Some funeral homes aren’t good at following the rules, but sadly, they may not be called out by customers who are grieving or rarely have to make funeral arrangements.
Recent undercover spot checks used to assess these facilities found that 1 in 4 funeral homes failed to comply with federal disclosure requirements.
“The Funeral Rule,” enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, makes it possible for you to choose only those goods and services you want or need and to pay only for those you select, whether you are making arrangements when a death occurs or in advance,” the FTC explains. “The Rule allows you to compare prices among funeral homes, and makes it possible for you to select the funeral arrangements you want at the home you use.”
Investigators with the FTC conducted 100 funeral home visits in six states in 2014. The undercover visits revealed that 27 of the funeral homes failed to properly disclose pricing information:
- In Northwest Arkansas, five of the 16 funeral homes inspected failed to make a price list disclosure;
- In Bakersfield, California, seven of the 11 funeral homes inspected failed to make a price list disclosure;
- In Annapolis, Maryland, and vicinity, four of 13 funeral homes inspected failed to make a price list disclosure;
- In St. Louis, Missouri, three of 16 funeral homes inspected failed to make a price list disclosure;
- In Westchester County, New York, three of 29 funeral homes inspected failed to make a price list disclosure; and
- In Seattle, Washington, five of 15 funeral homes inspected failed to make a price list disclosure.
The FTC said that 25 of the 27 funeral homes that failed to properly disclose pricing information have agreed to enter the Funeral Rule Offenders Program (FROP), a three-year program designed to increase compliance with the federal law.
“Funeral homes that participate in the program make a voluntary payment to the U.S. Treasury in place of a civil penalty and pay annual administrative fees to the [National Funeral Directors] Association,” the FTC said.
Since the FROP began in 1996, more than 2,900 funeral homes have been inspected, resulting in 486 participants in the FROP.
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