The Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule
February 9, 2024
This past week, an article was published by the Wall Street Journal that shook the “death care industry.” The article “How the Funeral Industry Got the FTC to Hide Bad Actors” sheds light on some instances of non-compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) long-standing Funeral Rule and potential consumer deception by some funeral homes. While it’s true that every industry has bad actors, it’s important to recognize that the death care industry is decisively sensitive and different. Even small or unintentional violations of consumer rights or regulatory standards can cast a dark shadow over the entire profession.
The Funeral Rule Offenders Program
While this post is not intended to disparage the article, it’s worth noting that it strangely castigates the FTC and the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) partnership through the Funeral Rule Offenders Program (FROP). This program has proven to be fundamentally effective in reducing violations within the funeral industry and is, therefore, a strange target of criticism. By collaborating with the NFDA, the FTC has implemented a proactive and cost-effective approach to address non-compliance with the Funeral Rule, effectively bending the curve of violators downward. Through FROP, funeral homes that have violated the rule pay a fee to have the opportunity to participate in a remedial education program aimed at ensuring future compliance. This initiative provides a pathway for offenders to rectify their mistakes and deter future violations.
This is not to claim that FROP is perfect. There may be room for enhancing the FTC’s ability to identify and address deliberate and loathsome violators. This could involve implementing stricter eligibility criteria for participation, enhancing monitoring and enforcement mechanisms, and providing additional resources for education and support to ensure compliance among participants. By continuously evaluating and adapting FROP, the FTC, and the death care industry can better target and deter egregious violators while supporting the majority of funeral homes committed to upholding ethical standards and consumer protection.
Arlington Memorial Gardens Prioritizes Transparency
Lastly, the Arlington Funeral Home and the entire Arlington organization are steadfastly committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity and compliance with the Funeral Rule. We recognize the immense trust placed in us during the difficult and emotional period following the loss of a loved one. That’s why we prioritize absolute transparency in all our dealings with families, empowering them to make informed decisions that are most appropriate for their needs and preferences. Our dedication to compliance and transparency extends throughout every aspect of our services, ensuring that families feel supported and respected during their time of grief. Please feel free to reach out to ask questions about the Funeral Rule and its requirements and how the Arlington team ensures compliance.