FTC Approves Federal Register Notice on Funeral Rule

For Your Information

The Federal Trade Commission has approved the publication of a Federal Register notice closing the regulatory review of the Trade Regulation Review on Funeral Industry Practices (the Funeral Rule) and retaining the Rule in its current form.

Since its inception in 1984, the Funeral Rule has ensured that consumers planning a funeral promptly receive important information about the prices charged for the various goods and services the seller offers, so that consumers can make informed decisions about what to purchase. The Rule also ensures that consumers have the right to buy only the goods and services they want, without having to purchase items they do not want.

The Rule requires, among other things, that funeral providers give consumers an accurate itemized “General Price List” that they can keep and that includes the prices for the commonly used funeral goods and services the funeral home offers. This price list must be provided when discussions about making funeral arrangements begin. The Rule also requires that consumers be shown a Casket Price List before being shown caskets available for purchase, and an Outer Burial Container Price List before being shown available outer burial containers. The Rule prohibits funeral providers from requiring consumers to buy something, such as a casket, as a condition for obtaining any other good or service. The Rule also prohibits certain misrepresentations, such as misrepresenting that state or local law requires embalming, when such is not the case, or falsely representing that a casket is required even when the consumer chooses cremation.

The Commission, which recently publicized the results of law enforcement “test shopping” sweeps conducted last year to monitor compliance with the Funeral Rule, has determined that the benefits the Rule provides consumers continue to outweigh the cost it imposes on industry to comply with its requirements and prohibitions. After studying the record, the Commission has decided to retain the Funeral Rule in its current form. The Commission will continue to accept comments from the public regarding the funeral industry.

The Commission vote approving publication of the Federal Register notice was 5-0. (FTC File No. P984407)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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