The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has identified seven key areas for proposed changes to the Funeral Rule. The most significant proposed change is the requirement for funeral homes to have pricing available online, addressing consumer demand for accessibility.
02:11 🛡️ Overview of the Funeral Rule and Its Purpose
- The Funeral Rule was established in 1984 as a consumer protection measure to ensure informed choices and prevent misrepresentations.
- Its key components include the provision of a general price list, the prohibition of mandatory purchases, and the prevention of misleading information.
- The Funeral Rule aims to provide uniform information to consumers when they visit different funeral homes.
03:59 💼 Perception of Current Issues with the Funeral Rule
- The current Funeral Rule is not seen as problematic by funeral professionals, as it effectively addressed pricing issues from the late 70s and early 80s.
- The main problem lies in consumer perception of a lack of transparency within the funeral profession.
- Consumers desire more accessible pricing information, preferably available online without the need for phone calls or in-person visits.
05:05 ✨ Proposed Changes to the Funeral Rule
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has identified seven key areas for proposed changes to the Funeral Rule.
- The most significant proposed change is the requirement for funeral homes to have pricing available online, addressing consumer demand for accessibility.
- Other proposed changes include the disclosure of third-party crematory fees, potential changes to the basic service fee structure, and enhancements to disclosure readability.
07:36 🌐 Online Pricing as the Major Focus
- The FTC's primary focus for proposed changes to the Funeral Rule is online pricing accessibility.
- Consumers expect the ability to click a link on a funeral home's website and view pricing information without the need for additional steps.
- This change aims to increase transparency for consumers and make pricing information readily available and easily accessible.
08:46 📅 Review Process and Timeline for Changes to the Funeral Rule
- The FTC is currently in the process of reviewing the Funeral Rule, with potential changes expected.
- The review process involves multiple stages, including gathering comments from the public and proposing new rules.
- The entire process can take approximately two years, with the possibility of changes being implemented sooner.
09:39 🔍 Background and Importance of Online Pricing
- Less than 40% of funeral provider websites reviewed by the FTC provided any pricing information online.
- Consumer access to General Price Lists (GPLs) was limited to only about 25% of the websites.
- The lack of transparency and online pricing availability has led to consumer frustration and a push for change.
13:30 💬 Consumer and Death Care Provider Sentiments on Online Pricing
- The majority of comments received by the FTC were from consumers, advocating for online pricing transparency.
- Some death care providers support the idea of posting prices online, while others prefer to maintain the status quo.
- A small percentage of death care providers believe that all entities in the death care industry should be subject to the Funeral Rule.
15:47 💻 Feedback on Website Navigation and Desire for Transparency
- Consumers express frustration with the difficulty of finding pricing information on funeral home websites.
- Many consumers desire a direct link to a General Price List (GPL) or a clear display of prices on each page.
- The lack of transparency in online pricing is perceived as inconvenient and potentially misleading.
16:42 💡 Organically Increasing Online Price Availability and Government Regulation
- Over the years, an increasing number of death care providers have chosen to voluntarily post prices online.
- Consumers' desire for online pricing has been a driving force behind this organic change.
- While some death care providers have concerns about government-mandated online pricing, others see it as a necessary step for consumer protection in the digital age.
17:40 ⚖️ Contemplating the FTC's Proposed Changes
- The extreme proposal would require death care providers to have a website and post pricing online.
- Some funeral homes in rural areas still rely on fax machines and may struggle with online price transparency.
- Implementing these changes could disproportionately benefit larger operators and disadvantage smaller players.
21:40 💻 Impact of Online Transparency on Rural Funeral Homes
- Consumer advocacy groups argue that rural funeral homes should be transparent online.
- There is a concern about forcing all funeral homes to have websites, given limitations and varying technical abilities.
- This could be an opportunity for funeral homes to catch up with technology, but some smaller players may struggle to compete.
23:15 💻 The Influence of Online Presence on Service Quality
- Having a strong online presence does not necessarily reflect the quality of service provided.
- The example of online cremation services demonstrates the potential for misrepresentation and subpar service.
- Making pricing available online may encourage more consumers to shop and compare funeral options online.
