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I. Content and Construction of - the General Price List

When the original Funeral Rule took effect in 1984, it required funeral homes to separately itemize 17 goods and services on the General Price List (GPL). In addition, the GPL had to contain seven mandatory disclosures informing consumers of various rights and options they had in arranging a funeral.

With the enactment of the amended Funeral Rule on January 11, 1994, changes had to be made to every funeral home's GPL. Of the 17 items that had to be listed under the original Funeral Rule, three have been eliminated and two new items have been added. In addition, four of the seven mandatory disclosures have been modified and one has been eliminated.

The objective of this Chapter I is to take funeral directors step-by-step through the GPL to explain what the GPL must contain and how it is to be constructed. As the manual goes through this process, it will point out those areas of the GPL that have been modified by the amended Funeral Rule.

    1. Introductory Matters

      There are six items that should appear at the beginning of a GPL before presenting the itemized prices. They are as follows:

      1. Name of Funeral Home- Identify the full name of the funeral home at the beginning of the GPL.

      2. Address - The address of the funeral home location using the GPL must appear at the beginning of the GPL.

      3. Telephone Number- The telephone number(s) of the funeral home locations using the GPL must appear on the GPL.

      4. General Price List- The Funeral Rule expressly requires that the GPL be titled "General Price List." These three words must appear at the beginning of the GPL.

      5. Effective Date - The date that the GPL went into effect must be noted. We encourage funeral directors to use the following terminology in this regard: "These prices are effective July 19, 1999, but are subject to change without notice."It is prudent to note that prices may change so that a consumer using an outdated list cannot claim he or she was not notified that the prices had changed. Of course, whenever a funeral director modifies prices, the effective date of the GPL should be changed.

      6. Disclosure—Choice of Goods and Services- As discussed at length in Section C of this Chapter, there are six mandatory disclosures which must appear on each funeral home's GPL. The first of these disclosures informs consumers that they have the right to select only those goods and services they wish. This disclosure must be printed immediately above the list of itemized goods and services. It should read as follows:

        "The goods and services shown below are those we can provide to our customers. You may choose only the items you desire. However, any funeral arrangements you select will include a charge for our basic services and overhead. If legal or other requirements mean you must buy any items you did not specifically ask for, we will explain the reason in writing on the statement we provide describing the funeral goods and services you selected."

        The amended Funeral Rule made two changes to the mandatory disclosure printed above. First, the word "basic" must appear in the third sentence. Secondly, if the funeral home wishes to advise consumers that its basic nondeclinable service fee includes all charges for unallocated overhead, it may (but is not required to) add the words "and overhead"to the end of the third sentence. The mandatory disclosure quoted above contains both of these modifications.

        In those rare cases where funeral homes do not make the services of the funeral director and staff nondeclinable, the third sentence of the disclosure "However, any funeral arrangement you select will include a charge for our basic services and overhead." should be omitted.

    2. Itemization of 16 Goods and Services- When the Funeral Rule was originally written, the FTC selected 17 different goods and services which , if offered by the funeral home, must be listed on the GPL with a price assigned to each of them. The amended Funeral Rule reduced the number of itemized goods and services to 16. In this section we will address each of the 16 components which must be separately itemized. We will also discuss possible options in presenting this information and potential problems of which you should be aware.

      Please note that although the FTC has selected 16 goods and services for itemization, your GPL may list other goods and services that you offer. Indeed, as a matter of proper business practice, if you make a charge for any good or service, it should be listed on the GPL. You should also be aware that if you choose not to offer one or more of the 16 goods or services for sale, you need not place it on the GPL. For example, if your firm elects not to offer direct cremation, you may delete price listings for direct cremation on the GPL.

      The following 16 funeral goods and services must be separately itemized on the GPL:

      1. Basic Services of Funeral Director and Staff- This component of the GPL is undoubtedly one of the more complex areas of the Funeral Rule. That complexity derives in large part from the fact that although the Basic Services of Funeral Director and Staff is designed to be a catchall pricing provision, it is deemed a violation of the Funeral Rule to place any part of the other 15 funeral goods and services into the Basic Services of Funeral Director and Staff. An explanation of this pricing provision may help the funeral director to properly design this price item.

