The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
has an alert about door-to-door meat salespeople and home food service plans.
While some of these food companies provide a valuable
service to their customers, a number of them have misled consumers and may sell
food at two or three times the price found in local stores.
In the case of door-to-door meat sellers, they have used
these untrue sale pitches:
Sometimes these untrue statements are broadcast in radio
commercials and attract hundreds of buyers looking for a bargain.
Peddlers often say the meat is “restaurant quality.”
Consumers should know that “restaurant quality” does not mean the meat is USDA
Prime or USDA Choice – the higher grades for quality given by the federal
government. The meat is inspected at the packing plant for wholesomeness by the
USDA and may be used from these sellers by some restaurants, but this is no
assurance of quality. Meat can be wholesome but at the same time be of low
quality. Some consumers say that after removing the meat from the plastic wrap,
it appears to be thinly sliced. Some cuts are so thin they may burn up on the
Sellers may not give price per pound. When consumers are not
told price per pound, it becomes difficult for them to compare it in cost with
meat sold locally in grocery stores. After one salesman left, a consumer found
out that they were charged over four times what it would have cost at their
Food service plans deliver food to families on a regular
basis and often provide a freezer.
Some representatives say the food they provide costs about
the same, or a little more, than food purchased in grocery stores. However, it
can cost twice as much. Consumers have complained about quality and say they
were not told price per pound.
If consumers do not know price per pound, it will be hard to
tell what kind of deal they are getting.
People purchasing food service plans often are signed up for
finance plans. This means that families are paying for food on time and paying
interest. Later, consumers ask themselves why they are buying food on time when
it is available at the grocery store in smaller, fresher quantities that can be
purchased without going into debt.
Consumers are vulnerable in their homes because sales people
may take advantage of their hospitality. Our advice:
ask for price per pound and compare with food advertised in the paper.
yourself if you really want to go into debt to buy food.
without getting a receipt with the company’s name and address.
transaction is over $25 or involves credit, make sure the seller provides you
with two copies of your Three Day Right to Cancel.
the USDA grade of meat. If it is ungraded, you have no way of determining
see the Food seller’s license from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture,
Trade and Consumer Protection.