Ruzich Funeral Home, Inc., a firm operating in Chicago, Illinois and Whiting, Indiana, has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it failed to provide consumers with a printed price list about the costs of caskets and other funeral services they offered, in violation of the FTC's Funeral Rule. Under the proposed settlement of the charges, Ruzich would be required to pay a $30,000 civil penalty and be prohibited from violating the rule in the future.
The FTC's complaint also names David Ruzich, the president and director of business operations at both funeral homes.
The FTC's Funeral Rule, adopted in 1984, is designed to help consumers obtain price and other information about funeral services, and to make it easier for them to compare prices and to purchase only the goods and services they want. The rule requires a funeral home to give consumers who inquire in person about its services their own copy of a general price list. The list must include prices as well as additional information such as a disclosure that a casket is not required for direct cremation. The rule also prohibits a funeral provider from requiring consumers to purchase unwanted goods or services as a condition for obtaining goods or services they do want.
In its complaint against Ruzich, the FTC alleged that the defendants violated the Funeral Rule by failing to give consumers required information about the prices of caskets or alternative containers, outer burial containers and disclosures about the rest of their services. The complaint also alleged that Ruzich based the availability of certain funeral goods or services on condition that other funeral goods or services be purchased.
The proposed consent decree to settle these charges would require the defendants to pay the $30,000 civil penalty and prohibit any future violations of the rule. It also would require Ruzich to give each of its employees who sell funeral services a copy of the consent decree, and to meet record-keeping provisions that show compliance with the settlement.
The Commission vote to authorize filing of the complaint and proposed settlement was 5-0. On behalf of the FTC, the Department of Justice filed the charges today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago.
NOTE: This consent decree is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendants of a law violation. Consent decrees have the force of law when signed by the judge.
The FTC has a brochure titled, "Funerals: A Consumer Guide," which describes the Funeral Rule and answers common questions about planning a funeral.
Copies of the complaint and proposed consent decree, as well as the consumer brochure, are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest FTC news as it is announced, call the FTC's NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web Site at: http://www.ftc.gov
(FTC File No. 922 3341)
(Civil Action No. 95-C-3910)