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FTC: 25% of Funeral Homes Inspected in 2013 not in Compliance with Funeral Rule

One of the key protections for funeral consumers is the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule. The rule aims to protect consumers by requiring funeral homes to provide itemized price lists. The rule also prohibits funeral homes from requiring the purchase of caskets or other items as a condition for receiving other funeral services. In theory, this allows consumers to compare prices and ensure that an already traumatic experience is not complicated by feeling ripped off.

However, compliance with the Funeral Rule is less than perfect. On March 11, the FTC announced the results of its annual funeral home inspections. In 2013, investigators visited 122 funeral homes in nine states. Inspectors reported that 30 of those funeral homes failed to provide pricing information to consumers as required. The worst compliance rate was found in Monroe, Louisiana, where 8 of 17 funeral homes inspected did not make the price list disclosure as required.

The results for other markets are as follows: 

  • In Palm Springs, California, 1 of 8 funeral homes inspected failed to make a price list disclosure as required;
  • In Southern Connecticut and Northern New Jersey, 2 of 12 funeral homes inspected failed to make a price list disclosure as required;
  • In Monroe, Louisiana, 8 of 17 funeral homes inspected failed to make a price list disclosure as required.
  • In Baltimore, Maryland, 2 of 19 funeral homes inspected failed to make a price list disclosure as required.
  • In Dayton, Ohio, 5 of 15 funeral homes inspected failed to make a price list disclosure as required.
  • In Portland, Oregon, 2 of 14 funeral homes inspected failed to make a price list disclosure as required.
  • In Amarillo, Texas, 6 of 19 funeral homes inspected failed to make a price list disclosure as required.
  • In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 4 of 18 funeral homes inspected failed to make a price list disclosure as required.

Funeral homes face penalties of up to $16,000 per violation. However, rather than levying fines, the FTC allows most funeral homes to enter the Funeral Rule Offenders Program (FROP) which is operated by the National Funeral Directors Association. The program aims to increase compliance through training. All but two of the non-compliant funeral homes entered this program. However, the FTC does not release the names of the funeral homes involved. 

Ryan Arens

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