Your Funeral Rule Rights Explained
The Funeral Rule, enacted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 1984, is a federal regulation that protects consumers when making funeral arrangements. It gives consumers the right to choose only the goods and services they want or need, and to pay only for those they select. The FTC Funeral Rule is designed to ensure that funeral providers give consumers the information they need to compare prices and services, and to help them make informed decisions. The Rule also requires funeral providers to give consumers an itemized Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected, which outlines the goods and services they have chosen and the total cost. In this way, the Funeral Rule protects consumers from being taken advantage of in their time of grief.
You have these rights from the FTC Funeral Rule-
1. You are not obligated to purchase a funeral package that contains elements you do not want. You have the authority to purchase individual items (e.g. caskets) and services (e.g. embalming or a memorial service) as per your preference.
2. You are permitted to request cost details over the phone. Funeral directors are obligated to provide you with pricing information if you make the request, without requiring your name, address, or phone number. Although they don’t have to, some funeral homes mail their rate lists or make them available online.
3. When you go to a funeral home, you are entitled to receive a written, item-by-item price list. The funeral home must provide you with a General Price List which you get to keep. This document contains a list of the various products and services the home offers and the cost of each.
4. Before viewing the caskets, you have the right to view a written list of casket prices. Occasionally, this price information is included on the funeral home’s General Price List. However, more often than not, it’s presented on a separate casket rate list. It is important to review the cost details before seeing the caskets, so you can enquire about more affordable products that may not be on show.
5. It is your right to have access to a written record containing the prices of outer burial containers. Although it is not obligatory to use these containers, many cemeteries require them to keep the graves from collapsing. In the case that the funeral home sells them, but does not list the prices on the General Price List, you have the right to view a distinct list of container prices before you view the containers. If you do not observe the less expensive containers listed, inquire about them.
6. When you have finalized your choices of items and services, you are entitled to a written document demonstrating the specific goods and services chosen, along with their individual prices and the total cost. The funeral home is required to provide you with a statement of your selections as well as their prices and the grand total right after you complete the arrangements.
7. You are entitled to receive a written statement from the funeral home that outlines any legal regulations from the cemetery or crematory which obligates you to purchase funeral items or services.
8. Everyone has the right to select another form of a container for cremation other than a coffin. There is no law that necessitates the use of a coffin for cremation. A funeral home which provides cremations must inform you that there are other alternatives obtainable, and they must make them obtainable. These alternatives might be composed of unfinished wood, pressed wood, fiberboard, or cardboard.
9. You can purchase a casket or urn from any source outside of the funeral home, and they are not allowed to reject it or charge you for using it. Moreover, it is not necessary for you to be present when the container is delivered to the funeral home.
10. When making arrangements for a funeral, embalming is not mandatory. There are no state laws that state that embalming is needed for every death. However, some states require embalming or refrigeration if the body is not buried or cremated within a certain period of time, while some states do not. In the majority of cases, refrigeration is an acceptable substitute. Moreover, you have the option of selecting services such as direct cremation and immediate burial, which do not necessitate any kind of preservation. Numerous funeral homes have a policy that requires embalming if the body is going to be publicly displayed, but this is not enforced by law in the majority of states. Inquire if the funeral home offers private family viewing without embalming. If some form of preservation is a must, ask the funeral home if refrigeration is available.