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.
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