A loyal customer of Kent Memorials urges the owner to contact everybody - and says he cannot understand how it has all gone so horribly wrong
- Credit: Archant
A loyal customer of Kent Memorials, who is another person out of pocket with money paid but no headstone, said he cannot understand how a once reputable business run by a “lovely man” had gone downhill so terribly.
John Bunnage, of St Neots, has ordered four headstones for family through the March stonemason over the years because Gary Manning’s service was so good.
Mr Bunnage said: “He is a lovely lad, reliable, friendly, professional, yet here we are, along with many others it appears, out of pocket and without the goods that we ordered.
“It is terrible to see. How this has happened?”
Mr Bunnage paid a deposit of £367 to Manning in July last year for a headstone for his sister in law, but then heard nothing more.
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“I know it sounds silly but I left it when he hadn’t been in touch,” he said. “I had no reason to doubt him.
“About four weeks ago I tried to call him and got through to an answer machine that said the mailbox was full.
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“I was in March at the disability centre and it was there that they told me what had happened.
“He used to only take deposits then bill for the work once the headstone had been fitted, it sounds like that had changed.
“I’m lucky as I haven’t lost lots of money like others. It’s terrible for people.
“He seemed such a nice lad, but he really needs to let people know what is going on, so at least they can get sorted with other stone masons.”
In a post on a Facebook page, Manning said at the end of January: “I would like to address all customers of Kent WK Memorials and to publicly apologise to those who have recently experienced unsatisfactory service, during what is already a difficult them and their families.
“Unfortunately the company has been facing some financial strain after a heavy tax bill was enforced, and had to be settled using both the floating assets of the company and personal savings.
“This has the company struggling to turn over a profit in the last few months. Every effort is being taken to ensure customer orders can still be completed asap.
“It has been with great regret that the company has been struck down in this way, and full admission of these taxes could have been accounted for better, however the sheer degree of miscalculation was not picked up on by the Inland Revenue until such point it had become a vast amount detrimental to the usual flow rate of the business.
“All of my customers will be contacted in the coming days to discuss their orders in more detail and to give progress updates on their respective orders.
“Please all accept my sincere apologies for the lack of contact, I’ve desperately been trying to sort all this out behind closed doors.”