The amended Funeral Rule sets forth certain events that trigger the requirement that the funeral director present a price list to a member of the public. The general purpose behind the Rule was to get a price list into the hands of a consumer or potential consumer prior to that person making any decision with regard to the purchase of funeral goods or services. As a result, the Rule's price list disclosure requirements are generalized. For this reason, it is prudent for funeral directors, as a general rule, to distribute price lists to families as early as possible during the arrangement process. In this way, they can be reasonably assured that they are in compliance with the Rule's disclosure requirements.
It should be noted by funeral directors that the triggering event for distribution of the GPL must be a face-to-face encounter. This is important for two reasons. First, there is no requirement to present a GPL to a telephone caller. If a person makes inquiries by telephone, you must provide certain information over the telephone (See Chapter VI); you do not, however, have to send the caller the GPL. You are free to make funeral arrangements over the telephone even though the caller does not have a GPL. Likewise, inquiries for prices received by mail do not require you to respond by sending a GPL. (Please note that some states do require funeral directors to mail a GPL to individuals upon request.)
The second important aspect to keep in mind is that the face-to-face inquiry may be made at any location, not just the funeral home. Therefore, if you are removing a body from a residence, nursing home or hospital and the family inquires about funeral arrangements, specific funeral goods or services or the funeral home's prices, a GPL must be distributed to them. Undoubtedly, this will often place a funeral director or staff in an awkward position. Nevertheless, in order to comply with the Rule, a GPL must be presented. Funeral directors should instruct their staff to carry a GPL when making removals and teach them how to present the GPL as tactfully as possible.
The amended Funeral Rule did create the one exception to the general requirement discussed above. If, during a removal, the funeral director makes a request for authorization to embalm, and the funeral director informs the family that embalming is not required by law except in certain special cases, the funeral director need not distribute a GPL at that time. Remember, this exception only applies for a face-to-face request for permission to embalm made during a removal and only if the funeral director informs the family that embalming is not required by law except in certain special cases. If the family makes any other inquiries regarding funeral arrangements, specific funeral goods and services, or prices, the GPL should be immediately presented to them.
The distribution of the Outer Burial Container Price List is governed by the same requirements as the Casket Price List. Whenever a face-to-face discussion commences regarding the outer burial containers offered by the funeral home or their prices, the list should be presented. The Funeral Rule makes clear in both the case of the Casket Price List and the Outer Burial Container Price List that the lists should, at a minimum, be distributed prior to the funeral director showing models to the consumers. This is true whether the models are at the funeral home or at a manufacturer's showroom. Wherever the discussion commences, the list should be presented.
The presentation of the statement is to be made at the conclusion of the funeral arrangements. It should be completely filled out and show the total price of the funeral. Signatures are not required on the statement. If the arrangements are made pursuant to a telephone call, the statement should be promptly mailed to the consumer.
The amended Funeral Rule made three principal modifications with regard to the distribution of the GPL. As discussed above, the three modifications were as follows:
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