FTC Staff Comment Before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Regarding Proposed Legislation to Regulate Pre-Need Cemetery and Funeral Merchandise Sales

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FTC staff submitted a comment, in response to a request from Pennsylvania State Representative Robert W. Godshall, on legislative proposals that would further regulate the pre-need sale of cemetery and funeral merchandise and services in Pennsylvania. “The bills, if enacted, appear to impose additional restrictions and requirements on cemeteries that engage in the pre-need sale of cemetery goods,” the comment states. “These provisions could lessen competition, resulting in potentially higher prices and fewer options for consumers, without countervailing benefits to consumers.” The staff comment addresses three main issues: (1) prohibitions on the pre-need delivery and installation of cemetery merchandise, (2) requirements for merchandise trust funds and refunds when a consumer breaches a pre-need contract, and (3) compliance with the FTC’s Funeral Rule requirements for the sale of merchandise by sellers not covered by the Rule versus specifying state-specific requirements governing such sellers and sales.