(HAMILTON, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced a lawsuit against US Beef Cincinnati LLC for misrepresenting its products and failing to notify consumers of their right to cancel.
“We found that this company aggressively solicited consumers at their homes and misrepresented the quality of the meat it offered for sale,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Some consumers spent hundreds of dollars on meat they later found to be inedible. We’re seeking refunds for affected consumers and an end to any violations of Ohio’s consumer laws.”
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office currently is aware of 22 unresolved complaints against the company, and reported losses total about $5,300. Many of the consumers are elderly.
On Nov. 10, the Miami County Sheriff’s Office responded to two complaints of a white male selling meat door-to-door in the Fletcher area. The man was not located by authorities. The male was last seen driving a black Dodge pick-up truck.
According to the Attorney General’s lawsuit, filed in the Butler County Common Pleas Court, US Beef misrepresented the amount or weight of the meat products it sold to consumers, failed to honor its guarantees about the products’ freshness and taste, ignored consumers’ complaints, and failed to give consumers notice of their right to cancel a door-to-door sale.
The lawsuit accuses US Beef Cincinnati LLC and owner Joey Lightcap Traum with violating Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and Home Solicitation Sales Act.
Attorney General DeWine offered consumers the following tips for handling door-to-door sales:
— Understand your cancellation rights. In Ohio, you generally have three days to cancel a contract that results from a door-to-door sale. The seller must notify you about your right to cancel.
— Research a company’s reputation before signing a contract or providing any payment information. Check for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and conduct a basic Internet search with the company’s name and words like “reviews” and “complaints.”
— Talk to your neighbors. If a salesperson claims to have sold products to someone in your neighborhood, ask your neighbors whether the claims are true and find out about their experiences with the seller.
— Get information in writing. Before signing an agreement, ask for detailed written information about your cancellation rights, the refund policy, and the payment schedule.
— Trust your instincts. If an offer seems too good to be true, or if you feel uncomfortable, don’t sign the agreement.
Consumers who suspect unfair or deceptive practices should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.