Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Help Me Howard: Headstone
Nothing, absolutely nothing is worse than burying a relative. It's a rough time, you are heartbroken. And then for one South Florida woman another blow. The company that she paid to put a headstone on her mothers grave went out of business. She thought she was out of luck and that's when she called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Dorothy Dortch: "She was my best friend I could talk to my mom about a anything. A lot of people cannot do that but I can. She was my sister mostly. She was my mom. I love her."
Dorothy's mother is Geraldine Jones. If the name rings a bell the face will confirm it. The woman from Jumbo's restaurant in Liberty City. The smiling face that greeted customers for 30 years.
Dorothy Dortch: "She worked at Jumbos. If you go there all she's unbelievable her smile her laugh, the joy that she brings to people."
Today, there is a picture on the wall at Jumbos to remind her friends of Geraldine who lost a battle with cancer.
Dorothy Dortch: "She went through chemo for maybe six months, didn't do nothing for her. It spread like wildfire."
After Geraldine was buried last summer. Dorothy saved her money and this February paid $1,900 to a company to install a beautiful headstone at the gravesite.
Dorothy Dortch: "Yeah, at least she will have something. It wont be just this, this little piece will be gone."
When Dorothy wrote the check she got a promise.
Dorothy Dortch: "She told me I promise you three weeks the headstone will be ready and down."
The three weeks have turned into 23 weeks. After Dorothy wrote the check, the company called all bronze was dissolved. The owner started a new company, but still no headstone. Instead delivering a long list of excuses.
Dorothy Dortch: "I had a lot to do. I have a lot of the best going on in my personal life. I was at the hospital with my husband. She gave me so much run-around its not even funny."
Its not funny at all because this business deal is not about a refrigerator or a used car, its about a headstone for an only child's mother.
Dorothy Dortch: "And it was very important for me on her anniversary that she had her headstone but is not there."
Dorothy Dortch: "When I go to the graveside I can't find my mom were she's buried sometimes, you know, its very important to me."
Well Howard, the company shut down and the owner opened a new headstone company under a new name, is Dorothy out of luck?
Howard Finkelstein: "In most cases when a business shuts down, the customers are out of luck. But because the funeral and cemetery business is highly regulated by the State of Florida, and since the owner opened a new business, the state can take that license to operate away. In many cases that forces them to return the customers money. If they don't, the business owner can sometimes be charged with grand theft."
It took a few days but I finally tracked down one of the owners of All Bronze. She told me she and her business partner split up that's why one company was shut down and she opened a new headstone company.
She told me she was not ripping anyone off. That the headstone Dorothy bought would be ready this week. Dorothy said she had told her that in the past so I asked to see the headstone.
And I saw it is being made. An engraving company had been hired by the woman who took Dorothy's money. These are the words. This is the headstone it will be engraved into and I was told it will be ready to install on Friday finally.
Dorothy Dortch: "I am happy that my mom is gonna get her marker., her headstone."
Talking about her mother still makes Dorothy choke up. But knowing she will have a headstone gives her a small reason to smile.
Dorothy Dortch: "I'm glad my mom deserves it. That's all I was looking for."
Patrick Fraser: "It's nice to be able to help nice people. And it's a small world after Dorothy told me who her mother was, I was like I remember her from Jumbos. She was a wonderful person.
Now if you are having a problem with a cemetery, funeral home or headstone company and you want the state to investigate, the contact information is on our website at wsvn.com. And by the way, the state is investigating this case, but when the headstone is delivered that may end the investigation.
A sad situation left you steaming? Ready to have your spirits lifted? Contact us, we are no miracle workers but we sometimes leave smiles on people faces.
For More Information:
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
E-mail: email@example.com (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at firstname.lastname@example.org