        The amended Funeral Rule defines the Basic Services of Funeral Director and Staff as those basic services "that are furnished by a funeral provider in arranging any funeral, such as conducting the arrangement conference, planning the funeral, obtaining necessary permits and placing obituary notices."In addition, if the funeral home elects to make this fee nondeclinable, the basic service fee must also include all charges for the recovery of unallocated funeral home overhead. Funeral directors may, therefore include in the basic service fee those services which will be performed in nearly every funeral(arrangement conference, obtaining permits, planning funerals, shelter of remains, placing obituary notices) as well as overhead charges (utilities, maintenance, administrative services, insurance, taxes).

        In nearly every funeral arrangement, the funeral home will be required to shelter the remains for some period of time. The FTC has indicated that shelter of remains should be incorporated as part of the basic service fee of the funeral home. Therefore, unless the funeral home has to hold the body for an extended period of time (see discussion under "Other Preparation of the Body"), it should not have a separate charge for shelter of remains.

        It is important to understand that the basic service fee cannot include any items that must be separately itemized elsewhere. For example, a funeral director violates the Rule if the description of the basic service fee includes any of the following: services of staff in transporting remains, preparation of the body, or services in setting up and supervising the visitation, funeral ceremony, memorial service or graveside service. All these items must be declinable under the Rule; inclusion of any of these items in the basic service fee constitutes a violation of the Rule.

        For this reason, it is imperative that the description of what services are included under "Basic Services of Funeral Director and Staff" be properly drafted. (The amended Funeral Rule requires the GPL to explain the principal services included in this charge.) To avoid any problem, we advise funeral directors to use generic language in describing these services, such as the following:

        "Our basic service charge includes, but is not limited to, staff to respond to initial request for service; arrangement conference with family or responsible party; preparation and filing of necessary certificates and permits; shelter of remains; placement of obituary notices; planning of funeral arrangements; and coordination of service with cemetery, crematory, vault companies and others as required."Since funeral homes that make the basic service fee nondeclinable must also incorporate in that fee any unallocated overhead expenses, they may also wish to explain to consumers that the basic service fee includes certain overhead items associated with the operation of the funeral home. Funeral homes may utilize any description of overhead expenses which they wish. The following paragraph is an example of language which could be used:

        "Also included in this charge are overhead expenses relative to our facility such as insurance, maintenance and utility expenses, secretarial and administrative costs, and equipment and inventory expenses."

        Funeral directors should note the following three important modifications that have been made to the basic service charge as a result of the amended Funeral Rule:

          1. First, as referred to above, funeral homes that make the basic service fee nondeclinable must incorporate into that fee all unallocated overhead charges. This means that funeral homes can no longer have basic facilities fees or general facilities fees on their GPLs in order to recover overhead costs. Those fees must now be eliminated.

          2. The second important modification concerns "additional service of funeral director and staff" charges. Prior to the amended Funeral Rule, some funeral directors preferred to break down the price of the services of funeral director and staff into two components. Typically, there was a "basic service fee" and a second fee for "additional services." The basic fee applied to nondeclinable services such as consulting with the family, obtaining permits and planning the funeral. "Additional services" might include declinable services such as setting up, supervising and directing the visitation and the funeral ceremony.

            Under the amended Funeral Rule, all "additional service fees" must be eliminated. The amended Funeral Rule directs that all services relating to the visitation, funeral ceremony, memorial service and graveside service must now be incorporated into the facility charges for these ceremonies. This new pricing structure is explained in subsections 4, 5, 6 and 7. What is important to stress here is that funeral homes with "additional services of funeral director and staff" charges must delete these charges from the GPL.

          3. The third important modification made by the amended Funeral Rule in the area of the basic service charge concerns the mandatory disclosure that must accompany this fee. The purpose of the disclosure is to explain to consumers that this charge is nondeclinable. Under the amended Funeral Rule, the mandatory disclosure now reads as follows:

            "This fee for our basic services and overhead will be added to the total cost of the funeral arrangements you select. (This fee is already included in our charges for direct cremations, immediate burials and forwarding or receiving remains.)"

