FTC Undercover Phone Sweep Results in Warning Letters to 39 Funeral Homes 

Funeral Industry News Laws & Regulations January 29, 2024
FTC Letterhead

FTC Undercover Phone Sweep Results in Warning Letters to 39 Funeral Homes 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released a list of funeral homes that, in the view of FTC staffers, violated the Funeral Rule. In what the FTC refers to as “the agency’s first undercover phone sweep,” calls to more than 250 funeral homes in seven FTC regions resulted in warning letters to 39 funeral homes. The calls were conducted during April and May 2023.

According to the letters, which were mailed on January 24, 2024 and are available in their entirety on the FTC website (and via the links below), 38 of the funeral homes “failed to provide accurate pricing information or failed to give out price information entirely.”

Thirty-seven of those funeral homes received letters stating that, “Specifically, we contacted your office on two occasions, and you provided materially different prices for the same goods and services on each call.

Three funeral homes received separate violation notices in their letters in addition to the accurate pricing notation:

  • King of Prussia Crematory (DBA Bacchi Funeral Home & Crematory) in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania and Ruby Memorial in North Brunswick, New Jersey provided “materially different prices on a telephone call than were stated on your General Price List.” This is a variation on the “materially different prices for the same goods and services on each call” wording in the majority of the letters.
  • Morris Funerals & Cremation Services, L.L.C. of Washington, DC “failed to provide any information about your prices or offerings over the telephone when asked.”
  • Shadow Mountain Mortuary of Phoenix, Arizona “misrepresented that health codes require embalming before more than a limited number of individuals can view the remains, even if the remains are refrigerated, when that is not the case in Arizona.”

One funeral home, SCI’s Forest Park Westheimer Funeral Home in Houston, provided accurate pricing information, but was cited for a different violation. According to the letter sent to the company, although the funeral home promised to email a General Price List to the caller, they “emailed a list of package prices that does not meet the requirements for a General Price List under the Funeral Rule.” 

The agency sent letters to the following funeral homes (links lead to copies of the letters on the FTC website): 

A Psalm of Life, La Marque, Texas

A. J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Directors, Royal Oak, Michigan

Airport Mortuary & Shipping Services, Hapeville, Georgia

Benito & Azzaro Gardens Chapel, Santa Cruz, California

Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, Amarillo, Texas

Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, Bedford, Virginia

Burns Funeral Home Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Byles-MacDougall Funeral Home, New London, Connecticut

Dae Han Mortuary, Los Angeles, California

Davis Funeral Home, Roxbury, Massachusetts

Edward Hugh McBride Funeral Home, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ferdinand Funeral Homes & Crematory, Miami, Florida

SCI Texas Funeral Services, L.L.C. d/b/a Forest Park Westheimer Funeral Home & Cemetery, Houston, Texas

Gresser Funeral Home, Orrville, Ohio

Heritage Funeral Service and Crematory, Lynchburg, Virginia

Joe Jackson Heights Funeral Chapel, Laredo, Texas

Kearns Memorial LLC, Maxton, North Carolina

King of Prussia Crematory d/b/a Bacchi Funeral Home & Crematory, Bridgeport, Pennsylvania

Laurel Hill Funeral Home, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania

Lester C. Litesey Funeral Home, Cedartown, Georgia

Lynch Funeral Home Inc., Horseheads, New York

McCormick and Son Mortuary, Laguna Beach, California

McWhite’s Funeral Home, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Messinger Indian School Mortuary, Scottsdale, Arizona

Monti Rago Funeral Home, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Morris Funerals & Cremation Services, L.L.C., Washington, D.C.

Mountain View Funeral Home and Crematory, Lakewood, Washington

Nieto Funerals & Cremations, Laredo, Texas

O.H. Pye, III Funeral Home, Detroit, Michigan

Plummer Funeral Home, Augusta, Maine

Ruby Memorial, North Brunswick, New Jersey

Shadow Mountain Mortuary, Phoenix, Arizona

Staples Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Gardiner, Maine

Stephens Funeral Home, West Helena, Arkansas

Todd Memorial Chapel, Pomona, California

Walton’s Funerals & Cremation – Chapel of the Valley, Carson City, Nevada

West-Hurtt Funeral Home, DeSoto, Texas

Wimberg Funeral Home, Egg Harbor City, New Jersey

Woyasz & Son Funeral Service, Norwich, Connecticut

The Funeral Rule requires funeral homes to “tell persons who ask by telephone about the funeral provider’s offerings or prices any accurate information from [their] price lists…. and any other readily available information that reasonably answers the question[s].”

As the FTC’s letters are intended as warnings, they stated that the “staff does not currently intend to recommend to the Commission that it take formal legal action,” although they do mention that failure to comply with the Funeral Rule could result in penalties of up to $51,744 per violation.

Instead, each letter asked the funeral home to “take prompt remedial action” to correct the infractions and ensure staff provide accurate information over the phone. Each letter was accompanied by a copy of the “Complying with the Funeral Rule” guide.