Dog Products

How to, and Not to, Handle a Customer’s Concern About Dog Food

Last week before the anticipated insane snowstorm the New York Metro area was expected to get, I bought new bags of dog food for Toby and Maddux.

We ended up not getting as much snow as expected, and I ended up not needing the new bags of food until this week.

When I opened Toby’s bag of food, it smelled terrible. And, I mean, terrible. He’s eaten some variety of fish-based food for longer than I can remember, so I’m pretty experienced in knowing fish-based food can sometimes smell, but this was different.

The best by date on the bag was July 2017.

I decided not to feed it to Toby.

The next day I called the company several times. Each time I got a recording that said because of high call volumes I would have to leave a message. I finally left a message explaining how terrible food smelled compared to the normal smell. This was not the common fish food smell, and something was off.

Because I was at work then they returned my call, I couldn’t pick up. They left me a message explaining that depending on the time of year, where their freshly sourced fish comes from and other factors, there is a variety reasons the food could smell differently. They hope that helped, but if I still had questions, I could call back.

Of course I called back. Again, all I kept getting was prompted to leave a message.

Needless to say, I was very disappointed in their response, and felt very brushed off. Given the current climate of pet food, I expected them to show a little more concern, or at least an offer to replace the bag if I didn’t feel comfortable feeding it to my dog.

Yesterday, I decide to bring the bag back to the independent pet store where I purchased it, with my receipt. I was in and out of there with a new bag, from a new batch within 5 minutes, and almost no questions asked. I explained the whole situation, including how I called the company.

“Let me guess, they told you it was just the normal fish smell.”

I laughed and nodded my head.

“No problem. Let me get you a new bag and make sure it’s from a different batch.”

They even asked if I wanted to open the bag before I left the store to make sure this one was okay. I did, and you could immediately smell the difference between the two bags.

Here is the bottom line, things happen. Maybe the bag of food was fine, but given the state of pet food, and even human food, these days, I wasn’t taking a chance.

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