A grieving son's headstone trouble

Seven On Your Side
March 29, 2008 8:03:51 AM PDT
It's the one of the worst customer service issue imaginable. A headstone company that leaves grieving relatives with no money, no monument and a lot of frustration. That is, until Tappy Phillips made a return visit to get a family some closure.

"It ripped my heart apart," Stuart Farber said.

Farber is talking about an empty plot of ground where his mother's buried. No gravestone has ever been placed there.

"You hate to think of your loved one under the ground without a marker, like she's in some type of potter's field," Farber said.

Last October, Stuart paid Pelham Memorials in full, nearly $2,000. They promised the monument would be in place in six weeks. But five months later, Stuart is still waiting.

"As the weeks and months gone by, nothing was done," he said. "You begin to feel you are in a hopeless situation."

Pelham Memorials isn't new to Seven On Your Side.

Just a few months ago, grieving husband Gary Pandolfo didn't get a headstone from the same company. We confronted their owner.

Tappy: "It's been a long time. This fellow is distraught, grieving. He wants a headstone."
Harlan Kaufman: "I know, I spoke to him on Sunday. I calmed him down."
Tappy: "He's not calmed down. We just interviewed him and he wants the headstone. He's not convinced you're going to do it."

And days later, the monument was finished.

So we made a return visit to Pelham Memorials for Stuart.

Again, the owner offered no excuse.

Tappy: "What was the delay?"
Kaufman: "The delay was my fault. I thought the foundation was ordered. It wasn't."
Tappy: "This is the second time we've been here."
Kaufman: "I know, I can't help it." Tapp: "People complain, you know? They want their headstones and they want them on time." Kaufman: "I'm taking care of it as best I can."
Tappy: "In the morning?"
Kaufman: "Yes."
Tappy: "We'll check in the morning."
Kaufman: "It will be there tomorrow."

And sure enough, the next morning, there it was. Stuart's mother finally had her just tribute.

"Thank you, Tappy," he said. "Thank you very much."