. We must do a better job of communicating the positive things we do and the benefits of pre-planning   

  • Virginia Observer

    Having seen the operating procedures of SCI firsthand in Virginia, this program did not come as a surprise.  They seem to be operating under the guise of doing what they want to first, then saying “oops” and offering restitution. 

  • Sheliaday54

    As long as SCI is in business funeral service will have a black eye.   I worked for SCI and every time I see one of these reports I know it’s true because I witnessed that stuff first hand.  I could not stand what I saw at SCI and left so I could look at myself in the mirror and sleep at night. 

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