FTC Investigation Finds 23% Of Funeral Homes Don’t Provide Price Lists

Image courtesy of Ann Fisher

The Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule is a bit of consumer protection that one doesn’t think about much unless until shopping for funeral services. Fortunately, the FTC sends undercover investigators out across the country to check whether individual funeral homes are treating customers in a way that complies with the rule.

The most important part of the Funeral Rule is that it requires funeral homes to give customers an itemized price list, allowing them to comparison shop more easily. It also requires that consumers be given a choice of provider for some things, like being able to order a casket from any vendor.

An example of a violation of the Funeral Rule would be the discovery by undercover investigators for the Consumer Federation of America and the Funeral Consumers Alliance that 22% of funeral homes, when asked about the price of a service where the body is cremated right away, gave a price that didn’t include the cost of the actual cremation.

The FTC didn’t identify funeral homes out of compliance with the law or spell out their offenses, but did list by region how many businesses it visited, and how many were found to not be sharing price lists with consumers.

Metropolitan Area Visited Out of Compliance Percentage
Bakersfield, CA 10 0 0%
Atlanta, Smyrna, and Marietta, GA 10 1 10%
Detroit, Warren, and Ann Arbor, MI 15 10 67%
St. Louis, MO 16 3 19%
Alamogordo and Roswell, NM 14 9 64%
Bismarck, ND 0 6 0%
Oklahoma City, OK 34 4 12%
Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William Counties, VA 17 2 12%
Tacoma, WA 2 11 18%

The agency performed the undercover visits in 2015 and 2016, and released the results today.

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