My Father-In-Law passed away on April 15, 2011. He had a pre-need funeral plan. After our consultation with Michelle Gavin, we did not immediately receive a Statement of Funeral Goods & Services showing any additional items selected by us. The Federal Trade Commission Funeral Rule to protect the consumer requires that this paperwork must be signed by both parties for any additional charges at the time of the consultation. We were not given this statement until the day of the funeral and had not been given an opportunity to view or discuss any of the charges on the statement prior to that point.
After the funeral was over and we had traveled the 2 hours home, I was able to look over the bill. There were many items on the statement that did not make sense to me. I tried to contact Michelle to discuss the charges, but things just kept getting put off. [continued below]....
..... After weeks of getting no satisfaction, we filed a complaint with the BBB. I have transcripts from the communications with the BBB and Michelle which show many falsehoods that were told, and the BBB was unable to help settle this matter.
I also filed a complaint with the State of Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors around June 16, 2011. I would guess that anyone can get a copy of that complaint from them.
I filed a claim in the Dayton small claims court around June 28, 2011. The Defendant added their attourney to the case and had it bumped up to the Civil court division. The whole process dragged on for almost a year with the Defense making multiple attempts to have the case dismissed. A counter claim was also filed against me for slander, which was ultimately dropped. If anyone wants to view the basics for this court case which is public record, the Dayton Municipal Court Civil Division Case Number is 2011-CVF-003910.
The last court date was for damages and was held on June 25, 2012. The Magistrate found in my favor. A judgment entry was signed by a judge and date stamped on September 13, 2012. I sent a letter of demand to Michelle and the Funeral Home giving them until November 25, 2012 to pay the monies due me from the court judgment. That date has passed and I have not heard anything from them. I have not been given any apology for the way we were overcharged or treated.
It has been several months since the judgment and I would have thought that any reputable business would have settled this matter by now. Here are some of the items that were on the original statement that I disputed and the Magistrate agreed to in his final ruling:
$185 charge for sending staff to Mansfield OH to pick up the Death Certificates (we never asked for them to expedite the Death Certificates and drive round trip to get them)
$250 charge for additional staff (it was a small service and we never asked for nor saw any additional staff)
$150 for Escort (the motorcycle escort was pre-paid and we should not have been billed a second time for it)
$295.50 for Church and Obituary (the statement showed $250 was paid to the church, but the church only received $100. Plus Michelle made a mistake on the Obituary and had to put a corrected one in the next day, yet she charged us for her mistake)
I would suggest to anyone else doing business with this company to go over the entire bill from them and make sure it is correct before paying them a penny. Do not pay first! I am disgusted with the way they have done business and feel that I am being ignored by them to this date. I wish somebody would go through their books and see if there are other instances of unauthorized overcharges. If that is the way that they conduct business, I think they should be shut down. I have filed a second complaint with the State of Ohio for their lack of paying me the judgment ordered or even making an attempt to contact me to inform me of when and how they plan on settling this matter.