Deceptive Ad

[May 2014]  I'm suspicious about a mailing that came to my home recently. It is a very officlal-looking notice titled, "F u n e r a l   A d v a n t a g e  Program Assists Seniors."   I've seen these before; perhaps you have too. Beware!

"We are pleased to announce: You may qualify for the ... Program that will pay your family in the event of your death an insurance cash benefit up to $20,000 TAX FREE.

"THOUSANDS OF MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENTS AGE 50-85 have been accepted so far for this program -- created to help pay for one's funeral and any other final expenses.  To SEE IF YOU QUALIFY, mail this postage-paid card today. There is no charge for this information. Currently, you may qualify even if you have a health condition."  

I think this whole mail piece is deceptive. There is no clue --unless you read the very fine print on the other side-- that this is a just a promotion from an insurance company. The return address is neutral:   PROCESSING CENTER...  The form really looks like something from a government office. Here's how the fine print on the back of the mailer begins:

"The U.S. Government, the Federal Medicare Program nor any state agency is affiliated with nor endorses the company or its representatives."   That wording seems designed to deceive or confuse. It should have started, "Neither the U.S. Government... "

Buried further down in the fine print I see, "underwritten by Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company." 

NOTE:  If you investigate -- as an FCA colleague in another state did some years ago --  and calculate the premium costs of such insurance, you'll learn that the "deal" is likely to benefit the insurance company -- not the average consumer.  Typically, you would pay MORE in premiums over your expected lifetime than a life insurance company would eventually pay out to your family for your final arrangements. That study concluded, "Your heirs could have twice as expensive a funeral or twice as expensive a party, courtesy of you, if you forego the gamble and just invest your money conservatively."

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed here in "Sandy's Blog" are written by one individual (volunteer Sandy Ward) and may or may not reflect the views, opinions or positions of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Massachusetts. 

[This blog entry was edited August 19, 2016, changing the title and removing the exact name and address on the mailer. For the past two years we have received many calls and emails from angry people demanding that WE stop sending that particular unwanted mailing. It isn't our mail!  We aren't sending these ads. We don't want to be connected, in a public way (via Internet searches) with that company. Our goal is to EDUCATE the public about the deceptive advertising.]