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Let the FTC know you’d like get information on funeral costs from funeral home websites

Casket in a Hearse White Covered With Flowers death-g1a13af9d1_640After a loved one dies, going  to a funeral home to make arrangements for a burial or cremation is extremely difficult.

Fortunately, in the 1980s I wrote an article on how to pick out funeral goods and services. I learned a lot. I did a survey after funeral directors in the area told me consumers didn’t have any problems picking out funeral goods and services.

I found: People who chose the funeral home closest to their home didn’t get the inexpensive funeral they wanted. Funeral homes didn’t tell customers that bodies in airtight caskets can decompose just as quickly as those not in “sealer” caskets. And funeral directors were reluctant to offer information on cremation because they made less money when it’s selected.

However, even though I knew the basics when my dad died, it was still a gut-wrenching experience to arrange his funeral.

One thing that helps consumers pick out funeral goods and services is a requirement in the Funeral Rule that customers be given a price list of goods and services when they come to a funeral home. Sometimes, consumers can get the price lists by calling a funeral home.

The Federal Trade Commission is exploring possible steps to strengthen and modernize the Funeral Rule.

It reviewed funeral providers’ websites – when covid-19 cases were high and when many people couldn’t or didn’t feel comfortable visiting a funeral home in person to make arrangements for their loved ones. The agency found that more than 60 percent of the websites provided little to no price information.  

In a 2020 review of the Funeral Rule, the FTC received 785 comments. Some commenters said that many funeral providers don’t provide price information online and asked the agency to require that funeral providers make price information available on their websites and by other electronic means.

After reviewing the comments, the staff report, and the FTC’s enforcement and outreach efforts, it decided to retain the Funeral Rule and consider amendments to the rule, including whether and how funeral providers should be required to offer their price information online and through electronic means.

Information about how to submit comments is included in the Federal Register notice. The deadline for submitting comments will be 60 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register, which is scheduled for Nov. 2. Submitted comments will be posted to Regulations.gov.


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