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Chandler widow is out $3,000

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Martha Stanton paid $3,000 for a "casket liner" nearly 20 years ago but never received it. (Source: KTVK) Martha Stanton paid $3,000 for a "casket liner" nearly 20 years ago but never received it. (Source: KTVK)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Martha Stanton still grieves the loss of her husband Harold who passed away last February.

"He was a career man, he was all everything was military, I can't talk anymore," Stanton said.

They built a lifetime together and traveled the world until cancer took his life.

But years before his death, the couple agreed to pay for pre-funeral expenses to help reduce expenses after they both passed.

"We had no children, and there's nobody here you know not to put the load all on one person," Stanton said.

Back in 1999, they came across something called a "casket liner," offered through Heritage Memorial Service, Inc. They met with the owner named Roger Hackett who explained how "casket liners" worked.

"He said we slide this inside this mahogany-type casket he said and then when the people leave, there's like a bottom at the foot, you just pull the liner out and proceed to bury him in the ground that way without any casket," Stanton said.

Stanton says she and her husband thought the idea was a little unusual but understood "casket liners" negated the need for an expensive casket. So the couple agreed to pay Hackett $3,000 for two casket liners.

But earlier this year when Stanton's husband passed away, Heritage Memorial Service was no longer in business, meaning there were no casket liners.

"I just completely befuddled. I'm not sure; I thought it was up and up when we bought it," Stanton said.

Stanton wound up burying her husband at the National Memorial Cemetery, but she couldn't help but feel she wasted $3,000 on nothing. So she contacted 3 On Your Side and discovered the physical address listed on Stanton's paperwork doesn't exist, at least not anymore.

There also didn't seem to be any corporate records called Heritage Memorial Service filed with the state. So we turned to the owner of the company Hackett who ran Heritage Memorial Service, Inc.

Documents reveal that he violated a superior court consent order back in the 1990s, alleging that Hackett and his company “did not have a permanent storage facilities for burial liners."  

As a result, the Arizona Attorney General's Office ordered the company to stop doing business in 1998 right around the same time it took money from the Stanton and her husband.

So, whatever happened to Hackett and that company?  Well, the company went belly up, and Hackett died a few years ago.

Stanton says she'll continue to fight for her $3,000 and has filed a recent complaint with the Arizona Attorney General's Office, which did confirm "the company has ceased operations." 

But the office also said it was unable to take any further action.

Stanton is trying to keep a positive outlook.

"I'm just kind of standing neutral grounds, not getting my hopes up and I’m not going to let it get me down," Stanton said.

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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