Good to the Last Drop…and a Cautionary Tale

What kind of coffee do you drink? Having been born and raised in the Seattle area, of course you get inundated with all kinds of different kinds of coffee – the two biggest Coffee Giants are of course Starbucks and Seattle’s Best Coffee (aka SBC). Daily runs to Starbucks to get my favorites and try new variations were a common thread amongst myself and my friends. When I moved to Pennsylvania, I went through withdrawals because they didn’t have any Starbucks here at all. Over the last 5 years or so, they’ve finally opened some Starbucks locations here, but the first ones were quite a drive from where I lived, so it never became ‘habit forming’ again for me…which is probably a good thing, especially after deciding to stay home with our Miracle Baby and do that Stay At Home Mom thing! πŸ˜‰ Every so often I still indulge, especially since they built a new Target fairly close to me, and have a Starbucks there. But now it’s a special treat for me, rather than a regular gig.

Instead, my hubby and I use a coffee press to make our daily coffee – we were introduced to those when we were visiting a colleague of his in San Francisco years ago, saw them at Starbucks and each bought one to bring back with us. They made regular boring coffee taste rich and satisfying! πŸ˜‰ I hadn’t paid too much attention to the kinds of coffee available in the grocery store, because I had all types of delicious coffee available to me in Seattle. But here in ‘Small Town America’, the choices were slim. I bought the brand ‘Chock full o’Nuts’ once, because my hubby said that’s the coffee his parents drank. I only made one pot of that. Couldn’t stand it. The majority of friends out here seem to prefer Folgers, so I drank that, but still missed my Starbucks, so I’d order beans online every so often as a special treat.

Then of course I got suckered into the whole Gevalia thing – their coffee is great, their cost is not. πŸ˜‰ We drink lots of coffee, but certainly not enough to warrant paying for that membership, plus we weren’t finishing the coffee before the next shipment came so we were starting to collect quite the stockpile of coffee. So we went back to Folgers. Then Maxwell House went on sale, and I decided we might as well try that. I was surprised at how good it was – I mean, I had seen the ‘Good to the Last Drop’ commercials (and some of them were very creative!) but always assumed that ‘old people’ drank Maxwell House. Of course, that mindset should also apply to Folgers, but I hadn’t really thought of it that way. So Maxwell House ended up being our coffee choice for home brewing, though I would still buy Folgers when it was on sale. πŸ˜‰

Then earlier this month I stumbled across ‘Seattle Coffee Direct’, they were offering a sample pack of 2 12 oz. bags of their gourmet coffee, plus you would get 2 stainless steel travel mugs, 1 set of Ceramic Mugs and 2 Coffee Roasts. They touted their offer as 5 for $5 each:

My inner voice told me that it was silly to spend $25 on 1-1/2 pounds of gourmet coffee – but I thought maybe it would be a really delicious coffee, and I could get the travel mugs with ‘Seattle’ on them to remind me of home. The portion of the ‘fine print’ I paid the most attention to is in red:

Shipping Info

  • Your initial order will be shipped to you within 10 days of your ordering. Please wait at least 2 weeks from order placement to receive your initial order. The total cost of your initial order will be $25.00. There is no additional charge for shipping. Cancel anytime by calling us at 888-217-CAFE.
  • Twice a month, you will receive your two semimonthly selections. Feel free to log into the site and modify your selections at any time. This will allow you to vary your coffee each shipment or stick with what you love. You control what you get. Each shipment, you will be billed $12.50 for each 12-oz. bag of coffee, plus $6.98 per bag for shipping and handling.
  • Semimonthly shipments are an estimate. They may be more or less frequent.
  • SeattleCoffeeDirect.com may, in case of an inventory shortage, substitute one of your coffee selections with another variety in stock. In these situations, we typically give you two bags of the variety we have in stock.
  • SeattleCoffeeDirect.com is currently available for delivery to the US and Canada.
  • If you have any customer service issues, please call us at 888-217-CAFE.
So my thinking was, I’ll splurge on the $25.00 to try out this new coffee, get some cool travel mugs that have ‘Seattle’ imprinted on them, and see how it goes. In the notification that I got, they give you a 14 day ‘trial’ before they send out the new shipments, which gives you time to try the coffee and determine if you like it in order to continue your membership. That is not the case.

