Cemetery settles with state.Byline: Mark Baker The Register-Guard
Families who used the services of a Eugene cemetery and funeral home may be due a refund after the state investigated complaints from consumers.
The state Department of Justice on Wednesday announced a settlement between the state and the Rest-Haven Memorial Association, which owns Rest-Haven Memorial Park and Rest-Haven Memorial Funeral Home on South Willamette Street, for an alleged "illegal tying" arrangement.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. state Attorney General Hardy Myers Hardy Myers (born October 25 1939 in Electric Mills, Mississippi) is a lawyer and Democratic politician currently serving his third term as attorney general of the state of Oregon, United States. , Rest-Haven and its owner, Tim Wiper of Eugene - who also owns the Willamette Pass Ski Area Willamette Pass is a ski area located in the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests in the Cascade Range of Oregon. The summit elevation of the ski area is 6683 ft (2037 m), and the total vertical rise from the base is 1563 ft (476 m). - waived the cemetery's "basic services basic services,
n.pl frequently insurance companies split dental procedures into basic and major categories. Basic services usually consist of diagnostic, preventive, and routine restorative dental services. fees" of either $725 or $750 if the buyer used Rest-Haven's mortuary mor·tu·ar·y
A place, especially a funeral home, where dead bodies are kept before burial or cremation. services. That's a violation of state antitrust laws antitrust laws n. acts adopted by Congress to outlaw or restrict business practices considered to be monopolistic or which restrain interstate commerce. The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 declared illegal "every contract, combination.... , the state said. Rest-Haven wanted to generate extra business for its mortuary in order to pay for rising costs, the state said.
`The tying arrangement An agreement in which a vendor conditions the sale of a particular product on a vendee's promise to purchase an additional, unrelated product.
In a tying arrangement, the product that the vendee actually wants to purchase is known as the "tying product," while the impacted those with little power to do anything about it - those who were already committed to the cemetery by having purchased the `right to burial' and those whose family members were already buried in the facility,' Myers said in a press release. The state also contended the cemetary's "basic services fee" was not calculated to address real costs.
Many Oregon consumers plan ahead for mortuary and cemetery services by purchasing "right to burial" plans in order to spare their family from additional stress, Myers said. "Imagine a family's distress when an additional $750 (fee) for cemetery services is required but offered to be waived if the family will buy mortuary services from the other half of the business."
"They were trying to drum up money for the mortuary side," Justice Department spokeswoman Jan Margosian said.
Many Rest-Haven customers are probably unaware that they might be due a refund, she said. The department investigated after receiving a complaint and has received a total of about 20 complaints, she said. Those complaints are from people who feel they're owed a refund, those who thought the policy was wrong and those who chose to take their business elsewhere, Margosian said. One woman "took her husband's ashes and went somewhere else," she said.
Wiper on Wednesday denied that Rest-Haven has ever offered such a fee waiver The voluntary surrender of a known right; conduct supporting an inference that a particular right has been relinquished.
The term waiver is used in many legal contexts. . "That's extremely not true," he told The Register-Guard. He did say Rest-Haven has reached a settlement with the Justice Department. In the settlement, Rest-Haven does not admit any violation of the law.
"The settlement is for attorneys' fees (for the state) instead of us all continuing to battle," Wiper said. "There absolutely is no wrongdoing wrong·do·er
One who does wrong, especially morally or ethically.
wrongdo . There is no fault. They just saved face with attorneys' fees."
Under the agreement, Rest-Haven has paid the Justice Department $15,000 for restitution In the context of Criminal Law, state programs under which an offender is required, as a condition of his or her sentence, to repay money or donate services to the victim or society; with respect to maritime law, the restoration of articles lost by jettison, done when the to consumers who paid a basic services fee between April 5, 1999, and Tuesday, according to the department.
Consumers need to file a complaint with the Justice Department within the next 45 days. The money will be divided equally among complainants up to $400 per fee paid, according to the justice department.
Any remaining money will be put into the department's consumer protection and education fund, along with $35,000 paid by Rest-Haven to the department for attorney and investigation costs.
"Since 1999 they knew they were going to charge this and they easily could have disclosed this," said Margosian, indicating that the fee-waiver policy had been in place since April 5, 1999. "We know Rest-Haven very well. We have dealt with them for years."
The department has investigated the cemetery and funeral home, mostly for failing to prepare maintenance reports for the Oregon Secretary of State's Office, going back to 1993, she said.
The agreement between Rest-Haven and the Justice Department requires that any basic services fee for future cemetery goods and services In economics, economic output is divided into physical goods and intangible services. Consumption of goods and services is assumed to produce utility (unless the "good" is a "bad"). It is often used when referring to a Goods and Services Tax. must be calculated independently of the mortuary basic services fee, according to Myers. That does not prohibit pro·hib·it
tr.v. pro·hib·it·ed, pro·hib·it·ing, pro·hib·its
1. To forbid by authority: Smoking is prohibited in most theaters. See Synonyms at forbid.
2. Rest-Haven from offering a package discount on the basic services fee for using both cemetery and mortuary goods and services.
Under the agreement, for the next year, Rest-Haven must mail the department a copy of each new price list for cemetery/mortuary goods and services. For the next five years, Rest-Haven must retain records of oral or written consumer complaints in regards to unexpected fees or charges for goods or services.
If you paid a basic cemetery fee of $725 to $750 at Rest-Haven Memorial Park between April 5, 1999, and Tuesday, you might be entitled en·ti·tle
tr.v. en·ti·tled, en·ti·tling, en·ti·tles
1. To give a name or title to.
2. To furnish with a right or claim to something: to a refund. You have 45 days to file a complaint with the state Department of Justice. For more information, call (877) 877-9392 or go online at www.doj.state.or.us.