Couple unhappy with door-to-door salesman's frozen beef

Couple unhappy with door-to-door salesman's frozen beef

"This stuff here is supposed to be tender fat. I mean, you can't even cut through it. We couldn't chew it, it had no flavor.," Pat Johnson says. "This stuff here is supposed to be tender fat. I mean, you can't even cut through it. We couldn't chew it, it had no flavor.," Pat Johnson says.

May 21, 2007

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- To help lower costs, many families buy food, such as meat, in bulk. But a couple who recently bought bulk meat from a door-to-door salesman found the quality is poor and the company says it's not responsible.

Pat Johnson has pieces of frozen beef she and her husband, Wilfred Johnson, recently bought from a salesman for Smoky Mountain Meats. "These, I guess, are supposed to be the rib eye."

The Johnsons paid $350 in April for the beef but they're not happy with it. "I think it's some kind of grass-fed beef. It's not a very high quality beef," says Wilfred, who used to be a meat cutter.

The couple has bought frozen food in bulk before. A label that comes with the beef says, "100 percent guaranteed for tenderness." 

The Johnsons figured with a full guarantee, there was nothing to lose.

But after she cooked some of the beef, Pat says, "This stuff here is supposed to be tender fat. I mean, you can't even cut through it. We couldn't chew it, it had no flavor."

The door-to-door salesmen for Smoky Mountain Meats have freezers in their pick-ups for immediate delivery.

Pat says she called the local manager, T.J., about 10 days ago and told she was dissatisfied with their purchase.

T.J. says he doesn't remember talking with the Johnsons. However, "He promised me faithfully he'd call on Monday and come out and look at it. But I've not heard a word from them," Pat says. 

Another local salesman for Smoky Mountain Meats tells 6 On Your Side, "Maybe they didn't like the steaks." But he adds, "That doesn't change the fact of our product."

The salesmen say ordinarily, they'd exchange the Johnson's purchase. It's written on their trucks, the 100 percent guarantee pledge.

But the fine print on the guarantee says the independent contractor is responsible for the sale, not the company, Smoky Mountain Meats.

6 On Your Side was told by the regional manager that the Johnson's salesman was recently fired.

"So Anthony no longer works for you?" 6 On Your Side asks. "Anthony no longer works for us so therefore, we can't guarantee the product. I'm sorry," T.J. says. 

The Johnsons say they're sorry they ever did business with the company. They say a few of the men they spoke with on the phone didn't sound very professional. And the meat? They'll throw it away.

"If I can't eat it myself, I wouldn't want to give it to someone," Pat says. 

Some door-to-door meat vendors provide excellent food. But not every company provides quality cuts.

Still there's the "guarantee" right? What you should do is make sure the company guarantees the quality, not the independent contractor, who may not be in business the next day.

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