St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 25, 2014– Missouri Steaks, a new door-to-door steak and seafood sales company with offices in Maryland Heights, Mo., appears to have ties to MoKan Steaks, a company with more than 35 customer complaints and an “F” rating with Better Business Bureau (BBB).
BBB is advising consumers to use caution if approached by sales representatives claiming to represent either MoKan or Missouri Steaks.
Several consumers have said that MoKan employees used high-pressure sales tactics, sold poor-quality food products and failed to issue refunds despite a three-day cancellation guarantee.
“I kept telling him I could not afford it,” a St. Louis County woman said, referring to a MoKan salesman. She said the salesman claiming to represent MoKan persuaded her last month to spend $190 on a box of meat. “I just wanted him to leave.”
The woman said she contacted the company within hours of the sale to cancel the order and get her money back, but she has received no refund. “I definitely learned my lesson,” she said.
Rick Morrison has identified himself as the current owner of two-month-old Missouri Steaks and said he formerly worked as a computer consultant and sales representative for MoKan.
Morrison said he bought trucks and equipment from MoKan four months ago, but he is operating the new business exclusively under the name Missouri Steaks. He said MoKan is no longer in business, even though Missouri Steaks has been selling products with the MoKan label after Morrison purchased excess MoKan product from a meat supplier.
BBB in St. Louis and Kansas City both have business reviews for MoKan Steaks. Both show an “F” rating, the lowest possible. Consumer complaints involving MoKan in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma describe high-pressure sales, overbilling, poor company communications and an unwillingness to issue refunds.
Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said that consumers approached by door-to-door meat sellers need to be very careful. “Buying meat from someone you do not know and may never see again can be a real gamble,” she said. “Never let anyone convince you to buy something you do not want.”
The St. Louis County consumer said she was approached at her home July 22 by a salesman claiming to be with MoKan Steaks. She said the salesman said he was at the end of his day and could offer her a good deal on meat. She said she told him several times that she did not have the money in her account to buy the meat, but ultimately agreed to buy a $190 box of steaks after the salesman told her she could write a post-dated check. The salesman also told her – and the same information was printed on her receipt – that she could cancel the order within three days and receive a refund.
When she contacted the salesman to cancel within hours of the purchase, she said the salesman told her he was turning the matter over to his boss, who would contact her. Despite several attempts to contact MoKan by phone and by letter, she has received no response.
Morrison said the salesman could not have been working for MoKan at the time of the July 22 sale because the company already was out of business. But the salesman told BBB that he worked for MoKan until he left the company on Aug. 8. He described Morrison as his boss with MoKan.
The salesman told BBB he notified Morrison of the $190 refund request, but Morrison told BBB he knew nothing about it.
Another former MoKan employee said he had worked for MoKan for about a year before leaving the company early last month. He said he knew Morrison as the head of MoKan and said that Missouri Steaks is simply a new name for the former MoKan.
Despite Morrison’s contention that MoKan and Missouri Steaks are independent companies, BBB also has learned that both have used identical phone numbers and both have used the same addresses in Grain Valley, Mo., and Maryland Heights.
Morrison is listed as the registrant, administrator and technical contact for the websites Mokansteaks.com and Missouristeaks.com.
Morrison said the companies are completely separate. “Any accusations from former contractors of MoKan should be taken with a grain of salt,” he said. Morrison said he has never had any ownership in MoKan.
Records with the Missouri secretary of state list Nina Yerina of Independence, Mo., as the registered agent and sole organizer of MoKan.
“We’re making a fresh start here,” Morrison said of the Maryland Heights operation. “We’re just getting up and running again,” he said. “I’m not going to lie to you; there was some bad management at MoKan.”
Several complainants said the quality of meat products from MoKan was substandard.
“The meat, you could not even choke down,” said a consumer from Holt, Mo. “The T-bone tasted awful.”
A customer from Scott City, Mo., asked for a refund on a portion of his $1,700 order, calling the fish “all slimy, like jellyfish.”
A consumer from Tulsa, Okla., said: “The product is terrible. (MoKan officials) have so much red tape and hurdles you have to jump through that it’s easier to keep the product and throw it in the trash rather than deal with these people.”
Both Missouri and Illinois have three-day right-to-cancel laws for door-to-door sales.
BBB offers the following advice to consumers approached by door-to-door salespeople:
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