As more Australian’s are choosing cremation as the preferred choice of disposition, cremation scams are also on the rise.
Making final arrangements for a loved one is a stressful and heartbreaking experience, and cremation scammers are very willing to take advantage of a family’s emotional turmoil and confusion.
Knowing the signs of a potential scam can help you avoid becoming a victim, and reporting scams to government regulators and state consumer protection agencies can help to prevent others from becoming victims too.
What Is a Cremation Scam?
Cremation scams are deceptive or misleading practices that can take place at any stage in the cremation process. They are used to deceive purchasers of cremation services.
You can protect yourself from becoming a victim of a cremation scam by being proactive and informed. Here are a few tips for protecting yourself from common cremation scams.
Do Your Homework
eziFunerals is an independent funeral site that provides free resources and information on its website, for cremation providers and consumers. Not all cremation providers are the same, so it’s important that you do your homework. Shop around, research and make informed choices.
Don’t be afraid to shop around to get the best cremation prices and services for your loved one. That doesn’t necessarily mean choosing the cheapest alternative, though. Select the provider that makes you feel most comfortable, confident and treats your loved one with dignity and respect.
Ask Plenty of Questions
Cremation providers should be willing to answer any questions you may have. If they don’t, or try to hurry you into making a decision, that could be a red flag for a scam. Write your questions down in advance. Brainstorm them with other family members, if possible.
Questions you might want to ask
How do you make sure that the remains I receive are, in fact, those of my loved one?
Cremation providers should be able to tell you how they identify a body at every step of the process, and how they verify identities in order to correctly label cremation containers.
How long is the entire cremation process?
Ask how long it typically takes to complete a cremation, from the time the deceased is received by the facility to the performing of the cremation itself.
How will the cremated remains be returned to me?
Your cremation provider may offer you a choice of urns and other containers at varying prices, and may also provide your own container. If no urn or other container is provided before the cremation, ask what kind of container the provider will use.
How long are remains held after cremation?
You may want to find out what the provider’s policy is on holding remains on the premises for pick-up, and who will be authorised to pick them up.
What types of services do you offer recently bereaved loved ones?
Whether you are planning ahead for your own services, or you are recently bereaved yourself, it is important to ask what helpful services the company can provide. For example, some companies offer a 24/7 service for family members to talk through their grief.
Check Out the Company’s Background
Because cremation is an increasingly popular option, a number of cremation-only providers have sprung up alongside traditional providers who also offer cremation. To avoid scams and fraud, it’s wise to investigate the credentials of any provider, just as you would with other kinds of service providers.
Don’t rely solely on reviews
New technologies and social sharing makes it possible to get large numbers of reviews for just about any service or business, including funeral services. However, it is difficult to know how these reviews were obtained and if they are genuine. Although reviews are helpful, there are other credentials that are more important.
Check the company’s addresses and websites
If you’re working with an online cremation provider — and even if you’re not — it’s important to locate a company’s physical address and visit its website to confirm that it is legitimate. Be sure that the company provides easy ways to contact it.
Check out the company’s history
Look at the company’s “about” section and other literature for clues about its history and origin. Limited background, especially combined with minimal contact information, could be a red flag for a scam.
Question the company’s advertising
Watch out for sales slogans or catchy messages aimed at making quick sales. Be on the lookout for extravagant promises or impossibly cheap deals. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
eziFunerals supports individuals and families cope with end of life decisions, death and funerals. We are an independent, Australian-owned and operated company. We are not part of any other funeral company.
Our member Funeral Directors are chosen for their knowledge, quality, service, personalisation and experience. They go above and beyond, and will take the time to support the family.
For more information or to make contact with a trusted Independent funeral director, call eziFunerals on 1300 236 402 or visit www.ezifunerals.com.au.