BOSTON - November 19, 2009 - Inspectors with the Division of Professional Licensure, posing as consumers, visited 175 funeral homes in all parts of Massachusetts recently to verify license status and to ensure compliance with regulations of the Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors and the Federal Trade Commission's Funeral Rule. Forty-nine legal actions have been filed alleging violations of law at 46 funeral homes.
Of the 46 funeral homes implicated in the legal actions, 28 allegedly failed to provide prospective clients with a written price list for services. Three of the 46 funeral homes allegedly employed unlicensed personnel - and not a licensed funeral director - to handle discussions with the undercover inspectors and 15 funeral homes are alleged to have committed both violations. The Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors has started disciplinary procedures against those alleged to be found in violation. A full list of the businesses cited, and those found in compliance, is below.
When a family comes to a funeral home to discuss arrangements, the funeral home must provide a written list of options and costs as families handle, at a trying time, a situation they may not know much about.
Consumers are extremely vulnerable at the time of the death of a loved one. This sweep was designed to ensure that funeral homes treat consumers in a manner that fully complies with federal and state law. We intend to work with the industry to achieve full compliance," said George K. Weber, Director of the Division of Professional Licensure.
DPL and the Board inspect funeral homes throughout the year, checking to ensure they are properly licensed, have written price lists available, and follow other state and federal laws.
The inspectors participated in community-wide sweeps in the following cities and towns: Attleboro, Attleboro Falls, Belmont, Boston, Braintree, Brighton, Canton, Chelsea, Dedham, Dorchester, East Boston, Fitchburg, Framingham, Franklin, Greenfield, Hanover, Hingham, Jamaica Plain, Lynn, Mansfield, Mattapan, Medford, Milford, Millbury, Milton, Natick, Newton, North Attleboro, Northampton, Norton, Norwell, Quincy, Randolph, Rockland, Roxbury, Scituate, Shrewsbury, South Boston, Springfield, Taunton, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Webster, Wellesley, Weymouth, Worcester, Wrentham.
Consumers are urged to visit the Division of Professional Licensure's website at www.mass.gov/dpl and select the check a license option to determine whether a professional they are considering doing business with is licensed and in good standing.
The Division of Professional Licensure is a regulatory agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. The agency is responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance and the integrity of the licensing process for approximately 330,000 licensees across 43 trades and professions under the jurisdiction of 31 Boards of Registration.