25:05 🔍 Enforcing the New Funeral Rule
- The current method of testing funeral homes through in-person shoppers may become outdated.
- With online transparency, the FTC may be able to automate the process and shop thousands of funeral homes online.
- The means of enforcing the new rule are uncertain and may have significant implications.
26:13 💼 FTC's Rapid Proposals and Enforcement
- The FTC has been making quick and bold proposals and actions, indicating a potential for rapid enforcement.
- The current composition of the FTC, with three Democrats and one Republican, may expedite the process.
- Changes to the Funeral Rule could be implemented within the next couple of years.
28:32 🧪 Desired Changes to the Funeral Rule
- The guest explains his ultimate wish to get rid of the Funeral Rule, as there is already sufficient state regulation in place.
- The preference is for funeral regulation to be handled at the state level due to quicker reactions and stronger enforcement capabilities.
- The speaker acknowledges that his desired changes are unlikely to happen.
29:42 💡 Improving Enforcement and Triggers for Funerals
- The speaker suggests changing the timing requirement for triggering a General Price List (GPL) violation from when the conversation about funerals starts to when the family inquires about prices.
- By tying the triggering event to price inquiries, the process becomes more objective and less subjective.
- It is crucial to separate price-related triggers from general discussions to avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations
.31:57 🔍 Evaluating the Effectiveness of the GPL
- The speaker expresses concerns about the confusing nature of the GPL and its limited value to consumers as it stands.
- There is a need for an interpreter or clearer explanations when providing the GPL to consumers.
- While changes to the actual building blocks of the GPL might not occur, there is room for improvement and simplification.
33:20 💻 Potential Winners and Losers with Transparency
- Consumers are likely to benefit from increased transparency, as they gain more options for shopping and comparing funeral prices.
- Funeral providers could ultimately benefit from increased consumer education and the potential for growth in the market.
- The false market created by only displaying direct cremation prices might change, leading to more diverse choices for consumers.
34:45 🧪 Speculating Potential Scenarios with Increased Transparency
- Consumers may start to explore different funeral options and consider services from multiple funeral homes instead of buying everything from a single provider.
- Increased transparency could lead to more competition and price comparisons among funeral homes.
- The funeral industry may need to adapt to consumers making more informed decisions and seeking unique funeral arrangements.
35:00 🛒 Changing Funeral Shopping Habits
- Increased transparency allows consumers to easily compare prices of funeral homes and make more informed decisions.
- Consumers may choose to purchase different funeral products and services from multiple providers instead of a single funeral home.
- Funeral homes may need to adapt and allow consumers to bring in products from other providers.
36:26 🔍 Shifting Focus to Service and Facilities
- If funeral homes can no longer make significant profits from merchandise, the focus may shift to the value of their facilities and services.
- This could potentially lead to an increased emphasis on providing high-quality service and personalized funeral arrangements.
- Putting more value on service rather than merchandise could be a positive change for the death care industry.
37:08 💻 Adapting to Online Competition and Pricing Transparency
- Funeral homes will need to effectively sell their services and merchandise online to compete in a more transparent market.
- Businesses will need to reflect on their pricing and ensure that the value they offer aligns with the price they charge.
- Being proactive in preparing for the changes and understanding the new rules will be crucial for funeral home owners.
39:11 🌟 Expanding Funeral Options Beyond Direct Cremation
- Increased transparency could lead to more diverse funeral options beyond just direct cremation or traditional burial.
- Funeral homes may need to offer a range of service options to cater to different consumer preferences.
- Providing clearer information and pricing for various funeral arrangements could help serve a broader market.
41:42 💎 The Importance of Communicating Value
- Funeral homes will need to focus on communicating their value and differentiation to consumers.
- Putting value into words and visuals on their websites will become crucial.
- Businesses can learn from other industries, such as hotels, in effectively conveying and marketing different levels of service and pricing.
43:57 🚀 Being Proactive and Getting Ahead of Changes
- Funeral homes should be proactive in preparing for the changes and finding their unique position in the market.
- Explaining premium value and premium services will be important for those who can't compete solely on price.
- Being prepared with the right language and marketing strategies to showcase value will give funeral homes an advantage.
Tagged: Forward-Thinking Funeral Homes