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Neptune Society has shortened cremation customers, says California in a suit

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The Attorney General sued the Neptune Society on Monday and claimed that the well-known company had deposited $ 100 million that it should have kept in reserve for those who had signed up for prepaid cremation service plans.

As a result, many of the company's customers have not received a full refund if they have canceled their contracts, and thousands of other prepaid customers can also lose their money if they cancel, the lawsuit says.

The company also wrongly claimed to use its own crematoriums, while in fact it had entered into contracts with others and illegally accelerated payments when customers died, along with other misleading commercial practices, the lawsuit says.

Beth Dombrowa, a spokeswoman for Neptune and its parent company, Texas-based Service Corp. International said she could not comment immediately. The lawsuit also calls a subsidiary, the Trident Society.

The company and its subsidiaries are the largest provider of funeral, cremation and burial services in North America.

California Atty. Gene. Xavier Becerra and three prosecutors in Bay Area say the Neptune Society has violated state law by not keeping fully repayable confidence that more than $ 100 million customers have paid for the cremation plans.

The lawsuit does not say that someone lacked the money when it was time to cremate, only that it is a possibility because Neptunus does not put aside the collected money properly. But it says the company had shortened customers who were entitled to full refunds if they canceled their contracts.

"Everyone dies," the lawsuit begins and notes that in California nearly two-thirds of people choose to be cremated when the inevitable happens. Many choose to pay for these services in advance through companies such as Neptune.

The company "is growing customers who were just looking for their families and preparing for one of the most difficult moments in life," said Becerra in a statement.

The case alleges that Neptunus has sent 99% of its customers to its standard Neptunus plan, which included both cremation services and related products, but then illegally saved about half the money because it was reserved for the products.

The suit says that Neptune thus misled consumers who thought that all their money was protected as required by California law.

"Consumers should expect the money paid for future funeral needs to be fully protected and available to pay for the necessary services when the need eventually arises, so that family and loved ones are not taxed further," Marin County Dist. Atty. Lori Frugoli said in a statement.

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