Price Survey: Consumer Protection
About Consumer Protection by the Federal Trade Commissions "Funeral Rule"
The “Funeral Rule” is a set of regulations, issued and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), governing funeral industry practices. The Rule requires a funeral business to give to any person a price list with accurate, itemized price information and other disclosures about funeral goods and services. The list must be called a “General Price List” (GPL). In addition, the Funeral Rule prohibits a funeral director from:
misrepresenting legal, crematory, and cemetery requirements,
embalming for a fee without permission,
requiring the purchase of a casket for direct cremation,
requiring consumers to buy certain funeral goods or services as a condition for furnishing other funeral goods or services,
engaging in other deceptive or unfair practices.
The Funeral Rule also requires that a GPL show itemized prices of 16 specified goods and services if they are offered for sale so that consumers may choose only the items they want.
In addition, several required disclosures, shown below, must be in close proximity to the relevant parts of the price list. (Quotation marks indicate FTC language.)
“The goods and services shown below are those we can provide to our customers. You may choose only the items you desire. However, any funeral arrangements you select will include a charge for our basic services and overhead. If legal or other requirements mean you must buy any items you did not specifically ask for, we will explain the reason in writing on the statement we provide describing the funeral goods and services you selected.”
“Except in certain special cases, embalming is not required by law. Embalming may be necessary, however, if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing. If you do not want embalming, you usually have the right to choose an arrangement that does not require you to pay for it, such as direct cremation or immediate burial.”
“If you want to arrange a direct cremation, you can use an alternative container. Alternative containers encase the body and can be made of materials like fiberboard or composition materials (with or without an outside covering). The containers we provide are (specify containers).” The specified statement about direct cremation is followed by this instruction to the funeral provider: “You should place this disclosure in immediate conjunction with (directly next to) the price range for direct cremation. At the end of the last sentence, you should describe the specific kind of container(s) that you offer.”
The Funeral Rule provides that the non-declinable fee for basic services and overhead be described as follows: “This fee for our basic services and overhead will be added to the total cost of the funeral arrangements you select. (This fee is already included in our charges for direct cremations, immediate burials, and forwarding or receiving remains.)”
If the funeral home uses a separate casket price list, the GPL should state the range of prices for the caskets sold, together with the following disclosure: “A complete price list will be provided at the funeral home.”
If the funeral home uses a separate price list for burial vaults (outer burial containers), the GPL should state the range of prices for these items, together with the following disclosure: “A complete price list will be provided at the funeral home.”