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FTC Outer Burial Container and the GPL

 

The Funeral Rule requires funeral service providers to inform consumers that an Outer Burial Container Price List is available. They can either put the prices for the outer burial containers on the General Price List, or they can provide a separate "Outer Burial Container Price List." If they use a separate price list, the GPL should state the range of prices for the outer burial containers the provider sells, together with the following disclosure:

  • A complete price list will be provided at the funeral home.

If funeral service providers put the prices for the outer burial containers on the General Price List, they also must include the following disclosure in immediate conjunction with (directly next to) the outer burial container prices:

  • In most areas of the country, state or local law does not require that you buy a container to surround the casket in the grave. However, many cemeteries require that you have such a container so that the grave will not sink in. Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements.

If instead funeral service providers provide a separate price list for outer burial containers, they must include the above disclosure on the Outer Burial Container Price List. They don’t have to include the phrase, "in most areas of the country" in the disclosure if the state or local law does not require a container to surround the casket in the grave.

Information and Use

If funeral service providers sell outer burial containers and do not list the retail price of each such container on the General Price List, they must prepare a separate printed or typewritten Outer Burial Container Price List (OBC Price List). The term "outer burial container" refers to any container designed to be placed around the casket in the grave. Such containers may include burial vaults, grave boxes, and grave liners.

The OBC Price List must contain the following basic information:

  • the name of the funeral service provider's business;
  • the caption: "Outer Burial Container Price List";
  • the effective date of the price list;
  • the retail price of each outer burial container they offer that does not require special ordering, with enough information to identify the container;
  • the following disclosure
    • "In most areas of the country, state or local law does not require that you buy a container to surround the casket in the grave. However, many cemeteries require that you have such a container so that the grave will not sink in. Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements."

Funeral service providers don't have to include the phrase "in most areas of the country" in the disclosure if their state or local law does not require a container to surround the casket in the grave.

Funeral service providers must give enough descriptive information about each outer burial container on the OBC Price List to enable consumers to identify the specific container. They need list only those containers they usually offer for sale and that do not require special ordering.

"Special ordering" means purchasing an outer burial container that is not in stock and not part of the funeral service provider's regular offerings to customers. However, the Rule does not require providers to offer any particular outer burial containers; in fact, it does not require them to sell any outer burial containers.

The Rule does not require providers list the containers offered in any particular order. The OBC Price List can be in any form, including in a notebook or on a chart, as long as it contains the required information, including the heading "Outer Burial Container Price List," displayed in a clear and conspicuous manner.

Funeral service providers do not have to list containers they keep in inventory to fill pre-existing preneed contracts, but which they no longer regularly offer for sale. Nor is it necessary to prepare a new price list if a container is temporarily out of stock. The funeral service provider can simply tell the consumer which container is not available when they give the consumer the OBC Price List.

Using the OBC Price List

Funeral service providers must show this price list to all persons asking about outer burial containers or their prices. They must offer this price list when they begin to discuss outer burial containers, but before showing the containers.

Consumers must be able to look at the price list before discussing their options or seeing the actual containers. (The Rule does not require the outer burial containers to be displayed in any specific manner. Note, however, that many states have regulations regarding the manner of display.)

Again, it is not enough for the funeral service provider to tell consumers about price information or to place price cards on top of individual containers or models of containers. They can use individual price cards, but only in addition to an OBC Price List. Unlike the GPL, they do not have to give the OBC Price List for retention. However, they may do so if they wish.

Some funeral providers present their outer burial container selections through a book containing photographs of the various containers offered for sale. If they choose this approach, they must incorporate all the information required for the OBC Price List (see Information to be included on the OBC Price List) into the book.

In addition to using an OBC Price List as described above, they must show this price list to anyone who wishes to modify the particular container already purchased under a preneed contract.

 

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