            The modifications made to this disclosure are twofold. First, the word "basic" has been added as the fifth word in the first sentence. This modification is mandatory. Secondly, if a funeral home wishes, it may add the words "and overhead" as the seventh and eighth words in the first sentence. This modification is purely discretionary.

            A few funeral homes still follow the practice of incorporating the entire service fee into the price of the casket. This practice is permitted under the Rule. If this pricing practice is followed, the funeral home must inform consumers of this fact by placing a mandatory disclosure in conjunction with the casket price range on the GPL. That mandatory disclosure has been modified by the amended Funeral Rule and now reads as follows:

            "Please note that a fee of [specify dollar amount] for the use of our basic services and overhead is included in the price of our caskets. This same fee shall be added to the total cost of your funeral arrangements if you provide the casket. Our services include...[describe services]."

    1. Embalming- The second mandatory price listing on the GPL is the charge for embalming. The following disclosure must be printed in immediate conjunction with the embalming price listing: "Except in certain special cases, embalming is not required by law. Embalming may be necessary, however, if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing. If you do not want embalming, you usually have the right to choose an arrangement that does not require you to pay for it, such as direct cremation or immediate burial." The amended Funeral Rule made two minor changes to the embalming disclosure, one of which all funeral homes must make and one which is optional for certain funeral homes. The mandatory modification is the replacement of the 16th word ("which") in the last sentence with the word "that." In addition, for funeral homes operating in a state where embalming is never required by state or local law, they may, at their option, delete the first five words of the disclosure ("Except in certain special cases,").

      Funeral directors who wish to amplify on their state legal requirements for embalming are free to do so on the GPL. However, do not change the wording of the above quoted mandatory disclosure. Rather, if you wish to print additional information on the legal or practical necessities of embalming, simply place this information below the disclosure required by the amended Funeral Rule.

      Some funeral directors charge additional fees for embalming when special restoration is required, when an autopsy has been performed, or in the case of organ/tissue donations. These additional fees should be noted on the GPL. Please note that as a result of the Americans with Disabilities Act, no additional charges should be made for embalming AIDS or other contagious disease cases.

  • Other Preparation of the Body- Any other service a funeral director provides for a fee in preparing the body should be listed on the GPL. Examples include the following:

    Restoration Charge per hour $___________ Washing or Disinfecting Unembalmed Remains $___________ Dressing and Casketing $___________ Hairstyling $___________ Refrigeration per day $___________ *Shelter of Remains per day $___________ *(This charge is made commencing on the ___ day our facilities are used to shelter the remains.)

    Whenever a funeral home holds a body for an extended period of time, it may charge a separate shelter of remains fee. The FTC has advised funeral homes that they should determine the average length of time in which they hold a body during the typical funeral. After the expiration of that time period, a separate shelter of remains fee may be imposed. For example, if your funeral home holds a body for three days during the typical funeral, it may begin to impose a shelter of remains charge on the fourth day in which it holds the body. If a separate shelter of remains fee is to be charged by the funeral home, the funeral home should clearly note on its GPL the exact day when that fee will begin to be incurred by the family.

  • Services and Facilities for Viewing- Under the original Funeral Rule, funeral homes were required to list their "use of facilities" fees for visitation. The facilities fees did not necessarily include the services of the funeral director and staff in setting up and supervising the visitation. The amended Funeral Rule modifies this listing by requiring that the listing include both facility charges and service fees related to the visitation.

    As a result of the amended Funeral Rule, all charges relating to viewing/visitation must be included in one fee. For example, a funeral director may not have a use of facilities charge for visitation and also a separate charge for service of funeral director and staff during the visitation. Both services and facilities must be incorporated into one fee.

    The new requirement does not mean a funeral home cannot have multiple listings of visitation fees. As seen in the expanded model GPL in Chapter XI, funeral homes can have many different types of visitation fees (e.g. half-day, one day, two day, per hour charge, private visitation, off-site visitation). The important point in designing each visitation fee is that the charges for services in arranging and supervising the visitation are combined with the charges for facilities and equipment associated with the visitation.