I ordered on January 10th. My account was billed the $25.00 on the 12th. I actually received my package on January 13th (shockingly fast). The package included the coffee mugs and the 2 bags of coffee (one of which was a substitute of their nut version vs. my selection of their chocolate version) and I was disappointed to see that the travel mugs were blank – no ‘Seattle’ on them anywhere, and they looked suspiciously like the ones I had seen at the Dollar Store that I bypassed because they were flimsy and cheap. I told my husband I would definitely be canceling my ‘membership’, because I finally noticed (when I dug a little deeper) that it wasn’t a monthly membership as I had assumed based on my prior Gevalia membership, but a bi-monthly membership…meaning they’ll be shipping coffee to me every 2 weeks. I was shocked when just 4 days later I received another package – 2 bags of coffee (still not my original selection). I hadn’t even opened the initial coffee yet to try it out. I was not happy.

I was even less happy when I noticed that there were now two additional charges on my account – one for the shipment I received 4 days after the initial order, and a second charge pending for 4 days after that. That’s ‘bi-monthly’? Every 4 days? I immediately called the ‘800’ number. I spoke with a very nice guy in Customer Service who seemed just as surprised as I was by the frequency of the scheduled shipments. He promised to issue a credit immediately for the charge that was still pending, that I should see the credit in 3-4 days. He canceled that shipment, and canceled my membership. Since I hadn’t yet opened my second package, he told me to write ‘Return to Sender’ on the envelope and drop it back in the mail. Not only did I do that, but I re-boxed the initial order (with the unopened coffee and cheap coffee cups) and shipped that back too, since they do have a ‘refund’ policy:

Refund Policy

We want you to be happy with your coffee order. If for any reason you are not satisfied with your order, please call us at 888-217-CAFE for a full refund. Customer service can be reached 10am – 6pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

Please send unopened coffee to the following address:

SeattleCoffeeDirect.com
990 Grove St., Ste. 204
Evanston, IL 60201

Then I waited. The charge went through with no sign of a credit. Now I had none of their coffee and still had $103.00 taken out of my account. I called their ‘800’ number again on Tuesday (1/27). This time I got a woman who had an attitude – she told me that credits don’t get processed and issued for 4-6 weeks. Excuse me? 4-6 weeks?

As far as I’m concerned – they’re a scam. Any company that would schedule bi-monthly shipments every 4 days and charge your account every 4 days is not a reputable company. Especially if they’re holding onto your money for 4-6 weeks to collect interest before they finally issue that promised refund. IF they actually do. How many people simply ‘give up’ and write it off as a ‘lesson learned’, or simply forget until it’s too late? Not me. I’m going to be that squeaky wheel. I called my bank to alert them – they’re going to do some strong-arming for me with the company, because a ‘reasonable’ amount of time for a refund is 10 days. Not 4-6 weeks.

That’ll teach me not to thoroughly read the fine print – had I noticed it would be a twice-a-month shipment, I never would have placed the initial order. And really, for that price, even with a monthly shipment, I still never should have placed the initial order. Lesson learned. Meanwhile I’m going to appreciate my periodic splurges at Starbucks, and enjoy my daily Maxwell House. Because it really is ‘Good to the Last Drop’.

Note: In case you’re wondering, this is simply a personal rant, not a paid post…I haven’t done any of those yet…the paid ones…I’ve done plenty of rants, though! πŸ˜‰

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This entry was posted in Coffee, Folgers, Maxwell House, Misc. Rant, Starbucks by Stacy (the Random Cool Chick). Bookmark the permalink.

About Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)

After 20+ years in the Corporate World and years of infertility, Princess Nagger made her miraculous appearance and I chose to become a SAHM and WAHM - I love every minute of it. We added Little Dude through adoption, adding a whole new dimension to our family. We have an eclectic mix of pets: dogs, cats, birds and fish. I love to cook and try new techniques to turn ordinary into extraordinary. Crafty by nature, I take on a lot of unique projects and enjoy seeing the end result. My favorite, of course, is making my own wine out of fruits and grapes. Experiments with water currently underway. I blog about the joys of parenting, family, friends, life, love and anything else that strikes my fancy. I do enjoy doing reviews and giveaways for products I use, believe in and can stand behind.

7 thoughts on “Good to the Last Drop…and a Cautionary Tale

  1. Im not a coffe drinker its too bitter for me. My mom drinks McDonalds coffee,she loves that stuff. Im a pepsi drinker in the mornings lol

  2. Hey Lady, finally got on the blo wagon. I mean – what else is there to do when it’s minus 14 and 2 feet of snow.

    I miss Seattle coffee too. And Cinnabon cinnamon rolls!!! The brand of coffee doesn’t matter to me as much as the fancy schmancy flavored coffee creamer.

    My favorite – Cinnamon Bun. Of course at Christmas they had Peppermint Mocha. Tasted just like I had put a shot of Peppermint Schnapps in my mug. But alas, it was just a seasonal item and I will now have to wait until next Christmas to indulge again.

  3. That’s funny you put in the disclaimer but the complaint kinda gave it away.

    I’m glad I’m not addicted to coffee. But I am addicted to diet coke so it’s all the same, I guess.

  4. @talkingwithtami: McDonald’s does have pretty decent coffee – as long as it’s not the dredge in the bottom of the pot… πŸ˜‰ Though I know lots of people that need their coffee to be sludge-worthy – you know, strong enough to take paint off the walls. I prefer a good tasting coffee – and flavored creamer is my downfall… πŸ™‚ That and Vanilla Coke… πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much for stopping by, Tami! πŸ™‚

    @Lady Bug: Ooooh, how could I forget about Cinnabon Cinnamon Buns? It’s been quite a LONG time since I’ve had those…now I’m hungry! LOL!! You know, you do have a point – I am hooked on the fancy schmancy creamers, too – though if the coffee tastes crappy, the creamers don’t help it one bit… Oooh, yes, I do love the seasonal creamers – Chai Vanilla and Chocolate Mint are two of my favorites… πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for stopping by – I’ll be over to check out your ‘blog wagon’ jump shortly! πŸ˜‰

    @blueviolet: LOL, Elizabeth! I figured it’s better to be safe than sorry… πŸ˜‰ Yeah, I guess you have the alternate addiction… My hubby has a double-whammy addiction going – he’s addicted to his morning (and sometimes into-the-afternoon) coffee, then he’s addicted to coke for the remainder of the day up until bedtime…don’t know how he can drink as much as he does! But he has a freakishly high metabolism, so he doesn’t have to watch his girly figure like I do…(snicker!) Thanks so much for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  5. Well that’s freakin awful. And TOTALLY not worth it. I get gourmet beans at my local coffee house for $15/lb.

    Thanks for the heads up! πŸ™‚

  6. Oh you poor dear–that sucks! I love my coffee, too! Being from the Northwest, I can relate; in fact, in my early twenties I owned and operated an espresso drive-thru (crazy, huh?) I love a good cup of coffee!

    I hope you get all your money back–thanks for the alert!

  7. @Keely: I totally agree, Keely. Heh, that’s what my hubby said when he was calculating the cost in his head…way too much for what little you get – not to mention that aggressiveness in the way they send it while aggressively draining your account…ugh! Never again! Thanks so much for stopping by! πŸ™‚

    @Nicole: Oh that’s cool that you owned and operated an espresso drive thru – I may have driven through at some point! LOL!! That’s the key – a GOOD cup of coffee! πŸ˜‰ I’m pretty confident I’ll get all my money back – my bank is really good that way. I had someone hack into my ATM/VISA card once and start charging willy-nilly, and they got that all squared away within a few short days…unlike my hubby’s bank, who took well over a month to get his account squared away after the same thing happened to him. Thanks so much for stopping by! πŸ™‚