Consumer Rights Under the FTC Funeral Rule

In your time of grief after losing a loved one, the last thing you may be willing to face is the burden of having to make cremation and funeral arrangements. If your loved one failed to pre-plan their cremation, you may be scrambling to make arrangements that your loved one would have appreciated, while also making sure you choose arrangements that manage to satisfy your friends and family. Out of everything you may be going through during this challenging time, one of the largest burdens many families face when planning a cremation is cost.

It can be overwhelming to budget for a funeral or cremation when it seems as if there are hidden costs with everything involved in saying good-bye to your loved one. However, thanks to a relatively new funeral rule enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), families now have the right to choose only the specific services and funeral goods they want for cremation, which can help lessen the burden on families who feel as if they must purchase a number of goods and services for which to memorialize their loved one.

Under the FTC’s Funeral Rule, you can contact a cremation society and request prices of goods and services without being required to provide the business with your personal information. The Funeral Rule also stipulates that you can buy certain services without having to commit to purchasing a package option. As a consumer, FTC’s rule can make it easier for you to be more selective when planning a cremation or funeral for your loved one without having to invest in unnecessary services and goods.

Under the FTC’s Funeral Rule, you can verify and do the following when working with a cremation or funeral provider:

  • Purchase only the specific cremation and funeral arrangements you want for your loved one. You are never obligated to purchase a package that includes items you don’t want or need, such as an urn offered by the funeral home, embalming, or a memorial service.
  • Obtain pricing information over the telephone without being required to provide the cremation provider with your personal contact information.
  • Receive a printed, itemized pricing list of all goods and services at the time you visit a cremation provider so you aren’t taken by any surprise costs or hidden fees.
  • Ask to see a price list for all urns and caskets before viewing the cremation provider’s collection. In some cases, cremation providers may not put their lowest-priced urns and caskets on display.
  • Request to see pricing for outer burial containers, if you opt for burial instead of cremation. Although some state laws do not require you to have outer burial containers for a casket, the cemetery you work with may require you to purchase and use an outer burial container.
  • Obtain a written, itemized statement that details every service and good you have selected for your loved one’s cremation or funeral prior to paying the cremation provider.
  • Request that your cremation provider give you any and all documentation that describes any legal cremation or cemetery requirements.
  • Provide the cremation provider with a third-party urn or casket you purchase from somewhere other than the cremation provider. Under the FTC Funeral Rule, cremation and funeral providers cannot refuse to use an urn or casket you provide them with, or charge you extra fees for doing so.
  • Make cremation or funeral arrangements without purchasing embalming services. This particular rule may vary from state to state, since the embalming process may or may not be required for your state.

At Heartland Cremation, we understand that cremation is a simple and worry-free way of remembering and memorializing your loved one, and that is why we will work with you in arranging a simple cremation service. For more information, please contact Heartland Cremation at one of our greater Kansas City area locations.

Filed Under: