Turn To Tara investigates legitimacy of hidden burial costs

With so many coronavirus deaths in New York, it can be hard to secure a timely burial for loved ones. But Turn To Tara is investigating some hidden costs to watch out for.

News 12 Staff

Apr 29, 2020, 9:42 PM

Updated 1,479 days ago

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With so many coronavirus deaths in New York, it can be hard to secure a timely burial for loved ones. But Turn To Tara is investigating some hidden costs to watch out for.
A Westchester woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, says her mother went from a hospital bed to a casket within days.  She claims several funeral homes across the Bronx and the tri-state attempted to tack on extra charges due to the coronavirus, one fee as high as $600. 
She Turned to Tara to find out of the fees were legitimate.
The search took News 12 back about 40 years.
Similar to the coronavirus, New York was the epicenter of the AIDS outbreak back in the 1980s and '90s, and like COVID-19, there was no cure. This meant uncertainty for death care workers, just like there is now.
Undertakers were strictly forbidden from either charging more or turning away families with loved ones who died of AIDS.
A landmark ruling back in 1987 - Dimiceli & Sons Funeral Home vs. the New York City Commission on Human Rights - established that refusing to embalm someone who died of AIDS was considered discriminatory.
Two days after News 12 started making inquiries, the New York State Funeral Directors Association sent out an email to its members, warning that those who up-charge may be found guilty of price gouging.
The New York state Attorney General’s Office also tells News 12 that it is looking into the matter.
The news comes a few months months after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New York was on track to end the AIDS epidemic by the end of 2020.
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