Saturday, April 4, 2009

Consumer Law: Funeral Homes in the News

Probably not a good statistic for funeral homes or for consumers: One in four funeral homes not playing by the rules

The two locations with the most violations were Northeastern Arkansas, where 73% had serious violations, and San Antonio, where 64% flunked, the FTC reported. All the inspections were conducted in 2008. Minneapolis/St. Paul and Toledo, Ohio, funeral homes fared the best. Each had only one funeral home found to have serious violations.

Here are the results from the other locations:

* Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska. 11 funeral homes inspected; two had significant violations
* Orange County, Calif., 18 funeral homes inspected; two had significant violations
* Nassau County, N.Y., 18 funeral homes inspected; two had significant violations
Undercover Inspections of Funeral Homes in Seven States
In general, the Funeral Rule requires funeral homes to give consumers an itemized General Price List (GPL) at the beginning of an in-person discussion of funeral arrangements, and show them a Casket Price List before they view caskets. The Rule also prohibits funeral homes from requiring consumers to buy any item, such as a casket, as a condition of obtaining any other funeral good or service. By requiring itemized prices, the Rule gives consumers the ability to compare prices among funeral homes and buy only the goods and services they want.