If you need assistance to get you through the process of finding a funeral service provider, this guide offers an abundance of helpful tips and suggestions. Included is a discussion of your rights as a consumer that the Federal Trade Commission provides under the FTC Funeral Rule. If you are on a budget, creative ways to finance funeral service arrangements and cover the costs are additional highlights.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) passed a law in 1984 that effectively works to protect consumers when dealing with funeral service providers. Known as the FTC Funeral Rule, the guidelines stipulate the manner in which funeral homes and similar providers must conduct business when selling their services to the public. The regulations help to prevent funeral service providers from engaging in questionable practices. Highlights of the FTC Funeral Rule include:
Funeral homes are required to provide consumers with the costs of their services verbally over the telephone when requested.
Funeral homes may not tell consumers that embalming is required. Alternative options for preservation include refrigeration, immediate cremation or burial.
Consumers must receive price lists for caskets that include all cost levels before viewing them.
Consumers must receive written statements outlining all agreed costs before making payment for funeral arrangements.
Top Resources to Help You Find a Funeral Service Provider
Our top choices for online resources to help you find a funeral home include the nationwide network listing of providers maintained by Dignity Memorial. Their website has a search tool that links to more than 2,000 funeral homes and related businesses including local providers in the Columbus area. The online directory of funeral homes maintained by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is another top site to explore.
Helpful topics that include detailed information for Ohio residents are available on the site of the Funeral Ethics Organization (FEO). You can learn more about your options that include organ donation, embalming, and death benefits as paid under Social Security. The Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) is another excellent resource that offers helpful tips and suggestions. The FCA discusses the process of making funeral arrangements and provides information about burials, cemeteries, cremation, caskets, and more.
If you are on a budget and need guidance and suggestions on how to afford funeral service arrangements, a variety of options are available. Some unusual ways discussed on Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) include seeking financial assistance through fund-raising. This approach may work depending on your situation and available resources in your community.
The FCA suggests that the costs associated with funerals may be covered by working with nonprofit organizations such as churches in a fund-raising effort to help pay for the expenses. Community events such as tag sales, or car washes along with bake sales are yet another creative way to help someone in need raise money to lay a loved one to rest. Another option to consider, but only if necessary, is to seek a special loan to cover the costs. Some funeral homes provide this service to consumers.
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