The General Price List
The General PriceList (GPL) is the key stone of the Funeral Rule. It must contain identifying information (see page 6), itemized prices for the various goods and services that you sell (see pages 9-13), and other important disclosures (see pages 6-9). The GPL enables consumers to comparison shop and to purchase, on an itemized basis, only the goods and services they want.
Who Gets a GPL?
You must give the General Price List to anyone who asks, in person, about funeral goods, funeral services, or the prices of such goods or services. You must give the GPL to such individuals to keep. The request for information does not have to come from a consumer or someone who wants to make funeral arrangements now or in the future. You must give a GPL to all persons who inquire about funeral arrangements. This may include competitors, journalists, and representatives of businesses, religious societies, government agencies, or consumer groups.
Note: If someone asks you about the goods and services that you sell, you must give that person a General Price List. If you are uncertain whether the Rule applies in a particular situation, it would be sensible to provide the list.
When Should the GPL Be Offered?
You do not have to hand out the General Price List as soon as someone walks into
your business. But, you must offer the price list when you begin to discuss any of the following:
- the type of funeral or disposition that you can arrange;
- the specific goods and services that you offer; or
- the prices of your goods and services.
Before giving a GPL to a bereaved individual, you may offer your condolences and discuss preliminary matters like veteran’s benefits or death certificates.
The triggering event for giving out the GPL is a face-to-face meeting. The face-to-face meeting can occur anywhere, not just at the funeral home. For example, you must give out a General Price List even if the discussion of prices or arrangements takes place in the family’s home or while removing the deceased from a hospital or a nursing home. You should tell your employees to carry extra price lists with them.
Exception: You are not required to offer a General Price List if you remove the deceased for transportation to the funeral home and, at that time, only request the authorization to embalm. When you request authorization to embalm, however, you also must:
Disclose that embalming is not required by law (except in special cases, if relevant); and
Refrain from further discussion about prices or the selection of funeral goods or services while you remove the deceased. Any further discussion of prices or the selection of goods or services at this time would trigger the requirement to provide a GPL.
What About Phone or Mail Inquiries?
You must give certain information to people who telephone (see page 22), but the Rule does not require you to send callers a General Price List. Similarly, you do not have to send a GPL in response to mail inquiries about funeral goods and services. Of course, you certainly are free to send a GPL to someone who calls or writes for information if you wish to do so. However, if a telephone or mail inquiry is followed up by a meeting at the funeral home or elsewhere, you must provide a GPL at that time.
Note: Some states require funeral providers to mail a price list upon request. You should check to see what the requirements are in your state.
Does the Rule Require the GPL Be Given to Keep?
A verbal offer of a GPL is not enough to comply with the Rule. You cannot merely tell consumers that a GPL is available for inspection. You also cannot show them a GPL in a booklet or binder where it appears that there is only one copy available or that the booklet is solely for the funeral director’s use. You must physically offer consumers a General Price List that they can keep and take home with them. If the consumer does not want to accept or look at the General Price List, you do not have to do anything else. However, you should do nothing to discourage customers from looking at the GPL, such as telling them that it is unnecessary or difficult to understand.
Note: You cannot charge a fee for the price list or place any conditions upon giving consumers information that the Rule requires you to give to them. You must give all required information to anyone who asks, free of charge.
What About the GPL and Pre-need Arrangements?
You must give out a General Price List in all pre-need situations. Because you may sell different goods and services on a pre-need basis, your pre-need GPL may vary from the GPL you use in at-need situations. However, any General Price List that you use for pre-need arrangements must include all required disclosures (see pages 6-9) and offer goods and services on an itemized basis (see pages 9-13). You cannot offer only package funerals to pre-need customers.
In addition, as stated above (see pages 2-3), you must give a GPL to anyone who wishes to modify the funeral goods or services already purchased under a pre-need contract or to a survivor who must pay an additional sum because prices have increased since the time the arrangements were pre-planned.
Example: Mr. Stone made pre-need arrangements before his death. His wife wants to change the casket and the services that he bought under the pre-need contract. You must give Mrs. Stone a General Price List at the beginning of the discussions and show her a Casket Price List before she looks at any caskets.