Company steps up to provide customers with headstones - CBS 5 - KPHO

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Company steps up to provide customers with headstones

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NEW LONDON, CT (WFSB) -

After watching an Eyewitness News broadcast, customers of Maynard's Waterford Monumental Works have reached out to WFSB and said they were ripped off by the company.

In March, the family of Pascual Bonilla Jr., who died of a liver condition, ordered and paid $460 for a gravestone with Waterford Monumental Works. Owner Steve Maynard told Bonilla's mother that he would get back to her in four weeks.

In October, Bonilla's grieving mother had still not received a headstone from Maynard's Waterford Monumental Works and the only contact she had with the owner was a text in May.

However later that month, Tri County Memorials in Willimantic and Norwich, Dominick and Sons Monument Works in Colchester and Clark Family Memorials in Manchester reached out to help. All offered to get Rivas a personalized headstone that her son deserves.

Many other customers of Maynard's Waterford Monumental Works have given up any hope of finding closure, however in the last month, things have started to turn around for them.

"I had tried everything I could think of until I saw that spot on your channel and you came through for me," said customer Michele Nielsen.

Nielsen has worked successfully with Waterford Monumental Works in the past. About 13 years ago, her son passed away and the company was able to provide her with a headstone in a timely fashion.

But, when her husband died in 2011, she went back to Waterford Monumental Works and had a totally different experience.

"A red flag should have gone up because he wouldn't take a credit card," Nielsen said. "She wanted nothing but a check or cash."

Nielsen told Eyewitness News that she put down a $1,350 deposit on a headstone in February and has not heard from Maynard since the transaction.

"What a long dragged out mess," said customer Amanda Dawley after seeing the report by WFSB on Waterford Monumental Works.

In July, Dawley took Maynard to small claims court to get money back from him after she paid him for a headstone for her father. She was awarded $34,000, but Maynard still has not paid her.

"I just knew it was him, I just knew it was him," Dawley said. "Because of the bad business and how he dodged my phone calls for months and months."

Eyewitness News visited Maynard's Waterford Monumental Works, which was started 60 years ago, and it does not appear open. The phone number for the location is out of service. Family members of Maynard were also unclear if Monumental Works is still open.

Reporters visited Maynard's home, but still there was no answer.

According to state records, Monumental Works was dissolved in 2002 and the Better Business Bureau gives it a "F" rating for failing to respond to complaints.

Since the Eyewitness News report, the attorney general has gotten ahold of Maynard.

Once the state stepped in, Tri County Memorials contacted Nielsen and was ready to honor her original order.

Dawley finally got her father's headstone from Maynard. The attorney general had to actually set up a time and a place for them to meet. But chasing him down for more than a year has taken its toll.

"I don't even go to the cemetery because I'm just sad about the whole mess. I really am. I don't go," Dawley said. "I used to go, and then, it just... it just makes me upset so I don't visit the cemetery too often."

Tri County Memorials is moving to buy Maynard's business and make things whole with his customers who are still waiting for monuments.

Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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