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Press Release

Justice Department and FTC Obtain Settlement to Stop Deceptive Marketing Practices Involving the Sale of Funeral Goods and Services

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department, together with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), today announced that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida entered an order that requires Legacy Cremation Services, LLC, Funeral & Cremation Group of North America, LLC, and Anthony Joseph Damiano to pay $275,000 in civil penalties and to be subject to injunctive relief requiring them to comply with the FTC Act and the FTC’s Trade Regulation Rule Concerning Funeral Industry Practices (Funeral Rule). The FTC Act prohibits unfair and deceptive conduct and false advertising. The Funeral Rule prohibits providing consumers with inaccurate price information and requires certain disclosures to consumers regarding pricing for funeral-related goods.

The stipulated order settles the government’s allegations that Legacy Cremation Services, LLC, Funeral & Cremation Group of North America, LLC, and Anthony Joseph Damiano violated the FTC Act and Funeral Rule. The government’s complaint alleges that defendants serve as brokers between consumers and third-party funeral and cremation providers that offer funeral services, and that defendants have misled consumers about the locations where funeral services will be provided, as well as the ultimate costs of such services. The complaint also alleges that when consumers objected to these pricing practices, defendants refused to provide consumers with the remains of their loved ones until they paid. Under the settlement reached by the parties, defendants agreed not to engage in these practices. They also specifically agreed to clearly and conspicuously include on their websites the actual physical locations of the service providers and a link to their general price lists. Before accepting payment from any consumer, defendants agreed to provide an itemized, written statement of all prices and the total cost of services. defendants also agreed that their obligation to provide accurate information about their offerings and prices extends to consumers who inquire by telephone or electronic means.

“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting consumers from deceptive sales practices — particularly when consumers are in vulnerable circumstances, such as when a loved one passes” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department's Civil Division. “This resolution serves as a warning that the Department of Justice will not permit companies and individuals to profit from consumers’ grief by engaging in unlawful and deceptive marketing practices when offering funeral arrangements.”

“Lying to consumers about critical information including price and location of services when they are dealing with the loss of a loved one is outrageous and illegal,” said Director Samuel Levine of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Our actions in this case show the FTC’s commitment to enforcing the Funeral Rule to protect consumers and honest funeral homes.”

Trial Attorneys Wandaly Fernández García and Katherine Ho and Assistant Director Lisa K. Hsiao of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch and Assistant U.S. Attorney James A. Weinkle for the Southern District of Florida handled the matter. Rebecca Plett and Thomas Harris represent the FTC.

Updated April 7, 2023

Consumer Protection
Press Release Number: 23-384