MONROEVILLE (KDKA) — The loss of a loved one is a difficult time. There are arrangements to make – the funeral, the cemetery and the headstone – but what if you don’t get what you paid for?
A former employee of the Restland Memorial Park in Monroeville says she was laid off from the cemetery for financial reasons, but before she left, she sold a number of headstones to families who never received them.
She does not want to be identified.
“I feel horrible that someone has already lost a family member, and now there’s a strong possibility that they may have lost thousands of dollars that they have invested in me, in the company that I worked for. I did not have any idea that this would happen,” she said.
Restland’s manager wouldn’t go on camera, but said there were some delays fulfilling promises, but that’s all be rectified. The cemetery owner has not returned KDKA’s phone calls, but the manager says it was matter of bad management. But KDKA has heard from some, as recently as this weekend, who have not received what they paid for.
“That’s got to sting to know that you’ve lost a loved one and when you go, you’re looking at the grass and not the marker that was supposed to be there,” the former employee said. “That’s what hurts me the most.”
Restland buries both people and beloved pets. The delayed headstones affected families of both.
“We started contacting them more frequently. They said the company that makes the markers went out of business or went bankrupt, and they got stuck,” said Michael Merante, who is still waiting for a headstone for his dog’s burial spot.
Restland told KDKA the average wait for a headstone or scroll is four to five months. Today, a year and nine months after paying for Sunny Delight’s stone, Merante says he got a call it had arrived. He says it wasn’t exactly what he ordered, but its more than he had in the last year.
As for those families, who haven’t received their stones?
“I feel horrible,” the former employee said. “I just want to apologize. I promised that they would get what they paid for.”
What isn’t clear right now is whether or not there are others still waiting.