link to http://www.state.nj.us/search.html


NEW JERSEY REGISTER
VOLUME 34, NUMBER 7
MONDAY, APRIL 1, 2002
RULE PROPOSAL

LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY
DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
STATE BOARD OF MORTUARY SCIENCE
ADVERTISING; DISCLOSURE OF OWNERSHIP INFORMATION; CASKET PRICE LIST; OUTER
BURIAL CONTAINER PRICE LIST; GENERAL PRICE LIST; EMBALMING PROVISIONS

Proposed Amendments: N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.12, 9.5, 9.6, 9.7 and 9.9

Proposed New Rule: N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.21

Authorized By: State Board of Mortuary Science, Paul Brush, Executive Director.

Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:7-38.
Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to calendar requirement.
Proposal Number: PRN 2002-126.

Submit comments by May 31, 2002 to:

Paul Brush, Executive Director

State Board of Mortuary Science

124 Halsey Street

PO Box 45009

Newark, New Jersey 07101

The agency proposal follows:

Summary

Pursuant to its general rulemaking authority, N.J.S.A. 45:7-38, the State Board of Mortuary Science (the Board) proposes several amendments to its existing rules and proposes a new rule to address various concerns that have arisen recently among consumers and members of the regulated community. The Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.12, concerning advertising, to provide that it is a deceptive and misleading practice for licensees to advertise that a registered mortuary is "family owned" or "family operated" when such statements are not accurate. The Board proposes to further amend N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.12 to provide that advertisements must not contain any claims or statements that are misleading as to the number of years that a registered mortuary has been in operation at a particular location. The Board proposes the amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.12 in order to ensure that consumers are provided with accurate information regarding the ownership status of the registered mortuary with which they are dealing. The Board believes that many consumers rely on statements about ownership such as "family owned," or "family operated" and statements regarding the number of years that a registered mortuary has been in service, when choosing the services of a mortuary establishment. Statements which may mislead consumers as to such facts, the Board believes, should be prohibited.

The Board is also proposing a new rule at N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.21 concerning the disclosure of ownership information. Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:36- 5.21 requires a registered mortuary to disclose on all general price lists, casket price lists and outer burial container price lists, whether any owner of the registered mortuary also owns 50 percent or greater interest in any other registered mortuary in the State. The Board proposes the new rule in order to provide relevant information regarding funeral establishment ownership to those consumers who wish to compare prices for mortuary services. Consumers who are comparing prices are entitled to know that certain mortuaries may have the same ownership interest holders and, therefore, as a result, the prices for services at these establishments may not differ substantially. In light of proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.21, the Board is also proposing amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.5, concerning casket price lists, N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.6, concerning outer burial container price lists, and N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.7, concerning general price lists, to provide a cross-reference to proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.21 for clarification purposes. The proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.5, 9.6 and 9.7 would require that the specified price lists contain a statement disclosing the ownership of other registered mortuaries, if applicable. The Board proposes other technical amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.5, 9.6 and 9.7, for clarification purposes.

The Board is also proposing an amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.9, concerning embalmings. The proposed amendment at N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.9(b)2ii would require licensees to disclose on the general price list, in immediate conjunction with the price shown for embalmings, that a decedent may be embalmed at a location other than the registered mortuary where the arrangements are being made. The Board proposes this amendment in light of recent concerns that have been raised regarding consumers' lack of knowledge as to the whereabouts of the decedent during the embalming process. The Board believes that the proposed amendment is necessary in order to ensure that consumers are provided with this relevant information.

The Board has determined that the comment period for this proposal shall be 60 days; therefore, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5, this proposal is excepted from the rulemaking calendar requirement.

Social Impact

The Board believes that the proposed amendments and new rule will have a positive impact upon both licensees and the consumers they serve. The proposed amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.12, which makes it a deceptive advertising practice for a registered mortuary to advertise that it is "family owned" or "family operated" when such statements are not accurate, or to advertise the number of years that a registered mortuary has been in operation at a particular location in a misleading way, will help provide guidance to licensees concerning appropriate advertising techniques. In addition, the Board believes that the proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.12 will help to ensure that consumers are not misled or deceived by mortuary advertising.

