There are few things more pleasurable than a perfectly grilled steak, but the Cincinnati BBB warns consumers to be careful if you purchase your steaks from a certain door-to-door meat seller. US Beef has disappointed its consumers with its low quality meats and poor customer service.
US Beef, owned by Scott and Joey Traum sells boxes of assorted beef steaks, chicken, seafood and pork door-to-door. In the last year the business has not answered many of the complaints filed by consumers at BBB.
One of their consumers in Selma, Indiana bought $425 of their meat products and complained to BBB saying, “ The hamburger was nothing but fat and had no taste to it. The steaks were full of fat and gristle.” She tried to get US Beef to replace the meat since it says 100% satisfaction guarantee on their brochure, but the business wouldn’t return her calls.
Consumers are not only complaining about the quality of meat, they are claiming they were deceived by the business’s sales staff. An Elsmere, KY consumer claims he was told repeatedly by the salesperson that the box of meat he purchased for $125 would contain 35 pounds of meat. But when he weighed the box he found that it was only 17 pounds. The price he paid skyrocketed from $3.57 to $7.35 per pound. US Beef eventually returned his money, but that was after weeks of frustrating phone calls.
For some consumers, just returning the meat can be a nightmare. A Springfield, OH couple tells us they purchased frozen beef from the business and wanted immediately to return the products. They followed the instructions printed on the brochure exactly as they were written – by sending a certified letter to the business the day after the purchase stating that they wanted to cancel. After no answer from the business, they disputed the charges with their credit card company. But a short time later, US Beef posted another charge to their account. Fortunately, their credit card company was able to finally settle the matter and US Beef has not charged their credit card since.
US Beef has an F rating with BBB due to unanswered complaints and a pattern of pattern of complaints concerning product issues, refund or exchange issues and customer service issues. BBB invited the business to meet with us to discuss what they can do to improve their business practices. The business accepted our invitation, but canceled before we could meet. Our attempts to reschedule have not been answered.
When considering buying meat from a door-to-door salesman BBB recommends that consumers:
Do your research. Ask the salesmen for written material about the business and let them know you are going to research them first before doing business with them. Check the company’s Business Review with your BBB. Many communities have licensing and permit requirements for food vendors and for selling door-to-door; confirm with your city or county government that the seller is in line with the law.
Don’t fall for empty promises. The seller might claim to offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, but many complainants had no way to contact the seller if they were dissatisfied. Additionally, the seller might claim that the meat is a higher grade than it really is.
Never pay with cash. When paying by check or credit card you have at least some way to protect your money—such as canceling the check or reporting it as fraud to your credit card company. If you pay with cash and are dissatisfied, you’re at the mercy of the salesman.
Know your rights. If you decide to make a purchase, ask for a dated cancellation form and a dated receipt. Note that the Federal Trade Commission Cooling-Off Rule gives you three business days to cancel the purchase if you buy an item in your home or at a location that is not the seller’s permanent place of business. Saturday is considered a business day.
Report the bad guys. If you feel that you were ripped off by a door-to-door salesmen, file a complaint with your BBB. Also report any unlicensed salesmen to the appropriate city or county authorities.
Consumers with questions about purchasing meat can contact the USDA’S Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854.