09.34.04.03

.03 General Professional Practices.

A. A registrant or permit holder shall:

(1) Act in a manner that respects and protects the dignity of a decedent and the decedent's family;

(2) Conduct business in a reasonable, usual, and customary manner;

(3) Comply with the State public health laws as set forth in Health-General Article, §4-215 and §5-501 et seq., Annotated Code of Maryland;

(4) Comply with Commercial Law Article, Titles 12 and 13, Annotated Code of Maryland;

(5) Implement and follow through on all arrangements agreed upon between a consumer and the cemetery or burial goods business;

(6) Provide appropriate services for and respect the rights of individuals without regard to age, race, creed, national origin, gender, disability, marital status, political belief, religious affiliation, social or economic status, or social preferences;

(7) Comply with the State laws for cremation;

(8) Be sensitive and responsive to the bereavement needs of a decedent's family;

(9) Complete the obligations of a paid-in-full contract within a reasonable time of the need for these goods and services;

(10) Comply with all laws dealing with the operation of a cemetery or providing burial goods;

(11) Be responsible for repair or replacement of any memorial damaged or improperly set by the registrant or the registrant's or permit holder's employees;

(12) Disclose to a consumer orally and in writing at or before the time of a preneed sale all goods and services that are reasonably expected to be required at the time of need that are not included in the preneed burial contract, including:

(a) Interment or entombment fees including opening and closing costs, and any additional fees associated with an extra depth internment,

(b) A vault or grave liner or the installation of a vault or grave liner, or both,

(c) Removal and replacement of a footing or memorial, or both, for the opening and closing of a burial space,

(d) Imposition of additional fees for weekend, holiday, or after hours interment, including any rights to a refund or reimbursement of the fees for services paid in advance but not utilized, and notification that any additional fees imposed for weekend, holiday, or after hours interment will be those listed on the current general price list at the time of need, and

(e) Any other goods or services for which the registrant or permit holder charges a fee including but not limited to memorial care fees, vault inspection fees, vault installation fees, lay-out fees, temporary marker fees, memorial inscription fees, and inspection fees;

(13) Disclose to a consumer orally and in writing at or before the time of a sale of a monument, memorial, or other permanent product used to identify a human burial space all goods and services related to the monument, memorial, or other permanent product that are reasonably expected to be required for the full use and care of the product at the time of need that are not included in the burial contract, including:

(a) Installation of memorials,

(b) Inspection and lay-out fees charged by cemeteries in connection with the installation of foundations, memorials, or both,

(c) Removal and resetting fees,

(d) Memorial care fees,

(e) Date of death inscription, and

(f) Any other goods, services, or fees directly related to or reasonably expected to be required for full use and care of installed memorials;

(14) State to a consumer in clear understandable language orally and in writing, at the time of entering into a contract, all cancellation and refund rights which may be available to the consumer, including rights relating to burial spaces, caskets, and burial goods considered delivered;

(15) Disclose to a consumer, orally and in writing, the responsibility of the registrant or permit holder for the continued care of memorials after purchase;

(16) Disclose to a consumer, orally and in writing, at or before the time of an at-need sale that:

(a) Memorials and foundations for memorials may be purchased either from the cemetery or an outside burial goods business; and

(b) The installation or servicing of memorials, including foundations, may be purchased from either the cemetery or an outside burial goods business;

(17) Provide to any person who requests information, at the office, regarding burial space, burial goods, or burial services, the general price list for the person to retain;

(18) Provide accurate information, orally, from the general price list to any person who requests information, by telephone, regarding specific burial space, burial goods, or burial services;

(19) Present to a consumer a balanced display of various cost options of burial goods or services offered for sale; and

(20) Comply with any oral or written disclosure requirements in this chapter by obtaining a signed acknowledgment from the consumer.

B. A registrant or permit holder may not:

(1) Place advertisements which include statements:

(a) Containing misrepresentation of facts,

(b) Likely to mislead or deceive because in context the statement makes only a partial disclosure of relevant facts,

(c) Relating to fees without reasonable disclosure of all relevant variables so that the statement would not be misunderstood or be deceptive to a consumer, or

(d) Containing representations or implications that in reasonable probability can be expected to cause an ordinarily prudent person to misunderstand or be deceived;

(2) Use, or participate in the use of, any form of communication to consumers containing a false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, or unfair statement or claim;

(3) Operate a cemetery or provide burial goods while under the influence of alcohol, an illegal drug, or a controlled dangerous substance which has not been prescribed by a physician;

(4) Fail to provide care to a memorial or burial space if the registrant or permit holder agrees to provide this care;

(5) Provide less care to or state or imply that less care is given a memorial or burial space if a memorial is obtained from a person other than the registrant or permit holder; and

(6) Pay or agree to pay any sum or any thing of value to any person, who is not licensed or registered by a State agency to sell burial space, or burial goods or services, for soliciting or referring, at need, a consumer for the purchase of burial space, or burial goods or services.