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.
Legacy Cremation Services is a company that claims to be wherever you are but is located in Colorado and North Carolina. The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in 2022 that the company violates the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Federal Rule. They’re also known as Heritage Cremation Provider.
The FTC stated that Legacy Cremation Services (also doing business as Funeral & Cremation Group of North America, LLC) and owner Anthony Joseph Damiano targeted grieving consumers with practices that violated the FTC Act and the Funeral Rule – including misrepresenting themselves as local providers and charging people substantially higher prices than advertised. According to the complaint, the defendants’ response to many consumers who contested those charges was particularly egregious.
Phaneuf gets contacted by customers of Legacy/Heritage who do not get the services they paid for. Several of our employees have received calls from the company, asking us to do a cremation on their behalf, which we’ve declined.
Beware of False Advertising
It’s important to understand that Legacy/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.”
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.