Funeral Rule (FTC Regulations and Consumer’s Rights)
by Charlie Taggart, FD
Americans arrange more than 2 million funerals for their families and friends.
In fact the average consumer spends more for a funeral than for almost anything
else he might buy: At an average cost of $8,500.00, a funeral may be the third
most expensive consumer purchase after a home and a car.
it is exceedingly important that persons arranging or preplanning a funeral
understand all of their rights, both legal and ethical. I am offering this
article as the first in a series designed to educate readers about one of the
most difficult and costly purchases that they will make.
Trade Commission (FTC) developed so-called trade regulations governing funeral
industry practices. They went into effect on April 30, 1984 and have since been
revised. The declared purpose is to enable consumers to make informed choices
and decisions about funeral arrangements.
Rules” require all funeral directors to give consumers accurate, itemized price
information and various other disclosures about both funeral goods (merchandise)
and services. The itemized pricing for individual products can be provided in
person or over the phone.
purpose of this regulation is to make it easier for consumers to choose only the
goods and services that they want or need, and to pay only for the goods and
services selected. The rule prohibits “hidden costs” from being charged at the
time that the funeral director renders his services. The Funeral Rules apply to
both pre-need (pre-arranged) and at-need funeral contracts.
the Funeral Rule:
the right to choose the funeral good and services that they want (with some
provider must state this right in writing on the General Price List
If state or
local laws require the consumer to buy any particular item (e.g. a vault), the
funeral provider must disclose this fact on the price list, with specific
reference to that law
provider may not refuse to handle a casket bought somewhere else, or to charge a
fee for so doing
provider that offers cremations must make alternative containers available
Funeral providers are
also prohibited from:
legal, crematory, and cemetery requirements
embalming for a
fee without permission
purchase of a casket for direct cremation
consumers to buy certain funeral goods or services as a condition for furnishing
other funeral goods or services; and
other deceptive or unfair practices