Funeral Consumer Advocacy
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it will be proposing changes to the consumer protection regulations known as the Funeral Rule. This critical piece of legislation protects consumers against predatory practices that used to be commonplace in the funeral industry, like requiring customers to purchase funeral "packages" with add-ons, and not being transparent about pricing.
Many of the proposed changes are critical to consumers across the country, and particularly impact low-income families. Wake works with families regularly who encounter barriers when trying to make funeral arrangements in the challenging time after a loved one has died. Requiring that pricing information be readily available on funeral home websites would be very helpful to families dealing with a death. The industry has resisted many of these changes, but we have a chance right now to ensure great strides are made to improve access to affordable, dignified deathcare here in our region, and across the country.
The FTC has extended its deadline for comment until January 17th and we have heeded the call to action of our trusted friend People's Memorial Association in Seattle, and are forwarding you their important message.
Now is the time to make your voice heard about these important subjects:
Requiring general price lists (GPLs) on funeral home websites,
Clearer disclosures on cremation-related fees,
Changing requirements for basic service fees,
Explicit inclusion of newer alternative funeral options in the existing law,
Amending mandatory embalming disclosure requirements,
Improving price list readability, and
The effect of engaging with the funeral industry on historically underserved communities.
The FTC has already received nearly 300 public comments. These consumer experiences are an essential part of their decision to retain the Funeral Rule, as well as explore the possibility of updating the rule. The only way change happens is when people like you make their voice heard.
PMA's Board of Directors submitted a comment to the FTC, including this excellent quote:
"The shared human experience of death is fraught with emotion and disorientation. The least we can do is provide clear and accurate information so consumers can make the best decisions in the worst of circumstances."
To share your thoughts and experiences, submit your comments online for the Commission to review by January 17, 2023. And don't worry. You don't have to be a policy wonk to submit a comment! This is about your unique experiences and your thoughts.