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NFDA Supports "Bereaved Consumer's Bill of Rights Act of 2009"
Brookfield, Wis. - This week, the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) sent a letter of support to Rep. Bobby L. Rush, D-Ill., for the "Bereaved Consumer's Bill of Rights Act of 2009" (H.R. 3655), which he introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in late-September.
Rush's bill, which comes on the heels of the scandal at Burr Oak Cemetery in suburban Chicago, Ill., would require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to initiate a separate rule that would cover cemeteries and all other sellers of funeral goods and services.
According to the text of the bill: "The Federal Trade Commission's Funeral Industry Practices Trade Regulation Rule dictates consumer protections in the funeral home, but does not cover the practices of cemeteries, crematoria, or sellers of monuments, urns or caskets... State laws are inconsistent and frequently too weak to provide adequate consumer protections, creating a need for minimum federal standards in the area."
In its letter to Rush, NFDA details its long history of urging the FTC to amend the Funeral Rule or initiate a separate rule to cover cemeteries, crematories and other sellers of funeral or burial goods and services to the public. The letter further states that absent congressional involvement, consumers will remain at-risk when dealing with these entities until the FTC adopts a practice and disclosure rule similar to the Funeral Rule, which governs the nation's funeral homes.
The letter states: "In our view, H.R. 3655 outlines for the FTC a rule which we have long argued was necessary, given a dramatically changed marketplace, with new and non-traditional sellers, many more choices for consumers to purchase funeral or burial goods or services, and the risks they take in dealing with them in a lightly, or even unregulated environment... We recognize that the most egregious scandals involving Burr Oak, Menorah Gardens and Tri-State Crematory would not necessarily have been prevented by such a rule. However, with uniform federal practice and disclosure standards, the regulatory and compliance bar will be raised for both state regulators and for cemetery and crematory owners and operators, as well as other sellers of funeral or burial goods or services... NFDA stands ready to support any and all efforts to have H.R. 3655 signed into law."
NFDA is the world's leading funeral service association, serving 19,000 individual members who represent more than 10,200 funeral homes in the United States and internationally. From its headquarters in Brookfield, Wis., and its Advocacy Division office in Washington, D.C., NFDA informs, educates and advocates to help members enhance the quality of service they provide to families. For more information, visit www.nfda.org.