A federal regulation is designed to make it easy for people to get pricing information from funeral homes, but the rule is often ignored.

A long time ago, funeral homes colluded with each other to not give detailed information about their prices to potential customers. As a result, families could not shop around for the best price for funeral services.

After losing a lawsuit to the federal government, funeral homes stopped mandating that their association members engage in this practice. However, that did not stop individual funeral homes from refusing to give detailed pricing information.

In 1984 the Federal Trade Commission decided to act by passing a regulation known as the Funeral Rule. It requires that funeral homes give potential customers, appearing in person, a written, detailed price list. Funeral homes are also required to give clear pricing information when asked to do so over the phone.

Despite this rule, people still find it difficult to get accurate funeral prices, according to NPR in “Despite Decades-Old Law, Funeral Prices Are Still Unclear.”

Federal investigators have found that one in four funeral homes they check, violate the funeral rule.

This is an important issue for many elders and their families who would like to plan in advance for how much a funeral will cost. Without clear and accurate prices given in advance, families are often later stuck with large bills they did not anticipate when they bury a loved one.

When you are speaking to a funeral home, you should be given information on the home’s prices. If you are not, ask for it and make sure that you understand the prices you are shown.

Reference: NPR (Feb. 8, 2017) “Despite Decades-Old Law, Funeral Prices Are Still Unclear.”