Office de la protection du consommateur
The application of the Act respecting prearranged funeral services and sepultures and of the rules concerning prearranged funeral services and prepurchased sepultures is the responsibility of the Office de la protection du consommateur. The Act and rules cover only those contracts entered into with the living person for whom the services are intended. Prearranged funeral services contracts concern the goods and services provided in connection with the death, such as embalmment, visitation, transportation, decorative elements, the coffin or urn, the ceremony, burial and cremation. Prepurchased sepulture contracts concern the purchase of a compartment or any other space in a cemetery, columbarium or other location used to house the body or ashes of the deceased person as well as the purchase of maintenance services for that space. As a significant amount of time can pass between the signing and the performance of a contract, the Act has provisions not only for the sale of prearranged funeral services and sepultures, but also for the safekeeping of amounts paid, and for the amendment, cancellation and performance of contracts. Funeral director’s permitOnly individuals who hold a funeral director’s permit issued by the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux or their representatives can negotiate and make prearranged funeral services contracts and prepurchased sepulture contracts. Price listFuneral services firms must make available to customers a detailed and current list of the prices of the goods and services offered in each of their establishments. Contract contentsContracts for prearranged funeral services and for prepurchased sepultures must be made separately and in writing. The contracts must contain:
Prearranged funeral services contracts must also contain the description and price (including any applicable taxes) of each item of goods and services, the total amount to be paid for goods, the total amount to be paid for services and the total price of the contract. Prepurchased sepulture contracts must also contain the price and description of the sepulture (location, dimensions, etc.) as well as the price and description of the maintenance services. Copies of contractsOnce a prearranged funeral services contract or prepurchased sepulture contract is signed, the seller must give a duplicate of the contract to the buyer. Within 10 days after the contract is signed, the seller must also give a copy of the contract to the third party designated by the buyer. The third party must be named in the contract. A buyer who wishes not to designate a third party must sign a clause to that effect in the contract. Rules of solicitationSellers offering prearranged funeral services contracts and prepurchased sepulture contracts must abide by certain rules:
Amending a contractAmending prearranged funeral services contracts or prepurchased sepulture contracts is possible with the consent of the seller. Amendments must be made in writing, and the amended contract must contain all the required elements. Cancelling a contractPrearranged funeral services contracts signed at the seller’s establishment can be cancelled at any time. The seller may impose a penalty of no more than 10% of the price of the non-provided goods and services. A prearranged funeral services contract signed elsewhere than at the seller’s establishment can be cancelled without penalty within 30 days of receipt of the buyer’s copy of the contract. After 30 days, the seller may impose a penalty of no more than 10% of the price of the non-provided goods and services. Prepurchased sepulture contracts signed at the seller’s establishment cannot be cancelled, unless the seller agrees otherwise. Prepurchased sepulture contracts signed elsewhere than at the seller’s establishment can be cancelled without penalty within 30 days of receipt of the buyer’s copy of the contract. After 30 days, the contract cannot be cancelled, unless the seller agrees otherwise. For any contracts that do not contain the information required by the Act, a court can be asked to cancel the contract at any time. Protection of prepaid amountsA portion of the amount paid for the purchase of prearranged funeral services and the prepurchase of sepultures is kept in a trust account. These amounts are protected and can be recovered should a firm close or a seller go bankrupt before the services are rendered.
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