Funeral Homes are Required to Provide Written Prices for Products and Services
Basics About the Funeral Rule
The Federal Trade Commission's Funeral Rule requires all funeral directors to give consumers accurate, itemized price information and various other disclosures about both funeral goods and services. Funeral directors are required to provided the itemized pricing for individual products in person and if asked also over the phone.
Many funeral providers offer different packages of goods and services. When arranging a funeral, the consumer has the right to purchase individual goods and services and not purchase a packaged deal that may include items that they do not want.
The funeral rule makes it much easier for consumers to choose only the goods and services that they want or need and then only pay for the services selected, and not worry about discovering hidden costs later.
The Rule's requirements apply to both pre-need (pre-arranged) and at-need funeral arrangements.
According to the Funeral Rule:
- Consumers have the right to choose the funeral goods and services that they want (with some exceptions).
- The funeral provider must state this right in writing on the general price list.
- If state or local law requires the consumer to buy any particular item, the funeral provider must disclose it on the price list, with a reference to the specific law.
- The funeral provider may not refuse, or charge a fee, to handle a casket you bought elsewhere.
- A funeral provider that offers cremations must make alternative containers available.
Additional Requirements Under the Funeral Rule
Additionally, under the Funeral Rule funeral directors are prohibited 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.
Background on the Funeral Rule
The Federal Trade Commission's Funeral Rule went into effect on April 30, 1984. The Rule was then revised in 1994; the revisions became effective later that year.
Federal Trade Commission. Funerals: A Consumer Guide. 2000. 28 October 2006. <http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/services/funeral.htm>
Federal Trade Commission. Facts for Business: Complying With the Funeral Rule. June 2004 28 October 2006. <http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/funeral.htm>