I'm not sure if I'm posting this on the right board, but this was the nearest board I could find for providing a review of an on-line food supplier.
I am writing about ExoticMeatMarket.com which offers a wide array of meat products from commonly used meats like lamb, beef, and pork to alligator, ostrich, and kangaroo. I was interested in ordering suckling pig and since they had such a wide inventory, I wound up ordering a few other items to the tune of nearly $400.
The company said that that they send out orders through overnight shipping and that these orders are mailed out on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. My initial order was made on a Saturday, so I knew nothing would happen over the weekend. I expected receiving a UPS tracking number on Monday but Monday came and went and the only thing that happened was ExoticMeatMarket.com debited my PayPal account. When no tracking number was received on Tuesday, I finally emailed the company to learn the status of my order and I got a curt, "We're out of stock for some of these items" reply. The reply did not indicate whether the order would eventually be fulfilled or when it might be fulfilled or whether I'd get a refund ... so I wrote again and asked. I got another short reply that promised a refund ... and that's when my problem with this company began.
I never got a refund.
When I asked AGAIN about my refund and pointed out that the company had debited my account without giving me anything in exchange, the owner complained about my attitude. He said that I was "dangerous" to the "on-line retail business" and that he was going to black list me with other vendors. He told me that he was offended by my tone and because of "seller's rights," he reserved the right to not sell me anything and he was keeping my payment because I had hurt his feelings. He told me that if I wanted my money back, I would have to sue him.
When I wrote back to tell him that keeping my money without giving me my order constituted mail fraud and theft and that I would file complaints with local, state, and Federal authorities if he didn't issue my refund, he dared me to do my worse ... and so I did.
I blasted him on Yelps. I contacted his municipal police department to see if I could file criminal charges. I filed a complaint with the California State Attorney general to allege theft and fraud. I filed a complaint with the Federal Department of Justice since they have a fraud division. I also filed complaints with California's Better Business Bureau and the local Chamber of Commerce.
Yelps was really interesting. Customers seem divided between loving this company and hating it. Most of the negative reviews came from people like myself who had made on-line purchases. The customers who liked this company were Californians who lived in the local area. I suspect that the reason they didn't have problems was because they only paid for items that they could physically buy. They weren't asked to fork over money while receiving nothing in exchange.
I contacted the police through an on-line complaint form and was told that someone had called the owner to discuss my concerns. I don't know what happened but the owner emailed to tell me that he'd be giving me a refund ... but as with the previous promise, no refund was ever made.
Complaints made through the Better Business Bureau, the State Attorney General's office, and the DOJ are still being investigated.
To get my money back, I filed a complaint with PayPal who promptly sent this to mediation. In mediation, the vendor said again that he'd refund me ... but 3 weeks went by without a refund and to their credit, PayPal finally debited the store's account.
To those of you who make on-line purchases, I would like to offer kudos to PayPal which offers buyers some measure of purchase protection. I also like Amazon which has excellent customer service.
If I had purchased these food items using a credit card, I'd be up the proverbial creek because most credit card companies won't go to bat for their customers over disputed payments.