ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – Mounting complaints force the Better Business Bureau to issue a warning about a local monument company. It`s a problem Contact 2 reported last year. This is actually our third story on the company. It`s a heartbreaking set- back for grieving families. Some say a headstone is like a permanent reminder of a loved one. Everyone can see the person is missed by family and friends. Earl Moses says his father's grave has been unmarked for a year now.
'It`s taking a toll on everybody because, it`s taking a toll on us because we got to look at my mama. She cries. When she cries it hurts me.'
Robert Moses died May 23, 2013. Soon after his burial his sons went to buy the headstone from Schaefer Monument Co. The business is across the street from the cemetery. The total cost $1,569.55 has been paid in full. 'I gave him a thousand dollars down, initially and I came back in January and paid the rest. At that time he told me it would be six months, for the headstone.'
Earl says they talked in October and he was told the headstone would be ready and placed by March of this year. Before January Earl did get updates. 'I`ve been up here several times. I asked him about it. He was like, It`s almost done, and we 'fittin' to get to it, I figured it would have been up here already. Every time I come up here he talking about the ground ain`t settled yet.'
Then there was nothing. And just like Earl, I too found no one at the office. And our calls were not returned. 'I can`t get in contact with him. Don`t even know where to begin. Don`t even know where he at.'
Moses joins the list of unsatisfied customers. The Better Business Bureau issued a warning about the company last month. Thirty complaints were filed with the BBB including seven in the past two months.
That's resulted in an "F" rating. The family business was founded in 1953. Last year I interviewed two different families. They eventually got their headstone. The company blamed delays on illnesses, staffing, record- keeping glitches etc. But the Moses family is out 15 hundred dollars. 'Only thing I`m here for is to try to get the headstone or get reimbursed for my money.'
Calls and letters to Schaefer Monument from the Better Business Bureau have gone unanswered. For BBB tips on buying a headstone see below.
BBB offers the following tips for consumers purchasing cemetery headstones:
- •Do not be rushed into making an emotional decision. Take time to research possible headstone companies. Ask for references and check them out.
- •Ask the cemetery about any company you are considering. The cemetery may be able to tell you whether they have seen problems with a specific business.
- •Read any agreement carefully before signing it. Make sure you understand how long it will take before the stone is placed. Know exactly how much you are expected to pay in advance and how much you will owe once the stone is completed.
- •Pay by credit card whenever possible in case you need to challenge the charge later.
- •Check a company`s BBB Business Review by going to http://www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.
If you have consumer issues call us at Contact 2. The toll free number is 800-782-2222. Volunteers take calls Monday through Thursday between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.