WOODLAND (CBS13) – Carol MacDonald waited eight months for her cemetery to finish her late husband’s headstone.
Now CBS13 Call Kurtis is uncovering major problems slowing down cemetery orders nationwide.
“Everything we did, we did together,” MacDonald said, remembering Jim, the man she married five decades ago.
Jim passed away suddenly while on vacation in Canada.
“You’re in shock and grief,” she said. “Then you’re on a roller coaster from then on.”
MacDonald paid Woodland’s Monument Hill Memorial Park $4,997.76 Feb. 13. In return, she was supposed to receive a headstone with their wedding photo on it.
Eight months later, the photo still isn’t in.
The cemetery blamed its supplier, but refused to order it from anyone else, the owner told CBS13.
“You should feel at peace to go to the cemetery and pay your respects, put your flowers down,” MacDonald said. “You should feel serenity, and I don’t feel that.”
Our investigation reveals she isn’t alone. Families across the United States have orders on hold.
Matthews International, one of the biggest makers of headstones, told us for “about 10 months” they had to delay orders nationwide due to software upgrades.
“That’s a pretty deep backlog,” said Josh Slocum of the Funeral Consumers Alliance.
Slocum said cemeteries who order products from backlogged manufacturers should switch the orders to another company to keep families from waiting.
“They have a problem, and they know what that problem is. They need to make some decisions.”
Monument Hill told CBS13 no one else does the type of work MacDonald wanted and said, “It has been a frustrating, very embarrassing time for us.”
But Monument Hill promised to make it right.
A couple weeks later, the wedding photo finally arrived, finishing Jim’s grave marker.
“It should not have taken this long,” she said.
Monument Hill agreed to refund MacDonald the cost of the photo, and sent her a check for $345.
Matthews International tells us it’s back up to speed on orders again, and the same delays won’t happen again.