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findagrave / unfair and bad membership service

1 PO Box 522107Salt Lake City, UT, United States Review updated:
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Findagrave is a website that catalogs obituaries and burial places for genealogists. One can create "memorials" for their loved ones and others and list their burial locations for future generations. Many people also use it as a hobby and put in endless hours of cataloging obituaries and burial locations of strangers so that other people might be able to find their loved ones. In the last few months I have logged a hundred or more hours creating memorials and had over 300. I cataloged my family, people I've worked with in show business and alumni from my high school. I also linked my high school alumni memorials to a website I run for my school. Yesterday an issue arose from a memorial I created for a famous actor that passed away. Their rules state that you are always to do a search before creating a memorial. If one already exists, you're to work with the creator of that memorial on any changes or additions. Another person came along and knowingly created a NEW memorial for the actor. I made it known to her and she defiantly would not take it down. So I contacted the administrators for help. They actually sided with her, even though she admitted to breaking the rules, and gave her credit for the memorial. After a couple of heated emails with administrator Robert Edwards (who goes by the screen name "bobnoxious") He sent me an email stating that he was banning me from the site. So I went in to my account and sure enough had no access. I looked up my mother's memorial and it was gone! Further research showed that ALL of my memorials were gone...they had all been deleted! All that work I spent entering these memorials was for nothing. And they weren't just punishing me, they were punishing all the people that would have used those memorials in the future. It also rendered all the links on my alumni website useless. I have since written to the owner of the website Jim Tipton a few times, with no response. Since then I've been doing online research and have found that I am not the only one that they have done this too. Wikipedia lists conflicts with this company stating: "allegedly arbitrary actions by administrators particularly with regard to "memorials" and "privacy" concerns of families and relations regarding recent deaths." The website pissedcustomer.com has quite a few detailed descriptions of problems not dissimilar to mine at: http://find-a-grave.pissedconsumer.com/. Another detailed description here: http://deathreferencedesk.org/2010/03/15/crowd-sourcing-genealogy-at-find-a-grave/. Look, if I broke rules, fine. But let me know and allow me to correct my ways; but don't just ban me and delete all my work! But I DID NOT break the rules. In fact it was because I showed them that I hadn't broken them and that they rewarded another member FOR breaking the rules, that they arbitrarily banned me and deleted all my work. They should not be allowed to do this to people. We are talking about special, precious and often emotional memories of our loved ones. This should NOT be taken lightly. You don't delete people's work that helps anyone who visits the site, simply because you have a beef with that person. You don't offer a service to catalog information, get bent out of shape and then resend the offer. If they can arbitrarily delete anyone's work at their whim, what's the point of anyone working on making their site better and more complete? Sure, it is a free site, but they take in money from website advertising that bombards you while you work, and charge $5 if you want special privileges on a memorial. Even if you pay the $5, the possibility of that memorial disappearing forever is very, very possible.

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Comments

  • Be
      7th of Feb, 2011
    +2 Votes

    Did you submit a complaint to the Better Business Bureau? If so, did you receive a response from Find a Grave concerning the complain? It would be interesting to see their reply to you.

  • Ju
      19th of Mar, 2011
    +2 Votes

    UPDATE: Since I last posted in December and filing a better business bureau complaint against them, I finally heard from owner Jim Tipton and we talked it out. He's a very cocky guy and basically said: "It's a pet peeve of mine when people submit BBB complaints regarding Find A Grave. The BBB sees them as a waste of time because they are typically policy disputes, not customer/business disputes. If there's no exchange of money, they basically aren't interested. And, I, personally, certainly see BBB complaints as a waste of time. I let them sit on my desk for weeks or months and then I finally call and explain the situation and they dismiss them."

    He reinstated my account (partially) and all my memorials (so clearly nothing is ever truly deleted. I then canceled my BBB complaint.

    Since then, the problems all started up again. I submitted several famous memorials only to have them all shot down or given to someone else. Each time something would happen, I would carefully outline it and send it to Jim. No responses.

    Then out of the blue, I could no longer access parts of my account. I couldn't go in and change any of my preferences or see my profile page. It appears it was blocked. My memorials were all there, though. So I continued to work on them and wrote to Jim asking why. No response.

