Money Makeover — Collecting The Refund

Confession time.  This year, as you know, we have been reigning in excessive spending, making do, cutting costs, etc.  And I have been controlling the grocery spending by cooking from scratch, a habit I kinda sorta got out of a little bit.  Then we strayed.  Just for a moment, but we strayed.  Mea culpa.  We have recovered, but there is a story here with a lesson.

We have a friend who took a job at a local company called Natural Home Foods, aka Milk2You, aka NPM Management, Inc.  The service is home delivery foods, mostly frozen meats, with various packages available, as well as optional freezer maintenance, etc.  We were very careful, but after running the numbers and picking our jaws up off the floor, we thought about it more.  The rationale was that I would actually know the cost of (much of) our monthly food bill, and it would be delivered and stocked in the freezer and pantry for me.  That was my button right there.  I love to shop, and get deals — no, really, I do 🙂 — but the hauling and lugging and stocking is not fun with my arthritis.

Yes [hanging head low], we signed up.  We made the required, refundable $95.00 deposit, and scheduled the delivery for the following Tuesday.  Mea maxima culpa.

Our friend said the sales force was not informed of the details of the “extended payment plan,” and someone would be contacting us about those details.  We had 72 hours (three business days) to rescind our contract.  There was a weekend (two non-business days) in there, too, which worked to our advantage.  That Monday, after 5 pm, we received a phone message from a guy at a bank, saying the man who we learned was the sales manager wanted him to contact us about our tax-deductible loan account.  Since the only tax-deductible loan accounts are home mortgages, that was not going to happen.  Oh, HECK no!

I called our friend to express concern and get clarification, but he informed me he couldn’t help because he had left the company.  He advised me whom to contact, immediately, and reminded me (in a caring, friend manner, but without being unprofessional in any way) that we had just a few hours left to rescind.  We decided, and I immediately contacted the appropriate person by phone message and email.

Mr. Fees of Natural Home Foods showed up at my door, unannounced, Tuesday morning.  I was unavailable, and did not answer the door, but heard the bell ring.  He called me later to tell me he had dropped by and to discuss our decision.  I told him several times I did not want to discuss it, just to cancel the contract, which we had done.  He wanted to know my reasons, which I did not want to discuss, and which he was not entitled to know.  We were abruptly disconnected after he made an exasperating noise.

Our deposit check had already been cashed at that point, and the money withdrawn from our account, so I requested a refund.  We realized this could be an expensive lesson, and drew our line in the sand where we would walk away.  After several more requests and promises to send the refund right away, I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau mostly to make other consumers aware.  Mr. Fees or the company did not respond to the BBB on this claim.  He responded to me, several days after the BBB notified him, stating he would send it out that day.  He did not.

But!  I finally did receive the refund check (written several days after promised, and postmarked days after that).  The check has cleared.  And now this sad experience is over.

The lesson (many, really, but the main one for me):  When you get confident in your progress toward goals, don’t let the lure of convenience deter you.  We didn’t sign up because the sales guy was our friend; we signed up because it would be “easy” for me.  But when the bells and red flags appeared (after business hours on the last day, as intended, I’m  sure), reality slapped me in the face.

The best things to do in a case like this is admit to yourself that you messed up, find a way out, and pursue resolution.  Know when to cut your loss, and move on.

We’re now back on track with the budget process, and very glad our deposit was eventually refunded, three and a half months later.  That’s going to help very much with other recent expenses.

Be aware, people!  Just be aware.

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