As of July 1, 2012, you’ll need to meet the consumer protection requirements set by the FBCSA. Here are your consumer protection responsibilities at a glance.
You need to provide complete ownership disclosure
Consumers have a right to know with whom they are doing business. For this reason you need to fully disclose your business structure and ownership details to your clients, including:
- The operator’s name
- The business name (if it’s different from the operator’s name).
- The name of any person (individual or business) who directly or indirectly controls your business.
- The name of any other bereavement-related business that is:
- directly or indirectly controlled by a person (individual or business) who also directly or indirectly controls your business.
- is within 100 kilometres from your business.
You must include this information in your signs, ads, websites, brochures, price lists, contracts, letterhead and all other written material except business cards.
You need to give your customers a detailed price list
Operators must give their customers a full and current price list for all the supplies and services they sell.
To help your client comparison shop, these lists need to include any package or minimum prices and a range of costs for interment rights.
Price lists can be available in either print or electronic form – whichever is best for you and your clients. However, you must be able to provide a printed copy to your clients if they request it.
You also have the option of providing a client a price list that includes only the supplies, services and packages of interest to him or her.
You are required to keep a copy of each of your price lists for six years and make them available to the Registrar on request.
You need to re-purchase or facilitate the resale of interment rights
Consumers now have a right to resell unused interment rights and scattering rights – and you need to understand what your role is in complying with this rule.
Your cemetery by-laws need to indicate whether your cemetery prohibits the resale of interment rights on the open market. If your by-laws prohibit it, your clients have the right to cancel a contract with you.
And if they do, you are obligated to re-purchase interment rights from the holder at the price on your current price list. You can only reduce the re-purchase price of interment rights by the amount of money you deposited in your Care and Maintenance Fund at the time of the original sale.
If your by-laws allow the open market resale of interment rights on the open market, rights holders are free to sell them to whomever they wish. Nonetheless, the sale must be done through you. In this case you will need to verify that the seller is in fact the interment or scattering rights holder, update the Public Register and issue a new interment rights certificate. You may charge an administrative fee for this service. Also, you do not need to make a deposit to your Care and Maintenance Fund for this transaction.
However, if you are a non-commercial cemetery operator and the lot was originally sold before 1955, you may charge the new interment rights holder a deposit at a rate approved by the Registrar.
You need to honour the 30-day cooling-off period
The FBCSA offers consumers 30 days to change their minds after purchasing interment or scattering rights and other bereavement supplies or services. You will need to provide a full refund to customers cancelling a contract during the cooling-off period and you may not charge an administrative fee to do this.
However, if a consumer cancels a contract within the 30-day cooling-off period, but you have already delivered supplies and services because they were required for an immediate funeral, burial or cremation, you are not obliged to provide a refund for those supplies and services.
After 30 days consumers may still cancel any purchases in a contract which have not been provided. However, for contract cancellations after the 30-day cooling-off period, you may retain a cancellation fee – either 10% of the price of the contract or $350, whichever is less.
You need to offer your written materials in accessible formats
Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), you must provide all your communications material in accessible formats on request, at no extra cost and in a timely manner
Always check with your clients to make sure your accessible documents meet their needs.
Your contracts need to be guaranteed
Once a consumer has paid for supplies and services and signed a contract with you, that contract must be guaranteed. You cannot charge them more money later on when they require those supplies and services.