October 6, 2008 - The Federal Trade Commission has issued an advisory opinion that crematories that do business directly with the public have to abide by the Funeral Rule, just like funeral homes do. The Funeral Rule gives consumers important rights when shopping for after-death services, such as the right to pick and choose only what they want to buy, and the right to clear, accurate price information in writing before finalizing arrangements.
The ruling came in response to a request from the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service. The NCBFS had been advising independent crematories that they did not have to comply with the Funeral Rule. FCA volunteers at the FCA of the Piedmont in Greensboro discovered this after finding serious violations of consumer protection rules on the price lists provided by some crematories. If you live in the Greensboro, NC area, be sure to check out the funeral price survey just put out by your local FCA chapter (and consider donating to their nonprofit, volunteer work!).
Bottomline for funeral consumers: You have the right to a printed, itemized price list from a crematory, even if it doesn't offer the full services of a funeral home. Be sure to bone up on your rights under the Funeral Rule, whether you do business with a full-service mortuary or a cremation-only firm.