Category Archives: News from I’m Sorry to Hear

The latest news and announcement from and about I’m Sorry to Hear – all the information you need to plan a funeral.

Funerals360 Homepage

I’m Sorry to Hear Introduces the New Funerals360 Website

February 27, 2017

I’m Sorry to Hear is excited to introduce you to the all new Funerals360. Funerals360 (www.funerals360.com) is the first end-to-end online funeral planning platform where consumers can plan a funeral in advance, at the time of need, or even share funeral details and memorialize the loss of a loved one.

After over 4 years of providing consumers education on funeral related topics and helping them find local funeral providers through ImSorryToHear.com, Funerals360 is the next generation website which encompasses all the same great material consumers have come to love at I’m Sorry to Hear, but in a modern, mobile-friendly website.

Funerals360 features an all new mobile-friendly design and a full reorganization of content to make it easier for site users to find the information that is most meaningful to them.

New at Funerals360 is an interactive Funeral Planning Checklist that can be  saved, edited, and shared with the “planning team.”

Our funeral Vendor Marketplace is larger than ever with coast-to-coast coverage and reviews on local businesses and non-profits including: funeral homes, florists, cemeteries, headstones and monuments, home funeral guides and educators, death doulas, Funeral Consumers Alliances, eye, organ, and body donation organizations, and many more to come.

Visitors can contact Vendors directly through a new Inquiry feature, making it easier to get information directly from the vendors of their choice.

A new Funeral Announcement tool allows members to create a funeral announcement that includes funeral details, making it easy to share critical information with their friends and family via email and social networks.

No matter where you are in the funeral planning cycle, Funerals360 has the tools, information, and resources you need to successfully plan a funeral.

All existing registered members and vendor accounts have been migrated to Funerals360. Existing I’m Sorry to Hear users can access their new Funerals360 account by resetting their password.

Over the coming months we will be redirecting all of our members from I’m Sorry to Hear.com to Funerals360 which will be the primary website moving forward.

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Cremation Not Included: FCA Study Reveals All

When a loved one passes away, those tasked with arranging funerals and settling estates have to make a multitude of decisions during a stressful time and on a deadline. Cremation? Burial? Embalming? Organ Donation? The possibilities are endless and the choices made often have a lasting effect and although we try to make the most informed decision possible, no one really knows all the questions to ask. So when the Federal Trade Commission created the Funeral Rule in 1984, which requires funeral homes and providers to disclose all their disposition option,rates and pricing on a General Price List, consumers were reassured and confident their rights were being protected. But when a funeral home falsifies or fails to disclose important pricing information, what happens?

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On September 12 the Consumer Federation of America’s Executive Director  Stephen Brobeck and Josh Slocum, the Executive Director of the Funeral Consumer Alliance held a teleconference following the spontaneous release of an in-depth study on the cost of dying, with a special report on the cost of simple cremation, in America. The results were nothing short of surprising.

The CFA and FCA investigated 142 funeral homes in the top ten metropolitan cities in America including Atlanta, Denver, D.C., Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Princeton, Seattle, Southern California, and Tucson. They examined the General Price Lists disclosed by the homes, compared them to the actual fees charged, as well as the practices and services provided and found a substantial difference in cremation pricing and blatant exploitation of a loophole revealed in the Funeral Rule laws.

Of 142 funeral homes and cremation businesses surveyed:

—prices for Direct Cremation ranged from $495 to $7,595.

— 33 of funeral homes failed to list legally required options and disclosures on their general price lists. This is a direct violation of the Funeral Rule.

—Of the 46 funeral homes that post Direct Cremation prices on their websites, 12 (26%) failed to offer these options and disclosures. If the Funeral Rule applied to websites, these would be in violation.

—Thirty-one of the surveyed funeral homes (22%) advertised a price for their Direct Cremation package that failed to include the cost of the cremation process itself, making the price for a simple cremation seem artificially low. Though this is not a direct violation of the Funeral Rule, it is inherently deceptive and the FTC should bar this practice.

According to the report, the Funeral Rule requires funeral homes to provide two options when selecting cremation as the chosen means of final disposition:

“The price of Direct Cremation when the customer supplies their own casket or cardboard “alternative container” to hold the body prior to cremation, such as a homemade casket or a container bought from a third-party retailer,”

And

“The price of Direct Cremation when the customer buys the funeral home’s least expensive alternative container.”

