For some, it may be hard to imagine that a provider of end-of-life services would be dishonest or ambiguous about the services they provide, let alone where they are located. Unfortunately, however, companies like this do exist, and therefore it is important to do your research when selecting a cremation or funeral service provider.
Beware of False Advertising
Heritage Cremation Provider, LLC., for example, is a cremation company which appears online to be located wherever you are, but is actually based in Colorado. Their website makes no mention of where they are located. Because their site shows up in searches for a local cremation provider, we often receive calls from people who are shopping and comparing our organization with Heritage. Several of our employees have received calls from the company, asking us to do a cremation on their behalf, which we’ve declined.
It’s important to understand that Heritage is simply a coordinator of services, and doesn’t operate a funeral home, nor are they licensed to. Furthermore, the company has had several complaints filed from customers claiming that the remains of their loved ones were not picked up within a timely manner, were misinformed with regards to pricing, as well as where they were operating out of. In one instance, a customer waited three days before contacting a local funeral home to come and pick up the body of her husband.
Investigation and Discovery
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in Minnesota caught wind of this, and worked to uncover the whole story.
An in-depth investigation was performed by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS and reported on February 20, 2017, during which it was discovered that the company is not even licensed to perform cremations in the state of Minnesota, which is a requirement of the state. The company was fined and served with orders to cease and desist in the state of Florida in 2001, and North Carolina in 2016, in addition to being issued multiple fines and having legal actions taken against them.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Investigators also learned that Heritage Cremation Provider, LLC, is also under investigation by the Minnesota Department of Health, who acknowledged that the company is not licensed in the state, and that it operates as an “online middle man” between cremation providers and customers. No further details were provided by the MDH, other than that they had received several complaints from customers. They declined to provide any further details regarding open investigations on the cremation company.
When 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigators tried to talk the owners of the organization, they were turned away. And, when they tried to reach the owners by phone, a woman answered, and commented with regards to various complaints, stating, “we serve many families, sometimes things happen that are beyond our control; it’s not that we mean for it to happen, we are trying to serve them the best we possibly can.” Watch the video clip of the full investigation story here.
How to Be Sure Your Cremation Provider is Legitimate
If you’re in need of a cremation or funeral service provider, be sure to do due diligence to ensure that the organization you choose is both reputable and service-oriented.
- Ask them where they’re located.
- Ask how long they’ve been in business.
- Ask for a tour of the facility.
- Consult the Better Business Bureau
- Look for online reviews of the organization.
A trustworthy provider will be willing to answer any questions and provide all the information you need to make the best decision regarding end-of-life services for a loved one.