Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home | Valley AL funeral home and cremation
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What is a Cemetery Vault Inspection Fee? A Monument Inspection fee? Overtime Fees?

Published: January 25, 2021

I am going to cover common practices used by cemeteries that will cost you your hard earned money.  I personally believe they are all unethical and possibly illegal and violations of anti-trust laws. Some of these practices are legally questionable, but almost never investigated.  Primarily, I am going to focus on those that involve what the cemeteries have termed or defined as "inspection fees" over the years and are often seen in corporately owned cemeteries.  Other commonly used practices are "processing fees", which basically means the cemetery will add on $65 for doing paperwork that is required regardless of a "processing fee" being imposed, overtime fees, and inflated costs to open and close graves. 

Johnson Memorial Gardens does not engage in any of these practices. 

These cemeteries penalize you or charge you  an "inspection fee", which is basically a way of inflating prices to stop you from purchasing a vault or monument from a locally owned company.  After 31 years in the funeral and cemetery industry, I have yet to have someone clearly explain to me what a vault inspection fee is in a cemetery. What is involved in this "inspection" and who is qualified to make this "inspection"? Valid questions in my opinion.  However, it is not about inspecting a vault or monument.  It is about punitive charges imposed on you for not buying the vault or monument from the cemetery.  It is a "ruse" or "trick" for the cemetery to make more money. Always speak to one of our directors at Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home or Johnson Memorial Gardens to understand your rights. 

Another practice referenced in my first paragraph was inflated costs to open and close graves.  This is seen in many corporately owned cemeteries. For example, Johnson Memorial Gardens cost to open and close a graves is $750.  Another cemetery in the area charges in excess of $1200 for the same service.  This is an example of an unscrupulous business practice. Why charge almost double the cost of the fair market price? Simple. These families are being forced to pay an excessive amount because they chose a cemetery for their loved one and are being taken advantage of by the cemetery and its owners. 

In summary, carefully choose a cemetery before buying a final resting place for your family.  Always call the professionals at Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Homes and Johnson Memorial Gardens if you need guidance.   (334)768-2141

by Wesley Anderson


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