Losing a loved one in New Jersey, from a long chronic illness or sudden death, is overwhelming. Dealing with their funeral arrangements, especially if you’ve never handled a similar process in New Jersey before, makes it even harder. Your vulnerability during this grieving period makes it particularly easy for funeral homes to take advantage of you. The good news is that there are laws and regulations established under the funeral rule to ensure those seeking funeral services are not exploited. Never heard of them? Don’t worry because discussed we have laid out what you need to know about the funeral rule.
What is the Funeral Rule?
Back in the 1970s, the National Funeral Directors Association enacted regulations that prohibited its members from including prices in media advertisements. This created room for funeral providers to exploit unsuspecting consumers by including hidden fees or overcharging them on basic funeral home services. To counter this, the Federal Trade Commission(FTC) enacted the Funeral Rule.
The funeral rule refers to a set of regulations that protect the rights of consumers seeking the goods and services offered by funeral providers. The law prohibits funeral providers from pressuring consumers into buying products and services they do not want or do not need. It also prevents them from overcharging their consumers. In other words, the Funeral Rule was established to protect vulnerable consumers from being exploited by funeral homes.
How the Funeral Rule Helps Consumers?
The Funeral Rule gives the average person in New Jersey the right to:
– Purchase Only What They Need
Most funeral homes usually offer package deals, which may include embalming, a casket, or a coffin, a hearse, and even in some cases, a dedicated private chapel. While such packages are great, they may be overpriced and may include items you do not need or want for your loved one’s burial. Under the Funeral Rule, you don’t have to buy a package. You have the freedom to pick only the items you need.
– Provide Their Casket/Urn
Before the funeral rule was established, Funeral providers in New Jersey would reject a casket or urn purchased from a separate source. This lack of flexibility created an opportunity for them to exploit the grieving survivors by overcharging essential funeral items.
But under this rule, funeral providers in New Jersey are obligated by the law to accept a casket or coffin bought separately. On top of that, they are prohibited from charging a handling fee. What this means is that you can buy the casket online from Casket Emporium, and have it delivered to the funeral home without you being physically present, and you will not be charged extra.
Receive a Written Statement for the Goods and Services You Want
After you choose the services you need from the funeral home in New Jersey, the funeral provider is required to offer you an itemized list of the same. The list should be well-detailed and show the exact cost of each good or service, as well as the total. Additionally, it should include details of any cemetery requirements. The provider should offer you this list before you make payments.
– Give a Price List for Grave Liners
Grave liners surround a casket to prevent the grave from caving. Usually, grave liners are not a must, but most cemeteries in New Jersey require them. If you do need them, you have the right to request a price list from your funeral provider.
Your vulnerability during grieving is not a reason for a funeral provider to exploit you. That is why the Funeral Rule was established. Understanding what it entails not only helps you make informed decisions regarding the send-off of your deceased loved one, but also enables you to do so without leaving a dent in your financial stability.