Friday, two Upper Darby companies whose companies create cemetery markers and headstone have been hit with an official civil complaint from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Attorney’s General Office. The complaints were filed after more than 50 complaints from consumers were taken about the firm. The companies Lifestone by Stefan and Stefan Memorials owned both by Gregory J. Stefan. Although the Pennsylvania Attorney General is facing her own legal issues the case has moved forward against Stefan with the criminal complaint saying that Stefan “failed to timely delivery cemetery markers and other similar items to consumers in the Philadelphia area and surrounding suburbs.”
Basil Merenda, Chief Deputy Attorney General and Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection stated that” We have folks who wanted to achieve some measure of closure in honoring their loved ones,” and that Stefan’s work as “widespread deceptive business and marketing practices” and labeled it “reprehensible.” According to the complaints about the maker of the headstones go back to 2012 and that how Stefan created business was reprehensible. Stefan would use death notices to target grieving families then the company would send out notices to the families of the deceased. Then they would create the mailing to look like bills and sometimes implied a connection with the cemetery the families had used for their loved ones burial. As if burying a love one wasn’t already expensive enough the company that Stefan ran played on the emotions of people who were at their neediest. In just one case, a family from the Malvern area in December 2012 made out a check to pay for an $8,000 headstone. As of August almost three years later and the headstone had not been installed, the complaint alleges
The complaint also seeks restitution for customers and $1,000 in civil penalties for each violation of the Consumer Protection Law. It also seeks $3,000 in civil penalties for each violation involving a consumer 60 years old or older. The complaint also seeks a permanent injunction to restrain the defendants from continuing their alleged violations of the Consumer Protection Law. The lawsuit was filed in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas by Senior Deputy Attorney General Thomas Blessington of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. The complaint seeks thousands of dollars in restitution for the allegedly swindled consumers. If there are consumers who would like more information or to give more information on this complaint consumers may contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555.