A State by State Guide to Funeral Planning Rules and Regulations
Most of the funeral directors who are recommended to us are highly skilled, seasoned, and genuinely compassionate individuals who are obsessed with the welfare of their clients.
Both our clients and Funeral Directors are dear to us.
Unfortunately, like any profession, the funeral industry has its share of dishonest people who regrettably want to take advantage of families during a difficult time.
At ECO WARRIORS Funeral Supplies, our goal is to inform our clients on state-by-state rules and regulations, to protect their consumer rights under US funeral law, to stand up for them if they are under duress or otherwise stressed, and to expose misconduct in the business.
The law and your funeral rights are explained here. Please let us know if you believe your Funeral Director is breaking any of these guidelines.
List of Topics
The Funeral Rule Explained
- In all 50 States, purchasing a casket or coffin online and having it delivered to the funeral home of your choice for use in a funeral service is entirely legal.
- Funeral homes are not allowed to refuse to utilise a casket or coffin you purchased online, nor are they allowed to place excessive or burdensome requirements on who must receive delivery or when it must be delivered.
- Federal law bans funeral directors from charging “casket-handling” or other costs for persons who buy their casket online, thus you cannot be charged more if you supply the casket.
- Funeral homes are permitted to charge one non-declinable “basic” cost, but only one, and this should be for fundamental or necessary services.
- You cannot be forced to acquire any items or services that are not needed by law.
- Ask for a copy of the law if you are informed something is required by it if the funeral home claims it is required by law regarding funerals or cemeteries.
- Other types of false statements, such as those about the quality of online purchases of caskets or coffins or the probability of damage during transit, are also prohibited. Such deceptive techniques are prohibited by consumer protection legislation in the majority of states. In addition to being forbidden by federal law, dishonest, fraudulent, and unfair behaviours and practises are also subject to disciplinary action by state licencing boards in all 50 states.
Why was the Funeral Rule Established?
The funeral regulation was put in place to control the funeral business and protect customers from dishonest sales tactics.
The rule was established in April 1984 and had more revisions in 1994.
At the time, there had been “problems” with Funeral Homes that had led customers to assume they were obligated to pay for services like embalming that weren’t actually necessary.
Also, there was a sort of casket monopoly because only funeral establishments sold caskets, which led to them greatly inflating the retail pricing.
This was all altered by the funeral rule.
The Funeral Rule - Your Rights
You have the following rights under “The Funeral Rule” – a Federal Law governing Funeral Directors:
- To purchase ONLY the funeral supplies and services you desire.
- The right to purchase funeral products, such as caskets, online and have them delivered to funeral homes without incurring any additional fees.
- To refuse a package containing stuff you don’t want.
- You won’t be misled or have the requirements of Federal and State laws violated.
How do I file a complaint against a funeral home or funeral director?
You can easily file a complaint directly to a state’s funeral board or agency (find your state’s complaint form here), or ask Titan Casket to do so on your behalf.
All states, except Colorado and Hawaii, have a funeral board or agency that regulates funeral directors. About half the states have some sort of cemetery regulation. In general, complaints should be addressed to the regulatory board when there is one. In addition, if there’s a possibility of criminal action, it would be a good idea to file a complaint with the state’s Attorney General’s and or Department of Consumer Affairs. These addresses can be found on the state government’s web site or check this link to the National Association of Attorneys General.
Usually, a funeral board or the state has a number of options. It can order a refund or reduction in the funeral bill, it can impose a fine, it can order an apology, or require additional education. It might issue a warning, place the offender on probation, or it might even revoke a license.
Taking a funeral director’s license is rarely done, however, and then only for the most outrageous misconduct, such as embezzling pre-need funeral money. Furthermore, once the complaint has been filed, you may never be informed of the outcome, as these “hearings” are generally held in closed meetings. That doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t file a complaint.
As well as cc’ing the FTC, make sure you send a copy of your complaint to the person or company you’re complaining about.
Click through to your state below to find the relevant form.
State-By-State Funeral Laws
|Governing Body||Visit the Alabama Board of Funeral Service website for details of the Governing Body.|
|How to File a Complaint||If an Alabama funeral home is violating your rights and the Funeral Rule, file a complaint to the Alabama Funeral Board here or contact ECO WARRIORS for help.|
|Alabama State Laws vs. US Federal Law||While it’s true that, in Alabama, only licensed funeral directors may sell caskets (Alabama Code § 34-13-1(a)(25)), federal law requires funeral homes to accept caskets that consumers have purchased from another source, such as an online retailer.|
|Governing Body||Visit the Arizona State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers website|
|How to File a Complaint||If an Arizona funeral home is violating your rights and the Funeral Rule, file a complaint to the Arizona Funeral Board here or contact ECO WARRIORS for help.|
|Arizona State Laws vs. US Federal Law||There is no differences. The Funeral Rule applies.|
|Governing Body||Visit the Arkansas State Board of Embalmers & Funeral Directors website|
|How to File a Complaint||If an Arkansas funeral home is violating your rights and the Funeral Rule, file a complaint to the Arkansas Funeral Board here or contact ECO WARRIORS for help.|
|Arkansas State Laws vs. US Federal Law||Same. Funeral homes must accept outside deliveries.|
|Governing Body||Visit CA Department of Consumer Affairs – Cemetery and Funeral Bureau website|
|How to File a Complaint|
If you have approached the Funeral Home, Funeral Director, Crematorium or Cemetery Management about your concerns, and are not satisfied with the response, you can download and lodge a complaint form online with the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Cemetery and Funeral Burea.
|California State Laws vs. US Federal Law||The same rules apply. Federal and state law requires funeral homes to accept outside goods and services.|
|Governing Body||Colorado Office of Funeral Home and Crematory Registration Colorado Office of Funeral Home and Crematory Registration website|
|How to File a Complaint||If an Colorado funeral home is violating your rights and the Funeral Rule, file a complaint to the Colorado Funeral Board here or contact Titan Casket for help.|
|Colorado State Laws vs. US Federal Law||Same. Federal and state law requires funeral homes to accept outside goods and services.|