Michigan Radio released information from a recent Freedom of Information Act request by NPR that seven of fifteen funeral homes in the Lansing area have violated the Federal Trade Commission Funeral Rule.
According to Philip Douma, the Federal Trade Commission Funeral Rule is a price disclosure requirement that mandates funeral homes to give their service prices to consumers so they can fairly compare it to other funeral homes. Douma says a strong reasoning for these violations is that the rule isn’t very clear.
“The rule is so subject to interpretation, the same action by one funeral home interpreted by one person posing as a shopper may not be viewed as a violation by someone else. It’s very unclear and indefinite,” said Douma.
Mary McDonald from the Paradise Funeral Chapel, which is one of the funeral homes that violated the rule, also agrees that the rule is unclear.
“I mean there’s some ambiguity, ok. I don’t think the rule is crystal clear, if you will. I think we have it, but I think it’s perhaps not crystal clear,” said McDonald.
McDonald also added that the staff at Paradise, since the violation have taken steps to ensure the staff is trained on the Funeral Rule.
Douma added that the number is Lansing definitely stand out, and that a lot of cities had zero funeral homes violated the law.