Funeral – Know your rights.

The Funeral Rule and The Consumer Guide

What is ‘The Funeral Rule’?

The Funeral Rule effects all funeral providers and is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission.

The Rule makes it possible for the consumer to choose only those goods and services they want or need and to pay only for those they select, whether they are deciding arrangements after a death occurs, or pre-planning in advance.

The Rule allows consumers to compare prices among funeral homes and select funeral arrangements they want at the funeral provider of their choice.

The Rule does not apply to third-party sellers, such as casket and monument dealers, or to the cemeteries that lack an on-site funeral home.

The Rule requires funeral providers to give consumers accurate, itemized price information and various other disclosures about funeral goods and services. 

The Rule prohibits funeral providers from:

  • Misrepresenting legal, crematory and cemetery requirements
  • Embalming for a fee without permission
  • Requiring the purchase of a casket for direct cremation
  • Requiring consumers to buy certain funeral goods or services as a condition for furnishing other funeral goods or services, and
  • Engaging in other deceptive or unfair practices.

The Rule pertains to both pre-need and at-need scenarios. The Rule went into effect in 1984, pre-need arrangement contracts signed before that time are not subject to The Rule unless it has been updated after 1984.

The Rule states the funeral provider cannot refuse to handle a casket or urn you bought online, at a local casket store, or somewhere else – or charge a fee to do it. Furthermore, the funeral home cannot require you to be there when the casket or urn is delivered to them.

The Rule: The General Price List

The General Price List enables consumers to more easily comparison shop and to purchase, on an itemized basis, only the goods and services of their choosing.

It is the law – funeral providers must give the General Price List to anyone who asks, in person, about funeral goods, funeral services, or the prices of such.

  • The funeral providers are required to provide accurate price information on the phone if requested to do so. Callers are not required to provide their name, address, or telephone number.
  • Funeral providers, however, are not required to provide the General Price List to consumers who have telephoned or mailed for inquiry unless followed up with an in-person meeting.

Helpful hint: most funeral providers will email the General Price List and other pertinent information upon request.

The Rule: Required Information on the General Price List

Name, address; and telephone number of the funeral provider’s place of business(es); the caption ‘General Price List’; and the effective date of the pricelist.

The Rule: There are six disclosures required on the General Price List:

  • The consumer’s right to select only the goods and services desired.
  • The law does not require embalming and may not be necessary in certain situations, such as direct burial or direct cremation.

Helpful hint: Public viewings and airline transport are times when embalming is ideal or required.

  • Alternative containers can be used for direct cremation, a casket is not required.

Helpful hint: Not all providers include the alternative container in their package pricing.

            Helpful hint: A rigid, combustible container is required by law for cremation.

  • The Basic Services Fee pertains to the fee for the professional services of the funeral director and staff.

Helpful hint: The Basic Services Fee often is included in the provider’s package pricing.

  • The Casket Price List price range and availability.

Helpful hint: Despite the required notation on the General Price List, some providers have a separate, more detailed Casket Price List, selection list, or flip books, at the funeral home.

  • The Outer Burial Container Price List

Helpful hint: Funeral providers without a cemetery, and who do not sell these items, are therefore exempt from the required notation of the Outer Burial Container Price List on their General Price List disclosures.

The Rule: The Statement of Funeral Goods and Services is an itemized list that the consumer has selected during the arrangements meeting. It includes detailed cost information.

Helpful hint: The categories listed on the Statement of Funeral Goods and Services generally correspond to the items listed on the funeral provider’s General Price List.

The Rule: Cash advance/cash disbursement/accommodation items may be listed separately on the Statement of Goods and Services as they are most often a third-party that is paid by the funeral provider on the consumer’s behalf.

Helpful hint: These items include pallbearers, public transportation, clergy honoraria, flowers, musicians or singers, obituary publications, gratuities, death certificates, etc.

For more information about the FTC Funeral Rule visit

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0300-ftc-funeral-rule

For more information about “Shopping for Funeral Services” visit https://www.bulkorder.ftc.gov/system/files/publications/pdf-0056-funerals.pdf

What is the ‘Consumer Guide to Arizona Funerals Information’?

The Consumer Guide to Arizona Funerals Information brochure is a helpful collection of information designed to inform consumers about end-of-life arrangements.

It is the law – funeral providers must give the “Consumer Guide to Arizona Funerals Information” brochure to consumers.

The Consumer Guide is a quick overview and definitions for understanding autopsies, caskets, cemetery requirements, cremation requirements, body donation, embalming, funeral arrangements, and prearranged funeral plans.

For more information about the Consumer Guide to Arizona Funerals Information visit https://funeralboard.az.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/Consumer%20Guide.pdf

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