Monday, June 24, 2024

Coronavirus deaths bring out disreputable funeral service operators

Elevated numbers of deaths from the coronavirus and restrictions on wakes and burials in some parts of the country have led to the rise of an illicit funeral market that is overcharging and swindling families, warns the head of the National Funeral Directors’ Association.

Roberto García warned that some funeral homes wait outside hospitals and make families unrealistic promises, overcharge them and do not comply with health safety measures.

Many states enacted differing regulations on processing the remains of victims of Covid-19 in early April, despite the federal Health Ministry’s assurance that the bodies cannot transmit the virus.

One service that some funeral directors purport to offer is a 24-hour wake, which has been prohibited in some states.

“They interview the family and say, ‘Yes, I can give you 24-hour wake service with everything included and without a limit on the number of people in the room,’” said García, who emphasized that the reports are true and primarily come from the northern and eastern boroughs of Mexico City.

Once they have the body in the hearse, they can hold it hostage in order to continue charging families exorbitant amounts for services that may never be provided.

The newspaper Reforma surveyed several funeral homes in the eastern part of the city and found that the average transportation of a cadaver from a hospital to a legitimate funeral home costs anywhere from 8,000-12,000 pesos (US $333-500).

However, there have been reports of some homes charging as much as 25,000 pesos for transportation and making false claims that they have connections with authorities who facilitate the services they offer.

The main problems that will likely result from contracting such services include fake death certificates, exorbitant fees, charges at every stage in the administrative process and even the demand for a tip for the hearse operators.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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