New Funeral Rule Price List Tip Sheet Issued by FTC After Failed Inspections
Since its creation of the Funeral Rule in 1984, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has conducted undercover inspections to monitor compliance. According to a June 8 announcement, out of 90 funeral homes the FTC inspected recently, nearly 20% weren’t playing by the Rule(s). As a result, the FTC has issued a new Tip Sheet to boost compliance.
Five states, 17 fails
Between 2018 and 2020, FTC visited funeral homes in select areas of Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, and Texas. In addition to the “minor compliance deficiencies” found in “a number of funeral homes,” the FTC cited 17 major Rule violations.
- Marietta and Gainesville, Georgia – seven of the 13 funeral homes inspected failed to comply.
- Lafayette, Louisiana – three of the 20 funeral homes inspected failed to comply.
- Las Vegas, Nevada – three of the 23 funeral homes inspected failed to comply.
- Northern and Central New Jersey – none of the 11 funeral homes inspected failed to comply. (Way to go New Jersey!)
- Beaumont, Texas – four of the 23 funeral homes inspected failed to comply.
The FTC doesn’t publicly publish specific violations or the names of the violators, although names are available upon request. The funeral homes with minor violations received letters “noting the concerns” and requiring them to provide evidence they’ve corrected the problems.
The 17 funeral homes with major violations faced tougher repercussions for their non-compliance. Typically, the FTC offers these owners two choices. First-time offenders may be eligible to enter the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) Funeral Rule Offender’s Program (FROP) training. The other option is to fight the charges in federal court and risk paying civil penalties up to $43,280 per violation.
Those who choose FROP aren’t completely off the hook for fines, though. FROP participants must make a voluntary payment to the U.S. Treasury of 0.8% of the home’s average annual revenue for the past three years. They also pay the NFDA $1900 to cover the cost for three years of training and monitoring. All of the 17 funeral homes cited in 2020 chose to participate in FROP rather than go to court.
Cheat sheets for providers
This isn’t the first time about one-fifth of inspected funeral homes failed the FTC’s undercover reviews. In 2017, 29 of 134 bombed. In 2015 and 2016, 31 of 133 were cited. Back in 2013, 32 of 124 funeral homes were out of compliance. When combined with the most recent figures, that’s about an average 23% fail rate.
Perhaps it’s that trend that prompted the FTC to issue a new “essentials” version of Funeral Rule guidelines. The two-page document highlights requirements of the General Price List (GPL), Casket Price List (CPL), and Outer Burial Container Price List (OBCPL). It also offers tips for preparing your own versions of each.
Free copies of the full version of the Rule, the FTC Guide “Complying with the Funeral Rule,” are available in bulk at ftc.gov/bulkorder.