The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) implemented the Funeral Rule, which requires funeral homes and directors to be transparent with funeral arrangements. You have certain rights when you prepare for a funeral. When funeral homes violate those rights, you may have the right to financial compensation.
According to the funeral rule, you have the right to only the funeral arrangements you want to purchase. You are under no legal obligation to buy caskets, urns, or other funeral services from the funeral home.
You are entitled to purchase your own urns, caskets, embalming services, or memorial services. You are also under no obligation to accept funeral packages that contain specific services or funeral goods if you are not interested.
Alabama law also does not require embalming for every person who passes away. Embalming may be required in Alabama for those transporting the deceased across state lines, but generally, this is a funeral service you have the right to pass on. Instead, you may opt for refrigeration services, immediate burial, or even direct cremation.
Funeral homes have the right to implement policies requiring embalming for public viewings. However, funeral homes may also offer a private family viewing without requiring embalming. Discuss your funeral home’s policy before you sign any type of agreement.
Funeral directors and homes must make price information available via telephone. In some instances, you may even find the pricing lists for specific funeral homes online. When considering a particular funeral home, you have the right to an itemized written price list.
They must provide you with a general price list (GPL) to bring home with you for review. It should contain all the available funeral home goods and services, including the costs.
For instance, if you want to purchase a casket, you might want to know how much it costs. With the GPL, you could inquire about caskets within your price range.
You could also speak with the funeral home about the prices of their outer burial containers. Generally, you should have access to the prices of these containers, even if they are not listed on the funeral home’s GPL. If the funeral home does not have such a list, they may violate your rights under the funeral rule.
You have the right to receive a statement describing the goods and services you purchase as part of your funeral agreement before making your payment. It should describe in detail the item or service you are purchasing and the price of each item.
There should also be a total cost of the funeral arrangements, so you clearly understand how much you are spending. You also have the right to a written statement if the funeral home or director is requiring you to buy specific types of funeral services or goods, even if you do not want these goods or services. Your rights under the funeral rule may have been violated if this happens.
You have the right to provide the funeral home of your choosing with an urn or a casket you purchased from another facility, online, or another funeral home. You also have the right to use alternative containers if you are not interested in using a casket for cremation.
Caskets are not required for cremation under Alabama law. If a funeral home attempts to force you to use a casket or its own containers, it may violate your rights. However, many funeral homes will offer alternative containers made from various materials, including fiber wood, unfinished wood, or even cardboard.
Now that you know your rights under the FTC’s funeral rules, you may better understand whether they have been violated throughout the funeral planning process.
If you believe you have been taken advantage of by a funeral director or home, contact a dedicated Alabama funeral home lawyer at Belt, Bruner & Barnett P.C. Fill out our quick contact form or call us at 205-933-1500 to schedule your complimentary case evaluation today.