  • Services and Facilities for Funeral Ceremony - As with the visitation charge, the amended Funeral Rule now requires the fee for the funeral ceremony to include both services and facilities charges. Therefore, all charges associated with the set up and supervision of the funeral ceremony should be incorporated with related facilities and equipment charges and presented to the consumer as one fee for the funeral ceremony. Of course, funeral homes may have several funeral ceremony options at different prices such as private funerals, funeral ceremony at the funeral home, off-site funeral services, funeral service with committal at cemetery, etc.

  • Services and Facilities for Memorial Service- If a funeral home offers a memorial service (ceremony without the body present), the amended Funeral Rule requires that it be separately itemized on the GPL. This listing and the listing for graveside service discussed below are the two new itemized services which must be added to the GPL. As with the visitation and funeral ceremony, the memorial service fee should include all related services in setting up and supervising the memorial service as well as any facility and equipment charges associated with the memorial service.

  • Services and Equipment for Graveside Service- The second new itemized listing on the GPL is the graveside service. If a funeral home offers a graveside service, it must separately itemize this offering on the GPL. And, as with the three offerings discussed above, the fee must include the services of the funeral director in setting up and supervising the ceremony as well as related equipment charges.

    Because "graveside service" can have several meanings, NFDA requested the FTC to provide direction on what constitutes a graveside service for the purpose of the Rule. According to the FTC, the graveside service that must be itemized on the GPL is the ceremony at the graveside when no other funeral ceremony is conducted by the funeral home. Therefore, if the only funeral ceremony is at the graveside, you should impose a separate graveside service fee. However, if the family has a funeral ceremony at the funeral home or church, and then has a committal service at the graveside, the committal ceremony need not be regarded as a graveside service.

    This distinction is important because if a committal service following a funeral was regarded as a graveside service according to the Rule, a funeral home could not incorporate the committal service into the funeral ceremony charge. However, since the committal service is not regarded as a graveside service, it can be included as part of the funeral ceremony charge if the funeral home so wishes. Of course, if the funeral home wishes to charge separately for the committal service, it is free to do so.

  • Transfer of Remains to Funeral Home- This charge may be either a flat, hourly or a mileage charge. Many funeral directors impose a flat fee within a certain radius and an excess mileage charge outside of the radius. All charges relating to this service, whether it is use of the hearse or the staff time involved in performing the transfer, must be included in this one charge.

  • Hearse- Fees for the use of the hearse must be separately itemized. This charge may also be a flat fee, a mileage fee, an hourly fee or some combination of each.

  • Limousine- As with the hearse, the limousine charge may be a flat, hourly or mileage fee. If the funeral home does not own a limousine, but merely rents one for each funeral in which it is requested, the limousine charge would constitute a cash advance item. In that case, the limousine charge would not be required to be printed on the GPL. (Of course, you are still free to place the limousine charge on the GPL if you so wish.)

  • Casket Price Range- If you have a separate casket price list from your GPL, you must provide a casket price range of your highest and lowest price offerings on the GPL. That price range must be accompanied by a disclosure which informs the consumer that a casket price list is available at the funeral home. The following is an example of how the casket price range listing should be presented: Caskets from $___________ to $___________ A complete price list will be provided at the funeral home.

  • Outer Burial Container Price Range- The same requirements concerning caskets apply to outer burial containers. If the GPL does not include the prices of all the outer burial containers offered by the funeral director, it must show the price range of the highest and lowest price outer burial container, together with the following disclosure: Outer Burial Containers $___________ to $___________ A complete price list will be provided at the funeral home.

    Although the mandatory disclosure which informs consumers that a separate price list for outer burial containers will be provided at the funeral home is identical to the mandatory disclosure required under the casket price range, a funeral director must place both of these disclosures on the GPL The disclosure on the availability of a Casket Price List must be placed immediately under the casket price range listings and the disclosure regarding the Outer Burial Container Price List should be placed immediately under the outer burial container price range.

