Last call for comments on the FTC’s review of the funeral rule

by | Jun 8, 2020 | Articles, COVID-19, Death Care, Insights

Death care professionals have one week remaining to submit comments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding its review of the Funeral Industry Practices Rule.

Perhaps overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, without much fanfare, the FTC announced in February 2020 that it is undertaking a review of the Funeral Rule for the first time since 2008 and only the third time since the Rule was issued in 1982.

The FTC asked for public comments on 12 general regulatory review questions and 10 questions specific to the Funeral Rule. Much of the discussion surrounding the review has centered on the FTC’s question of whether funeral providers should be required to post general price lists (GPL) online. This has long been a goal of consumer advocacy groups like the Funeral Consumers Alliance.

However, the FTC posed several other important questions aimed at modernizing or expanding the Funeral Rule, including:

  • Should the rule be expanded to include cemeteries?
  • Should the rule continue to permit a non-declinable basic services fee?
  • Should the rule allow a reduced basic services fee for cremations and immediate burials that include a limited viewing or other services?
  • Should the format of GPLs and other price lists be standardized?
  • Should funeral providers be required to disclose the cost, or range of costs, of any outside crematory fees on their GPLs?
  • Should any modifications be made to the rule for funeral providers offering only cremation?

To date, the FTC has received 637 comments. The majority are from individuals, and many are from state and local funeral consumer groups. Other commenters include AARP, Carriage Services, the Consumer Federation of America and the National Alliance of Life Companies. The National Funeral Directors Association has not yet submitted comments, but has outlined the primary positions its comments will include.  

The deadline for submission of comments has been extended to June 15, 2020. Comments may be submitted through the website. Comments are public and should not include sensitive or confidential information.   

Saxton & Stump attorney Jason Benion is available to discuss potential comments and what changes to the Funeral Rule may mean for death care professionals and their businesses.

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