Funeral Rule Review Workshop
Nov 18, 1999
8:30-9:00 -- Registration
9:00-9:15 -- Introductions and Overview
9:15-10:30 -- Definition of the Term "Funeral Provider" Many commenters believe that all entities providing funeral goods or services should be covered by the Rule; that there should be a "level playing field." Do consumers benefit from the Rule as it stands?
Do consumers use information required by the Rule to comparison shop for funeral goods and services?
Does consumer harm result from limiting the Rule's coverage to"funeral providers" as currently defined?
Should the definition, and the scope of the Rule, be expanded?
Should there be different provisions applicable to different kinds of entities?
10:30-10:45 -- Break
10:45-12:00 -- Prohibition of Casket Handling Fees Some commenters approve of the casket handling fee prohibition, while others feel that a "reasonable" fee should be allowed to compensate funeral providers for the costs and liability associated with handling a 3rd party casket. Are there any costs associated with handling a 3rd party casket? If so, should providers be allowed to charge a reasonable fee? What would be "reasonable?"
Is there a distinction between a casket handling fee and an outer burial container or monument handling fee?
Is there any practical distinction between casket handling fees and package discounts that are offered only when a casket is part of the package?
12:00-1:15 -- Lunch
1:15-2:15 -- Pre-Need Issues How prevalent is pre-need purchasing of funeral goods and/or services by consumers?
Are there deceptive or other harmful practices occurring in pre-need sales? If so, do these practices arise from pre-arrangement itself, or do they arise from pre-payment?
Should obligations for pre-need sellers be specifically addressed in the Rule? If so, should there be different types of obligations applicable to pre-need transactions?
2:15-2:30 -- Break
2:30-3:30 -- Price List Requirements Many commenters believe that the General Price List (GPL) is sufficient as is, and that it is unnecessary to include any other prices, while others believe that additional disclosures would be helpful. Should the prices of other items be included, such as the price of a rental casket or the actual price of direct cremation? Should some items now required on the GPL be deleted?
Are there any other disclosures or warnings that should be included, such as a disclosure that the funeral provider is willing to meet competitors' prices or negotiate, as some commenters recommend?
Would a standardized format for the GPL (advocated by some commenters) make it easier for consumers to compare funeral providers? Should the GPL include specific definitions of certain goods or services? Should all funeral providers be required to list all 16 items, even if the funeral provider does not offer all items?
3:30-4:00 -- Basic Services Fee Commenters disagree as to whether funeral providers should be allowed to charge a non-declinable, basic services fee.
Does such a fee still serve a useful purpose?
Should the fee have required elements, that all funeral providers must include?
Do all funeral providers include a separate basic services fee? Do some funeral providers add the basic services fee to their casket prices?
Are there viable alternatives to the basic services fee?
4:00-4:15 -- Break
4:15-5:00 -- Public Participation and Closing Remarks
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