Sunday, October 16, 2011


REMEMBER! You always have the option of going elsewhere, you also do not have to pay ANY charges to have the deceased transferred to another facility if it is not within your budget at the time. You can ask the facility to bill you and you can pay it over time. 

I had the misfortune of communicating with a wonderful person who lost a family member this past year. They called me out of desperation due to their unfortunate position of limited funds and even less options. This person had decided to have their loved one taken to another local facility the next small town over. This funeral establishment has been around for a while and served the community well but unfortunately was just purchased by the corporate funeral industry and was reopened as a "low cost" alternative to their flagship locations.

Well, this person had told me that the only options that they were presented to them at this "low cost alternative",  due to their lack of funds was to have the deceased turned over to the county for county burial. The family could not afford any of this "low cost" funeral homes services. What kind of option is that?

I want you to think long and hard about what you just read. I will repeat it.

 "have the deceased (your Mom or Dad) turned over to the county for county Indigent burial"
Why would they do this? Because the price of direct cremation at this facility was around $1,020. and as this person sat in the office in their anguish because they felt they had no options, this funeral counselor in support of corporate policy. (It is this corporations POLICY to NOT RECOMEND any other location that is more affordable to a family, to do this is grounds for termination) so, they will not recommend any other location in the area that was priced for the same service far below their $1,020. This is the corporate mentality, you are not looking out for the family, you are only looking out to satisfying the corporate executives and the share holders. Instead, they preferred to let this individual grieving family member sit and suffer thinking that they had no options other than to bury in an unmarked county grave, AND THEN, let them go home and "Think About It". Remember something, if you have $569, you can afford something, and it is dignified and respectful. You will not be given the run around or be threatened with county burial if you don't come up with the money. This is deplorable and sad, to have such little compassion for a families emotions and feelings.

A chain gang member prays
at a chain gang burial
County burial was the only option this reputable location could offer. How horrible. I understand that the county is the only option that some have left, for that those that are financially forced to turn to that option have my most sincere condolences and compassion, but a corporate funeral home should not be burdening the county burial system with families that are in a position to help themselves, and have a very strong desire to help themselves if they were informed of more options outside of the "Low Cost" location. It like saying, "If we can't make the money, then no one can" Its not about the money, its about service and compassion provided at an affordable price. Help these people, stop squeezing them, times are hard.

I was called after a family member found us on the Internet. They inquired about services, I shared
that my most affordable was Direct Cremation at $585. Seeing the families position and their desire to do something on limited funds, I told them that we can include a memorial service to assist. It was important for family closure to them to do something, I wanted to give them options that the corporate location was not even trying to.

The family was pleased with the offer, but I did tell them that they still had to consider the charges that the family had incurred at the other corporate location seeing how they already picked up the family member and were storing the deceased.

The family returned to the corporate facility and shared with them that it was their desire to have "Avenidas Funeral Chapel" pick up the deceased for services. The counselor then told them that they would not allow this to happen until the family paid for the service charges that were already incurred by the removal and storage ($995) and that the family could not leave until these charges were paid.................... 

This my friends..., is illegal....

As per the Arizona State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers, "It is Illegal for a funeral establishment to hold a body for payment or to not allow the continuation of the disposition of human remains due to lack of payment for goods and services selected" or words to that effect.

This person then got on the phone and called me from the corporate location and asked me what to do.  At the same time, this location then offered to do the same thing that Avenidas would do for around $795. This was to not lose the case to another funeral home. What happened to the only option they could offer was public fiduciary or county burial?

My questions to you and the community is...........

