Every 10 years the Federal Trade Commission reviews the “Funeral Rule” for possible reform. The rule requires funeral homes to give consumers printed price lists (when they visit in person), give price quotes by phone, allow consumers to pick item by item (mandatory packaged funerals are not permitted), and more.
The 36-year-old Rule, however, is in need of updating. Along with a coalition of local Funeral Consumers Alliance groups, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Reports, Consumer Checkbook, and others, we’re asking for substantial reform. The most important change? We’d like the FTC to require funeral homes to post their complete price and service lists on their websites. FCA and Consumer Federation of America studies indicate that only about 25 percent of American funeral homes disclose the prices for their services online.
Our comprehensive submission to the FTC asks the Commission to amend the Funeral Rule to:
—Require funeral homes to put their General Price Lists on their websites
—Require funeral homes to include the actual cost of cremation (from a third-party crematory) within the funeral home’s advertised price for cremation services
—Rewrite the embalming disclosure (this mandatory disclosure must appear on each funeral home’s General Price List) to make clear that embalming is not legally required for a viewing of the body
—Eliminate the “non-declinable” fee for the basic services of funeral director and staff; the one fee consumers may not decline
—Eliminate the Funeral Rule Offender Program. This program to re-educate funeral homes who fail undercover shopping tests by the FTC is run by the National Funeral Directors Association, which is a conflict of interest. The terms of the program also keep the names of scofflaw funeral homes out of the FTC’s press releases. We believe the public has a right to know.
Read our entire submission here.