5 On Your Side

Memorial company resolves dispute, denies error

Posted February 14, 2012
Updated February 20, 2012

After waiting almost a year, Janet Adams is finally settled with her son’s final resting place.

“I am at peace,” Adams said. She added, her late son, Robert Adams, also “is at peace.” 

When his death date was engraved, the headstone ended up with a large white spot, deep scratches and smudged writing.

It was ordered from Cape Fear Memorials. The owner, Robert Hester, replaced it, but he denies he's done anything wrong.

“Unfortunately someone else come in and cut the death date after we had set it and damaged and vandalized the stone somewhat,” Hester said.

That someone he refers to is his father, who used to own the monument business.

5 On Your Side’s Monica Laliberte asked Hester about his father’s involvement.

“He did that because Janet tried to reach you, tried to reach you, tried to reach you …” said Laliberte.

Hester responded, “He did that because I was a little later in taking care of it myself than what Ms. Adams thought it should be."

She waited nine months to get the stone engraved.

cape fear memorials Memorial company fixes headstone

As for Robert Hester's father, who originally owned the business, he gave the Fayetteville location to his son when he retired, and a Bladenboro location of a different name to his daughter.

Then the siblings switched locations, but not business names.

Robert Hester says the switch caused confusion and argues that's behind the six complaints 5 On Your Side received from people naming him.

Among them, Tonya Hammond who says Hester engraved the wrong date, even though her mother included the death certificate with the order. Hester insists he was given the wrong date.

Diane Averitt says she paid Cape Fear Memorials $135 in March of 2011 to engrave a death date. Robert Hester finally engraved it last week.

Still, Hester maintains the complaints involve his father and sister, not him.

Robert Hester also disputes the F Rating originally given to his company by the Better Business Bureau. The Better Business Bureau now lists "No Rating" for the company. The BBB switched its rating saying they're now investigating complaints to try to figure out what's going on!

Despite all of that, Hester replaced the stone for Janet Adams.

“We’re just glad to get this resolved, that was our intention the whole time,” said Adams. “To get it placed right and engraved right. It was not our intent to do anything else."

Looking at the new gravestone, Adams added, “He’s done it, and we’re thankful for that. I can rest now.”

Something else for customers to keep in mind: Before hiring a monument company, check to see if it’s registered with the Monument Builders of the Carolinas. The group doesn’t endorse companies, but registration should at least show the companies care enough to follow a code of ethics. Neither of the Hesters' companies is registered.

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  • superman Feb 15, 2012

    A good place to check would be the funeral home. They probably would know if a company had complaints. Local funeral homes could put them out of business.