A family says they are left in limbo. They can’t grieve the death of their mother because they are wrapped up in a mess over her headstone. They are both heartbroken and mad and reached out to KPRC 2 Investigates for help.
The Macias family has been waiting for more than two years to get the headstone for their mother’s grave. They say they’ve been getting the run-around from the person hired to make that headstone. And we’ve learned they are not the only family having issues.
“My mom was the sweetest man, you know, she was a sweetheart,” said Richard Macias.
Richard Macias and his family have set up a makeshift memorial at the Pearland graveside of their mother Rebeca.
“Mama passed away in August 2021, August 20, 2021. You know, and we just want to have closure, you know, and move on with our lives. But we can’t,” he explains.
The family paid $1,400 to Craig Mitchell, the owner of Heavenly Memorials and Monuments for a custom headstone. They still have not gotten it. They were told it would be six months before the headstone was ready. After a year of waiting, they started to worry but Mitchell kept telling them it would be a few more weeks.
Then, a few months ago, they had a little hope when Mitchell sent a picture of the finished headstone. But it still hasn’t been placed.
“You know, he just keeps giving us the run-around and saying he’s going to put it in next week. Next week? Been going on for two years,” said Macias.
Investigates Producer Andrea Slaydon talked to Mitchell on the phone on September 18. The reasons he listed for the delays include staffing issues, the heat, supply chain shortages, granite issues, and the demand for headstones.
Mitchell promised us it would be placed on September 20. Then, when that didn’t happen, he said the 27. Those days came and went.
Many public complaints about the headstone company
Mitchell’s company has an F-rating with the Better Business Bureau. Similar complaints from people who paid money, got excuses and never got what they ordered.
In one court filing we found from 2019, Mitchell was charged with theft from an elderly person and accused of taking $4,800 for a headstone that was never delivered.
That case was dismissed when Mitchell paid the family back and took an “anti-theft course”.
“He just stick in people for their money and everything. And people can’t stop grieving because none. Unless you’re headstones, they’re for your loved ones,” said Richard. “We just want to have closure. We just want peace, man. We just want peace.”
Things to think about when ordering custom items like a headstone
When you are in the middle of grieving a loved one it’s often hard to make financial decisions. Or, you may not have time to do homework on a company. The Better Business Bureau says in situations where you order custom items that need to be paid for upfront there are a few things you can think about.
- Ask if they allow credit card payments. If anything goes wrong, you can possibly dispute the charge.
- Next, consider asking if you can pay in installments - like a set amount up front and then the final amount once the item is delivered.
- You should always get everything in writing, including a timeline for completion.
- Check the BBB for previous complaints. Of course, other places like YELP and Google also have public reviews you can check over.
The latest time we checked the Heavenly Memorials & Monuments website it was shut down and Google says “closed”. We will keep following this case and let you know if anything changes.