Investigators working undercover in nine states and the District of Columbia found significant violations of Federal Trade Commission consumer protection rules at 52 of 175 funeral homes they visited during 2009.
FTC inspections last year revealed significant violations in:
- One of 12 funeral homes in Chicago, Ill.
- 19 of 59 funeral homes in Metro Washington, D.C., including parts of Maryland and Virginia.
- Three of 19 funeral homes in Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Six of 25 funeral homes Chattanooga, Nashville, and Memphis, Tenn.
- Three of 12 funeral homes in Missoula, Helena, Bozeman, and Townsend, Mont.
- Six of 12 funeral homes in El Paso, Texas.
- Five of 22 funeral homes in New Orleans and New Iberia, La.
- Seven of 14 funeral homes in Nassau County, N.Y.
The Funeral Rule, enacted in 1984, gives consumers important rights when making funeral arrangements. It:
- Requires funeral homes to provide consumers with an itemized price list at the start of an in-person discussion of funeral arrangements, as well as a casket price list before consumers view any caskets. This allows consumers to compare prices and buy only the goods and services they want.
- Prohibits funeral homes from requiring consumers to buy any item, such as a casket, as a condition of obtaining any other funeral good or service. By requiring itemized prices, the rule enables
For information on your rights under the Funeral Rule, see "Paying Final Respects: Your Rights When Buying Funeral Goods & Services," "Funerals: A Consumer Guide," and "Complying with the Funeral Rule" at www.ftc.gov.
Copyright 2010, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist