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Itemization of funeral services is important

Consumer business column

MICHAEL FOWLER SR.

MICHAEL FOWLER SR.

ALBANY —The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that funeral service providers disclose an itemized price list of certain goods and services that they offer. Itemization of services ensures that consumers only pay for the services that they want and need.

There are 16 types of goods or services that should be included on the General Price List, or GPL. The following items along with the price for each good or service should be included on the General Price List:

— Forwarding of remains to another funeral home;

— Receiving remains from another funeral home;

— Direct cremation;

— Immediate burial;

— Basic services of funeral director and staff, and overhead;

— Transfer of remains to funeral home;

— Embalming;

— Other preparation of the body;

— Use of facilities and staff for viewing;

— Use of facilities and staff for funeral ceremony;

— Use of facilities and staff for memorial service;

— Use of equipment and staff for graveside service;

— Hearse;

— Limousine;

— Either individual casket prices or the range of casket prices that appear on the Casket Price List;

— Either individual outer burial container prices or the range of outer burial container prices that appear on the Outer Burial Container Price List.

If a funeral service provider does not offer all 16 services they should only include the prices for goods and services they actually offer on the General Price List. Providers may include fees for any additional items or services that they offer on the GPL as well. Examples of non-required additional services can include the cost of acknowledgement cards or cremation urns, or prices for funeral packages. All items on the GPL must reflect accurate and up-to-date prices that providers will charge the consumer.

Minimal services are the first four services listed on the General Price List. The Funeral Rule established by the Federal Trade Commission requires funeral service providers to include these goods and services and the fees they will charge the consumer. For the forwarding of remains and the receiving of remains, the GPL should include a separate price for each of these services, along with an explanation of any additional fees charged for facility use or equipment use.

For direct cremations, the GPL must disclose the availability of an alternative burial container along with any applicable price adjustments when the consumer provides their own casket or alternative burial container. If a funeral service provider does not own their own crematory, they should inform the consumer that additional fees may apply for the use of another provider’s crematory.

Michael Fowler Sr. is coroner-elect of Dougherty County.