Every summer, the Better Business Bureau receives complaints from consumers who purchased meat from door-to-door sellers and were dissatisfied with the quality or even claim to have gotten food poisoning.For example, the BBB in Denver issued a warning recently about mounting complaints against Skyline Steak and Seafood Company. Customers spent an average of $185 on different kinds of meat, poultry and/or fish. Consumers have described the products as being “inferior quality,” “tainted,” “not edible,” “old and freezer burnt,” and “drowned in salt and preservatives.” Some consumers also claimed to have gotten sick from the meat and one consumer described it as tasting “like chlorine.”
Other common complaints to the BBB against door-to-door meat sellers include claims that the customer received less meat than he or she paid for, the seller didn’t have correct permits to sell food door to door, and the seller failed to stand by the promised satisfaction guarantee.
When considering buying meat from a door-to-door seller, the BBB recommends that consumers:
- Do your research. Ask the seller for written information about the company and check the company with your area BBB. Make sure the seller has the required licenses and permits.
- Don’t fall for empty promises. The seller might claim to offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, but many consumers who filed BBB complaints had no way to contact the seller if they were dissatisfied. In additional, the seller may claim that the meat is a higher grade than it actually is.
- Never pay with cash. If you pay with a check or credit card, you can cancel the check or report the transaction as fraud to your credit card company.
- Know your rights. If you decide to make a purchase, ask for a dated cancellation form and a dated receipt. The Federal Trade Commission Cooling-Off Rule gives you three business days to cancel the purchase.
- Report the bad guys. If you think a door-to-door seller ripped you off, file a complaint with your Better Business Bureau and the state Attorney General’s Office. Also report any unlicensed sellers to city or county officials.
For more information on smart purchasing decisions, visit www.bbb.org/us/consumer-tips-product-purchasing/.
Copyright 2010, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist