FOX 5 helps Maryland man in dispute over cemetery plot

Lincoln Memorial Cemetery sold Melvin Cross a burial plot, but he claims he canceled the contract. Now months later, he is still paying and has not been able to get his money back -- that is until he called FOX 5.

"I didn't know that money was taken out. I could use that money back," he said.

Cross had gone to the Suitland cemetery to arrange burial services and get a plot for his dying father-in-law.

"He was in the hospital. He didn't have insurance or anything," he said.

After signing a contract, the cemetery sent him across the street to Cedar Hill Cemetery to arrange the funeral reception. The two are owned by the same parent company, StoneMor, but operate as separate businesses.

Cedar Hill gave him a better price on the funeral services and told Cross that as a veteran, his father-in-law could be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Cross claims he went back to Lincoln Memorial the same day to cancel his contract within the three days required.

"We signed forms," Cross told FOX 5. "I signed at least four forms of cancellation."

Soon after, he started getting monthly bills for $101.07, but says he was assured not to worry because the contract was canceled. Then a few weeks ago, he got a letter from Lincoln Memorial apologizing for double charging his bank account. That is when he discovered the cemetery had taken more than $1,500 in automatic payments.

"It's a lot of money because I have a mortgage, I have bills," said Cross.

He and his wife are both disabled and on fixed incomes.

FOX 5 contacted Lincoln Memorial's parent company StoneMor. An officials with the company explained there were two contracts, one for the burial services and another for a plot. The company claims it never received any written cancellations, but did void the contract for the burial services, and at Cross's request, applied the money to the other contract for the burial plot.

"I don't know why they would cancel one and not the other because I didn't need anything," Cross said. "I didn't need anything. When I went back and told them that, I canceled everything."

After several calls back and forth, a company official tells FOX 5 it checked its records and understands there may have been some confusion over what was canceled and agreed to refund the money.

Cross said he didn't have copies of the cancellation forms. He threw them away a few months after his father-in-law was buried because he didn't think he needed them anymore.

He tells FOX 5 that he is grateful now, and in the next week or two, he should get his money.