Consumer Agency Sues R.G. Ortiz Funeral Home For Exploiting Grieving Families

April 29, 2024

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..

They are being sued 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 is 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:


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  • 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 nyc.gov/DCWP or call 311 and say “R.G. Ortiz” to file a complaint.

The investigation was handled by Staff Counsel Kaitlin Kontyko, under the supervision of Associate General Counsel Kristen Dusseau and Deputy General Counsel Melissa Iachán of the General Counsel Division, which is led by DCWP’s General Counsel Michael Tiger.

The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP)—formerly the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)—protects and enhances the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. DCWP licenses more than 45,000 businesses in more than 40 industries and enforces key consumer protection, licensing, and workplace laws that apply to countless more. By supporting businesses through equitable enforcement and access to resources and, by helping to resolve complaints, DCWP protects the marketplace from predatory practices and strives to create a culture of compliance. Through its community outreach and the work of its offices of Financial Empowerment and Labor Policy & Standards, DCWP empowers consumers and working families by providing the tools and resources they need to be educated consumers and to achieve financial health and work-life balance. DCWP also conducts research and advocates for public policy that furthers its work to support New York City’s communities. For more information about DCWP and its work, call 311 or visit DCWP at nyc.gov/dcwp

Photo credit: NYC.gov.


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