Tying Arrangements

Tying Arrangements
1. A tying arrangement exists where a seller requires a purchase of an unwanted item in order to obtain a desired good or service.
2. For example, if a FD only offers funeral services if the consumer agrees to purchase a casket form the funeral home, the seller has tied the provisions of funeral services to the to the required purchase of a casket. This violates the Funeral Rule.
The Funeral Rule prohibits tying arrangements except in the following three circumstances:
1. Non-Declinable Basic Service Fee
2. Legal Requirements
3. Impossible, Impractical or Excessively Burdensome
Non-Declinable Basic Service Fee
1. The fee for the Basic Services of Funeral Directors and Staff may be non-declinable.
2. It is nor a violation of the rule to require consumers to pay this charge as a condition of receiving funeral services.
3. All other fees must be declinable unless they meet one of the exceptions allowed.
Legal Requirements
1. To the extent the state or local law requires the purchase of a funeral good or service, the FD may tie the purchase of that good or service to the provision of the funeral service.
2. For example, if state law requires embalming of contagious disease cases, the FD may require embalming of all contagious disease cases as a condition of providing funeral services.
Impossible, Impractical or Excessively Burdensome
1. The Funeral Rule provides that funeral directors are not required to honor a request for a combination of goods and services that would be “impossible, impractical or excessively burdensome” to provide.
2. Although the funeral director will have to make the initial judgment as to what is “impossible, impractical or excessively burdensome,” the ultimate judgement would be made by the FTC if a Rule violation is charged.
4. The practical necessity of embalming is one in which falls under this exception.
5. For example, a FD may refuse a family’s request for the public viewing of an un-embalmed body on the grounds of practical necessity.
6. it may be offensive to members of the public to view an un-embalmed body.
7. Embalming is such circumstance is widely recognized as a practical necessity.
8. On the other hand, if the family requests a brief viewing of an un-embalmed body just for family members, the funeral director cannot refuse this request.
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