The Board believes that proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.21, which will require registered mortuaries to disclose whether any owner of the registered mortuary also owns 50 percent or greater interest in any other registered mortuary within the State, will also have an impact upon consumers and licensees. The proposed new rule will help to ensure that consumers are provided with ownership information that may be relevant to their decision to utilize the services of a particular registered mortuary. The Board believes that consumers armed with such information will be better equipped to compare prices for funeral services among the registered mortuaries within the State. The proposed new rule will also help to clarify for licensees what ownership information a licensee should pass along to consumers. The proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.5, 9.6 and 9.7 will provide further guidance to licensees concerning where and how such disclosures are to be provided to consumers.

The proposed amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.9, which requires licensees to expressly disclose that embalmings may be performed at a location separate from the facilities of the particular mortuary engaged by the consumer, will have a positive impact upon consumers by ensuring that they are provided with information that may be relevant to their decision to utilize the services of a particular mortuary.

Economic Impact

The Board believes that proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.21 may have an economic impact upon licensees to the extent that disclosure of ownership required by the rule may facilitate price comparing for mortuary services by consumers. It is possible that consumers who are made aware that certain mortuaries are owned by the same person or entity may choose to compare the prices of those mortuaries to the prices of mortuaries owned by a different person or entity, which could result in the loss of business for a registered establishment. The economic impact of such activity cannot be calculated by the Board, as it will vary depending on the prices charged by each establishment and upon the decisions made by individual consumers.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.21 and the proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.5, 9.6 and 9.7 may also have an economic impact upon licensees to the extent that licensees may incur various administrative expenses associated with amending general price lists, casket price lists, and the outer burial container price lists. The proposed amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.9, concerning embalming disclosures, may have a similar economic impact upon licensees to the extent that a licensee's general price list will have to be further amended to include a statement regarding where the embalming may be performed. The Board believes that the administrative expenses that may be incurred by licensees as a result of the proposed amendments will be minimal and are outweighed by the benefit to consumers in being provided relevant information about the registered mortuary and the services it provides.

Federal Standards Statement

A Federal standards analysis is not required because the proposed amendments and new rule are governed by N.J.S.A. 45:7-32 et seq. and are not subject to any Federal standards or requirements.

Jobs Impact

The Board does not believe that the proposed amendments or new rule will result in the creation or loss of jobs in the State.

Agriculture Industry Impact

The Board does not believe that the proposed amendments and new rule will have any impact on the agriculture industry of this State.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (the Act), N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq., requires the Board to give a description of the types and an estimate of the number of small businesses to which the proposed amendments and new rule will apply. Currently, the Board licenses approximately 1,807 practitioners and approximately 774 mortuaries. If, for purposes of the Act, board licensees are considered "small businesses" within the meaning of the Act, then the following analysis applies.

The Act requires the Board to set forth the reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the proposed amendments and new rule, including the kinds of professional services likely to be needed to comply with the requirements. The Act further requires the Board to estimate the initial and annual compliance costs of the proposed amendments and new rule, to outline the manner in which it has designed the proposed amendments and new rule to minimize any adverse economic impact upon small businesses, and to set forth whether the proposed amendments and new rule establish differing compliance requirements for small businesses.

The proposed amendments and new rule do not impose any reporting or recordkeeping requirements upon licensees. The proposed amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.12 does, however, impose compliance requirements upon licensees. N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.12(g)8 and 9 prohibit licensees from engaging in advertising that is misleading or deceptive as to the status of a mortuary as either "family owned" or "family operated," or as to the number of years that a registered mortuary has been in operation at a particular location.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.21, which requires the disclosure of certain ownership information, will also impose compliance requirements upon licensees. N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.21(a) requires all registered mortuaries to disclose on all general price lists, casket price lists, and outer burial container price lists, whether the owner of the registered mortuary also owns 50 percent or greater interest in any other registered mortuary within the State. The disclosure information must be provided in a separate statement on the casket price list pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.5, on the outer burial container price list pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.6, and on the general price list pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.7.

The proposed amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.9, concerning embalming provisions, will also impose compliance requirements upon licensees. Licensees will be required to disclose to consumers on the general price list that embalmings may be performed at a location other than the registered mortuary chosen by the consumer.

No additional professional services will be needed to comply with the proposed amendments and new rule. The costs of compliance with the proposed amendments and new rule are discussed in the Economic Impact above. The Board believes that the proposed amendments and new rule should be uniformly applied to all licensees and establishment owners in order to ensure that licensees disclose relevant information to consumers and, therefore, no differing compliance requirements for any licensees or establishment owners are provided based on size.

Smart Growth Impact

The Board does not believe that the proposed amendments and new rule will have any impact on the achievement of smart growth and on the implementation of the State Development and Redevelopment Plan.

Full text of the proposal follows:

<< NJ ADC 13:36-5.12 >>

13:36-5.12 Advertising

(a)-(f) (No change.)

(g) <<-In addition, it->> <<+It+>> shall be deceptive and misleading for any advertisement to contain the following:

1.-7. (No change.)

<<+8. Any claim or statement that a registered mortuary is "family owned" or "family operated" when the same family does not own or operate the registered mortuary.+>>

<<+9. Any claim or statement that is misleading as to the number of years that a registered mortuary has been in operation at a particular location.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:36-5.21 >>

<<+13:36-5.21 Disclosure of ownership information+>>

<<+(a) The registered mortuary shall disclose on all general price lists, casket price lists, and outer burial container price lists, required pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.5, 9.6 and 9.7, whether any owner of the registered mortuary also owns 50 percent or greater interest in any other registered mortuary within the State. For purposes of this section, "person" means any individual, partnership, limited liability partnership, limited liability company or corporation.+>>

<<+(b) If disclosure of ownership information is required, the following statement shall appear on all required price lists: "A person who owns 50 percent or greater interest in this registered mortuary also owns 50 percent or greater interest in the following registered mortuaries in the State of New Jersey:".+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:36-9.5 >>

13:36-9.5 Casket price list

(a) (No change.)

(b) Funeral providers shall place on the <<+casket price+>> list, regardless of whether it is printed or typewritten, or on any other format, <<-the name of the funeral provider's place of business, and a caption describing the list as a "casket price list."->> <<+the following information:+>>

<<+1. The name of the registered mortuary;+>>

<<+2. A caption describing the list as a "casket price list"; and+>>

<<+3. If applicable, a statement disclosing the ownership of other registered mortuaries, as required pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.21.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:36-9.6 >>

13:36-9.6 Outer burial container price list

(a) (No change.)

(b) Funeral providers shall place on the <<+outer burial container price+>> list, regardless of whether it is printed or typewritten <<- list->>, or in any other format, <<-the name of the funeral provider's place of business and a caption describing the list as an "outer burial container price list."->> <<+the following information:+>>

<<+1. The name of the registered mortuary;+>>

<<+2. A caption describing the list as an "outer burial container price list"; and+>>

<<+3. If applicable, a statement disclosing the ownership of other registered mortuaries, as required pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.21.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:36-9.7 >>

13:36-9.7 General price list

(a) Funeral providers shall give a printed or typewritten price list for retention to persons who inquire in person about funeral arrangements or the prices of funeral goods or funeral services. When people inquire in person about funeral arrangements or the prices of funeral goods or funeral services, the funeral provider shall offer them the list upon beginning discussion either of funeral arrangements or of the selection of any funeral goods or funeral services. <<-This->> <<+The general price+>> list shall contain at least the following information:

1.-2. (No change.)

3. The effective date <<-for->> <<+of+>> the price list; <<- and->>

<<+4. If applicable, a statement disclosing the ownership of other registered mortuaries, as required pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:36-5.21; and+>>

<<-4.->><<+5. +>>(No change in text.)

(b)-(c) (No change.)

<< NJ ADC 13:36-9.9 >>

13:36-9.9 Embalming provisions

(a) (No change.)

(b) To prevent <<+the+>> deceptive acts or practices mentioned in (a) above, as well as the unfair or deceptive acts or practices defined in N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.16 and 9.17(a), funeral providers shall:

1. (No change.)

2. Place the following disclosure<<+s+>> on the general price list, required by N.J.A.C. 13:36-9.7, in immediate conjunction with the price shown for

embalming<<-;->><<+:+>>

<<+i. +>>"Except in certain special cases, embalming is not required by law. Embalming may be necessary, however, if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as funeral with viewing. If you do not want embalming, you usually have the right to choose an arrangement which does not require you to pay for it, such as direct cremation or immediate burial<<-.->><<+;+>>" <<+and+>>

<<+ii. "If you choose to have an embalming performed, the decedent may be embalmed at a location other than this registered mortuary."+>>



If you have any comments or questions, our e-mail address is:

askconsumeraffairs@lps.state.nj.us

take advantage of us so no one takes advantage of you

Rule Proposals State Board of Mortuary Science of New Jersey Consumer Affairs
Feedback NJ Dept. of Law and Public Safety State of New Jersey

Posted April 1, 2002