OK, so, remember how I posted a review of my Paleo Protein Bars from Julian’s Bakery last week? Well, I surprisingly found something worse than their bars …their customer service!
Allow me to share the follow-up emails to my complaint (and request for a refund) from last week:
I am so sorry but we are currently modifying the bars, so we are in and out of updating the website.
So I do apologize about that, the nutrition facts on the bars are correct.
The white film is from the coconut/palm oil. These bars sweat because of the heat, which causes the white film.
But it does not effect the taste of the bar.
These bars are supposed to have a tootsie roll feel to them, if they harden you can always put them in the microwave for about 10-15 second, and they will be perfect.
If you are still uncomfortable with the bars, you can always send the un-opened product back to us, and we will then issue you a refund once we receive the product back.
Please send to:
624 Garrison St Ste 102
Oceanside, CA 92054-4844
Wait, what? They mislabeled the nutrition facts, the bars are inedible, and I have to mail it back in order to get a refund? Um, NO.
The convenience of protein bars is the lack of preparation time needed to enjoy them. We throw them into gym bags, purses, and pockets so that they can be consumed on the run. Last time I checked, portable pocket-sized microwaves weren’t universally common or available, so your product fails to meet the category of either convenience or prep-less.
Secondly, a food product, for the most part, should have a somewhat aesthetic nature to it. My food should not, under any circumstances, look like it has been dipped in semen (which, though vulgar to describe that way, is honestly the most accurate representation) and hard as a piece of bark. It literally made a crunch/snapping sound when I tried to break a piece off to try.
I don’t know about you, but microwaving a semen-coated brown brick in lieu of grabbing a convenient protein bar product, like Quest Nutrition bars, is a decision that is not difficult for me to make.
But here’s where I’m even more concerned:
You delivered a mislabeled (incorrect nutrition), miscategorized (a bar that needs to be microwaved to regain its normal physical attributes is not “on-the-go”), and all together nasty product and I’m the one that needs to repackage it (find a box, since yours was moistened by rain and destroyed), pay for shipping, and wait for you to confirm my honesty (receipt of your subpar product) before you’ll return my money?
How, on this blessed earth, are you guys still in business?!
Well, it looks like Julian’s Bakery didn’t appreciate my response. Check out what I got back:
The bars were affected in transit due to the record heat we have been experiencing here in California, and all over the US. I understand your frustration with receiving an unsatisfactory product, however I cannot change our policy.
We do not do returns based on taste. We are offering a return and refund on the unopened products to rectify a situation that was affected by variables out of our hands. Once our product leaves the shipping department of our facility (in which we insure quality before sending to our customers), we cannot control the handling or weather which our products can be affected by.
Our bars have a shelf stable life of 1 year and are still safe and edible if introduced to hot temperatures. However, this does not mean the product does not change shape and/or in some cases texture due to the rehardening once the product is affected by the heat.
I do believe that Quest Nutrition bars carry the same possibility of being affected by heat in transit, thus changing the texture and or/shape of the product.
The return policy in which we require to receive the product before we process a refund is a purely finance related concern. It does not reflect an opinion of the customers integrity.
I will be happy to process your refund or replacement for any unopened bars upon arrival to our facility.
Beyond these two options, I am not able to offer another solution at this time.
I do apologize for any inconvenience.
Oh, this means war.
My Dearest Katie, (hope Dallas is OK!)
I’m sorry to hear about California being hot. Living in Florida, I would have no idea how that must feel and affect your business. It’s ghastly to think companies have to take into consideration weather, packaging, and the quality of their ingredients when shipping to consumers! I deeply sympathize with your plight.
That being said, I’ve ordered Quest Nutrition bars consistently for over two years now (in case you weren’t aware, that means throughout hot days, and cold days, and wet days, and dry days, and blue days, and gray days, and red fish, and two fish), with likely thousands spent and have only had ONE instance where their product was not of usual consistency due to their packaging getting hot. And guess what they did? Immediately issued an apology (without blaming weather or outside factors, since, of course, yours is the only company in the U.S. to face them), refunded the product AND sent a replacement, never once asking me to send back the inferior quality product.
Whereby, I’ve ordered from you about five times in the last four years and have received moldy bread in the past (and, surprise, this was blamed on RECORD HEAT in California -gasp!- despite my paying for expedited shipping), and I actually had to send pictures of the moldy product because, much like I am now, I refused to spend my money and time to repackage and mail the product back.
But wait! You said you wanted it back for FINANCE reasons, and not because you doubt customer integrity! That makes total sense! I mean, why wouldn’t you want to reclaim a subpar, misrepresented food product back that was in someone’s HOME? I mean, of course you want to reclaim that item so you can RESELL it to new consumers, right? For that’s the only rational and logical reason you’d insist on a return of a product that should, based on how it looks/tastes/and feels, be disposed of. Unless, of course, instead of selling said protein bars, you wish to dispose of them in your facility? I mean, I’m not a tree-hugger or anything, but spending the $10 to mail this back to you and considering the carbon emissions of the trucks/planes that will be necessary to get these lovely bars from always-perfect-weather Florida to the unseasonably-wretched-heat-wave that is California right now seems like an awful waste of resources if you plan on doing the appropriate (and hygienic) task of throwing these away. Want me to set fire to the plant outside, too, while I’m at it? I mean, if we’re going to waste resources just for the hell of it, why not go all the way, am I right?
Katie, I understand that you’re doing your job. I get it. Julian’s Bakery is reveling in the euphoria of a Paleo-monopoly right now and they’re doing all they can to maximize profits until their competition catches on and introduces better quality, more affordable alternatives. That being said, I strongly suggest your team spend a little less time on their internet marketing tactics and a little more time figuring out how to improve the durability of their products so they can retain quality, texture, and flavor in transit. Or, maybe just spend the money on building a machine to alter earth’s atmosphere and improve weather conditions? Either way, you’re wasting a lot of money attracting consumers that are likely just as irked as I am by the inconsistency of your products’ quality.
This is a huge problem and obviously I’m not the first to voice concerns, as your Facebook team has managed to PREVENT comments and has, in fact, staged multiple comments that do nothing but praise the taste and quality of your products. Do you really think consumers believe that not a single person has anything negative to say on social media about your company? Really? I’m pretty sure people blast the pope, the Dalai-llama, and the inventor of blessed chocolate on Facebook, but good to know YOU (as in Julian’s Bakery, not YOU, lovely Katie) are perfect and have never had one displeased customer ever. Congrats! Pretty sure that deserves a blue ribbon or gold star.
That being said, the BEST I will do will be to open every single semen-brick bar out of its wrapper and take pictures of each as I toss them in the trash for you. I’m not going to mail back a subpar product for you to either sell (both unethical and extremely unhygienic) or throw away, as that’s just a big waste of money and time for both of us.
So, it appears we are at an impasse, Katie. Shall we escalate this to your boss? I’m ready when you are.
Not surprisingly, I haven’t heard back yet. I’ve already requested a refund from Paypal.com (how I paid), and I’m going to keep harassing them until a refund is issued.
On that note …buyer beware!