The City Attorney’s Office has filed a lawsuit against South Los Angeles funeral home for allegedly ignoring demands to bring their sales practices into compliance with state and federal law.
The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges Agape Funeral Home Inc. did not post mandatory pricing information on its website before it was taken down in October 2017, forcing consumers to obtain such information in person.
The city is asking that Agape be enjoined from its allegedly fraudulent business practices and that it be assessed civil penalties of up to $2,500 a day for each violation. A man who answered the phone at Agape said the funeral home may have a comment on the lawsuit later.
After consumers came to the funeral home, they were presented with “a menu of funeral packages calculated to result in a bigger total sale without first providing … the a la carte pricing for each funeral good and service offered,’’ the suit alleges.
Agape also has falsely told consumers appearing in person that embalming is required in all cases, according to the lawsuit.
The city has given Agape nearly a year to update its pricing practices and some improvements have been made, but the funeral home still does not maintain a current, accurate price list, the suit states.
An investigator from the City Attorney’s Office posed as a consumer and met with an Agape saleswoman in March 2017 and said she wanted to get funeral information for her dying grandfather, the suit states. Instead of being given a general price list, the investigator was told about three funeral service packages, including a cremation option for $850, the suit states.
Agape’s general price list only authorizes a $750 charge for the cremation package, according to the complaint.
Another investigator who met with another Agape saleswoman in April 2017 and said her mother was dying also was presented with a series of funeral service packages, the suit states. The saleswoman told the investigator that if she bought funeral services and goods a la carte, she would not benefit from the cost savings offered in the package deals, the suit states.
After the city sent a letter to the funeral home, a representative promised that corrections would be made, the suit states.
“This is something that has not happened before and we can assure you that it will not happen again,’’ the Agape representative wrote, according to the lawsuit.
However, two more undercover investigators who went to the funeral home in February were still not provided with a general price list or a casket cost list, the suit states. The prices they were quoted for the funeral service packages were higher than those shown on the printed lists, according to the complaint.