  • Why, did they have to put the family through so much mental anguish by telling them that they had no options at all with the exception of county burial?  When they did.
  • Why the Corporate Funeral Home would not or could not originally lower the price to accommodate the family?
  • Why would they at least not offer the family the option of seeking a more affordable location and waiving the charges that were incurred? They do claim to be run by "Members of the Community".
  • Why did they find it so necessary to intimidate the family by telling them that they MUST pay those charges prior to releasing the body or allowing the family to depart the facility?
  • Why did they offer to lower the price AFTER another location price was brought to the table?
  • Why did an outside agency have to call the facility manager and report his counselor and staffs illegal, immoral and unethical behavior by violation state board regulations?
Well, there you go. I have absolutely no problems reporting on immoral unethical behavior. Remember something,  The corporate funeral institutions charge a great deal for a "Removal" of the deceased from the place of death and "FLAT RATE" refrigeration. No matter how long the deceased is there, you are going to owe $695 to the "Low cost" funeral home  from the start.  This is done for two reasons.

  1. To use as a leverage tool should you decide to use another facility, they tell you that this is owed to them, and you have a moral obligation to pay it if you choose to go elsewhere. My advice to you?  tell them to "Bill you......"
  2. Should you choose to go elsewhere, the Corporate funeral industry can at least make SOMETHING off of the case.
To compare the removal and refrigeration fees of our facility and the local corporate "low cost" facility....

Avenidas Funeral Chapel removal charge   = $225
refrigeration (5 days) = No Charge

Corporate "Low Cost" removal charge = $695
refrigeration (flat rate) = $300 (automatically added on to the removal fees if embalming is not selected. Thus increasing the initial charges to $995)

So there you have it, another unfortunate situation involving a "Low cost" funeral alternative that is supposedly run by "Members of our Community". Not my community, And I'm very curious to see how many live amongst you, in your community. Please choose wisely and shop around. It may not only save you a little money but also a great deal of mental pain and anguish.

Miguel  Legaspi
Owner, Avenidas Funeral Chapel

Friday, October 7, 2011

TRUST ME.................

Trust me, I'm a funeral director.

Have you heard this before? Well trust is a very, very large order to fill. We, as a society have grown less and less capable of trusting. Why you ask? Well lets look at this:

We tried to trust the banking system, Need I say more?

We tried to trust the mortgage companies, Bla Bla Bla......

We tried to trust the house and the senate, were is government now.

We tried to trust the state, well, we tried.

We tried to trust the car salesman. Like I need that now.

Trust is the very basic concept of putting ones faith in another to accomplish something for them, without taking advantage or while looking out for your best interest. Trust is not something that should be asked for from an individual upon a first introduction or initial dealings.


TRUST is probably the last thing that you should give away when sitting with a family counselor to make funeral arrangements. You should be guarded and always take into account that the individual sitting across from you is running a business, not a ministry, not a charity not anything that is in a position to look out for your best interests first. Far and few between are those facilities that are trying to bring the best deal to the table to help you. Facilities may have "Good People" working for them, but remember most of those good people answer to someone and as much as they may want to, they will have to pass that trust that you gave them on to an individual that you may never even meet.

Try this some time if you are ever in a position were a counselor either says "Trust Me" or "Put your trust  in us" to take care of you:

Ask them OK, I will trust you and I ask you to trust me by allowing me to pay for all my services AFTER the conclusion of everything. Se how much "Trust" there is then. Se how much the facility will work with you and then you will find out how little they will do to assist you in anyway, other than collect payment. Were is that trust that the facility was asking of you?

I will be very honest, far and few are the times that I will find myself reaching out to a family like that. I do not bring up the word "trust' or "trust me" I would not expect them to, BUT, I do know over the days I work with them that they will come to see that I am here for them and my compassion and care truly is sincere. Should they choose to trust me, that will be on their grounds, not mine. Mine is to provide a service that should not and will not start with the word "Trust". Just try telling the Director that unfortunately your not in a position to settle the account, you will be surprised how fast that ministry becomes a business and then ends up in small claims court. That is why I don't ask for trust, Because in the event that things go wrong, I need to operate my business as a business and to do anything otherwise would be misleading and dishonest. I am not like that.

Trust is a character trait that should be given freely, not asked for and never expected.

At Avenidas we do not ask you to trust us, we only ask you to let us help you and also let us know if their is something we are doing that needs are attention, that's all. This is a very simple business, it is not as complicated and prestigious as some would want you to believe, Trust me, I know. Oops! did I say that?