On January 25, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced it is sending warning letters to 39 funeral homes across the country who allegedly failed to provide accurate information. This action is a result of the agency’s first undercover phone sweep and determination by the FTC of several violations of the Funeral Rule, including funeral homes that reportedly failed to provide accurate pricing information or failed to give out price information entirely. According to the FTC, “Throughout 2023, investigators and other staff from the FTC’s East Central Region, Northwest Region, Southeast Region, Southwest Region, Midwest Region, Western Region – Los Angeles, Western Region – San Francisco offices and the Bureau of Consumer Protection’s Division of Marketing Practices placed undercover calls to more than 250 funeral homes from across the country to try to obtain price information. Staff determined that 39 funeral homes violated the Funeral Rule on these calls.” The FTC also stated, “The letters reiterate that the Funeral Rule requires funeral providers to disclose prices and other information to people arranging funerals, including itemized price information over the telephone, and asks the funeral homes to take prompt remedial action to make sure they are no longer violating the Funeral Rule. Failure to comply with the rule result in penalties of up to $51,744 per violation.”
This action comes as the FTC prepares to issue a Notice of Proposed Rule-making on the Funeral Rule, which is expected in the coming months, possibly during this first quarter of 2024.
The ICCFA is preparing an FTC Refresher course and will also be reviewing the future and current state of the Funeral Rule during the Legal and Legislative Luncheon from 1:00 – 3:00 PM on Saturday, April 13 at the upcoming 2024 ICCFA Annual Convention & Exposition in Tampa, Florida. If members have questions, please contact ICCFA General Counsel Poul Lemasters, Esq., at poul@iccfa.com. To see the FTC Press Release, please find it here.