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Trade standards to regulate funeral market

SHANGHAI will soon issue the country's first service standards for funeral undertakers. A draft of the standards has passed an appraisal by industry experts, Shanghai Funeral and Interment Association said today.

The standards require all funeral workers to have a job certificate issued by the association. Families can check whether the certificate is genuine on the association's Website.

The local funeral market has long been dogged by malpractices. Some funeral agencies cajoled families into buying high-priced but low-quality funeral products, such as ash caskets and funeral clothes.

The association said that it has received many complaints, accusing some agencies that charged them 6,000 yuan (US$522) for a common ash casket, lying that it was made of imported rosewood.

Some funeral companies also collaborated with hospitals, discussing business with families even before their loved ones die.

"Two companies even fought in a hospital over a body," said Wang Hongjie, director of the association.

Wang said the city has about 60 licensed funeral agencies, not enough to handle more than 100,000 funerals in Shanghai each year. Most of the business fall into the hands of illegal undertakers.


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