What Is The Funeral Rule?
A law called the “Funeral Rule” falls within the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), ensuring the court’s implementation and enforcement. This rule was implemented to safeguard consumers when purchasing funeral goods and services. By making their wares and services available to the general public, funeral establishments may be sure they’ll be held to a strict set of standards. This means that the well-being of the population as a whole will be considered.
A funeral facility that violates the funeral rule must either pay a fine or participate in a five-year training program. Companies are only audited for compliance with FTC standards once a year, but customers may always file complaints if they feel a business is acting illegally.
Is the funeral rule enforced?
Yes. The law for funerals was developed to standardize the industry, protect clients from unscrupulous business practices, and ensure that individuals who need burial and cremation services receive them. Additionally, the regulation was designed to ensure that people who need them get them. It was first implemented in April of 1984, and in 1994, it had various modifications due to adoption.
People mistakenly believed they needed to receive services such as embalming since funeral establishments were experiencing “issues” at the time. However, they did not need to get these services.
There was a type of monopoly on the market for caskets because they could only be purchased through funeral establishments. As a direct and immediate result of this development, funeral establishments have been forced to significantly deduce the pricing of caskets. Everything was different when the brand-new regulation regarding funerals was implemented.
How to report FTC funeral rule violations?
If you think a funeral home in your area has broken one of the federal funeral rules, you can file a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not work directly with consumer complaints. But if you let the FTC know about funeral homes that don’t meet their standards, it helps them figure out which ones might be breaking the law.
If you have the chance, you should talk to the state licensing board in your area regulating funeral homes and the state funeral directors association about your concerns. If you have a complaint about a funeral home that broke a funeral rule, you might find that the Funeral Consumers Alliance can help you and guide you in figuring out how to fix the problem. There information page list contact information by state.
You should also talk to the funeral home directly about how to solve this problem. If you tell them they broke federal law, they might be willing to fix your problem if you bring it up when you talk to them about it. This statement is true almost all of the time.
History of funeral rule
Both Ralph Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed and Jessica Midford’s The American Way of Death were published in the late 1960s, and these two books probably had some kind of impact on the development of the Funeral Rule. These two pieces of literature were penned by different female authors.
These two works are similar in that they were both authored by American writers and published in American editions. At the close of the 1960s, the Federal Trade Commission was nothing more than a scrap of paper. Most people believe that Ralph Nader’s book “Unsafe at Any Speed” was the impetus behind the beginning of the consumer protection movement in the United States.
He expressed his disapproval of the Federal Trade Commission, claiming that the agency did not do enough to safeguard the interests of consumers. In particular, it was said that the Federal Trade Commission places an excessive amount of importance on consumer complaints and initiates enforcement actions on an individual basis.
The consumer protection movement advocated for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to concentrate its attention not on a single company but on whole sectors.
In March of 1976, around 9,000 individuals sent their opinions on the proposed Rule to the Federal Trade Commission. 1976 was the year that saw the publication of the Final Notice of Rulemaking. It had a list of thirty distinct facts about which individuals held a variety of opinions.
Beginning in April and continuing all the way through August of that year, there were a total of six public hearings held. They were talking about a wide range of topics. There were 315 witnesses, and many testified to events they had seen or participated in.
There was a lack of empirical evidence, such as surveys or rigorous economic research, which was a problem. After the conclusion of the meeting, the person who had been tasked with presiding over its conduct wrote a report. 1979, a greater range of people shared their opinions with the Commission, and it was also the year in which the Commission received the Final Staff Report.
The Funeral Rule received a provisional green light from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in March of 1979.
The funeral industry in the United States successfully passed the Federal Trade Commission Improvements Act of 1980 by influencing members of the United States Congress.
As a result of this Act, the Federal Trade Commission now has additional capabilities that enable it to better safeguard the interests of consumers throughout the regulatory process.
Additionally, it informed the FTC that it was required to republish the Funeral Rule and request additional feedback by making use of the newly implemented procedural safeguards. In 1981, the Federal Trade Commission published a new version of the Rule and initiated a new manner of doing things simultaneously.
This ultimately resulted in the implementation of the Funeral Rule in the year 1982. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals review its argument against the Rule, but the court declined to do so.
The Rule was at long last put into force on the first time in 1984.
Federal death care disclosure act vs FTC funeral rule
The Federal Death Care Disclosure Act sets up protections for consumers, such as rules about what needs to be said in funeral service contracts. Moreover, the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Federal Death Care Disclosure Act say that it is against the law for funeral providers to do business in a way that could be seen as misleading. The following are practices that fall into this category:
- Not giving prices for funeral goods and services in a timely manner
- Not giving a buyer of funeral goods or services an itemized written statement at the end of the discussion about such goods or services and before providing any services other than taking possession of a dead body for embalming
- Making certain false statements about funeral goods and services
- Putting conditions on the provision of funeral goods and services
If caught, you could be fined up to $5,000 for each of these things.
FTC Funeral Rule: Pros and Cons
The Federal Trade Commission is in charge of developing the Funeral Rule. It states that a consumer can ask for a general pricing list if they question a funeral provider about funeral arrangements. This right exists whenever a customer inquires about funeral plans. When a customer has a query, they are given the opportunity to use this privilege. For more information on cost that may be incurred, read our Cost of Funeral vs. Cremation post.
They also have the right to pick the items and services that they wish for the funeral, with a few exceptions to this rule. Generally speaking, though, this is their prerogative. It is necessary by law for funeral houses to provide this information directly on the pricing list, where it may be seen by everyone. Last but not least, if they so want, they have the option of determining the location of the funeral service.
If a state or municipal law requires you to purchase a certain item, the supplier of funeral services is obligated to include the cost of that item on the price list and to offer a link to the legislation that mandates its purchase. In addition, the price of that item must be included on the pricing list. It is against the law for a funeral home to refuse to handle a casket purchased elsewhere or to charge more for doing so. Also against the law is the practice of charging extra for handling the coffin. Find out more about caskets in our What you Need to Know about Caskets guide.
According to the legislation, you are not permitted to collect additional fees for handling the coffin in any way. In addition, if the funeral home offers cremation services, they must provide a selection of various containers from which customers may choose.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) conducts annual inspections of funeral homes to see whether or not the establishments comply with the Funeral Rule that the FTC enacted. When a potential customer calls a funeral service provider to inquire about the company’s offerings, this triggers the application of the “Funeral Rule.”
It makes no difference whether the client is interested in learning about plans established before the client requires them or plans created at the time of death; the information is the same in all cases.
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