  • Forwarding Remains- The forwarding of remains is one of the four disposition/funeral services (together with receiving remains, direct cremation and immediate burial) that the amended Funeral Rule requires you to present as a package to consumers. In other words, one price should be presented under this listing which will inform the consumer of a total price of forwarding remains. For this reason, a funeral director is required to group all charges related to this service (service fee, transportation, embalming) into one charge.

    Although you must list one total charge for the service of forwarding remains, you may, if you wish, provide an itemized price breakdown for each component of this service. For example, you may list the total cost of forwarding remains at $1,000 and then break down the cost to show a service fee of $500, embalming as $200, removal of remains as $75, transportation to the airport as $125 and minimum transportation container as $100. (These prices are used only to illustrate a permissible cost breakdown, and do not in any way represent suggested prices for the services described.)

    The amended Funeral Rule does requires a funeral director to describe the principal components of forwarding remains. When providing this description, it is prudent to note that the service does not include funeral rites or ceremonies. The following is an example of how to present the forwarding remains price listing on the GPL: Forwarding Remains to Another Funeral Home $___________ This charge includes the removal of remains, basic service of staff, embalming, necessary authorizations, minimum shipping container and local transportation to airport. This charge does not include visitation, rites, or ceremonies prior to forwarding of the body.

  • Receiving Remains- As with forwarding remains, this package offering must present one price to the consumer that covers all components of this service. The following is an example of how this service may be presented on the GPL: Receiving of Remains from Another Funeral Home $___________ This charge includes temporary shelter of remains, basic services of staff and transportation of remains to cemetery or crematory. This charge does not include visitation, rites or ceremonies.

  • Direct Cremations- If funeral directors offer direct cremation to their families, they are obligated to list it as a package on the GPL. However, unlike forwarding and receiving remains, direct cremation requires you to list several package offerings. Funeral directors must provide the complete price of direct cremation if the consumer provides the container and the complete price if the consumer purchases an alternative container from the funeral home. Also, if the funeral home offers direct cremation with unfinished wood boxes or caskets, the package prices for these options must be listed.

    If you provide direct cremation, the amended Funeral Rule requires you to offer alternative containers or unfinished wood boxes to your families. In addition, the Rule requires that a mandatory disclosure be printed in conjunction with the direct cremation listing which explains to the family that they have an option of using an alternative container. This mandatory disclosure has been modified by the amended Funeral Rule and now reads as follows: "If you want to arrange a direct cremation, you can use an alternative container. Alternative containers encase the body and can be made of materials like fiberboard or composition materials (with or without an outside covering). The containers we provide are [specify the types of containers that the funeral home makes available to direct cremation consumers]." Please note that one of the modifications which the amended Funeral Rule made to the above disclosure is the new requirement that funeral homes list at the end of the mandatory disclosure the types of alternative containers which they make available. Therefore, funeral homes will have to insert at the end of the final sentence a brief description of the containers which they normally offer to their direct cremation customers.

    In listing direct cremations, the GPL must contain a price range of the lowest and highest priced direct cremation packages. It should then provide a brief description of the principal services involved in the direct cremation offering. The mandatory disclosure that informs consumers of the availability of the alternative containers usually is placed after the description of services. Finally, the GPL lists the prices for the various package offerings. The following example demonstrates a typical price listing for direct cremation. Direct cremation $___________ to $___________ The charge for a direct cremation includes removal of remains, local transportation to crematory, necessary authorizations and basic services of staff. This charge does not include the crematory fee or the use of facilities and staff for any visitation or ceremony, public or private, prior to the cremation. If you want to arrange a direct cremation, you can use an alternative container. Alternative containers encase the body and can be made of materials like fiberboard or composition materials (with or without an outside covering). The containers we provide are unfinished wood boxes and fiberboard boxes. Direct cremation with container provided by purchaser $___________ Direct cremation with fiberboard container selected from our funeral home $___________ Direct cremation with unfinished wood box selected from our funeral home $___________ Direct cremation with casket selected from our funeral home (in addition to cost of casket) $___________

  • Immediate Burials- The price listing for immediate burials is very similar to direct cremation. You must provide a range of your lowest and highest priced immediate burial package offerings. You are also required to present various immediate burial package options, including the price of immediate burial if the purchaser supplies his or her own container.

    There is one peculiarity of which funeral directors should be aware. Unlike direct cremations where funeral directors are obligated to offer consumers the option of purchasing an alternative container, there is no such obligation with immediate burials. The Rule does not require funeral directors to sell unfinished wood boxes or alternative containers to consumers who wish to arrange immediate burials. Of course, a funeral director is free to offer this option.

    Following is a typical example of an immediate burial price listing: Immediate Burial $___________ to $___________ The charge for a immediate burial includes removal of remains, local transportation to the cemetery, the necessary authorizations and basic services of staff. This charge does not include the use of facilities and staff for any visitation or ceremony, public or private, prior to burial. Immediate burial with casket provided by purchaser $___________ Immediate burial with grey cloth covered softwood casket selected from our funeral home $___________ Immediate burial with casket selected from our funeral home (in addition to cost of casket) $___________

  • Mandatory Disclosures

    There are generally six separate disclosures that must be made on the GPL. We referred to all of them in the previous section. However, because they are such an important part of compliance with the amended Funeral Rule, this section will provide a simple checklist for you to follow to ensure your GPL is in compliance.

    Prior to addressing these disclosures, there are two general observations that should be made. The first is that funeral directors should not modify or edit the wording of the mandatory disclosures. Although the disclosures may not be applicable or may even be misleading in certain situations, they should be printed on your GPL in the exact wording provided by the amended Funeral Rule. The FTC does not permit deviation and has typically regarded any change in the wording of a mandatory disclosure to be a Rule violation.

    If a mandatory disclosure is irrelevant or misleading, you may print additional information on your GPL to explain why the information in the disclosure is not applicable. Generally, this additional information would be printed immediately after the mandatory disclosure.

    The second point to keep in mind is the Rule's requirement that the mandatory disclosures be made in a "clear and conspicuous manner." This does not mean that the disclosures must be in boldface print; it does mean, however, that they should not be in smaller type than the other printed material on the GPL. You should ensure that all disclosures are legible and properly positioned on the GPL.

    In order to ensure your GPL is in compliance, check to see that the following disclosures appear on the GPL, that the wording of the disclosures is exactly as set forth, and that the disclosures are in the proper place on the GPL.

  • Choice of Goods and Services

    1. Wording of the disclosure:The disclosure which informs consumers of their right to choose any goods and services they wish is as follows: "The goods and services shown below are those we can provide to our customers. You may choose only the items you desire. However, any funeral arrangements you select will include a charge for our basic services and overhead. If legal or other requirements mean you must buy any items you did not specifically ask for, we will explain the reason in writing on the statement we provide describing the funeral goods and services you selected."

    2. Amended Funeral Rule modifications:Please note that the amended Funeral Rule made two changes to the above disclosure. First, the word "basic" must appear in the third sentence; this is a mandatory modification. The second change made by the amended Funeral Rule is purely optional. A funeral home which includes its unallocated overhead in its basic service fee may indicate that fact by adding the words "and overhead" at the end of the third sentence. This modification is completely discretionary and need not be made if the funeral home does not wish to add this language.

    3. Placement of the disclosure:This disclosure should be printed immediately above the itemized price listings of the 16 goods and services described in Section B.

    4. Applicable exception: If the funeral director elects not to make the basic services of funeral director and staff a nondeclinable charge, the third sentence of the disclosure ("However, any funeral arrangements you select will include a charge for our basic services and overhead.") may be deleted from the disclosure.

  • Nondeclinable Service Fee
    1. Wording of the disclosure:The language of this disclosure is as follows: "This fee for our basic services and overhead will be added to the total cost of the funeral arrangements you select. (This fee is already included in our charges for direct cremations, immediate burials, and forwarding or receiving remains.)"

