Growing complaints over headstone delays in Kansas City could be result of granite shortage

Problem Solvers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – FOX4 is looking further into complaints of local cemeteries and gravesite businesses.

Since our story Monday, more families say they have been waiting months, or more than a year for their headstones.

“The first date, they gave me was March 2021, they gave us another date for May, another date for June, probably about 10 dates, still haven’t got it,” said Sharhonda Braden.

Braden’s wait for her grandmother’s headstone is nearing a year at Forest Hill Cemetery on 69th and Troost Avenue.

A number of local monument companies tell FOX4 if you are waiting for a headstone, you may have to wait awhile.

Thanks to COVID-19, headstones and the material needed to make them are in short supply.

“There’s a lot of people out there who have paid for their headstones, and they just feel like they’ve gotten their money taken,” said Office Manager of Pence Enterprises in Raytown, Shaliese Ward. “We’re just waiting on everything to come in, all the stones that we have ordered.”

Ward said they have been upfront with their customer about the current status of the headstone business.

The quarries the granite and stones come from are still mostly shut down, combined with the increased amount of burials to the already backed-logged inventory.

What used to be 8 to 12 weeks expectation date is now 8 to 12 months. Ward said she has no idea when things will get back to pre-pandemic pace.

“COVID has really impacted our industry as a whole,” Ward said. “Within the last three weeks, we’ve done at least 20 burials.”

Braden said if her headstone was delayed because of a shortage, she was never told.

“I would call, they would be like, I’m going to call you back, but I get nothing. No call,” Braden said. “It’s never been a financial issue, it’s just a time issue. December will be a whole year.”

Customers in the past complaining of burial mix-ups and shady contracts.

They have a one star and F-rating with the Better Business Bureau. They are also not accredited.

FOX4 is waiting for a response from the burial site.

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