Are you being bullied by your technology company?
As the value of your data, visitor traffic, and online profits continue to rise, so too are the number of technology and casket companies looking for ways to get at it. Unfortunately, many may be turning to the use of deceptive business practices of coercion and tied-selling to try and force unsuspecting funeral homes hands.
Tied selling and coercion with technology can occur when a supplier requires or induces a customer to use one piece of software if they want to continue to use another. Some examples are when a company attempts to force their customers to switch their website to them if they want to still use things such as the print-on-demand, DVD or management software that they have been using for years; or when a customer is forced to use one company over another if they want to connect their management software to a website. Other instances can occur when a supplier requires or induces a customer to have to agree to buy one product or products if they want to use another product they offer, or force them to have to use their software if they want to attain higher discounts.
As more and more funeral professionals are beginning to understand that technology and the internet is what has brought about the significant changes we are witnessing in the market, many are now realizing just how critical it is to have the best technology and strategic online initiatives to help them succeed and excel.
So, at a time when funeral professionals need to be able to access the best technology solutions they can, it is shameful to see these types of business practices emerging where low level, self-serving technology is being forced upon them that does little to help their business, and in many cases only further erodes their ability to compete.
The good news for funeral home owners is that coercion and tied selling practices are illegal in both Canada and the US and those offenders can face criminal charges with heavy fines including imprisonment.
If you feel your ability to access the technology you want is being harmed by the restrictive conduct of a major supplier or suppliers, there is relief available under the exclusive dealing, tied-selling and market restriction provisions under the Competition Act and Consumer Protection branches of the government. Register your concerns to the Competitions Bureau and they will investigate all infractions and take swift measures.
Kevin Montroy is the Founder and CEO of FrontRunner Professional. As a former funeral director and funeral home owner he remains passionate and committed to helping protect the funeral profession and has done so for the past 20 years.