TheBay Area Citizen
is reporting that four area funeral homes have been named in a lawsuit alleging the funeral homes have been sellingknock-off coffins
. A Pittsburg, Texas (Update
: It's Pittsbugh, PA) casket manufacturer, the York Group, filed the lawsuit and obtained a temporary restraining order against the homes preventing them from selling caskets made by a Chinese company, the Wuxi Taihu Tractor Co., as if they were York Group products.
Knock-off coffins, especially those made by a Chinese tractor company, are new to local consumer groups, who say they haven’t heard of any similar complaints. Donna Potter, Administrator of Consumer Affairs and Compliance for the Texas Funeral Commission tells Hair Balls, “I have not ever see that before. We haven’t had any complaints regarding this.”
Dan Parsons, head of the Houston BBB says, “If you believe the critics, they tell you [funeral home fraud] is off the scale. But based on what I see here at the Bureau, it’s very minor. It’s not high on our complaint list."
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“A couple of years ago, Dateline NBC was fishing around for problems and we had very, very few complaints,” says Parsons. “I think it’s the trauma of the experience, people have lost a loved one, and yeah, they may be getting ripped off, but they’re just ‘let’s just get it over with and move on to a happier place in our life.’ That’s all I can figure, because we don’t have the complaint traffic.
“When you’re putting someone in the ground, you’re in an emotional state, sometimes you’re lacking a support mechanism. Our advice, get someone neutral, someone detached, looking over your shoulder. Even though the caskets may be dramatically reduced in price because of the way they buy it, still make sure you’re comparing apples to apples, or if you will, box to box.”
The accused funeral homes are Crowder Funeral Home in Webster, Paradise South Mortuary Services in Channelview, Forever Group International in Cypress and Newport Co. in Hidalgo, Texas.
— Olivia Flores Alvarez