PENN YAN, N.Y. (WROC) — Kathy White lost her 29-year-old son, Matthew, to suicide on October 29. She said he was always a happy kid but was dealing with a messy divorce and custody issues.
“He just got to the point where he was just so frustrated where he just broke I think he couldn’t take it anymore and he took his life,” White said.
White said she and her husband didn’t have a lot of money to pay for funeral services. She found a company online called Legacy Funeral Services. It offered to cover all costs for one low price. White said after she paid, the issues began.
“I feel like after they got our money they didn’t care, they just got their money, did their stuff whenever they felt like doing it and all the stuff they told me they didn’t follow through with,” she said.
White says she was already distraught having to deal with her son’s death. She said feeling like she was bothering the people who were supposed to be helping her through it made it worse.
She said she had a hard time reaching someone when she called and often times they wouldn’t call her back. White said they told her Legacy itself handles everything but she said instead, the company partnered with a separate funeral home and crematorium. White told us there were also issues with the death certificates and delivery of her son’s remains.
After receiving White’s call, News 8 did some research. Legacy’s profile on the Better Business Bureau shows an F rating. The profile says Legacy has also operated under the name Heritage Cremation Provider LLC. It also says it operates out of Southern Colorado- White thought it was local.
After reaching out to Legacy, we received a call from the Chief Operating Officer of Legacy, Alexandra Gray. Gray told us they have offices in both Colorado and Texas. She said they do work all over the country and even own some funeral homes. Whether it is Legacy or an outside funeral home dealing with the remains depends on the state.
The Vice President from the BBB’s Southern Colorado office, Adah Rodriguez, said they’ve gotten complains similar to White’s. She said Legacy’s license has been suspended in Colorado.
“There’s no license, failure to respond to complaints and resolve the complaints, there’s been government actions against this company, advertising issues, failure to be transparent about ownership, location product, and services offered, kind of going back to what is their structure and what truly falls underneath them,” said Adah Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said the BBB hasn’t found a physical address or talked to anyone from the company in person. White said she doesn’t want anyone else to go through this.
“I just want them held accountable I want the companies that they dealt with to know they weren’t a reputable place to be dealing with.”
The COO from Legacy also says they work to make experiences for their customers as positive as they can. She said her employees are human and sometimes small mistakes are made.
We reached out to the New York State Funeral Director’s Association, who tell us they’ve been warning funeral directors about this company for years.
NYSFDA also said this to News 8 in a statement:
NYSFDA continues to strongly advise our members who are called by heritage cremation providers, legacy cremation, and the funeral group to provide cremation services to refuse those requests outright, given the potential legal and reputational risk – as well as potential harm to families – associated with handling calls for such a fraudulent and deceptive company. We would also point to the 2017 letter (attached) sent out by Thom Fuller, director of the NYS Bureau of Funeral Directing, which laid out some possible legal pitfalls for funeral homes which work with unlicensed entities such as heritage cremation providers.
We strongly urge consumers to consider a few factors when choosing a funeral home. Be sure to choose a funeral director you’re comfortable with, taking responsiveness and personality fit into consideration. Ask questions about the types of services, support and amenities provided by the funeral home. Remember, there are options to fit a variety of budgets. A good funeral director will take the time to understand your preferences, needs and budget. For additional resources on making funeral arrangements, please visit our consumer website: www.Funeralsmatter.Com.