The Funeral Rule: How it Protects Your Rights

the funeral rule

Funeral homes are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and must abide by something called the “funeral rule,” which protects you as a consumer. Here are eight rights and protections you have under this rule.

  • You don’t have to buy everything the funeral home offers you. You may not need some services (like embalming) if you’re not having a visitation, and you have the right to refuse goods and services you don’t feel like you need.
  • You can ask for prices over the telephone. You have the right to call the funeral home ahead of time and get prices for goods and services you’ll need. Many funeral homes will mail you brochures that include prices, and some post their prices online.
  • You can request an itemized list of prices. Funeral homes are required to give you a General Price List (GPL) when you inquire about prices. This lists all of the services and items the funeral home offers along with the price.
  • You can ask for a casket price list. Funeral homes will often show you their three most expensive models knowing you’ll choose the second option. This rule allows you to be an informed consumer and know all of your options before making a decision.
  • You can get a written statement after you’ve decided what you want, before you pay. Getting an itemized list of all of your items and services can help you see the big-picture of what you’re purchasing before you pay for it.
  • You can use an alternative container for cremation. If you’re using a funeral home’s cremation service, it is unnecessary to buy an expensive casket. Funeral homes are required to offer you alternatives containers for cremation like unfinished wood, pressed wood, fiberboard, and cardboard.
  • You can buy a casket or urn from a third-party. Buying a casket from a funeral can cost you thousands of dollars. Many people don’t know they have the option of buying one from a third-party seller to save money. For example, Costco sells quality caskets and urns you can purchase and have shipped directly to the funeral home.
  • You may not have to use embalming services. If you’re having a visitation or open-casket ceremony, many funeral homes will require that you use embalming services. However, if you’re foregoing these services in favor of cremation, you can request refrigeration services. Refrigeration will often be much less expensive, and it doesn’t require the use of any preservation chemicals.