Family claims it waited nearly a year for grave marker

Family claims it waited nearly a year for grave marker

Another family has come forward claiming that Hawaiian Memorial Park in Kaneohe took nearly one year to install a grave marker for a deceased relative.

Minna Chanhboury and Marina Lai's mother was buried at Hawaiian Memorial Park in January of 2012.

But they say it took almost a year to get their mom's grave marker installed.

"We were floored.  We couldn't believe.  We couldn't believe that nothing was done for so long," Chanhboury said.

Lai said, "They first said that it was being ordered, it hasn't come in yet.  And then after that, 'Oh, they made a mistake it actually wasn't ordered.  Let's go pick out the colors. Let's pick out how we're gonna'... And I thought 'Oh my God, you should have record of this. My mom had all of this down on contract with you guys.'"

Their mother -- Jenny Leong of Pauoa -- pre-purchased the grave marker, a flower vase and other items for nearly $2,000 in 1989. They showed us the contract that said "paid in full."

In December 2012, when nothing was installed at the grave site 11 months after their mother's death, they started calling cemetery supervisors.

"She had pre-purchased everything so we wouldn't have to be left with this burden.  She was that organized and she cared that much about us.  And this is how they treated her and us and we just feel that nobody deserves that," Chanhboury said.

The cemetery installed the grave marker just before the one-year anniversary of their mother's death, and threw in an extra flower vase for their troubles, the women said.

In a separate case last week, the cemetery apologized to Sean Hall whose mother's grave marker wasn't installed nearly nine months after she was buried May 31, 2013. The cemetery refunded him $4,200 after Hawaii News Now inquired about his case last Wednesday.

Two other families have contacted Hawaii News Now with similar stories of the cemetery not installing grave markers more than six months after their loved ones have been buried there.  But Hawaii News Now was not able to independently confirm the facts of those cases.

A location manager for Hawaiian Memorial did not return Hawaii News Now's phone call or email for comment last week or Monday.

State investigators recommended saving all contracts, along with sales agreements, canceled checks and detailed notes about any dealings with mortuaries and cemeteries.

"If there's a marker to be put in place after burial, to ask exactly when it's going to be done and when it will be placed," said State Complaints and Enforcement Officer Daria Loy-Goto, who recommended customers ask who's doing the work for each service purchased, a mortuary or the cemetery.

If people are not happy with the answers from their sales representative about the progress of their project, Loy-Goto had this advice: go above their head.

"Work with somebody who has the authority to be able to address their problem.  So that would be a supervisor or a manager," Loy-Goto said.

If all else fails, she recommended calling the state's Consumer Resource Center at the Regulated Industries and Complaints Office at 808-587-4272 for advice and to file a complaint about a business.

"If consumers have had difficulties or they feel like they've gotten a bad shake, then definitely we encourage them to call our office," Loy-Goto said.

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