Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Files Lawsuit Against R.G. Ortiz Funeral Home for Exploiting Grieving Families

NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga today announced that DCWP has filed a lawsuit against R.G. Ortiz Funeral Homes Inc. for exploiting grieving families by refusing to provide information regarding the whereabouts of their loved ones remains, misrepresenting or concealing the prices of services offered, failing to provide services that were paid for – in part because they routinely presented remains in unacceptable conditions – among many other violations of the City’s Consumer Protection Law. R.G. Ortiz operates eight locations in the Bronx and Manhattan, primarily targeting Spanish-speaking communities. DCWP’s lawsuit seeks restitution for consumers and civil penalties.

“The alleged violations by R.G. Ortiz Funeral Homes are appalling and unacceptable,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “No family in New York City should ever have to endure predatory treatment, especially during their time of grief and mourning. I am proud that our administration is moving swiftly to hold this business accountable, and I thank DCWP for pursuing justice for affected families.”

“Grieving the passing of a loved one can be the most challenging moment in our lives and no one should be exploited by predatory business practices during such a vulnerable time,” said DCWP Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. “R.G. Ortiz’s conduct has left dozens of bereaved families in limbo waiting for their loved ones’ remains – or worse – and we will not hesitate to hold them accountable for their exploitation of our neighbors. Anyone who has experienced similar deception by R.G. Ortiz Funeral Homes should reach out to us immediately.”

Since 2019, 48 consumers have submitted complaints detailing predatory and deceptive practices targeting individuals and families during their most vulnerable moments. DCWP launched an investigation, conducting interviews with dozens of consumers, in-person inspections of R.G. Ortiz’s locations, and undercover investigations.

“Burying a loved one is a difficult process and it is unacceptable to exploit grieving families,” said Council Member Julie Menin, Chair of the Committee of Consumer & Worker Protection. “The shameless conduct of this business, from failing to transport remains to forcing families to perform cosmetology services on deceased individuals, has resulted in significant harm. I commend the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection for filing a lawsuit against R.G. Ortiz over the many violations of the city’s Consumer Protection Law.”

Complaints allege egregious and illegal business practices, including:

  • Failing to provide services that were paid for – like transportation of remains as scheduled, custom prayer cards, or viewing rooms for services.
  • Failing to properly prepare remains for funeral services, allowing remains to significantly decompose, putting decedents’ clothes on backwards, or forcing families to do makeup for their deceased loved ones before services.
  • Misrepresenting the amount of time it would take to return cremated remains, often leaving grieving families waiting without any sense of what has happened to their loved one for several months or the ability to plan services honoring their life.
  • Mishandling or misplacement of remains, forcing consumers to sift through the remains of cremated individuals in storage rooms in order to locate their loved one’s ashes, or forcing consumers to have remains exhumed from public burial sites because R.G. Ortiz never collected remains from the medical examiner’s office.

Consumers who were deceived or exploited by R.G. Ortiz Funeral Homes are encouraged to visit or call 311 and say “R.G. Ortiz” to file a complaint.

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