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September 4, 2015

South Dakota Door-to-Door Meat Seller Agrees to Change Practices, Pay State $30,000

Miller alleges Rancher’s Pride violated Consumer Fraud Act

(DES MOINES, Iowa) A South Dakota-based door-to-door meat sales company agreed this week to change its sales practices and pay the state $30,000 in a settlement with Attorney General Tom Miller.

Following complaints that Iowa consumers filed with the Consumer Protection Division, Miller alleged that Rancher’s Pride LLC, of Harrisburg, violated Iowa’s Door-to-Door Sales Act by failing to provide consumers an oral and written notice of their right to cancel their purchase within three business days, and made false and deceptive statements about its products.

Through an agreement called an assurance of voluntary compliance, Rancher’s Pride agrees to follow Iowa’s Door-to-Door Sales Act. The agreement also forbids the company from making misrepresentations to consumers, including costs and fees. The company agrees to respond to future consumer complaints within ten days.

The payment will go to Iowa’s consumer education and litigation fund.

State Requires Vendor License, USDA Requires Product Labels
The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals requires door-to-door meat sellers to obtain a mobile food unit license. Consumers doing business with a door-to-door meat vendor should ask to see the vendor’s license. Consumers can check a vendor’s license status at https://food.iowa.gov or by calling the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals’ Food & Consumer Safety Bureau at 515-281-6538.

Before buying meat from a door-to-door vendor, consumers should look at the carton or package’s label. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspects all meat and poultry products, and the box or package of meat must bear the processing plant’s inspection number. Additionally, consumers should make sure the product label contains a statement of identity, the net weight of the product, and an ingredient statement if more than one ingredient is contained in the package.

While USDA inspections and inspection labels are mandatory, USDA meat grading, based on federal standards, is voluntary. For example, the highest beef grades are prime, choice and select. Lower grades, including standard, commercial, utility, cutter and canner, are ground or used in processed meat products.

Meat companies may choose their own quality label. However, consumers should ask about the comparable USDA grade.

Iowa’s Door-to-Door Sales Act
Iowa’s Door-to-Door Sales Act protects consumers who make purchases of $25 or more at a place other than the seller’s normal place of business -- at a consumer's door, for example, or at a tent sale, hotel conference, fairgrounds, etc. (the law does not apply to sales at stores).

Buyers have a right to cancel within three business days and receive a full refund within ten business days of the business receiving the cancellation notice.

Sellers must orally inform buyers of their right to cancel at the time of the sale, must provide two copies of the notice of the buyer's right to cancel, and must provide a receipt or copy of any contract pertaining to a door-to-door sale.

To file a consumer protection complaint:

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