Provides alternative pricing methods in the sale and offering of funeral merchandise and services; provides for repeal after one year; mandates a report by the consumer protection division on the effectiveness of alternative pricing methods.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public health law, in relation to the alternative pricing methods in the sale and offering of funeral merchandise and services; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon the expiration thereof
PURPOSE: The purpose of this legislation is to enact a one-year study for package pricing methods for funerals and funeral services and require the Consumer Protection Board to submit a report to the Governor and Legislature regarding the implementation of package pricing in New York State.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This bill would enact a one-year study that would amend the public health law to authorize funeral directors to provide price information to consumers in a package format in addition to the current required item pricing list. Monuments and memorials as defined in paragraph (b) of section 454 of the General Business Law would be exempt from the provisions of this act.
Additionally, the Consumer Protection Board shall, within one year, study the effectiveness of this act and present its findings in a report to the Governor and the Legislature.
JUSTIFICATION: Forty-nine states and the Federal Trade Commission recognize and allow funeral directors to offer package funeral services to all consumers. Only New York State restricts pricing information solely to an itemized list for consumers other than members of not-forprofit corporations.
This bill would enact a one-year study of package pricing in New York State. The Consumer Protection Board would be required to review any complaints or issues relating to the implementation of package pricing and report the findings to the Governor and the Legislature within one year.
This legislation would also direct the Health Commissioner to develop and implement rules and regulations necessary for the implementation of package pricing. Under this proposal a consumer would be allowed to choose from a list of itemized services or from a package of services.
This bill would simply allow consumers to have an opportunity to choose only the specific itemized services they need or desire or to choose additional services at a package price. Consumer protection would be maintained as any funeral home that would offer package pricing must also provide customers the option to purchase goods and services on an itemized basis. Monuments and memorials would be exempt from this Act.
All regulations of the Department of Health as well as the Federal Trade Commission regarding consumer protection would be maintained.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: Similar legislation introduced in 2004 A.10986/S.7237.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None
EFFECTIVE DATE: 60 days after enactment and shall be repealed in one year.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3295 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 31, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. O'MARA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Health AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to the alternative pricing methods in the sale and offering of funeral merchandise and services; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon the expiration thereof THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 3440-a of the public health law, as amended by chapter 534 of the laws of 1983, is amended to read as follows: S 3440-a. Statement to be furnished by certain licensed persons, funeral directors and funeral firms when funeral arrangements are made. 1. Every person licensed pursuant to this article, including funeral directors and funeral firms, shall furnish at the time funeral arrange- ments are made for the care and disposition of the body of a deceased person, a written statement showing thereon the price of the funeral, which shall include an itemized list of the services and merchandise to be furnished for such price and a statement of the cash advances and expenditures to be advanced. 2. NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION, FUNERAL FIRMS MAY OFFER PACKAGES OF GOODS AND SERVICES, AS LONG AS THEY ARE OFFERED IN ADDITION TO, AND NOT IN PLACE OF, ITEMIZED PRICES. IF A PACKAGE OFFERING IS SELECTED BY THE PERSON MAKING FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS, THE CHARGES MUST BE LISTED AND PROVIDED TO THE PERSON ON AN ITEMIZATION STATEMENT. PACKAGE PRICES MUST BE BROKEN DOWN AND LISTED BY THEIR COMPO- NENT PARTS ON SUCH ITEMIZATION STATEMENT, EXCEPT FOR DIRECT CREMATIONS, DIRECT BURIALS, FORWARDING OF REMAINS AND RECEIVING OF REMAINS. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO ANY MEMORIALS AS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH (B) OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY-FOUR OF THE GENERAL BUSINESS LAW.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD03855-01-3 S. 3295 2
S 2. The consumer protection division shall cause a review of the effectiveness of the provisions of subdivision 2 of section 3440-a of the public health law. Such review shall be presented in the form of a report. A copy of the report shall be submitted on or before the three hundred sixty-fifth day after this act shall have become a law to the governor, the temporary president of the senate, the speaker of the assembly, the minority leader of the senate, and the minority leader of the assembly. Such report shall contain, at a minimum, any legislative recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the provisions of section 3440-a of the public health law. S 3. This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall have become a law and shall expire and be deemed repealed one year after such effective date. Effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date are authorized and directed to be made and completed on or before such effective date.