The FTC Funeral Rule went into effect April 30, 1934. The rule was revised in early 1994.
Who must comply with the rule?
All “funeral providers” must comply with the Rule. You are a funeral provider if you sell or offer to sell both funeral goods and funeral services to the public.
Funeral goods are all products sold directly to the public in connection with funeral services.
Funeral services are:
- services used to care for and prepare bodies for burial, cremation, or other final disposition;
- and services used to arrange, supervise, or conduct the funeral ceremony or final disposition of human remains.
You are a funeral provider if you sell or offer to sell funeral goods and both types of funeral services. You do not have to be a licensed funeral director and your business does not have to be a licensed funeral home to be covered by the Funeral Rule. Cemeteries, crematories, and other businesses can also be “funeral providers” if they market both funeral goods and services.
You must comply with the Rule even if a particular consumer buys only goods or only funeral services, but not both. If you offer to sell both goods and services, you must comply with the Rule for every customer. However, you are not covered by the Rule if you sell only funeral goods, such as caskets, but not services relating to the disposition of remains.
You are covered by the Rule even if you organize your business to sell goods through one company and services through another. If you are a funeral provider, you cannot avoid being covered by the Rule by restructuring your business.
Does the rule apply to preneed arrangements?
The Rule’s requirements, as described on the following pages, apply to both pre-need and at-need funeral arrangements.
In pre-need situations, you must comply with all Rule requirements at the time funeral arrangements are pre-planned. You also need to comply with the Rule after the death of the individual who made pre-need arrangements. If the survivors inquire about goods or services, alter the pre-planned arrangements, or are required to pay additional sums of money, you must give them all relevant disclosures and price lists. For example, survivors may be asked to pay additional amounts if the pre-paid plan does not guarantee prices at the time of death. In other cases, survivors may change arrangements specified in the pre-need plan, adding or subtracting certain goods or services. In both situations, the requirements of the Rule apply. You must give the survivors relevant price lists, as well as an itemized Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected.
You also must comply with the Rule if you sell pre-need contracts on behalf of one or more funeral homes, but do not yourself provide funeral goods and services. In such a case, even though you don’t provide the funeral items, you are an agent of a funeral provider and therefore are covered by the Rule.
The Rule does not apply to pre-need contracts entered into before the Rule went into effect in 1984. However, if a pre-need contract signed before 1984 is modified after 1984, the modification triggers all of the Rule’s requirements.