Complaints from Massachusetts customers have resulted in an online cremation service based in Colorado having its registration suspended.
The Colorado Office of Funeral Home and Crematory Registration found that the company, Heritage Cremation Provider, failed to notify customers that it was subcontracting cremations. It was using its website to advertise its services in at least 11 states — including Massachusetts — where it was not registered to do business, according to a press release.
An employee at Heritage Cremation Provider declined to answer questions from the Globe.
Heritage Cremation Provider was accepting money for transportation and cremation services from Massachusetts residents, according to officials in Colorado and Massachusetts. The company then used registered funeral directors in Massachusetts to carry out the services. Massachusetts residents’ complaints triggered the investigation and the eventual registration suspension.
Heritage Cremation broke the Massachusetts law requiring any funeral parlor that accepts payment to be registered by the Board of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers, according to a press release.
“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,” Charles Borstel, commissioner of the Division of Professional Licensure, said in a statement. “We commend Colorado state officials for acting swiftly in this matter and continuing their investigation of this during the registration suspension.”
Massachusetts does not have any record that Heritage Cremation Provider is registered here or in any other state except Colorado. There were also about 30 complaints filed against Heritage Cremation Provider with the Federal Trade Commission, officials said.
Many of the states in which those complaints originated have issued advisory notices to consumers or cease-and-desist orders.
In 2015, the Florida Department of Financial Services filed a cease-and-desist order against the company to stop selling their services in Florida.
The suspension for Heritage Cremation Provider was effective June 6, according to Colorado officials.
Heritage Cremation is owned by Joseph Damiano and Anthony Joseph Damiano, also known as A.J. Damiano .
Allana J. Barefield can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at Allana_B18