BOISE -- Its barbecue season and you might be looking for alternatives to buy your meat. You might have heard about a door-to-door meat delivery service, but always wondered how safe it could be.
Local family says they were pressured into buying high-priced meats
KTVB received an email from a local family who says they fell prey to HomeMeatmarket.com, a door-to-door meat vendor. The viewers told KTVB that the seller told the family that if he didn't sell the meat tonight he would be charged for it by his business.
According to the Better Business Bureau they get complaints about this type of business on a regular basis. In fact, in the last three years there have been nearly 20 complaints against this particular vendor.
Online, the BBB writes, "On September 30, 2011, BBB recognized a pattern of complaints from consumers alleging products purchased are misrepresented in quality. Consumers further allege that until they contact BBB, they are unable to receive a refund or exchange from the company."
Problems with door-to-door meat vendors
The BBB says sometimes with meat vendors only some of the meat is good quality, and others are not. Usually, the lower quality meat is found at the bottom of the delivery boxes.
"Meat is often in smaller packages, often times its unmarked, they don't know what it is. The time they get to the very bottom, they are completely confused about what they just bought because it looks nothing like that top layer," Dale Dixon of the Better Business Bureau said.
Home Meatmarket response
Josh Kollar, regional manager for Home Meatmarket returned KTVB's calls and emails about the complaint late Wednesday night.
"We respond to all BBB complaints.... I couldn't fathom how many times people will respond to the BBB before they call us," he said. "I think any business deals with a capacity of complaints. That's just the nature of any business."
Kollar says they do not get many complaints about salespeople and their tactics. He also says in the food industry complaints can often be subjective.
"We take pride in taking care of our customer services," Kollar said. "It's unfortunate there are businesses that have given this industry a bad name."
Be a step ahead
If you want to avoid door-to-door sales pitches, the police department says anyone can put up a "No Solicitors" sign, and legally, it must be honored.
"If you have a 'No Solicitor' sign on your premises and someone still knocks, politely ask them to leave of course. If they don't, get their solicitor license number, if they have one, and report them to the city clerk, who will take action," said Lynn Hightower with Boise Police Department.
Also, the BBB offers these tips on looking at meat vendors:
"What is the level of transparency the business has? Are you able to look through the box and see exactly what kind of meat you are getting? Is it labeled? Is it USDA inspected?" Dixon said. "All of those things and then can you go online and independently verify that this company has a good reputation for it's meat sales. If you can't do those things easily and quickly then its probably best that you go find a better place to buy the product."
He also has three important steps to making sure you are getting a good deal form a vendor,
1) Do they have a solicitors permit from the city clerks office? You can ask the vendor to show proof of permit any time.
2) Check out their business with Better Business Bureau at http://snake-river.bbb.org/ Make sure to look at the businesses rating and reputation.
3) Ask the vendor about the return policy, just in case you don' t like what you get and want to return it.
Getting a refund
If you do regret buying something from a salesperson at your home or a place that's not the seller's permanent place of business, the BBB says the Federal Trade Commission's three-day "Cooling Off Rule" lets you cancel purchases over $25. The company must refund within 10 days.
Kollar says they do honor that law. The viewers who told KTVB about this story said they had contacted the company for a refund, and were told they could arrange for a pick-up and refund though that had not happened as of publication.