In 1984, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforced the provisions of the “Funeral Industry Practices” law, which governs the sale of funeral goods and services in the United States. Usually referred to as the “Funeral Rule”.
The "Funeral Rule" contains a wide array of consumer protection, that many families are unaware of these days. Please review the following important key points when purchasing funeral services:
1. Select Only What You Want
Under the FTC Funeral Rule, you have the right to select only the services you want; you are not required to purchase a funeral package.
2. You Can Buy a Casket/Urn Elsewhere
Before the Funeral Rule was implied you had to buy the casket from the funeral home. Now that the “Funeral Rule” is enforced, you may buy a casket elsewhere. For example: Costco, Walmart and local casket vendors.
3. Casket Are Not Required for Cremation
A casket is not required for cremation. Although, a funeral home must tell you that an “alternative container” is required by law for all cremations. The “alternative container” can be made of combustible materials. For example, a simple cardboard box.
Per the FTC: “Except in certain special cases, embalming is not required by law.” In other words, there is no federal law requiring the embalming of a body in every case. Moreover, a funeral provider may not represent that embalming the deceased is required if you have selected direct cremation or immediate burial as the form of final disposition.
5. General Price List and Facts About Funerals
When you physically visit the funeral home, you should be given a GPL as soon as you ask about a specific funeral product or service, or how much something costs. Also, as a requirement of the FTC you should be given a brochure of “Facts About Funerals”. The “Facts About Funerals" brochure specifies your protection as the consumer under the “Federal Trade Commission” funeral laws and provisions.
If you would like to learn more on end-of-life planning and consumer protection laws, please attend a free educational “Funeral Workshop” provided by the "Houston Funeral Consumers Alliance" on January 14, 2020 @ 6:00pm, Sugar Land Library 550 Eldridge Rd, Sugar Land, TX 77478. Call to reserve your seat with Sugar Land Library (281) 238-2140.