The Federal Trade Commission announced on October 20, 2022, that it will be proposing changes to the consumer protection regulations known as the Funeral Rule.
The most important of these potential changes is likely to be a new mandate that all funeral homes with a website must post their complete General Price List on that site, conspicuously. The FTC is exploring other changes, including clarifications to the consumer disclosures about their right to decline embalming, clarifications to how funeral homes advertise their cremation prices, and other topics.
We know that the public and consumer advocates want to know what’s happening, and what they can do to help this effort. That’s what this article will address.
Q: Did the FTC change the Rule already?
A: No. The FTC announced that it is considering changes. None of these changes have been implemented yet.
Q: What changes is the FTC considering?
A: The following is a summary, not a complete listing.
-Mandating online price disclosure for funeral homes
-Clarifying a consumer’s right to decline embalming
-Requiring funeral homes to fully and clearly disclose all cremation costs, including costs from third-party crematories
Q: Where can I find the complete list of all changes the FTC is considering?
A: You can find these in the staff report published by the FTC. The formal title of this report is “Funeral Industry Practices Rule: Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (16 CFR Part 453).”
Direct link to report: https://www.ftc.gov/legal-library/browse/federal-register-notices/funeral-industry-practices-rule-advance-notice-proposed-rulemaking-16-cfr-part-453
Q: What can I do right now to help persuade the FTC to make these changes to protect consumers?
A: This answer is for every type of reader: Consumers, consumer advocates, the general public, and lawmakers. Go to the FTC report linked above. You will find that there are 40 questions the FTC is asking for the public to comment on.
These questions related to the proposed changes. The FTC wants your views in writing.
Remember: You do not have to answer every single question. You may answer only those you find relevant. Funeral Consumers Alliance National will submit a comprehensive response.
We need you to submit yours, too!
Q: Is there a deadline for me to submit my responses?
A: Yes! There is a 60-day public comment period. That period will likely end by Christmas (the FTC has not yet announced the specific date).
We strongly recommend you submit your responses as soon as possible, and definitely before December 20, 2022.
Q: If we win this effort, how long will it take?
A: You should expect that it will be one to two years before any new rules are made effective. There may also be heavy resistance from the industry.