How would you like to pay $13,000.00 for basic funeral services which is inflated beyond the normal cost for funeral services. On the day of my mother’s death I sought a funeral service to collect my mother’s remains from the hospital and on the same day I began to put into place funeral services. This was a big mistake because I did no know that needed badly to research the process of putting a service in place so that I would not have been so severely ripped off by the funeral director. I had the misfortune of choosing the Marion Graham Mortuary Services, north side location in Jacksonville, Florida. In that 1st meeting I was directed by the funeral director to provide the order of services, the obituary for the newspaper announcement, the obituary for the service bulletin, pictures to be used (four pictures provided), and all information that would be used to develop the bulletin and announce the death of my mother properly and in a respectful manner. I was told to have this information to give to the director on December 21st by 2:00 PM. I did this. Each day after the 21st I asked for a proof of the bulletin since the funeral was to be held on 24th Christmas eve.
I met with the director on the 21st 22nd, and the 23rd. Each day I asked for the proof/bulletin each day I was told that I would get it the following day. Upon the day of the funeral my family and I were told minutes before the service that there was no bulletin to be had. I was literally pulled from the funeral limousine, (after being picked up late) and told that there had been some problem, (never clearly explained) that prevented the bulletin being provided. This of course was a major problem and made it impossible for the funeral to go smoothly since we had not guide and no keepsake for the attendees. Many were out of town friends and family members who I have since had to mail the late bulletin out to at a cost of $1.08 each, and hand deliver the bulletin to those living throughout Jacksonville. The following is a time line of all that went wrong with the handling of the funeral:
12/20-meeting for funeral services insurance papers, cemetery deed provided.
12/21-meeting to pay the balance for the funeral services that were not covered by insurance which included inflated cost of $950.00 for embalming ( normally the average cost is $400.00) and the cost of basic services $2,750.00, (normally the average cost of $1,400.00). No picture was given to the local newspapers for the obituary.
12/21-12/23 No bulletin
12/23 arrived at 4:00 PM to review my mother remains before the public wake at 5:00 PM as directed to assure that she was respectfully presented with clothing that I had provided. My mother had blue and red marks on her arms that were a result of her hospital stay and that had not been covered by make up, I had to cover these marks with make-up I had in my purse, her nail polish was chipped and I had to ask that it be re-done, and in place of the pearls that I had provided for her to wear their was a piece of material around her neck and the pearls were simply laying to top of the material unclasped. It looked very shabby. I removed the pearls and tucked in the material after I was told the reason for the material was to cover a button on the suit that had some problem (?). even though when I delivered the suit it was in perfect condition. In a later meeting, 12/24 I would be told that there a spot on he suit, (story changed). On the 28th I spoke up to say that I notice that My mother’s neck area seemed larger than the size of neck was at the time of death since she only weighed about 98 pounds. The material was used to cover up what appeared to be a mistake in adding too much fluid to her neck area. So the overpriced embalming job did not appear to be done well.
12/24-late pick up by limo service , director not there until 9:45 AM service to begin at 10:00 AM
These are some of the major problems I faced for a funeral that should have only cost between $7,500.00-$9,000.00 dollars not $13,000.00 for what I feel was very very poor services. The professional acumen was lacking on every level and the director appeared to have little remoerse and concern for all the mental grief he cause during a very sad time in my life. We were not given the bulletin until 12/24 at 2:00 PM a week after my mother’s death, and three days after her funeral services. And there is a typographical error in the final bulletin.
These services did not include courtesies such as thank you cards for the family to send out to those who sent cards and flowers, no bible, and to date I have not received the Death certificate which was paid for with the initial $`13,000.00.
I am also not sure that the vault that was paid for is the same vault that was used at the grave site.
So to all that read this complaint please go on the web to research funeral cost, state recommended cost and get at least three price ranges before settling on a particular mortuary service. Since I had to wait for the bulletin and am still waiting for the death certificate I have had the opportunity to educate myself, after the fact.
I feel the Graham Mortuary service and director took advantage of me during the saddest time I have ever faced in my life , the death of my mother. Be ware of the Marion Graham Mortuary North Side and any funeral service you feel may overcharge you for a simple (no bells and whistles) service.