History of the Funeral Rule Essay

1231 Words Oct 11th, 2013 5 Pages
HISTORY OF THE FUNERAL RULE

The roots of the Funeral Rule are found in two books that were published in the late 60’s - - Unsafe At Any Speed by Ralph Nader and The American Way of Death by Jessica Midford. In the late 1960’s, the FTC was a paper tiger. Ralph Nader, who began the consumer protection movement in this country with the publication of Unsafe At Any Speed, was a sharp critic of the Federal Trade Commission for its lack of consumer protection. Specifically, the FTC was criticized because it relied too heavily on consumer complaints and brought enforcement actions only on a case-by-case basis. The consumer protection movement wanted the FTC to proceed against entire industries rather than individual businesses. The
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In March, 1976, the FTC received over 9,000 comments on the proposed rulemaking. The Final Notice of Rulemaking was published in 1976 and identified 30 disputed areas of fact. These were the focus of six public hearings that were held from April through August of 1976. There were 315 witnesses, many of which provided anecdotal evidence. There was very little empirical data such as surveys and valid economic studies. Following the hearings, the presiding officer issued his report. Additional comments were submitted by the public and the Final Staff Report was delivered to the Commission in 1979. The FTC tentatively approved the Funeral Rule in March, 1979. The funeral industry went to Congress and was able to obtain some relief in the form of the FTC Improvements Act of 1980. That statute imposed new procedural safeguards in the FTC rulemaking process. It also required the FTC to republish the Funeral Rule and take additional comments using the new procedural safeguards. In 1981, the FTC republished the Rule and began a new proceeding. That led to the promulgation of the Funeral Rule in 1982. After the NFDA unsuccessfully appealed the Rule to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Rule took effect on January 1, 1984. The Funeral Rule which was finally adopted was less onerous then the one originally proposed. NFDA was successful in having certain provisions deleted from the original Rule such as a requirement to have written…

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