Date Released: FTC-PR-240125-3

January 25, 2024


FTC-PR-240125-3 – FTC Sends Warning Letters to Funeral Homes After First Undercover Phone Sweep


The Federal Trade Commission is sending warning letters to 39 funeral homes across the country after investigators conducted the agency’s first undercover phone sweep and discovered several violations of the Funeral Rule , including funeral homes that failed to provide accurate pricing information or failed to give out price information entirely.

The Funeral Rule gives consumers important rights when making funeral arrangements, including requiring that funeral homes must “tell persons who ask by telephone about the funeral provider’s offerings or prices any accurate information from [their] price lists…. and any other readily available information that reasonably answers the question[s].”

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.

On 38 of the calls, funeral homes either refused to answer questions about pricing at all or provided inconsistent pricing for identical services.

On one of those calls, the funeral home also misrepresented that the local health code required remains to be embalmed if more than a certain number of people wanted to view the remains when it was not actually required by the local health code. Embalming is a process of preserving a body after death. Most states do not require a body to be embalmed, and the few states that require embalming only do so in limited circumstances, such as if refrigeration is not available.

On another call, the funeral home promised to send a General Price List, which is required to include important disclosures and itemized services but instead provided a list of package prices that did not meet the Funeral Rule requirements for a General Price List.

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[Date Accessed: 3/4/2024]

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