Cemeteries are keeping the headstone market cornered by preventing small business owners to compete fairly. They will not give a copy of the rules and regulations regarding headstones that is needed for the customer to shop around for better prices. These rules should be given at the same time the plot for the grave is purchased since it directly affects what type of headstone is allowed—Upright or Flat or Bronze—I am amazed at the number of customers that we have that either want a flat and are required an upright or vice versa. One cemetery’s rules for a new section on the ground is that every other headstone must be upright and every other one must be flat—People see the upright and flats and assume they can either or—only to find out later they MUST have one or the other according to the plan. The customer should be given a copy of the requirements: Maximum and Minimum Size/Type: Upright or flat/materials required: Granite or Bronze/Color if mandated and installation services-if allowed- The outside vendors should all be given the rules and regulations of exactly what insurances are required for us to be able to set the headstones (1,000,000 liability, Umbrella Policy over the 1,000,000, Car insurance in excess of 300,000, and recently Copies of Workers Compensation–which owners are not required to carry in Texas). Since we are never able to get a copy of their rules and regulations—they change from week to week–Their goal is to put us out of business so that they can continue to corner the market on selling headstones. By doing so the consumer is not able to shop around and get the same headstone for a LOT LESS!! That is the part that is not FAIR–to the consumers or even to us. Is there anything that can be done?? These are some of the statements made by cemeteries that we have ran into: 1. They will not be liable for anything that happens to a headstone not purchased from the cemetery. 2. Refusal to allow a headstone bought from another vendor to be set in the cemetery—By refusing to allow us to set the headstone—and even though they have installation prices –refusing to set a headstone purchased from another vendor. 3. Telling the customer that there will be an unreasonable installation charge if they purchase from another vendor—There will be no installation fee if they purchase from the cemetery.–This is used along with the policy that they are the only ones allowed to set headstones in the cemetery. 4. They use the fact that they do not give out information regarding the requirements as a way to find out when someone is shopping around and turn around and contact the customer to make sure they get the sell. (If they are giving the customers a better deal–Great) If they are disparaging our company and name–then shame on them. 5. They will not give customers a quote of what they are purchasing in writing–Because they change the rules and regulations as they see fit. 6. Once the cemetery “OK’d” a headstone for a customer—and then called back at a later date to say it was not. We felt sorry for the customer and returned their money–Thank goodness it wasn’t a large double upright. Hurting our small company. 99% of our customers are via word of mouth—because of dealing with us in the past—our reputation goes a long way–unless the Cemeteries continue to slander our company. 7. The same cemetery took pictures of a beautiful double upright heart shaped headstone and use it as their advertisement. ***These are just a few of the problems we have had with cemeteries. Who is responsible for making sure that the rules and regulations are FAIR to the CUSTOMER??**
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