    I found I could do things, but had to go in backwards. I had to go to one of my memorials, and if I wanted to see my virtual cemeteries, click on that person's virtual cemetery and go in that way. I kept writing to Jim asking what was going on. No response.

    So I wrote to him and told him that I was reinstating the BBB complaint and was going to contact the US Copyright Office, the US Attorney General and several of the large media outlets showing how FindAGrave sits back and allows for the stealing of copyrighted materials to be posted on their site.

    No response.

    Then the other day I was on my high school alumni website (that I am the administrator of) and clicked on a classmates link to his memorial on FindAGrave. It came up as non existent. Crap! I started clicking on others, the same thing. So I checked my mom's memorial and sure enough, it was deleted.

    All of my memorials have been deleted AGAIN! Guess he finally got wind of my complaints!

    I've also written to Ancestry.com outlining all of this and requesting that they look into starting a similar service there. They wrote back and told me I''m not the first to complain to them about FindAGrave and that they would indeed check with their programmers and see about offering the "memorial" services.

    I know many of you LOVE this site and I did too. But there are too many egos there ruining things for others, and they can't be allowed to destroy hundreds of hours of someone's work (that deals with their loved ones) with the click of a computer key.

    I will now work tirelessly to see that either things change there, or the site is taken down and revived somewhere else. No one controls or destroys my work and gets away with it.

    Also, are you all aware that if you delete a photo from a memorial, it's never really deleted unless you specifically write them and ask that it be deleted from the server. Even then, can you really trust that they'll do it?

  • Ch
      18th of Oct, 2011
    -2 Votes

    Why don't you start your own site? You can submit to GeN(state) you do not have to belong to Find A Grave. Since they do not charge for service, all you will ever do is stir muddy water.

  • Cl
      26th of Mar, 2012
    -1 Votes

    Here's the thing: There is a ranking for how many memorials one member posts. This is good in that many people transcribe whole cemeteries, which helps us all. Most are very nice, want to preserve information for others, and are willing to transfer management to relatives with no strings attached. There are a few, who are apparently interested only in numbers, and refuse to transfer, unless they retain credit for creating the memorial, and can be extremely rude. I am always happy to find my relatives already listed, and do not really care who first listed them. When I was new to the site, I listed my husband, only to find someone else had done so. When I wrote to that person, she was extremely rude! She actually said other people had said terrible things about her. I could understand, because she was so hateful to me, a newcomer. She changes her name a lot, so I suppose she gets a lot of complaints.

  • Ju
      7th of Jul, 2012
    +2 Votes

    It is so childish when people say things like "Why don't you start your own site?" That's like saying if your get a lemon of a car, "Why don't you build your own car?"

    Hey chinaberry25, not everyone is a website programmer, AND one shouldn't have to build their own website in order to get descent customer service.

  • Jk
      24th of Jul, 2013
    +2 Votes

    Looks like Tipton is selling it to Ancestry finally. Expect to see a lot of copyrighted photos and obits taken down if the sale goes through. Although he may let them "acquire" Findagrave so he can claim he did not sell the site. There are Findagrave police who hound people who dare to complain about the site. They are not police, but they act like FAQ nazis who do not have a problem if an admin or favored one breaks a FAQ, but will haunt you like a nightmare if you do.

  • Gi
      12th of Feb, 2015
    +2 Votes

    Something needs to be done with Find A. Grave its contributors are dropping out like fly's people attack them and Find A Gave many times sides with the attackers. thousands of the contributor's have shut off there message page or just quite all together WHY Find a Grave does not care about the contributor's that make them rich and let internet trolls siber abuse them . Just does not make since . Now that Ancestry owns it they need to clean house before it is completely ruined.

  • Ma
      22nd of Jan, 2017
    +2 Votes

    I have been booted, then had to beg to get back on, there are certain members who think they are cops and flood my email with "orders" to "fix" my memorials! I am about done with the childish behavior of the people in charge who don't even try to mediate.

  • Pa
      22nd of Mar, 2018
    +2 Votes

    It appears there exist just cause for a "Class-Action Lawsuit" to be brought against Find A Grave...They fear no one and no situation can block them. Ya can't go to the devil to complain about the devil..

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