Ahead of the FTC’s January 17 deadline, last week, NFDA submitted its comments regarding the commission’s request from the profession on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Funeral Rule.
In the comments, Chris Farmer, NFDA general counsel, wrote, “We have worked with numerous representatives of the FTC over the past 38 years to ensure a fair application of the Funeral Rule, to educate funeral homes about the requirements of the rule and to increase compliance. During that time, NFDA has also advocated for modifications to the Funeral Rule to make it more effective, easier to comply with and enforce, and applicable to today’s funeral markets.”
“While we recommend no changes to the Funeral Rule, because we believe it is important to have funeral service’s voice heard should changes be made, we have drafted suggested revisions to the Funeral Rule to be considered if the commission elects to revise [it].”
The FTC is seeking responses to 40 questions (with subparts) in seven different areas:
- Online and electronic price disclosures
- Crematory fees and additional costs
- Reduced basic services fee
- Alternative forms of disposition
- Embalming disclosure
- Price list readability
- Impact on people in underserved communities.
(To read the association’s full position on the topics above, please refer to the January 5 edition of the Memorial Business Journal or visit the NFDA website.)
“Funeral providers do not decide to go into the funeral profession to just get a job,” Farmer wrote in the conclusion of NFDA’s comments. “The physical, emotional and temporal commitment required to be a funeral professional is not something that can be taken lightly. Funeral professionals answer a calling to serve others. They accept a path that most do not want. They face, every day, what most people consider one of, if not the worst day of their lives.”
The association asked the FTC to not only consider what consumers deal with when faced with the loss of a loved one but what effect the proposed changes would have on the 141,000 people employed in funeral service and the more than 18,800 funeral homes in the United States, almost 90% of which are small and family-owned businesses, not corporate consolidators.
Farmer also noted the submission of joint comments by several national deathcare associations. NFDA; the International Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association; National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association; Order of the Golden Rule; Selected Independent Funeral Homes; and the Cremation Association of North America worked together to review the FTC proposals.
Wrote Farmer: “After much deliberation and discussion, each member of the groups agreed that the proposals NFDA has presented herein were the best options should the commission decide to revise the [Funeral] Rule.”
“This unique collaboration came together to demonstrate to the commission that the voices of those thousands of funeral providers across the country who have dedicated their lives to serving families at one of the most difficult times in their lives are unified and should be considered when considering revisions to the Funeral Rule,” he added.
You can read the full comments as submitted last week here. If you have any questions, please contact Farmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reprinted from the January 19, 2023, issue of the Memorial Business Journal.