Ben & Jerry's

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Ben & Jerry's are not fair at their trade!!!
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LONDON -- I recently bought a tub of Ben & Jerry's coconutterly fair ice cream. Fair? That's a joke. This is a company that comes across as cool, friendly and fairtrade. However, the truth is that they seem to be as dishonest and underhand as many companies out there.

I spooned some ice cream into my mouth direct from the tub, only to find myself biting into something rather hard. I took it out, expecting a stubborn bit of chocolate, and found a chunk of metal in my hand. My spoon was perfectly intact and the metal item even had chocolate inside it. I phoned the company who seemed so apologetic etc. and assured me they would conduct a proper investigation. They sent me a prepaid envelope and plastic bag to return the item so they could 'investigate'. In the meantime, I had got a check at the dentist - no damage - but wanted recompensing for having to make the visit.

I was absolutely shocked by their response. 'Unfortunately, we cannot identify the foreign object you sent to us as having come from the production area. However we have identified it as being part of domestic cutlery.' What? This implies, of course, that I have made the whole thing up and sent them a bit of a spoon or something. Unbelievable.

The joke is that they sent me two coupons for their ice cream, which I will never buy again! Is there anything further I can do about this? I took photos of the metal piece but, of course, no longer have the item.
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User Replies:
Anonymous on 04/28/2011:
Unfortunately, there are people who would scam companies, so in turn, companies have had to take the stance that B&J did. Look at examples where McD's gets sued for millions for a woman spilling hot coffee on herself.
You did everything you could do, and it's too bad they didn't compensate you for the dentist visit but I don't know what else you could do at this point - especially since you no longer have the metal object in your possession.
trmn8r on 04/28/2011:
I'm glad you don't have any physical damage.

I'm curious as to why you went to the dentist. Was your mouth in pain, or was it a preventative visit to verify nothing was wrong?

I can understand why you wouldn't go back to B&J's, but I can also understand the company's position. There are a lot of people who scam companies, who ruin it for the honest ones.
Shaz69 on 04/28/2011:
Thanks for your response, just_cause. I know what you are saying - people will try it on. But they have the metal object and I am sure they can identify it as part of their machinery - it has chocolate running right through it and it doesn't look anything like cutlery! It is that they have lied, and washed their hands of it, that bothers me.
Shaz69 on 04/28/2011:
Thanks for your response, trmn8r. I went to the dentist because I had bitten hard into it and was concerned and when I phoned them, they said to have it checked out and that I should note my expenses down when I sent in the object. They said this would all be taken into account. Of course, it wasn't.
saj80 on 04/28/2011:
In retrospect, I would have recommended not sending the item to them without someone else looking at it first. Unfortunately, now that they have it, they have no incentive to offer anything other than free ice cream. Glad you didn't get hurt, and I don't blame you for wanting a check up, and I do believe Ben & Jerry's should offer some compensation for this, although it is highly unlikely they will.
Anonymous on 04/28/2011:
It sounds to me that Ben and Jerry's did all they could to fix the problem. They determined that the metal did not come from them. The issue is what happened to the ice cream once it left the plant. All their product is x-rayed before it leaves the plant. Just because the OP didn't like their answer doesn't mean Ben and Jerry's is lying. I'm sure B&J is subject tons lit of potential scammers each day and it is their best interest to be honest. If the OP doesn't want the coupons they can send them to me. Ben and Jerry's is the best.
trmn8r on 04/28/2011:
I think they made a mistake in suggesting you have it checked out if they had no intent to take further responsibility. For example, paying the bill.
trmn8r on 04/28/2011:
throwback -> why do you think they x-ray the ice cream as part of quality control? That sounds odd to me, like they expect foreign matter to have gotten into the product. The only thing I can think of is they would look for nut shells. Unless they expect parts of the machines to occasionally break off...
Shaz69 on 04/28/2011:
throwback - you obviously like the ice cream. Products are x-rayed for metal exactly because machinery does break off. It is one thing if they somehow can't identify it as theirs; it is quite another to say they HAVE identified it as cutlery! How on earth would a broken piece of domestic cutlery get in there as part of being packaged? It is a real shame that having scammers out there leads to honest people not being taken seriously.
trmn8r on 04/28/2011:
It's pretty weird that their quality control system failed to catch this, if they routinely x-ray every package of ice cream. From the picture it should be large enough.

I knew a guy that designed an aritificial intelligence-based image analysis system to inspect aluminum cans as they fly down the conveyor at Ball. It kicked off an individual can if it was bad, whereas earlier they would toss a whole rack of cans if one was found to be bad.
Anonymous on 04/28/2011:
Possession is 9/10ths of the law. The only realistic chance you had was mailed off to them in a conveniently prepaid envelope. Sad, but true.
CrazyRedHead on 04/28/2011:
Ben and Jerry's Triple caramel chunk, mmmmmmm. I wish I didn't have to travel 45-50 miles for some.
Mrs. V on 04/28/2011:
OP, please send a copy of the photo and all documents the heath department.

Let Ben and Jerry's know that you are doing this.

You just might get a different response.
Ytropious on 04/28/2011:
Reminds me of that couple that claimed to find a mouse in their pepsi, and pepsi was basically like there's no way that's possible. Turned out to be a toad and still no one knows how it got there. I still believed Pepsi though, there's just no way a random TOAD makes it into a single bottle of pepsi.

Still, is it possible it wasn't even metal at all? Could it have been a piece of foreign object inside a coconut they used for the ice cream? Meaning it didn't come from them but it was in an ingredient?
Anonymous on 04/28/2011:
Mrs. V has great advice. That's what I would do. Keep pestering them.
Shaz69 on 05/13/2011:
Many thanks to those who gave helpful comments and advice. I did contact the health people and they said that, without the item, there was nothing they could do. I also contacted the supermarket where I bought the tub and they said the same. What I have learnt and advice I would pass on is if you find a foreign object in food, don't go to the producer or supermarket. Go direct to your health department (or environmental health office, in the UK) as that is the only way you can be sure of getting a genuine independent assessment and follow-up action. As I say, lesson learnt.
jktshff1 on 05/13/2011:
Thanks for the update.
Shaz69 on 05/13/2011:
I also wrote back to B&J's - no response. If I get one, will update again.
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