Funeral Industry Fraud

A new report issued by the Federal Trade Commission or FTC found that funeral home fraud increased in 2014. According to a report on APM’s Marketplace, roughly 1 in 4 funeral homes failed compliance checks by undercover investigators. Those who fail have the option of training their employees in proper compliance through the National Funeral Directors Association, or face civil court action and fines.  Last year, a Westchester county funeral home paid $32,000 in fines for its lack of compliance. The FTC’s Funeral Rule is pretty straight forward: consumers must be presented with a physical copy of the funeral home’s General Price List before arrangements are made or discussed, must be provided with a Casket Price List before viewing and selecting caskets,  and must be provided with an Outer Burial Container Price List before viewing and selecting an outer burial container or vault. Prices must be disclosed on the phone by request, and consumers do not need to provide their name or phone number in order to get them. The Funeral Rule also prohibits funeral homes from packaging services such that consumers are forced to buy products or services they don’t want or need. For instance, if you choose to have a cremation promptly after death, with no viewing or other services, a funeral home can’t require you to purchase embalming or a casket. It was disappointing to see that the National Funeral Directors Association‘s response to this report was the rule is “complicated” and that it is “easy to slip up.” The FTC Funeral Rule was implemented in 1984. It is impossible to become a licensed, professional  funeral...