Helping families at the time of death was traditionally the responsibility of the community acting through a chevra kadisha (burial society).
Most of the family-owned funeral businesses that functioned like a chevra kadisha have been sold to publicly traded corporations that must make a profit and pay a dividend to shareholders.
Vulnerable families were the victims of sales pressure that caused funeral observances to depart from the simplicity and dignity of a Jewish funeral.
New York’s Attorney General determined that SCI was a monopoly that charged unfairly high prices. He forced SCI to sell Plaza Memorial Chapel, inc. to break the monopoly.