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Selected Independent Funeral Homes Responds to 60 Minutes Segment on Cemetery Practices

DEERFIELD, ILL. — May 21, 2012 — Selected Independent Funeral Homes, the world’s largest and oldest association of independently owned funeral homes, today released a statement to respond to the 60 Minutes segment airing on May 20, 2012, which featured improper conduct in a few corrupt and unprincipled cemeteries, including the Burr Oak Cemetery in the Chicago area.

“On behalf of the funeral profession, Selected Independent Funeral Homes would like to express its deep condolences to all families whose deceased loved ones have experienced poor treatment at such cemeteries,” said Thomas Belford, 2012 President of Selected Independent Funeral Homes. “Selected strongly believes those who are deceased should and must be treated with respect and dignity.”

Unlike the large corporate cemeteries that have been involved in recent cemetery scandals, Selected member firms are independent and privately owned businesses. Its members are local- and family-owned, deeply committed to doing the right thing for their communities. Furthermore, Selected members adhere to the organization’s Code of Good Practice, a standard of excellence designed to ensure bereaved families receive the high-quality service and support they deserve.

While many lump together funeral homes, cemeteries, and crematories when they think of a “funeral home,” usually these are quite separate businesses. It is important to know that funeral homes and cemeteries are also covered by separate levels of regulation – a fact that makes it easier for unscrupulous cemeteries to take advantage of consumers.

Funeral homes are heavily regulated under the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule, which requires firms to make extensive disclosures, as well as itemized pricing, handling of goods purchased by third-party providers, and recordkeeping requirements.

Cemeteries and crematories, however, typically do not fall under the Funeral Rule, and do not offer consumers the same protections. Selected has consistently advocated for cemeteries to be covered by the Rule, to protect consumers and their loved ones from exploitation by unscrupulous cemetery operators.

Selected’s user-friendly and easy-to-navigate website has a wealth of information for families and individuals who are concerned about this issue and wish to learn more under its “Smart Consumer Information” section, including:

For more information or to locate a Selected member in your area, visit www.selectedfuneralhomes.org or call 1-800-323-4219.

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About Selected Independent Funeral Homes:  Founded in 1917 as National Selected Morticians, Selected Independent Funeral Homes (www.selectedfuneralhomes.org) is the world’s oldest and largest association of independently owned funeral homes. Members of the association are expected to operate according to specific standards and best practices in order to provide the public with reliable, high-quality funeral services and funeral-related information.

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