    2. Amended Funeral Rule modifications:The amended Funeral Rule made the same two modifications to this mandatory disclosure as it did with the first mandatory disclosure discussed immediately above. In the first sentence of this disclosure, the word "basic" must be inserted in front of the word "services." In addition, if the funeral home wishes, it is allowed to add the words "and overhead" to the first sentence to indicate that overhead is included in the nondeclinable basic service fee.

    3. Placement of the disclosure:This mandatory disclosure should be made in conjunction with the description of the basic services of funeral director and staff.

    4. Alternative language: If a funeral director does not charge a service fee, but instead incorporates the entire service fee into the price of the caskets, the above quoted disclosure should be omitted. In its place the following disclosure should be made: "Please note that a fee of [specify dollar amount] for the use of our basic services and overhead is included in the price of our caskets. This same fee shall be added to the total cost of your funeral arrangements if you provide the casket]". Our services include [describe basic services]." This disclosure must be made on the GPL in conjunction with the casket price range listing. If the GPL contains all of the casket prices, this disclosure should be made in conjunction with the prices of the individual caskets.

  • Embalming Disclosure

    1. Wording of the disclosure:This disclosure provides as follows: "Except in certain special cases, embalming is not required by law. Embalming may be necessary, however, if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing. If you do not want embalming, you usually have the right to choose an arrangement that does not require you to pay for it, such as direct cremation or immediate burial."

    2. Amended Funeral Rule modifications: In the third sentence of this disclosure a very minor modification has been made by the amended Funeral Rule: the 16 word of the sentence has been changed from "which" to the word "that."

    3. Placement of the disclosure:This disclosure must be placed in immediate conjunction with the price listing for embalming.

    4. Alternative language: If a funeral home operates in an area where embalming is never required by state or local law, it may, at its option, delete the first five words of this disclosure ("Except in certain special cases,").

  • Availability of Casket Price Lists

    1. Wording of the disclosure:This disclosure states as follows: "A complete price list will be provided at the funeral home."

    2. Amended Funeral Rule modifications: The amended Funeral Rule made no modifications to this mandatory disclosure.

    3. Placement of the disclosure:The disclosure must appear immediately under the price range for caskets.

    4. Deletion of the disclosure: In the event that the funeral director incorporates the casket price list into the GPL, this disclosure, together with the casket price range listing, may be deleted.

  • Availability of Outer Burial Container Price Lists

    1. Wording of the disclosure:As with the disclosure concerning the availability of the casket price lists, this disclosure states as follows: "A complete price list will be provided at the funeral home."

    2. Amended Funeral Rule modifications: The amended Funeral Rule made no modifications to this mandatory disclosure.

    3. Placement of the disclosure:This disclosure must be immediately below the outer burial container price range.

    4. Deletion of the disclosure: If the outer burial container price list is incorporated into the GPL, this disclosure, as well as the outer burial container price range, may be deleted.

  • Alternative Containers for Direct Cremation

    1. Wording of the disclosure: The language of this disclosure is as follows: "If you want to arrange a direct cremation, you can use an alternative container. Alternative containers encase the body and can be made of materials like fiberboard or composition materials (with or without an outside covering). The containers we provide are [specify the types of containers that the funeral home makes available to direct cremation consumers]."

    2. Amended Funeral Rule modifications:The mandatory disclosure above was substantially revised by the amended Funeral Rule. In addition to the modified language, the amended Funeral Rule also now requires funeral directors to list, at the end of the mandatory disclosure, the type of alternative containers they make available to their direct cremation consumers.

    3. Placement of the disclosure: This disclosure must be made in immediate conjunction with the price range shown for direct cremations.

  • Package Pricing

    The amended Funeral Rule does not prohibit the practice of offering funeral services on a package price basis. As many package elections as the funeral director wishes to offer may be placed on the GPL. The only proviso is that itemized selections must also be on the GPL.

    The amended Funeral Rule does not dictate where package offerings must be placed on the GPL relative to the itemized offerings. For example, if a funeral director wished to emphasize package services, they could be placed at the beginning of the GPL. Please note, however, that the mandatory disclosure concerning the choice of goods and services must immediately precede the itemized offerings. Therefore, if you place your package selections at the beginning of the GPL, they should not be positioned between the mandatory disclosure concerning the choice of goods and services and the itemized offerings. You should move the mandatory disclosure on the choice of goods and services so that it follows the package offerings.

