Gephardt: Delayed Shipments, Silence Frustrate Customers Of Utah Food Storage Supply Company
SPANISH FORK, Utah – As more Utahns shop online during the COVID-19 pandemic, the surge has left some businesses struggling to keep up with orders. But customers of a food storage supply company based in Utah County are beyond frustrated, saying no one will talk to them about the delays or how to get their money back.
Shipping delays can cost businesses a whole lot more than just bad reviews.
Remember all that panic buying at the start of the outbreak? It alarmed Sue Anne Rood, and she ordered $500 worth of dried foods to have on hand for emergency use.
“There was so much, hoarding – you know, going into the stores and just taking everything off the shelves,” Rood recounted.
Rood placed her order of dry milk and freeze-dried vegetables on MyFoodStorage.com, a Spanish Fork-based retailer. She said she was told to expect shipment in two to four weeks.
That was early April. When June rolled in and still no shipment had arrived, she called My Food Storage. And called. And called.
“I only got through two times of all the times I called, which I tried calling, maybe, about 20 times,” Rood said.
She said they blamed the delays on the pandemic itself and then told her it was due to the nationwide meat shortage.
“I thought that didn’t make sense, but I thought I would give them the benefit of the doubt, a little bit,” Rood said.
She finally got her milk in July, but she wanted her money back for the undelivered veggies. But at that point, Rood said My Food Storage stopped returning her calls and messages. In online reviews, she found she wasn’t alone.
“And everybody was saying the same thing,” Rood explained. “That they just shut down. They weren’t responding. They weren’t talking.”
She was one of 65 customers who filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau.
“Up to $2,000 are the complaints that we’ve received,” said Jane Rupp, president and CEO of the Utah BBB. “So it’s a lot of money that people aren’t getting a product for or getting a refund.”
Rupp said that when a company goes dark and doesn’t respond to its customers, it effectively takes refunds off the table. That’s against federal law.
“The FTC mail order rule says if you have a timeframe listed on your website or you give a timeframe to your consumer – if you can’t meet that, you need to let them know,” Rupp explained. “And you need to give them the option to cancel. So, they are not meeting that rule from the Federal Trade Commission.”
KSL-TV called My Food Storage and we sent them a message through their website, and we didn’t hear back. But we did connect through their Facebook page, and they explained they got slammed with orders when the pandemic erupted.
And while they declined to talk about what happened on camera, they sent a statement that reads in part, “We’ve never run into anything that’s disrupted the supply chain as much as COVID-19.” And “at this moment we are just about caught up on all orders” and “we are issuing refunds when asked.”
As far as its communication, a spokesperson for My Food Storage said it has hired more people and now responds to emails in one-to-two business days.
Rood got her money back after her bank stepped in. She said going forward, she’ll do more research into an unfamiliar company before doing business with them.
“I really didn’t thoroughly check them out and I should have,” Rood reflected. “Even when I placed the order, there were a few reviews that would have sent up some red flags.”
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