Annually family and friends arrange more than two million funerals for their deceased loved ones. The cost of planning a funeral can be quite expensive. Having an understanding of consumer rights and funeral planning federal regulations beforehand can prevent families from overpaying. The Federal Trade Commission has established Funeral Planning Rules that funeral service providers must follow as they assist bereaved families. This article will discuss the General Price List which is the basis of the Funeral Rule.
The General Price List or GPL is a document provided by funeral service providers which contains information about the funeral goods, funeral services, and the prices of such goods they offer. Anyone can request a copy of the GPL, including family members of the deceased, consumer groups, government agencies, business representatives or journalists. Funeral service providers will only offer the General Price List at a face-to-face meeting. This face- to-face meeting can occur in the funeral home; the family’s home or even when the deceased’s body is being removed from a hospital or nursing facility.
In order to comply with the Funeral Rule service providers must give the consumer a copy of the General Price List that they can keep. The service provider must do more than simply tell the consumer that a price list is available or show it to them in a notebook.
Consumers who have purchased funeral services through a pre-need arrangement are also required to receive a GPL, however, it may vary somewhat from the GPL used in at-need situations. A preneed GPL must list itemized prices for goods and services.
Funeral service providers must offer the General Price List free of charge to anyone who inquires about the following: the type of funeral or disposition, goods and services, or prices of goods or services they offer.
Michael Fowler Sr., CFSP, is president of the Georgia Funeral Service Practitioners Association and is a retired death investigation specialist/forensic pathology assistant with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab. He is the coroner-elect for Dougherty County.