CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A local cemetery, twice ordered by a judge to stop illegally selling funeral services, would not give a couple a refund until WBTV intervened on their behalf.
Crown Memorial Park in Pineville has been investigated by the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service on numerous occasions and records obtained by WBTV show the company continued selling funeral services without a license over a decade.
Deborah and Robert Robertson first heard of Crown Memorial when they received an advertisement from the company in 2003.
“We just thought that it was a good thing to do to try to prevent expenses after you die,” Deborah Robertson said.
The Robertson’s signed a contract for $5,700 for a plan that includes cremation.
More then 15 years later they realized that something wasn’t right.
“They sent a letter saying that we needed to come and choose our casket,” Robertson said. And we were like ‘why are you telling us to use choose a casket because we wanted the cremation,” Robertson said.
Records obtained by WBTV show in 2002, a judge barred Crown Memorial from selling or arranging for cremation services after the company was caught by the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service without the proper license.
More court records show that Crown started a funeral home and got the required permits, but then let them expire in 2011.
In 2018 The Board of Funeral Service took Crown Memorial to court again for selling cremation and funeral services without the proper license.
Other people have been in the Robertson’s shoes too.
The court order from 2018 shows four people filed complaints with the Board regarding Crown Memorial Park.
The Board of Funeral Service even sent in an undercover inspector to the business seeking funeral arrangements. The Inspector found that on at least 20 occasions Crown Memorial entered into contracts to provide funeral goods or cremation services, even though it wasn’t licensed, and was partnering with crematoriums to make it happen.
A judge, again, ordered that Crown stop selling or arranging for cremation services.
Now the Robertson’s are stuck with burial arrangements they don’t want.
“You guys are the ones who changed the contract, not us, so why can’t we get our refund?” Robertson said.
WBTV reached out to Crown Memorial’s manager to ask why the Robertson’s were not getting a full refund.
The next day the manager called WBTV back and said Crown would be offering a refund to the Robertson’s.
Any one seeking funeral arrangements can search the licensed companies by going to the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service webpage.