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Boston, MA — Complaints filed recently by the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure (DPL) with Colorado officials have resulted in the registration suspension of Heritage Cremation Providers, an online cremation resource based in Colorado Springs.
Heritage Cremation was allegedly accepting payment for cremation and transport services from Massachusetts residents and then using registered funeral directors in this state to fulfill the services. Under Massachusetts law, any funeral services provider that accepts payment for such services must be registered by the Board of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers. Heritage Cremation is not registered in Massachusetts or any other state except Colorado.
In suspending Heritage Cremation’s registration, Colorado’s Office of Funeral Home and Crematory Registration found that the online company was failing to notify consumers that it was subcontracting cremations and using its website advertising to conduct unregistered cremation practice in at least 11 states, including Massachusetts. The suspension order also notes that approximately 30 complaints have been registered with the Federal Trade Commission.
In May, DPL sent a Cease and Desist letter to Heritage Cremation explaining the illegality of providing services to Massachusetts consumers without a registration. This action was quickly followed with formal complaints to Colorado officials.
“Our reach is limited in dealing with out of state, online entities, but we are using every legal tool available to stop Heritage from operating illegally in Massachusetts,” said Charles Borstel, Commissioner of the Division of Professional Licensure. “We commend Colorado state officials for acting swiftly in this matter and continuing their investigation of this during the registration suspension.”
Massachusetts consumers are advised to use the “Check a License” link on the DPL home page at Mass.Gov/dpl to ensure the funeral director they are dealing with is registered or has any complaints or enforcement actions against them. It’s important to also note that funeral directors are required to provide consumers with a list of prices for products and services either over the phone or in person before they show these items to customers. If consumers suspect that something is wrong with their contract, the transaction, the funeral director or the funeral home, they are encouraged to call DPL’s Office of Investigations at 617-727-7406.