Funeral homes are misleading you about pricing, FTC warns after undercover operation

TheStreet’s J.D. Durkin brings the latest business headlines from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as markets open for trading Friday, January 26.

Full Video Transcript Below:

J.D. DURKIN: I’m J.D. Durkin – reporting from the New York Stock Exchange. Here’s what we’re watching on TheStreet today.

Wall Street is reacting to a key inflation report – the Core Personal Expenditures Price Index, which measures inflation across a wide range of consumer goods. The PCE Index rose at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in December, just below estimates of 3 percent. This figure is closely tracked by the Federal Reserve and could play a role in its next interest rate decision. Markets are expecting the Fed to hold rates steady when it meets Tuesday, January 30th.

In other news – the U.S. government has a message for funeral homes: stop misleading bereaved families. The Federal Trade Commission oversaw an undercover operation which placed phone calls to more than 250 funeral homes. 38 of them either did not answer questions about pricing, or gave wavering information about similar amenities.

Funeral homes are required to follow the FTC’s “Funeral Rule” which enforces strict requirements and gives rights to families of the deceased. According to the FTC, customers also have the right to get a general price list from a funeral provider when they ask about funeral arrangements. They also have the right to choose the funeral goods and services they want – with some exceptions – and funeral providers must state this right on the general price list.

Paying for a funeral can be a big financial burden for families, and the cost is only going up. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, as of 2021, the median cost of a funeral is $7,848. The average casket alone costs about $2,000 – with some costing as much as $10,000. And pricing doesn’t differ significantly based on where you live. A funeral in states with the highest average price can cost $8,500, while those states with the lowest average price cost about $6,900.

That’ll do it for your daily briefing. From the New York Stock Exchange, I’m J.D. Durkin with TheStreet.

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