The Funeral Rule | Federal Trade Commission

The Funeral Rule, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The Funeral Rule by the Federal Trade Commission

 Makes it possible for you to choose only those goods and services you want or need and to pay only for those you select, whether you are making arrangements when a death occurs or in advance. The Rule allows you to compare prices among funeral homes, and makes it possible for you to select the funeral arrangements you want at the home you use. 

Get price information on the telephone.

funeral directors must give you price information on the phone

 Funeral directors must give you price information on the telephone if you ask for it. You don’t have to give them your name, address, or telephone number first. Although they are not required to do so, many funeral homes mail their price lists, and some post them online.

Provide the funeral home with a casket or urn you buy elsewhere.

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 The funeral provider cannot refuse to handle a casket or urn you bought online, at a local casket store, or somewhere else — or charge you a fee to do it. The funeral home cannot require you to be there when the casket or urn is delivered to them.

Get a written, itemized price list when you visit a funeral home.

The Funeral Rule General Price List

 The funeral home must give you a General Price List (GPL) that is yours to keep. It lists all the items and services the home offers, and the cost of each one.


Receive a written statement after you decide what you want, and before you pay. It should show exactly what you are buying and the cost of each item. The funeral home must give you a statement listing every good and service you have selected, the price of each, and the total cost immediately after you make the arrangements.

See a written outer burial container price list.

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 Outer burial containers are not required by state law anywhere in the U.S., but many cemeteries require them to prevent the grave from caving in. If the funeral home sells containers, but doesn’t list their prices on the GPL, you have the right to look at a separate container price list before you see the containers. If you don’t see the lower-priced containers listed, ask about them.

Make funeral arrangements without embalming.

Embalming is not required by law. Caskets and urns for sale

 No state law requires routine embalming for every death. Some states require embalming or refrigeration if the body is not buried or cremated within a certain time; some states don’t require it at all. In most cases, refrigeration is an acceptable alternative. In addition, you may choose services like direct cremation and immediate burial, which don’t require any form of preservation. Many funeral homes have a policy requiring embalming if the body is to be publicly viewed, but this is not required by law in most states. Ask if the funeral home offers private family viewing without embalming. If some form of preservation is a practical necessity, ask the funeral home if refrigeration is available. 

Download | Your copy of The Funeral Rule

 The Funeral Rule, enacted by the Federal Trade Commission on April 30, 1984 and amended it effective 1994, was designed to protect consumers by requiring that they receive adequate information concerning the goods and services they may purchase from a funeral provider. All funeral providers must comply with The Funeral Rule. The Funeral Rule defines such terms as, among others, funeral provider, funeral goods and funeral services and specifies various consumer rights, as well as specific parameters in which funeral industry goods and service providers must respect consumer rights and conduct their business 

Paying Final Respects (English) (pdf)

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Shopping for Funeral Services (English) (pdf)

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Paying Final Respects (Spanish) (pdf)

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Shopping for Funeral Services (Spanish) (pdf)

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GENERAL PRICE LIST | EXAMPLES

Its best to not tell the funeral director anything about wanting to buy your casket from the outside until you get a written, itemized price list from them. The funeral director must give you a General Price List (GPL) that is yours to keep. 


The Funeral Rule requires every funeral home to have a General Price List. It is a written, itemized price list of all the items and services the funeral home offers. The General Price List will be your guide to comparing funeral costs in your area. Some funeral homes will publish their General Price List online. If you don’t see it on the funeral home’s website, you can call or email them to ask them to send you a copy.


Below is an example of a General Price List from Wilbraham Funeral Home in Wilbraham, MA and Toomey O' Brien Funeral Home in West Springfield, MA

Wilbraham Funeral Home (pdf)

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Toomey - O'Brien Funeral Home (pdf)

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FREE | Funeral Ethics Organization Resources

Ethical dealings respect the feelings and emotions of the bereaved, provide respect to the deceased's body, and refrain from taking economic advantage of consumers making funeral or memorial purchases.


FEO's mission is to promote ethical dealings in all death-related transactions by working for better understanding of ethical issues among funeral, cemetery, memorial industry practitioners, law enforcement, organ procurement organizations, and state agencies, as well as better understanding between these and the general public.

Funeral Consumer Rights MA (pdf)

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Pre-paying for Your Funeral MA (pdf)

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Funeral Consumer Rights CT (pdf)

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Pre-paying for Your Funeral CT (pdf)

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Funeral Consumer Rights NY (pdf)

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Pre-paying for Your Funeral NY (pdf)

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Consumer Rights VT (pdf)

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Pre-paying for Your Funeral VT (pdf)

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