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Fund provides assurance to Oregon consumers

Oregon consumers who prepay for funeral expenses should have extra assurance their money will be available when they need it.

Each year, funeral providers in Oregon contribute to the Funeral and Cemetery Consumer Protection Fund, which provides restitution for consumers who prepay for funeral services and merchandise as part of “preneed” or “prearrangement” contracts.

Providers of preneed contracts are required to pay $5 per contract written when they file their annual report with the Department of Consumer and Business Services’ Division of Finance and Corporate Securities. That fee is deposited into the fund.

In the event that a cemetery or funeral home cannot provide the services that a customer paid for in advance, the consumer can file a claim with the Division of Finance and Corporate Securities (DFCS). DFCS then will work with the consumer to ensure they receive reimbursement for the services or merchandise they paid for.

The Oregon Administrative Rule covering prearranged funeral plans is OAR Chapter 441, Div. 930.

For more information, go to http://www.cbs.state.or.us/dfcs/funeral_related_programs.html.