CHARLESTON -- Attorney General Darrell McGraw announced Feb. 5 that his office has reached a settlement with a door-to-door seller of frozen meat.
Mr. Meats and Bill Parsons, individually and doing business as Mr. Meats, agreed to pay $15,000 in civil penalties and restitution for consumers, as well as hand over the vehicles they used in their unlawful business practices. Mr. Meats is also permanently banned from engaging in door-to-door sales of any kind in the state of West Virginia.
Mr. Meats, located in Nitro, was selling frozen meat and seafood door-to-door in neighborhoods throughout Kanawha County. Consumers complained that when they opened the packages to cook the meat, it was of poor quality or completely inedible.
In some instances, sellers misrepresented the kinds of meat being sold, and delivered a product of much lower value than what consumers had been led to believe they were buying. All of the sales were illegal, because neither the company nor any of its employees had a food handling permit issued by the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department. The company also failed to notify consumers of their three-day right to cancel home solicitation sales and refused to refund any money to consumers who complained or tried to cancel the sale.
Finally, Mr. Meats would always threaten to charge consumers an unlawful $50 returned-check fee.
The AG's office has received 28 complaints against Mr. Meats. One elderly consumer complained that after he purchased Mr. Meats' products, the salesperson returned to his home claiming his check had bounced. However, after writing a second check for over $400, he learned that both checks had been cashed in a ploy to double the salesperson's commission. When the consumer tried to obtain a refund, his request was denied.
"The sale of unsafe food products will not go unnoticed," McGraw said in a press release. "Consumers should be very careful of businesses selling perishable food products door-to-door."