The Funeral Rule

The Funeral Rule Protects the Grieving from the Unscrupulous

The Funeral Rule | Custom Coffins

Custom coffins displayed at the Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop in Teshie -by Jean-Michel Rousset

The funeral rule is a step toward making sure consumers are well informed.  As with any business, the funeral homes are there to make money.  However, some of them have also been known to take unfair advantage of their customers during the most difficult time in their life. 

Let us preface this by saying that most people are good and well meaning.  The funeral industry has the same cross section as any other industry.  You can expect to find an unfair operator once in a while.  The FTC has implemented the Funeral Rule to protect you from that guy (or gal).

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The shifty operators out there have been known to inflate prices, add on ridiculous charges for this or that, and even charge for services that weren’t necessary or that were never carried out.  They may try to make a family feel guilty for purchasing a modestly priced coffin or cutting back on the cost of services.

Part of that may kick in if they have knowledge of your burial insurance policy.  Maybe they want to get as much of it as they can.

There is now a federal law in place (the Funeral Rule) that makes this more difficult for such unscrupulous entities to carry out.  Now, all of the goods and services that are part of the cost have to be itemized.  It is also no longer necessary to accept a package deal from a funeral home.  You can buy only what you decide you would like to select.  This law pertains to both pre-planned or Pre-Need funeral arrangements and those that occur at the time of a loved one’s death.


The Federal Trade Commission oversees the Funeral Rule, and they ensure that the funeral home gives you all of the information that you ask for in writing.  You also have the right to buy your casket and other items after you have seen the pricing for such products.  It is still legal for packages to be offered, and many funeral homes do. 

However, you need to know that you don’t have to accept them.  For example, you have the right to buy a casket from another location.  The funeral home can’t charge you any fees, though, to handle it if you didn’t buy it from them. 

Knowing your rights when it comes to the funeral rule is very important.  Too many people have been taken advantage of when they shouldn’t have.  Funeral planning can be a financial burden as well as very emotionally tolling.  If you feel that you have been taken advantage of, you need to report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission so that they can perform an in depth investigation. 

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