In 2011 Funeral Home non compliance with the law will continue. This is quite important because in spite of the “Funeral Rule” Funeral Home non compliance will continue. Essentially no one is watching the hen house. The Funeral Rule is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission-FTC.
Your Funeral Guy witnessed Funeral home non compliance this year asking several times for a general price list-gpl- from a funeral director and not receiving one..
A recent report of major non comlpance appeared in South Carolina.
About 30 percent of Midlands funeral homes are not complying with federal laws that require them to accurately disclose the prices for their services.
So says a recent report by the Funeral Consumers Alliance of South Carolina, a volunteer advocacy board that gathers comparative funeral price data and other information.
Funeral industry| Funeral News|Funeral blog by Your Funeral Guy Funeral Director, Illinios and Virginia
- Image via Wikipedia.
John Stossel of Fox News has pointed out that Funeral Directors use Government to keep prices high.
This is true because in spite of Federal Law- called the Funeral Rule declaring free trade in the funeral industry- it does not happen in certain States, counties and cities. State and localLaw trumps free trade(Funeral Rule) in the funeral industry. This should not be.
In Certain localities the Funeral Rule is trumped by State Law. In other words competition is forced out by certain laws. In some places you are forced to buy Caskets from a Funeral Director.
Monks in Louisiana have recently raised this issue and got libertarians to help them.
The funeral directors had managed to get their state to pass a law decreeing that only “licensed funeral directors” may sell “funeral merchandise” like caskets.
To sell caskets legally, the monks would have to obtain a funeral director’s license. That required a year-long apprenticeship, passing a funeral industry test and converting their monastery into a “funeral establishment” by installing embalming equipment, among other things.
The state board and the Louisiana Funeral Directors Association
– the profession’s lobbyist — say the law is designed to protect consumers. But that’s what established businesses always say about absurd regulations they demand. An unusually candid funeral director told The Wall Street Journal, “They’re cutting into our profit.” Well, yes, free competition does do that. That’s the point.
Funeral Industry|Funeral News|Funeral Blog by Your Funeral Guy
There is good news for the Funeral Consumer. The Federal Trade commission has clarified discounts on the funeral homes basic service fee. This is useful to the consumer in coming in under the average cost of a funeral.
The Federal Trade Commission issued an advisory ruling on November 24th 2009. In the ruling the Federal Trade Commission stated that the consumer can receive a discount to the Funeral Directors basic service fee.
Specific alternative services were mentioned. These services are forwarding remains, receiving remains, direct cremations and immediate burials.
Snippet from the NFDA
“…the [Funeral] Rule permits funeral providers to reduce their basic services fees for forwarding remains, receiving remains, direct cremations, and immediate burials, in order to reflect the proportionate reduction in facilities overhead and services of funeral director and staff required to provide them.”
This FTC Staff Advisory Opinion is important because it finally puts to rest the question of whether a funeral home’s prices for these four alternate services must be greater than the funeral home’s basic services fee. The answer is that it does not. When pricing the services of forwarding remains, receiving remains, immediate burial, and direct cremation, a funeral home may include only a portion of its basic services fee; it does not have to incorporate the entire amount of the fee into the price of those services.
Many Funeral Directors will tell you that you cannot discount the basic service fee or the charges for funeral director and staff- on what is known as the general price list(GPL). Now you can simply tell the funeral director they can be discounted, to lower your funeral cost.
By using alternative services consumers across the United States have lowered the cost of their family funerals.
Funeral Industry|Funeral Blog by Your Funeral Guy
As I have often said the highest funeral cost is the loss of life of the person involved. This is not a good scenario if the person is you. Does your face hurt after your cosmetics are on all day? Maybe they are sending you to Funeral U.
Current News stated this recently:
“There is mercury in our mascara lead, in our lipstick, carcinogens in our cosmetics.
So who’s going to protect us?:
Statistics are given by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review.
The FDA does not regulate the cosmetic Industry. The FTC barely regulates the Funeral Industry.
The cosmetic industry cares about making the sale. The Funeral Industry sells their good s and services at an ungodly profit. One may send you to the grave. The other puts you in it.
Vanity, Vanity all is vanity and you shall surely die. FYI cosmetics are safe on people after death..
Blog by Your Funeral Guy.
Five of Five things You need to know before shopping for a funeral to lower your funeral cost. One of the main things to know is how to read a general price list. The Average cost of a funeral in 2008 is $8,000+ USD. In order to come in under the average cost of a funeral one needs to be able to read, understand and compare general price lists.
As mentioned in an earlier post the basic services fee or indeclinable fee is the key price point and key comparison point in the general price list.
Funeral Homes are required by law to give you a General Price List any time you visit a funeral home. If you request the information by phone they are required to give you the information over the phone. Under the funeral rule they do not have to mail it to you. Many a Funeral Home will mail you a GPL or a General Price List out of courtesy. There are Sixteen items required on the General Price list under the Funeral Rule, Nine main ones are listed here.
- general services fee
- embalming cost,
- cost of transferring your loved one to the funeral home,
- price of a visitation
- cost of funeral or memorial service
- cost of graveside services
- the cost of use of funeral vans, hearse, cars and all other funeral vehicles
- Other offered goods and services. (caskets, urns, video tributes, guest, memorial books & cards associated with the funeral, webcasting, flowers, etc.)
- Funeral packages(funeral packages generally lower the price of some items and raise the price of others.)
In addition according to the Federal Trade Commission or FTC certain disclosures to aid in price shopping must be made.
- Anyone must select only the goods and services desired
- Consumers must be notified that Embalming is not required by law ( and only certain special cases)
- A “general services fee” will be added to any items purchased
- “Alternative containers,” such as those made of cardboard, pine or other products are available for direct cremation
- A Casket Price List is available for all who come into the funeral home
- A Vault price list must be available to the customer(public)
These requirements are for funeral homes not all merchants in the funeral industry.
In the future we will consider Five Ways to Shop for a Funeral:
- Interpreting the GPL
- Shopping by Phone
- Shopping in Person
- Shopping alternative sources
- Shopping internet Sources.
Remember all funeral directors do not follow the funeral rule, the law.
This has been Five of Five things You need to know before shopping for a funeral. The basics of the funeral process.2) The two contracts at every funeral. 3). The basics of the funeral rule. 4). The No Decline Basic Services Fee. 5. How to Read a General Price List (GPL)
Blog by Your Funeral Guy, author, funeral director