But of the 142 funeral homes investigated, 23% of them failed to list the legally required service options which is a direct violation of the Funeral Rule. In addition, the advertised prices for a simple cremation and the actual cost differed $200, at least, and $595 at most. With the cost of cremation not included in the GPL, low and middle-income consumers were at risk being blindsided by the exorbitant fees and unable to afford even the most simple method of disposition.

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Since the services provided with a simple cremation does not vary between one funeral home and another, the prices and the differences did not add up. A Direct Cremation consists of picking up and transporting the body, filing paperwork, and returning the ashes to the family. There are no ceremonies included, no casket, and no ornamental urn aside from the basic container when a direct or simple cremation is chosen and yet, prices could vary as much as 200 percent for the same service in the same city, according to the report. While many funeral homes use third-party crematories, as they do not have their own, these crematories charge somewhere between $250 and $400 for a cremation, pointing to a large discrepancy in ethical practices and pricing. But if the 2012, 2013 and 2014 lawsuits filed against a NY, Montgomery and D.C. funeral home by the FTC are any indication, the people will soon have their justice.

The full report can be accessed here.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

The FTC educates and provides comprehensive guidance services to businesses and consumers in how to comply. For more information read Shopping for Funeral Services, Paying Final Respects:  Your Rights When Buying Funeral Goods and Services, and Complying with the Funeral Rule.

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Not All Funeral Homes Are Created Equal! And Neither Are Their Prices!

Dialogues on Living & Dying Well with Rachel Zeldin

Rachel Zeldin Founder of I'm Sorry to Hear.com

Rachel Zeldin
Founder of I’m Sorry to Hear.com

This Thursday, June 9th at 8 p.m., I’m Sorry To Hear founder and CEO Rachel Zeldin will be joining Kim Adams, Owner of Powerful U, End of Life, and Advance Care Planning/Coaching and host of the webinar series “Vital Conversations: Dialogues on Living and Dying Well” for a dialogue on end-of-life issues, death and dying.

Without knowledge of the options available to us, we are unable to make the best choice for ourselves and support our loved ones to make their own choices as well. -Kim Adams

Register for free here and tune in for an eye-opening webinar. Begin your journey to becoming an informed consumer in your most vulnerable time.


For more funeral planning tools and resources, visit the I’m Sorry to Hear article library, download a Funeral Planning Checklist, review the Casket Guide, see your State by State Guide on End of Life issues, get information on How to Pay for a Funeral, view Funeral Planning Tips, and access Funeral Consumer Advocacy links all from our Resources area.

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Find Funeral Homes in New Mexico at I’m Sorry to Hear

Finding a funeral home at a time of need is difficult. Having done it ourselves, we at I’m Sorry to Hear wanted to make it easier to find funeral homes in New Mexico – be it based on their location, services offered, or a particular religion or culture. You can now find and compare New Mexico funeral homes and read reviews on New Mexico funeral homes through I’m Sorry to Hear’s vendor marketplace.

There are over 80 funeral homes in New Mexico, and though less than other states, that still leaves a good deal of choice for families.

To find funeral homes in New Mexico, use our Search feature or the funeral home directory found at the bottom of each page to find New Mexico funeral homes by city. You can find other nearby funeral vendors such as body donation organizations, florists who offer funeral and sympathy flowers, and organ and tissue donation organizations.

Don’t forget to check out our funeral planning resources for additional help in organizing a funeral or tips on saving money and shopping for funeral goods and services:

National Donate Life Month

Just in Time: Find Organ and Body Donation Organizations

In celebration of National Donate Life MonthI’m Sorry to Hear is happy to announce the inclusion of Body Donation organizations and Organ Procurement centers from across the US. With the addition of Body and Organ Donation organizations as vendors in our marketplace, individuals can further plan their end-of-life wishes or carry out end-of-life wishes of their loved ones.

After scouring the web, we have compiled the most up-to-date and accurate list of Body Donation and Organ Procurement Centers in the U.S.A. The update provides users with the ability to find, compare, and review a wide variety of body donation and organ and tissue procurement centers should an individual want to opt-in to either of these services at the end of their life. In addition to searching by name, users can now search for their nearest body donation or organ and tissue procurement center by City/State or Zip-code.

