Loewen Vet Scam
On a flyer picked up at the regional VA hospital:
The Military Gardens has been rededicated for veterans ex-service personnel and their families. Veteran space No Charge. Spouse and family members of veterans one half off burial space. Proof of honorable discharge required.
In the past ten years, thousands of veterans and their families have reserved their property so a limited number of spaces are still available Therefore, immediate preregistration is advisable. To receive your eligibility certificate and other valuable veterans information, fill out and mail coupon below or call:
Sunset Memorial Park
Cemetery & Funeral Home
2250 St. Anthony Blvd., N.E., Minneapolis, MN 55418
One WWII veteran and his daughter paid a visit to this Loewen-owned operation. The veteran and his wife live on a very limited social security income, so burial cost was a serious concern. The sales rep at Sunset told them that the national cemetery at Ft. Snelling was running out of space, so it was a good thing they came in. (This is a blatant lie. The VA predicts enough space to last another 50 years, and burial is free to veterans and spouses.)
The family was never given price information for all the available lots. Instead, they were shown to an area of high-priced lots (nearly triple the price of the least-expensive one quoted over the telephone to an inquiring caller three months later). The family didn’t see any markings to indicate that what they were shown was the Military Gardens, but the whole experience was a bit overwhelming, they said. Telling them that urns and urn vaults were required, the sales rep cranked up the bill for the aging veteran and his wife—to over $3,400 for the burial of cremated remains on a single lot that was supposed to be “free”! No “other valuable veterans information” was forth-coming.
When this was brought to the attention of the regional VA office, one staffer called the cemetery/funeral home—”shopping” for the veterans’ burial deal. He was told that he had to bring in discharge papers so they could be “sent to Washington, DC.” When the staffer told the sales rep he thought they were already on file in St. Louis, the rep quickly replied, “Oh, yeah, that’s the same place.”
The angry staffer has since made sure all of the misleading flyers have been removed from the VA hospital, and the family is seeking the return of their initial payments.
If you feel you were misled about veterans’ benefits and pressured into purchasing cemetery goods and services at a high price, give the FAMSA office a call: 800-765-0107.