Educated Consumer Facts for Memorials
Your rights as the consumer of afterlife care products or services
- Who Can Sell Memorials? In Washington, DC and Virginia, anyone who is hired by the cemetery or memorial business can start selling right away. In Maryland, only state licensed sales people can sell burial goods, including memorials. Neither Maryland, Washington DC nor Virginia require proper design or sales training for the salespeople who sell burial goods, including monuments and memorials.
- Is it legal for the cemeteries to bundle pre-need burial goods with the land/plot at the time of sale? Yes, as long as they provide you with a copy of their current, itemized regular retail prices. If you are not provided with a copy of the itemized price list, you may be entitled to a refund of current prices for the same purchased goods, regardless of the date of purchase. Be aware of hidden or additional costs for inscription and installation that you have not been told about. Many times customers are sold two sites and they are intentionally sold a ‘single’ monument at the time of the pre-need purchase, thus having to upgrade to a ‘companion’ monument at an inflated cost at the time of need.
- Can the purchase of burial goods be cancelled anytime after a contract is signed? Yes, as long as the goods have not been specifically manufactured and delivered to the actual cemetery that will be its final resting place. As a matter of fact, if you have pre-paid for any goods other than land, you may demand that the cemetery keep the merchandise on the premises for your periodic inspection. In the event that you decide to cancel goods purchased that have not been delivered, you are entitled to a full refund and, in some cases, you may also receive interest back on payments you have made to them.
- Do cemeteries have full-time qualified and certified designers on staff to help you with the monument design? Based on my experience dealing with the cemeteries in the Washington Metropolitan Area, I have yet to meet one who has mastered the art of memorial design, mainly due to lack of training and high turnover of counselors in the industry. It is important that you ask your cemetery counselor how long he or she has been working in the field and what design programs they are proficient in. Do they have a designated design office on the premises equipped with the right tools where you can participate with your input while they are designing the memorial? Ask them for a free on the spot design for you to take home for your consideration and discussion with your family.
- Where do the granite monuments come from? Historically, granite monuments have mainly come from the states of Georgia, Vermont and the Dakotas; however, during the past several years most large American companies have abandoned their domestic operations and have moved their investments and knowledge to India and China where there is cheap labor and a larger variety of colors to offer. Most cemeteries, under the shadow of imported granite, have charged much more for their new and exciting imported colors. We, at Eastern Memorials, have committed ourselves to support the American working men and women of the granite industry and offer all the American produced granite colors as well as directly importing colors which are only available as imports. What sets us apart from all other monument companies and cemeteries is that we, as direct importers of monuments, offer all the domestic and imported granites at the same low price of domestic granite.
- Where do Bronze Memorials come from? There are only two major bronze memorial manufacturers in the United States and the majority of cemeteries get their bronze memorials from Matthews International, which is where we at Eastern Memorials get ours as well.
- Who does the actual carving of the monuments for cemeteries? They all, without exception are done by highly trained craftsmen in Georgia and Vermont. Unfortunately, they are a world away and the only line of communication with them is untrained salespeople. Eastern Memorials is proud to be the Washington Metropolitans’ premier and largest monument company that combines the most state-of-the-art equipment with the staff that has more than 60 years of combined classical carving experience. The owners, besides being accomplished stone carvers and stone masons, are also trained foundry men with full understanding and many years of experience in the process involved in making bronze and granite memorials. All of our work is done in house, in our own shop where we invite you to visit.
- Should extra inscriptions on the memorial cost extra? No, absolutely not. Consumers should be aware that when they are given a price for the memorial that they should also ask if the inscription and installation are included in this price. Sometimes inscriptions can cost up to as much as $45 per character. When you start adding this up, it can create a substantial increase from your original quoted price. At Eastern Memorials, we encourage and assist the family to memorialize their loved ones through words that will inspire generations of visitors for years to come. We do not have additional charges for inscription, thus leaving the customer free to create the ideal endearment without hesitation.
- Who installs the memorials in the cemeteries? Many cemeteries subcontract the installation of the memorials they sell. Installing memorials requires years of experience, which is usually passed on from generation to generation. As a matter of fact, Monument Builders of America offers a course in Elberton, Georgia on how to properly install monuments. It is important to ask your cemetery representative who will be installing your monument and if the installer has had proper training. Eastern Memorials is a licensed and insured Class A General Contractor that installs all its own memorials.
- Who is responsible for maintaining the monuments? The United States of America is one of the few countries that honor its dead as much as it’s living. Most cemeteries offer perpetual care, which is a federally mandated program to ensure the upkeep of the cemeteries into perpetuity. The fee is collected from the client by the participating cemetery at the time of the sale of the property. The cemetery management is responsible to deposit the money into a special interest-bearing account from which the interest is used to upkeep the property as a whole. Besides keeping up with the upkeep of the grounds, they also must maintain and upkeep the memorials. Although cemeteries are not responsible for material defect and workmanship for memorials purchased from private monument companies, they are fully responsible for immediate repairs or replacement of memorials that have been damaged by their staff or their hired subcontract groundskeepers regardless of where and whom the good were purchased.
- What kind of warranty does Eastern Memorials offer to their clients? We provide our clients with a certificate of unconditional manufacturer’s warranty and Eastern Memorials’ certificate of warranty against material defect and workmanship. We assist our clients with dealing with cemeteries in an event of unresolved claims of damage by providing expert witness in the court of law.
- Why buy from Eastern Memorials? Memorials are living reminisce of our present time for the future generations to admire and appreciate our love and dedication for family and friends we are memorializing. Your loved ones deserve the best and you must demand the best for them and your money. As the only true full-service monument company dedicated to the art and craftsmanship offered only by our staff of trained stone carvers, we depend on the support of our local community to stay in business and be the company that sets the highest standards for the rest to follow.