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“Donating your body to science or medical research is one of the least expensive and most impactful funeral options available to us. By electing to donate your body after death, you can further medical research or help educate the next generation of doctors. Giving people the ability to make this choice and find an organization to see it through was very important to us.

Equally impactful is the ability to be an organ and tissue donor. By signing up in advance and making it clear that you are an organ and tissue donor, you can help save lives. With the addition of these two searchable categories, we can help families fulfill their last wishes and even promote the extension of life for those who receive organs and tissue that are generously donated by the individual or family,”  stated Rachel Zeldin, Founder & CEO of I’m Sorry to Hear.

The company requests that if you know of any local businesses that should be listed, visit their Suggest a Vendor page, or have them complete their profile via the List Your Business page.


I’m Sorry to Hear is the premier online destination that connects families and funeral professionals in the most comprehensive online marketplace dedicated to end-of-life planning. The website offers a new yet familiar way for families in North America to find and compare funeral homes and other funeral products and services by streamlining the collection of information, allowing families to make informed and expedited decisions about their own or loved one’s final resting place.

FTD and I’m Sorry to Hear Partner to Help Local Florists Build Their Sympathy Business

March 31, 2016 – FTD, a premier floral and gifting company, and I’m Sorry to Hear, the nation’s fastest growing online funeral planning resource and marketplace, have partnered to provide FTD Member Florists with an e-commerce solution to reach consumers in need of sympathy flowers.  

I’m Sorry to Hear is an online funeral planning marketplace that connects loved ones with extensive information on funeral homes and other related funeral products and services like florists. The website offers consumers a modern way to research and plan funerals online.

For more than 105 years, FTD and its Member Florists have helped people express their most important sentiments. FTD floral arrangements are hand-crafted with care, and attention to detail, and help customers express their thoughtfulness and kindness. FTD is committed to the success of its florist members and develops a variety of products and services to help them in the operation and growth of their local business, including state-of-the-art technology, business solutions and local marketing programs. The I’m Sorry to Hear program is a part of a portfolio of sympathy-related offerings that FTD Member Florists can participate in to connect with potential floral purchasing customers.

Rachel Zeldin, founder of I’m Sorry to Hear, commented, “We are delighted to partner with the nation’s largest floral network and offer florists a new way to market their sympathy services to local consumers while supporting families nationwide. Our mission has always been to help save consumers time, money, and stress by helping them easily find and connect with the best local professionals to work with – be that a funeral home, cemetery, or florist.”

“Our goal is to provide solutions to our member florists that help them profitably grow their local business. By partnering with I’m Sorry to Hear, our member florists can participate in this sympathy marketplace which is a valuable addition to our FTD Sympathy Florist program,” said FTD Florist Division Vice President of e-Commerce Dan Boron.

To learn more about the FTD florist network, visit www.FTDi.com.

 


For information on funeral planning and resources to guide you through planning a funeral, visit the I’m Sorry to Hear article library, download a Funeral Planning Checklist, review the Casket Guide, see your State by State Guide on End of Life issues, get information on How to Pay for a Funeral, view Funeral Planning Tips, and access Funeral Consumer Advocacy links all from our Resources area.

 

Fear, Death, and Pumpkins

NPR logoLast week, I’m Sorry to Hear was featured as the go-to source for at-need funeral planning on NPR’s “The Pulse.” In the hour-long segment, reporters touched on the growing appeal of Death Salons, Death Cafes, and featured “death-tech” companies in the Innovation segment.

The whole broadcast is fascinating. Our interview can be found 19 minutes and 50 seconds in where reporter Todd Bookman toutes I’m Sorry to Hear as the one-stop-shop for families in need of funeral planning tools, advice, and to find funeral vendors across the country.

The whole broadcast can be listened to using the link below:

In October, I’m Sorry to Hear founder, Rachel Zeldin, was also featured as a subject matter expert in the Chicago Tribune article, “Funeral For One” and WHYY’s article, “Funeral Costs Vary in Philly, but Prices Difficult to Compare.” For more media coverage on I’m Sorry to Hear, see our In The News section.