FTC Public Workshop on Funeral Rule Review
The Federal Trade Commission's public workshop conference to discuss areas of significant controversy or divergent opinions raised in the written comments received in response to the recently-initiated review of the Funeral Rule will be held on November 18, 1999. The workshop conference will be open to the general public.
||FTC Public Workshop on Funeral Rule review
||November 18, 1999 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
||Room 432, main FTC Headquarters Building
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.
||Representatives of the industry, government agencies, consumer and other groups will take part in the workshop. An agenda, subject to change, is attached.
- Media Contact:
- Brenda Mack
Office of Public Affairs
- Staff Contact:
- Myra Howard
Bureau of Consumer Protection
Agenda: Funeral Rule Review Workshop
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington DC 20580
November 18, 1999
9:00 a.m. -- 5:00 p.m.
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