My purchase was a really, really bad experience:
The experience I had with Saladmaster and their owner rated as one of the worst purchasing experiences I ever had. I say that, feeling that the product is second to none. The cookware is of the highest quality stainless steel, and the design and functionality cannot be beat; closely matched maybe, but you have to decide if the inflated costs justify buying it over a near-similar brand that performs just as good (waterless cooking). With that said, I soon found myself in an interesting predicament. I thought I’d play it through to see if I could shed some light on the integrity of the company itself. I was not impressed.
So here’s the story: My health provider (and friend) talked me into sitting through a cooking demonstration. (My first mistake.) Being that I was dealing with heavy metal issues I was primed to at least investigate the product. The ease of cooking (which I do little thereof) was impressive; the need for cookware that did not add heavy metal to my intake had my attention. So I purchased a smaller package. (My next mistake.) The next day I already had buyer’s remorse setting in. I do little cooking to begin with, and I noticed I was finding all kinds of justifications for purchasing the unit. Did I not learn years earlier not to buy from impulsive-marketing sales events enthusiastically plopped in your lap by friends? (Apparently not.) The next few weeks were agonizing. (Did I say “weeks”?) Yah . . . . weeks. The company never sent me the product that I purchased so quickly with my credit card. Wow! I forked over a significant amount of coin, and they forgot to ship the product . . . . “What?” So, I waited for three weeks. I wanted to see what Saladmaster would do, and if they indeed flubbed the sale, what would Saladmaster do in the way of customer service and customer satisfaction. Would they cheerfully recall the product, or would they do a song and dance to meet their bottom line (make a profit by all means)? I wanted to find out what was more important to them. In my estimation, this would test their integrity. I already decided to buck up and honor my contract if the product was received within a three week window. After that, maybe not. So, a couple days into the fourth work week, I registered a dispute with my credit card company to reverse the charges, cancelling the order. A week later (into the fifth work week after purchase) the product showed up at my front door, which was against the original purchase agreement. (The product was to be sent to the nearest courier hub; signature required.) At that point, I decided to call the “friend” who sold me the unit. She was shocked. She arranged for me to talk to one of the owners of the company the next day. What a phone call. There was no real apology for the mess; no real explanation (although, in the end, she blamed the factory for not shipping it promptly). But she did try to smooze things over with some impressive managerial-verbiage that amounted to “your still on the hook.” I insisted that since Saladmaster messed up, that it would be in the spirit of good business relations and customer service for them to recall the product and refund my money. I mean, Saladmaster dialed in my credit card payment within seconds of the purchase; whereas I was put on hold in receiving the product for almost a month? Even this owner said they had three work weeks to ship a product . . . . tracking numbers from the courier revealed they did not ship it until a couple days into the fourth work week. (Oooops on her.) So what did this owner do? She pulled out the purchase agreement and pointed out that I could return the items for a 25% restock charge. You remember that purchase agreement? It was the one that the sales-rep never pointed out, who never showed all the little entrapments in very small print. “Wow . . . such integrity,” I thought. (You all best read that fine print on the back of the purchase agreement if you ever do business with a Saladmaster sales-rep. Of course I later realized that the demonstration is designed to really keep you from seeing such things.) After the owner finished her song and dance, she suggested I turn the restocking fee into some of the product. Only, there were no deals available that they use in their initial presentation to get you to buy. I just wanted out of the entire mess, willing to pay the restock just to get this “stink” away from me and out of my life. I probably would have been successful fighting them by means of my credit card dispute, but that would take months. Already too much anxiety. So, in order to save at least a little face, I went with the offer, informing the owner that this was not a “win-win” as she labeled it, but a “lose-lose” outcome. I lose some self-respect for finding myself trapped in another bad life-experience-marketing-event; Saladmaster will lose customers when this grievance gets on the internet. But, “what the hey”, the bottom line ($$$) is what appears to be more important for Saladmaster. So, back to my “friend” who originally sold me the stuff. She introduced me to yet another package that was the best spend for meeting that restocking fine I would have to pay regardless. “What, there were lesser packages available you did not tell me about . . . . packages that would fit my cooking life-style and cooking level? You mean to say, I was over-sold to begin with?” I thought this person was a friend. Not so much not. I can only think that this friend was groomed and trained to shoot for the highest sale, rather than focusing on the customer’s best interests, according to their environment and skill level. And what happened when I sent the items back? Well, it took Saladmaster over 3 weeks to refund the difference once. Funny how my local hardware store can credit me back bring-backs within seconds.
I often rate such events with the feeling left in my gut (after all the smoke clears). Even though much of this mess was the result of my lack of diligence to challenge my “friend” and vet the company & product before reaching for my wallet, I find much of the lack-luster-integrity of Saladmaster in employing manipulative marketing tactics. Their absence of customer service as described above should tell anyone who reads this to be “Buyer beware!” And what how does my gut feel? Like someone kicked it. I feel victimized and embarrassed. If such drama is what you want in your life, then knock yourself out. Saladmaster would be eager to sell you a product that can be purchased for a third of their inflated prices from another company. And even though the product is high quality . . . . why not see what you can get off of eBay first . . . . for even less. Then visit the other waterless cookware companies. Just don’t sign anything until you are certain you are getting the best deal. And read the fine print on the back of that pink slip they have you sign once you relinquish your credit card. That pink slip is not an authorization to credit your credit card. It’s a binding contract. One that gives Saladmaster pretty much complete control.
Product or Service Mentioned: Saladmaster Cookware.
Reason of review: Order processing issue.