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FTC Releases 2012 Funeral Rule Inspection Data

Posted: July 29, 2013

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that investigators working undercover in eight states detected significant violations of the Funeral Rule in 23 of 127 funeral homes they visited during 2012.

FTC inspections during 2012 encountered varying levels of compliance:

  • In Everett, Washington, 4 of the 11 funeral homes inspected had significant violations;
  • In Baltimore, Maryland, 1 of the 9 funeral homes inspected had significant violations;
  • In Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri, 1 of 21 funeral homes inspected had significant violations.
  • In Bayonne and Jersey City, New Jersey, 3 of 26 funeral homes inspected had significant violations.
  • In Montgomery and Opelika, Alabama, 2 of 10 funeral homes inspected had significant violations.
  • In the McAllen, Texas area, 4 of 18 funeral homes inspected had significant violations.
  • In Brownsville and Harlingen, Texas, 8 of 21 funeral homes inspected had significant violations.
  • In Denver, Colorado, 1 of 11 funeral homes inspected had significant violations.

While 2012 did show improvement in the rate of non-compliance found during inspections, it is still slightly higher than the overall non-compliance rate.

Years

Total Funeral
Homes Shopped

Funeral Homes
Charged with
Significant
Violations

Percentage of
Non-compliance

1996–2006

2,059

286

13.9%

2007

174

26

14.9%

2008

104

26

25.0%

2009 175 50 28.6%

2010

126

35

27.8%

2011

102

23

22.5%

2012

127

23

18.1%

Overall
since 1996

2,867

469

16.4%

 

In addition, the FTC identified 43 funeral homes, within the eight states, with only minor compliance deficiencies.

Funeral homes with significant violations can enter a training program designed to increase compliance with the Funeral Rule. The three-year program is known as the Funeral Rule Offenders Program (FROP), and is an alternative to an FTC lawsuit that could lead to a federal court order and civil penalties of up to $16,000 per violation. It is run by the NFDA and provides participants with a legal review of the price disclosures required by the Funeral Rule, and on-going training, testing and monitoring for compliance with the Rule. In addition, funeral homes that participate in the program make a voluntary payment to the U.S. Treasury in place of a civil penalty, and pay annual administrative fees to NFDA.

All but one of the funeral homes with significant violations have entered the FROP program; the one that has not entered the program remains under investigation.

Funeral homes with minor compliance deficiencies are contacted by the FTC and are required to provide evidence that it has corrected the problem(s).

NFDA has a variety of resources to help you ensure your firm is in compliance with the Funeral Rule, including:

If you need additional resources, please call your personal NFDA member services representative at 800-228-6332.