Funeral Rule Opinions
The Division of Marketing Practices periodically issues informal staff advisory opinions in response to requests for interpretation of the Funeral Rule. Staff opinions are issued, pursuant to Rules 1.1-1.4 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice, 16 C.F.R. §§ 1.1-1.4, in response to questions of general public interest.
Determines that funeral providers may not charge a non-declinable fee for disinfecting, washing and dressing remains for an identification viewing prior to direct cremation or immediate burial unless applicable law or the crematory or cemetery requires an identification viewing.
Discusses whether funeral providers may offer discount packages conditioned on the purchase of a casket, and whether such packages may discount the basic services fee.
Confirms that funeral providers must provide accurate price information by telephone to anyone who inquires about offerings or prices, including a business that will use the information for its own profit.
Discusses the circumstances under which funeral providers should include the overhead cost of the use of a vehicle to obtain death certificates and permits in their basic services fee.
Confirms that cemeteries generally are not covered by the Funeral Rule unless they offer both funeral services and funeral goods.
Addresses whether a funeral provider may include a reduced basic services fee in its prices for direct cremation, immediate burial and forwarding and receiving remains.
Discusses under what circumstances a funeral provider may need a contract with a cemetery provider to provide either a good faith estimate of the cemetery costs or the actual costs.
Discusses whether funeral providers may routinely charge a fee for the refrigeration of bodies that is separate from the non-declinable basic services fee, and whether funeral providers may charge a fee, separate from the non-declinable basic services fee, for the use of an automobile to obtain death certificates.
Reiterates the long-standing policy that funeral providers may not require consumers to inspect and accept third-party merchandise.
Discusses whether funeral providers may charge fees for storing third-party caskets or for disposing of the containers in which they are shipped; and whether funeral providers may use two separate Statements of Funeral Goods and Services -- one for its own charges and one for third-party cash advance items.
Discusses whether the Funeral Rule requires a funeral provider to make its facilities available for a memorial service to families who do not make any other funeral arrangements with the provider.
Discusses whether the Rule requires that the Statement of Funeral Goods and Services include an itemization of the goods and services provided in direct cremations, immediate burials, forwarding of remains and receiving remains.
Discusses the circumstances under which the Rule requires that embalming performed by another funeral home or a third party provider be listed on the Statement of Funeral Goods and Services as a cash advance item.
Clarifies that the Rule's prohibition of casket storage fees discussed in Opinion 07-4 applies only to "at need" arrangements, and not to "pre-need" arrangements.
Discusses the use of computerized displays of casket prices to comply with the Funeral Rule's casket price list requirement.
Discusses the circumstances under which the Rule requires funeral providers to list "direct cremation" on their price lists, including whether the disclosure must be made if the provider offers only cremation packages, not direct cremation as defined by the Rule.
Reaffirms earlier staff advisory opinion that a funeral home may not make consumers sign for third-party caskets.
Discusses what funeral goods and services must be separately itemized on the General Price List; under what circumstances items may be listed as “no charge”; whether funeral providers may use separate General Price Lists for funerals for children; whether the cost of cremation must be included in the price for direct cremation.
Discusses whether alternative General Price Lists can be used for certain groups; whether funeral providers may charge translator fees; and whether the General Price List must be in English.
Discusses Funeral Rule’s requirements for itemization of charges, disclosure of service charges, and whether a private right of action exists under the Rule.
Discusses under what circumstances funeral providers may offer discounts for casket purchases.
Discusses whether a group of funeral homes may use a consolidated General Price List and whether the Funeral Rule applies to pricing issues.
States staff view that discount packages may not discount the basic services fee, that fees for washing and disinfection may not be charged unless required by applicable law, and discusses how fees for off-site and on-site viewing should be described.
Discusses whether a funeral home is obligated to sell caskets without providing any funeral services.
Discusses whether a sales agent representing several funeral providers may use a single generic General Price List.
Discusses the applicability of the Funeral Rule to a company that launches remains into space.
Concludes that the basic services fee may not be discounted; that consumers may add additional items to direct cremation, immediate burial, and forwarding and receiving remains without necessarily paying the full basic services fee; that the Rule requires disclosure of separate prices on the general price list for on-site and off-site visitation and funeral services, even if the price is the same; and that funeral providers may not charge a non-declinable washing and disinfection fee for handling un-embalmed remains.