Troubleshooter: Headstone problem

October 18, 2009 9:00:00 PM PDT
Laura Williams says she ordered headstones for the graves of three family members who passed away in the 1980s. She made the order in 2002, but when she didn't get them - and spent years trying - she finally turned to Troubleshooter Diane Wilson.Williams said at first, everything went fine with J&P Memorials of Durham.

"Everything was real good when we started out, she said.

The total cost for three headstones was $2,200 and Williams arranged to make payments. She paid until she got an invoice with a final balance of just $440. But when she made another payment, the next invoice showed a higher balance.

"How did it jump back up to $700," she asked. "So I tried to contact him and he wouldn't agree to anything. He wouldn't explain it or anything."

Williams says she continued to call the owner of J&P Memorials for months, but got no response.

"The more we continued to call him, the more he continued to ignore us," she recalled. "We paid him close to $2,000 already and we didn't have to be out $2,000 and not have tombstones on our family graves."

After years went by, Williams called the Troubleshooter.

"One of my family members said 'He's not going to do anything so why don't you call Diane Wilson,'" Williams explained.

We went to J&P Memorials with Williams, and the owner agreed to make all three headstones, and not charge Williams any more money. He even wrote on the invoice "paid in full." But when it came time to deliver...

"He delivered two, and he told us it was so much weight he couldn't get all three tombstones on his truck and he would bring the other one the following week," said Williams.

A week went by and then more than a month. We gave the owner another call and this time he said Williams had to pay the remaining $440 balance that dates back to 2002.

"I have a statement from him that we're paid in full, so I just don't want to deal with him anymore," said a frustrated Williams. "It is so unbelievable that it would take him these amounts of years to get three tombstones - and I only have two."

Regardless, she says she's thrilled just to have at least two headstones and ready to move on.

"I am very happy, very happy. We'll just look for someone else to do the third one for us," she said. "I do thank you all so much."

We talked with the owner again about the third headstone that he promised and even wrote "paid in full" for. He said he would deliver it this past Saturday, but he didn't. Now, he tells Williams he'll get to it this Wednesday.

As for how this problem started to begin with, he couldn't tell us why there were different amounts on the invoices because it was so long ago.

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