Naked City

Death Be Not Proud

The Funeralgate scandal has shown that the Texas Funeral Service Commission is not overly reliable when it comes to protecting consumers. Now, the General Accounting Office has found that consumers cannot rely on the Federal Trade Commission, either. In a report released last week, the GAO found that the FTC, which is charged with enforcing federal consumer laws, rarely punishes funeral homes that violate the statute known as the Funeral Rule.

The GAO found that in 1997 and 1998, the FTC "did not take action in over half the instances in which funeral homes had one or more potential Funeral Rule violations." According to the FTC, it did not take action on those cases because it was using prosecutorial discretion. The GAO also found that the FTC "does not have a systematic or structured process for measuring funeral homes' compliance" with the Funeral Rule. The GAO's report comes at a bad time for the FTC, which is in the midst of revising the Funeral Rule. Over the summer, the agency took comments from consumer advocates and the funeral industry on a variety of issues, including how much information the funeral homes should be required to tell consumers. For a full copy of the report, go to http://

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