Caskets: Consumer Protection

Consumer Protection for Funeral purchasesLaws and regulations for funeral products can vary state-by-state. There is, however, the federal government has provided for consumer protection for casket buyers under The Funeral Rule.

The Funeral Rule is a law that is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Its purpose is to help consumers purchase only the funeral goods and services they want. The rule applies to purchases made in advance and those made immediately when you need them.

The key elements of The Funeral Rule include the right to:

  • Buy only the funeral arrangements you want.
  • Get price information on the telephone.
  • Get a written, itemized price list when you visit a funeral home.
  • See a written casket price list before you see the actual caskets.
  • See a written outer burial container price list.
  • Receive a written statement after you decide what you want and before you pay.
  • Get an explanation in the funeral home’s written statement describing any legal cemetery or crematory requirement.
  • Use an “alternative container” instead of a casket for cremation.
  • Provide the funeral home with a casket or urn you buy elsewhere.
  • Make funeral arrangements without embalming.

Click to view the entire FTC Funeral Rule.

Elements of the FTC Funeral Rule and Caskets

Several key elements of The Funeral Rule apply to buying caskets. One very important element is that you are entitled to a written price list BEFORE seeing the actual caskets. This enables you to ask to see only those caskets that are in the price range you have in mind.

The Funeral Rule does not apply to third-party dealers, monument companies, or cemeteries that do not have an onsite funeral home.

Here are the top three things you need to know about The Funeral Rule as it applies to purchasing a casket.

  1. Funeral service providers must provide you with a listing of casket prices either along with the price list for other services or in a separate price list BEFORE you look at the caskets. It is not enough for prices to be displayed with the caskets that are in the showroom.
  2. According to the FTC website, the Casket Price List (CPL) must include the following information:
    • The name of the business
    • The caption “Casket Price List.”
    • The effective date for the CPL
    • The retail price of each casket or alternate container with enough information to specifically identify each casket.
  3. The information must include enough detail that you understand what you are buying. Only caskets that are usually offered for sale must be included. The CPL does NOT have to include information for caskets that require special ordering. The information on caskets does not have to be listed in any particular order or format. Photographs, manufacturer information, and model numbers may be included but are not considered to be enough information to describe the casket or alternative container.

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