Troubleshooters Investigates: Cremation Contract, Day 2
POSTED: Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 4:38pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 10:10am
EL PASO - Tonight we continue looking into funeral services sold to an elderly couple who passed away. Family members say the couple thought they paid a local cemetery to be cremated, but the cemetery says that's not the case.
In case you're new to the case, here's what's been going on:
Terry Maloof's dad died two days ago, and she had to arrange and pay to cremate him. It's a task she thought was already taken care of. That's because more than 15-years ago her parents purchased two cremations from Memory Gardens in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Maloof's mom died 10-years ago, and that's when Memory Gardens first told them that the couple purchased "niches," places to store the urn and ashes, not cremation services. Although, the spot on the contract that says "niches" was left blank. At the time, she didn't want to add to her dad's heartbreak, so she paid nearly $2,000.00 more to have her mom cremated at another place. The ashes were then placed at Memory Gardens.
When Maloof's dad died on Tuesday she ran in to the same problem...
"We won't be able to use the cremations that my parents paid for, you know, back in 1995," she said.
This time she can't afford a proper funeral. She says she could if Memory Gardens would honor the contract for two cremations.
That brings us to today...
We tracked down Kim Powers-Bridges, the owner of Memory Gardens, to Knoxville, Tennessee. Powers-Bridges refused a recorded interview with us, but we questioned her over the phone. She says she is sorry that Maloof is upset, but she says there is nothing she is going to do. Powers-Bridges tells us the contract is old, and she says the family received a deed with the contract that shows they only purchased niches. She also claims her cemetery has never offered cremations services. Again, the contract lists the purchase Maloof's parents made as "cremations"
"They could easily send them, the bodies, elsewhere to get them cremated," Maloof said.
Maloof says that deed was given to them more than five years after her elderly parents thought they purchased two full cremations.
"At the time they were looking out for me, so that I wouldn't have to deal with this. Now I'm looking out for them, because they're gone and what else can I do?"
Maloof says she's thinking about sharing her story with the New Mexico Attorney General.