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When working with a funeral home, especially if this is your first time and you are unfamiliar with the process, it is important to know your rights as a consumer.
In the past, there wasn’t much transparency in the funeral industry. The Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule changed that by creating guidelines for the funeral home to follow that entitles you to more pricing information upfront, the ability to mix and match services, and the right to more transparency regarding the process before you commit.
The FTC Funeral Rule is a protection mechanism for you as the consumer. Its purpose is to give you more rights and obligates funeral homes to make pricing clearer and more straightforward for you before you have to commit to purchasing any goods or services.
We recommend reviewing the following summaries of your rights before contacting a funeral home.
Your rights under the FTC Funeral Rule:
- You can obtain pricing information over the telephone from a funeral home without having to give your name, address, telephone number or email beforehand.
- Funeral homes are allowed to charge a basic service fee, which includes planning and arranging the funeral, securing applicable permits and copies of the death certificate, and the preparation of obituary notices. This basic fee does not include optional services or goods. Optional goods or services are defined as everything outside of what is specifically delineated as included in the basic service fee, including cash advance items (goods or services that the funeral home purchases from a third-party vendor on the customer’s behalf).
- You are entitled to a copy of the funeral home’s General Price List (GPL) which should list all the items and services they offer along with the price for each one.
- You are allowed to see a casket price list before being shown all the caskets they have on display. Sometimes this is included in their GPL but often times this is separate. As not all caskets are always on display it allows you to see a larger price range. See our article Buying a Casket: What You Need to Know for more information on the process of buying a casket.
- You are allowed to use a casket or urn purchased elsewhere and the funeral home cannot charge an additional fee. You are also not required to be there when the casket or urn is delivered. Our online funeral store displays many casket options that can be shipped to the funeral home of your choosing. Browse Caskets and Urns.
- You do not have to accept a package deal that may include items you do not want. You can mix and match whatever goods and services you want.
- You are entitled to a written itemized statement summarizing the goods and services you selected before you pay.
- You are entitled to have an “alternative container” instead of a casket for a cremation. If you are having a cremation, the funeral home must inform you of this and must make this option available to you.
- You are not required to embalm the body. It might be required in some circumstances, but by law (regardless of the state in which the funeral home is located), it is not a requirement.
- You are entitled to a written statement from the funeral home explaining any legal requirements that require you to purchase any specific goods or services.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal, accounting or tax advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.