Robert L. D'Anjolell Memorial Home, P.C., and its officers, Robert L. D'Anjolell, Sr., Anthony Romano, and Robert L. D'Anjolell, Jr., have agreed to pay an $11,000 civil penalty as settlement of Federal Trade Commission charges that they violated the FTC's Funeral Rule by failing to provide a casket price list. The defendants are also prohibited from future violations of the Rule.
Robert L. D'Anjolell Memorial Home, located in Broomall, Pennsylvania, was test-shopped as part of a 1997 sweep of Philadelphia-area funeral homes. FTC staff acted as test shoppers, as did investigators from the Pennsylvania Attorney General, Bucks County Consumer Protection Office and Delaware County Consumer Affairs Office, and volunteer members of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). The shoppers visited 67 funeral homes in Philadelphia, Bucks and Delaware counties to determine whether the homes were complying with the Funeral Rule by giving, among other things, the General Price List, Casket Price List and Outer Burial Container Price List to consumers. The complaint against the defendants alleges that they violated the Funeral Rule by failing to provide a printed or typewritten Casket Price List, at the time and in a manner required by the rule, to a person who inquired in person about the offerings or prices of caskets or alternative containers.
The FTC's Funeral Rule was promulgated in 1984, and revised in 1994. One of the key requirements of the Rule is that homes must give consumers who visit the funeral home a copy of an itemized general price list, which they can use to comparison shop. The Rule also makes clear that consumers do not have to buy a package funeral, but instead, may pick and choose the goods and services they want. It requires funeral homes to give consumers itemized lists of the goods and services they have selected, so that they can be sure they are paying only for the items chosen or that state law requires. In 1996, the Commission embarked on a new method of enforcement of the Funeral Rule with the institution of the Funeral Rule Offenders Program (FROP). FROP is administered by the National Funeral Directors Association and consists of training, monitoring and certification in rule compliance. Unlike the other homes identified in the sweep as violating the Funeral Rule, the defendants declined to participate in FROP.
The proposed consent decree would require the defendants to pay an $11,000 civil penalty and would prohibit them from future violations of the Funeral Rule. The settlement also contains other recordkeeping provisions to assist the FTC in monitoring the defendants' compliance.
The Commission vote to forward the complaint and proposed consent decree to the Department of Justice for filing was 4-0. The FTC's Cleveland Regional Office handled the investigation. The complaint and proposed consent decree were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, by the Department of Justice at the request of the FTC. They are subject to court approval.
NOTE: This consent decree is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. Consent decrees have the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the complaint and proposed consent decree are available from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. Copies of the news release and other materials relating to the Funeral Rule are also available on the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
(FTC File No. 982 3625)
(Civil Action No. 99 CV-1497)