TIPPAH CO., Miss. — An expensive lesson for the owner of a Mississippi funeral home.
Ripley Funeral Home had to pay a $10,000 fine for defying the wishes of the deceased and burying them in cheaper caskets.
FOX13 drove down to Ripley and spoke exclusively to the owners. They told us they were only trying to follow family member's wishes.
According to Betty Peebles, one of the owners of the funeral home, the changes were made to accommodate the family.
She said the pre-need burial arrangements they were fined for violating were planned in the '80s and '90s
“After the death, we allowed the families to select a casket in a different color or style, because we have a lot of caskets they didn't have in the 90s comparable in value to what they picked out,” Peebles explained.
Peebles shared with us that the state claims the funeral home buried the dead in cheaper caskets than ordered, but she said none of that is true and takes issue with it.
Peebles told FOX13 the changes were made because her family bought the funeral home in 2015 and didn't understand that in Mississippi changes cannot be made to a pre-need burial arrangement.
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“We have had funeral homes in five other states, and it's not like that there. So, we were pleasing our customers. They all seemed happy, and we haven't had a complaint from any of them,” Peebles told FOX13.
She said the Ripley Funeral Home was open with the state about their records.
“If we were trying to hide something, we would have put it on our records that they got the preceded casket, but we didn’t, we were honest.”
The Peebles said they have been in the funeral business for half a century. They told FOX13 they did not have any other violations.
However, according to documents we found online, they were fined twice in Tennessee back in 2010.
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