Conscientious Consumer

Apr 19, 2017

To the Editor:

Have you ever purchased something that was defective or misrepresented? Isn’t it a wise choice to contact the manufacturer when possible?

I have a 2-inch file of letters and replies written over a period of 50 years to companies. Some of the situations were serious and in that case I would seek out a telephone number and call the company to alert them to a potential recall of a product. For the most part, I get 99.9 percent cooperation with customer service agents.

Last week I contacted such a company by phone because I purchased a package of ricotta and spinach tortellini. It was prepared according to directions and the pasta around the filling was wonderful. Unfortunately, the fillings were little balls I would describe as “stones.”

It wasn’t a piece of cake to contact this company as the product was made in Italy and the company only had a website on the package. The barcode was easy to read and there was an expiration date of Dec. 19, 2017, so I knew it wasn’t outdated. After quite a long wait on hold, the customer service agent shared with me that he had had only three or so complaints similar to mine. After taking my name and address I asked him if he wanted the local supermarket name where this product was purchased and he replied “no.” He explained that apparently there wasn’t a health hazard requiring the removal of these tortellini stones from the shelf. And then he hung up on me!

I did my part, folks. I won’t buy any of these tortellini stones from any store anywhere. But if more people would take a few minutes to contact customer service departments, we would all keep defective and misrepresented items off our shelves.

I also have a good percentage of letters in that file praising companies for products that exceeded my expectation. It’s all about the tone in one’s voice or on paper!

Phyllis Miller

Surf City



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