Madisonville couple warns of scammer selling bad meat

Bill and Jean Randolph show

MADISONVILLE (WATE) – A couple in Madisonville says they’ve been scammed by a door-to-door salesman. They bought frozen food, but once they prepared it, they found the meat was bad.

Bill and Jean Randolph said they paid $1,000 for their order on March 11. They said the man who knocked on their door called himself Thomas Wiley, said he was from “Capital Meats” and was driving a box truck with the company’s logo on it.

Meat purchased from "Thomas Wiley."
Meat purchased from “Thomas Wiley.”

“They look great in the packaging, but when you open them up after they’re thawed that’s when you see the fat, the gristle that’s in them,” said Jean Randolph. She said it tasted bad and she couldn’t even cut the meat with a steak knife.

Labels show the meats were packaged at both Stephens City, Virginia and Westbury, New York, but Capital Meats is based out of Northern Virginia. Capitol Meats’ website says they do hire door-to-door salespeople who are independent contractors, but said they have no record of an independent contractor named Thomas Wiley being associated with their company.

Label from meat purchased from "Thomas Wiley."
Label from meat purchased from “Thomas Wiley.”

“I think we’ve been scammed. I think the guy was portraying himself as a salesman of Capital Meats,” said Jean Randolph. The Randolphs said they have called Wiley, but have not received an answer. Capital Meats said they are working diligently to get the complaint resolved.

Under Tennessee state law, the couple had three days to cancel their order, but that was back in March. While they can’t return the steaks, chicken and fish that is crammed into their freezer, the Randolphs said they would like reimbursement or retribution.

“I’d love to get my money back, but it’s not Capital Meats’ fault I don’t think,” said Jean Randolph. “I’d like to see this guy locked up, because he’s a scam artist.”

WATE 6 On Your Side has reported several times over the last decade that often the quality of frozen foods sold door-to-door is not what people expect. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports yearly it receives thousands of complaints from consumers about door-to-door meat and poultry dealers.

If you’re thinking about ordering meet from a door-to-door salesman, here’s what you need to know:

  • If you want to buy the food, ask for a brochure
  • Insist on having the phone number of hte packing company where the meat was inspected
  • Ask the salesperson to see his or her retail permit. If they are legitimate they will have one
  • Buy local, not from someone out of state, your chances of getting help are better if you have a problem

For a list of local companies, visit Pick Tennessee Products, a website created by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

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