Is that steak you bought from the door-to-door salesman as good as he claims? More than a dozen customers of a meat company in Salem claim what they paid for isn't what was promised.
By opening the door, Dorothy O'Dell opened herself up to a whole lot of regret.
"Would I ever do it again? I shouldn't have the fist time," says O'Dell.
In August, she says two sales representatives were going door to door selling what they advertised as quality meat. She spent $225.
"It was filet mignon and t-bone. Those are the two that I tried," says O'Dell.
After cooking up a few pieces O'Dell says the meat was tough, not at all the restaurant quality she thought she paid for. She says she contacted the company, USA Gourmet in Salem. On the brochure it clearly states, no refunds, only exchanges. O'Dell says they didn't even do that.
"Every complaint we contact them at least three times," says Julie Wheeler, President & CEO of the Better Business Bureau.
In the last three years the BBB reports there have been more than 20 complaints against USA Gourmet.
"Particularly when you're talking about a relatively small company, that is a lot of complaints, and then what makes it worse is that they're not responding or taking care of the customer," says Wheeler.
One customer told the BBB, she left messages for the meat company and "still no return call." Another wrote, "Meat was guaranteed tender, and the first sample was full of gristle." Another customer says, "All I am getting is bad service and excuses for the past month and I am out $350."
We took all of these complaints to USA Gourmet's owner Charles Duff. While it's his business, all of his employees - about a dozen - are contracted. He says two of them, which he fired a few months ago, are the ones who are giving his company a bad name.
"They were misrepresenting me and just doing whatever they had to do to make sale and then when we had a customer complain about them, I would give them the customer complaint. They would assure me they took care of it, they never took care of it," say Duff.
He says ultimately however, he's responsible for making sure customers are satisfied and told WDBJ7, he is still willing to exchange any bad product. He says he is aware of the BBB's complaints and again, thought it was handled by his contractors.
"I'm human you know and I have a lot on my plate you know. I'm not trying to mislead people or anything," says Duff.
Duff says for every complaint, he is confident he has 50 customers who would testify to the quality of his product. His clientele he says numbers several thousand. Duff says some of the problem is also in how people cook the meat, particularly a steak. He says they can't keep flipping itover several times or the results will be poor.
As for allegations some salesman are passing themselves off as representatives for Omaha Steaks, USA Gourmet's owner says those were the former employees doing that. He also says not everything is 100% USA made in his inventory as advertised. The steaks and beef are from the U.S., he says but some of the seafood is imported.