The Government is warning funeral homes to stop misleading bereaved customers about prices

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A government agency has warned 39 funeral homes across the United States that they risk hefty penalties if they fail to disclose accurate pricing information to customers, the Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday.

The FTC conducted an undercover telephone survey of more than 250 funeral homes and made calls to obtain pricing information. For 38 calls, the agency said funeral homes either refused to answer questions about prices or provided inconsistent information about identical services.

Funeral homes must follow the Federal Trade Commission.Funeral ruling“, which provides the rights of bereaved consumers during the process and holds the company to strict requirements. One caveat is that funeral homes must offer customers a general price list, and customers have the right to choose the services they want.

Funerals can be a significant financial burden on families, and they are getting more expensive. The average cost of a funeral is $7,848, and the average cost of a funeral with cremation is about $6,971, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. Funeral prices rose by 4.7% between December 2022 and December 2023, according to Consumer Price Index data.

“Telephone inquiries are especially important for people who are grieving a loss or making arrangements for loved ones in a different city. That’s why Funeral ruling “Funeral homes are required to provide accurate price information over the telephone,” Leslie Fair, a senior attorney with the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Protection Bureau, wrote in an online post.

In one call, the funeral home said the local health code required embalming, the process of preserving a body after death. The FTC said that health law in most states, including this one, does not actually require embalming, and most states that do only require it in certain circumstances.

Another funeral home promised to send a general price list but instead sent a list of package prices. The FTC claimed that this violated the requirements.

The agency listed the funeral homes to which it had sent warning letters on its website location, locations ranging from Laredo, Texas, to Philadelphia. Funeral homes that don’t comply could pay up to $51,744 per violation.

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