PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The co-owner of Steel City Meats invited KDKA into the freezer after alleged customer complaints chilled his relationship with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller learned why the AG’s office got involved and what happens next. Steel City Meats co-owner Stefan Stasak showed KDKA his products inside his North Versailles store freezer.READ MORE: PPG Paints Arena Welcomes Back Pittsburgh Penguins Fans
“I know that the product is awesome because we have a lot more satisfied customers than dissatisfied customers,” said Stasak.
The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office called into question the quality of his product, taking civil action and filing an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance. It accuses the company of selling food door-to-door without the proper licenses, in violation of the state’s peddling laws.
Stasak said that’s not happening.
“We have independent contractors that can go door-to-door, and they’re supposed to get a soliciting license at different townships,” said Stasak.
KDKA talked to both happy and unhappy customers.
“Took two bites out of it, couldn’t even chew them so we threw them in the garbage,” said Linda Bechtold.
One North Huntingdon couple, Ed and Linda Bechtold, said they heard a knock on the door and bought two boxes. Ed said he didn’t like the taste and reached out to the company but did not receive an adequate response.
He told KDKA that he wants his money back and now plans to file a complaint on the AG’s website.
“Four-hundred dollars to me, a disabled veteran and a senior citizen, that’s a lot of money and not to get something that I can’t even eat,” said Ed.
Plum resident Tom Dugas tried it too after reading positive online reviews.READ MORE: 2 Flown To Hospital After Multi-Vehicle Crash In Westmoreland County
“It’s almost as if you’re chewing the consistency of rubber bands,” said Dugas.
Bryan Phillips disagrees.
“They’re all good, quality meat. He guarantees his meat for up to a year,” said Phillips.
Phillips told KDKA’s Meghan Schiller he loves the product. As for the allegations of poor taste?
“I can’t comment on that because I’ve never had any bad quality of meat from them. Maybe they need to change up their cooking methods?” Phillips said.
To date, the AG’s office has received three complaints against Steel City Meats and 21 complaints against Capital Meats. The AG’s office told KDKA it believes they’re the same company, saying Steel City Meats did business at one time as Capital Meats.
A truck marked Capital Meats sits parked on the property. Stasak described the relationship as this:
“It was like a, if you want to call it a sister company. But we don’t deal with Capital Meats no more. The vans don’t even drive,” said Stasak.
As part of the voluntary agreement with the AG’s office, the company already paid close to $3,000 in restitution to dissatisfied customers. Stasak told KDKA he did learn of alleged imposters.
“We’ve had a few instances of other guys in pick-up trucks with freezers on the back selling who knows what and using our name,” Stasak said.
He told KDKA that his employees wear company t-shirts, drive marked vans and offer Steel City Meats brochures. He said he plans to remedy any outstanding complaints.
“If there is a customer, we 100 percent want to resolve the issue,” the co-owner said.MORE NEWS: As People Struggle To Secure Unemployment Benefits, Prosecutors Say Fraud Is Widespread
The AG’s office told KDKA the restitution window closes at the end of the day on March 15. Customers can file complaints on the AG’s website until then, but a filed complaint does not necessarily mean a person will get their money back. The AG’s office will investigate every complaint for its merit.