During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have taken on new roles in our families and communities. You may be delivering groceries, helping neighbors with yardwork, or hosting video check-ins with quarantined relatives. But if someone asked you to help plan a funeral, would you know where to start? The FTC’s information about funeral goods and services, types of funerals, and your rights can help. The FTC enforces the Funeral Rule, which makes it possible for you to compare prices and choose only the things you want or need.
If you can’t leave home or travel to a funeral provider right now, you can still get information about what it offers — and how much those goods and services cost. The Rule says funeral homes must give you information about their products and services, including their prices, over the phone if you ask for it. Some funeral providers also post price information online.
When you make arrangements by phone, online, or in person, you have the right to:
- buy only the goods (like a casket) and services (like a memorial service) that you want, instead of being required to buy a “package”
- use an alternative container — made of pressed wood, cardboard or other material — instead of a casket for cremation
- use a casket or urn you bought somewhere else
- get a written statement after you decide what you want, but before you pay. The statement must list the price for each good or service you chose, and the total cost. You have a right to get the written statement before you pay, even when you make arrangements by phone.
When you go to a funeral home to make arrangements, you have the right to:
- get an itemized price list when you start talking about funeral arrangements and prices
- see price lists for caskets and outer burial containers before you discuss or look at them
Use the FTC’s Funeral Pricing Checklist to ask about available options and compare costs at different funeral providers. You can also use the Checklist to make plans in advance, or pre-plan a funeral. If you or a loved one make advance arrangements with a funeral provider, make notes about the plans, and share them with friends and family.
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
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In reply to Is this for "chains" that by Chance
The Funeral Rule applies to all funeral providers that sell, or offer to sell, both funeral goods and funeral services to the public.
The Rule does not apply to third-party sellers, such as casket and monument dealers, or to cemeteries that don't have a funeral home on site.
In reply to My experience with funeral by Trip02
In reply to Is there a booklet on what to by Barbara
You can print out copies of the online articles, including the Funeral Costs and Pricing Checklist.
All the FTC information is free and in the public domain, so you can copy it, share it in a message or newsletter, and link to it.