Undercover investigation catches Texas funeral home violations

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by Barry Davis / KENS 5

Bio | Email | Follow: @barrydavistv

kens5.com

Posted on August 19, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 19 at 5:50 PM

SAN ANTONIO -- The federal government is keeping a close eye on Texas funeral homes. A 2012 undercover investigation by the Federal Trade Commission found that 12 out of 39 Texas funeral homes have significant violations.

Funeral homes have very strict guidelines they must follow in terms of how they deal with customers. The FTC has established what's called the Funeral Rule. The rule allows consumers specific rights in purchasing services from the funeral home.

Visit the Federal Trade Commission website to read more on the Funeral Rule.

In 2012, investigators went into 39 funeral homes in the Rio Grande valley and made sure funeral home directors were complying with the rule.

Under their policy, the FTC would not tell us what the violations were. However, the FTC said those funeral homes would have to sign up for the Funeral Rule Offenders Program.

The FROP is a three-year training program designed to ensure directors know and follow FTC guidelines. If a funeral home refuses to sign up for the program -- or signs up but doesn't complete the training -- it could be hit with fines as high as $16,000 per violation.

Funeral homes in San Antonio were inspected in 2007 and 2008 but once again, the FTC would not confirm which homes were found with violations.

We then went through state records. We found which facilities had violations; however, the state did not say exactly what the violations were.

The Better Business Bureau brought attention to the problem after issuing an advisory Monday, Aug.19.

The BBB said even though choosing a funeral home is an emotional issue, it is imperative to do one's homework so to know exactly what services one should expect to receive from a home. And what the price for those services should be.

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