    In pricing your package services, you are free to discount the price of the total package so that it is less than the sum of the itemized goods and services that make up the package. You are also free to restrict discount packages to families that purchase caskets and/or outer burial containers from the funeral home. For example, you may offer a traditional funeral package at a discount, but restrict its availability to only those families that elect to purchase a casket from the funeral home.

    The only proviso in offering discounts to consumers who purchase caskets from you is that the discount may not apply only to the non-declinable basic service fee. In other words, a funeral home may not discount its basic service fee for those consumers who purchase a casket from it. The FTC Staff has indicated that it would view this type of discount structure as a reverse casket handling fee. Therefore, the discount should apply to a package of goods and/or services, and not simply to the basic service fee.

  • Amended Funeral Rule Revisions

    To ensure that the funeral home has complied with all the modifications to the GPL required by the amended Funeral Rule, we have recapped them as follows:

    1. Modification of Mandatory Disclosure on Choice of Funeral Goods and Services- With this introductory mandatory disclosure, the funeral home must add the word "basic" to the third sentence of the disclosure and may add the words "and overhead" to that sentence if it so wishes.

    2. Elimination of Basic Facilities Fee- All charges for unallocated overhead must now be incorporated in the nondeclinable basic service fee. Therefore, if the funeral home has a separate fee to recover overhead, such as a basic use of facilities or general use of facilities charge, it should be eliminated.

    3. Elimination of Cash Advance Disclosure- The original Funeral Rule required funeral directors to place a mandatory disclosure on the GPL which informs consumers that the GPL did not contain prices for cash advance items. The amended Funeral Rule allows funeral directors to delete this mandatory disclosure from the GPL.

    4. Modification of Mandatory Disclosure on Nondeclinable Basic Service Fee- As with the modification to the mandatory disclosure on the choice of funeral goods and services, the funeral home must add the word "basic" to the first sentence of this disclosure and may add the words "and overhead" to that sentence if it so wishes.

    5. Elimination of Additional Service of Funeral Director and Staff- Under the original Funeral Rule, some funeral directors had a two-tiered pricing structure for their professional service fee. The second tier of the pricing structure covered additional services in setting up and supervising the visitation and funeral ceremony. This additional service charge must now be deleted since the services in setting up and supervising the visitation and funeral ceremony must be incorporated into the facilities charges for those services.

    6. Modification of Embalming Disclosure- All funeral homes must make a minor modification to the embalming disclosure.

    7. Memorial Service- If a funeral home offers a memorial service, the amended Funeral Rule requires the memorial service to be a separate itemized listing on the GPL.

    8. Graveside Service- As with the memorial service, if the funeral home offers a graveside service, it must be separately itemized on the GPL.

    9. Combining Services and Facilities- With regard to the visitation, funeral ceremony, memorial service, and graveside service, the funeral home must combine all service charges in setting up and supervising these ceremonies with any related facilities/equipment charges for the ceremony.

    10. Acknowledgement Cards- Under the amended Funeral Rule, funeral homes are no longer required to separately itemize acknowledgement cards. As a result, funeral directors may, if they wish, give acknowledgement cards away as complimentary items, continue to charge for acknowledgement cards, or combine acknowledgement cards with other memorial items in a package.

    11. Elimination of Casket Handling Fee- As will be discussed in Chapter VIII, casket handling fees and other handling fees for third party merchandise are no longer permitted by the amended Funeral Rule. These charges should be eliminated from the GPL. Also, since there can no longer be a handling fee for third party merchandise, funeral homes should ensure that the price of an immediate burial and direct cremation when the consumer provides his own container does not contain any type of surcharge.

    12. Modification of Alternative Container Disclosure - The amended Funeral Rule substantially modified the mandatory disclosure regarding alternative containers. In addition, funeral directors must now briefly describe the type of alternative container(s) which they make available to consumers.