Better Business Bureau issues warning about door-to-door meat sales

Strongsville couple unable to get a refund

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio - Rosemarie Guta never thought she'd be the victim of an impulse buy. Guta purchased two dozen steaks from the Great American Steak Company in June, after a sales team came to her Strongsville home.

Now she's doing everything she can to get a refund.

Guta told NewsChannel5 the door-to-door salesman pressured her into buying $185 worth of frozen steaks, even though she kept insisting her refrigerator didn't have enough room.

"He told me 'we have these great deals on these steaks,'" explained Guta.  "He said 'let me see your freezer, and I'll see how much room. So like a dumb bunny I did, I took him down and showed him the freezer, and he was like 'look you go a lot of room.'"

Guta reports the steaks weren't even labeled, and she didn't realize she made a bad buy until she put a few the steaks on her grill three weeks later.

"So we did try two of them and we were like, "these aren't so good,'" said Guta. "Then we tried two more, and we said 'these really aren't so good.' So then we called the BBB."

Guta showed NewsChannel5, and the Cleveland Better Business Bureau, there was a written guarantee on the receipt given to her by the salesman after the purchase.

But Guta claims all her phone calls to the company for a refund produced no results.

"Oh we've called the company several times, as did the Better Business Bureau, and they would not even answer the phone."

NewsChannel5 tried to reach the sales team, and Great American Steak Company headquarters, to get the other side of the story.

Buzz Elliot, President of the Prepared Foods Division of American Foods Group told NewsChannel5 that the sales team that approached Mrs.Guta was not from his company.

The team that sold Mrs. Guta steaks was not authorized to use the Great American Steak Company name.

Mr. Elliot issued the following statement:

I appreciate you contacting me about Rosemarie Guta’s story and her unfortunate experience purchasing meat from a door-to-door salesman.  I can absolutely assure that the products purchased by Ms. Guta are not American Foods Group’s Great American™ brand steaks. 

We are continuing to investigate this matter, but we can confirm that this salesman has no affiliation with American Foods Group, LLC, or any of its related companies.  This salesman is not an authorized purchaser or distributor of our Great American™ line of products, nor do we permit door-to-door sales of our products. Our Great American™ brand products are found in the freezer case at many grocery chains around the country.

We take the utmost pride in the quality of our products, and we take all consumer complaints very seriously, even those not produced by us.  We are looking into the steps we can take to stop this unauthorized and illegal use of our brand.  We hope our efforts will help Ms. Guta get reimbursed for meat she purchased.  

Cleveland BBB Vice President Sue McConnell reports the sales team was operating without the proper health department permit, and was not licensed for door-to-door sales in the city of Strongsville.

McConnell warns consumers to look for the "red flags" before making an impulse door-to-door buy.

"Look at their receipt in their literature is there a name of the company, an address, a phone number," said McConnell. "If you call that phone number, does anybody answer, or do you just get an answering machine?" Is there a three day right to cancel on that receipt? Look at the meat, is it labeled, does it look good?"

NewsChannel5 and newsnet5.com will continue to follow-up on this developing story.

Guta has one final warning when it comes to door-to-door sales teams.

"Give yourself at least one day to think about it.," said Guta. "Don't buy anything from any truck that pulls up in front of your yard."

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