Monday, January 21, 2008

online consumer rape, by Seattle Direct Coffee

Complaints Board Seattle Direct Coffee--Trusting soul that I am, I have been bilked by Seattle Direct Coffee, and it appears they've been getting away with it for a while. Here's my comment, way down the list, on the Complaints Board--

I just got the same hustle. I feel as though I've been raped. The grinder, a Cuisinart [made in China, by the way], stopped working after a few days. I opened up one bag of the coffee, and it was terrible--I never would have bought such dry, tasteless crap in a shop. They also sent me some sort of Hawaiian Hazelnut frou-frou blend that I never would have selected on my own.

I'm blogging this, contacting the BBB online, and asking my state's attorney general to see what they can do about it. This is fraud, and it seems that it's been going on for a good while now.

This was one of a package of deals that offered Microsoft Office 2007 as the premium.


  1. Here's the complaint I made to the BBB Online:

    COMPLAINT ACTIVITY REPORT Case # 94162114 BBB of Chicago & Northern Illinois

    Consumer Info: Ferris, Tim Business Info: Peel, Inc.
    4022 Denison Avenue 990 Grove St Ste 204
    Cleveland, OH 44109 Evanston, IL 60201-6512
    216 255-6640 216 255-6640 847 424-0954

    Location Involved:(Same as above)

    Consumer's Original Complaint:
    I've blogged the complaint at

    Consumer's Desired Resolution:
    I want my money back for all the coffee they sent me and the cheap grinder that broke after three days. I also want my money back for the old KRUPS grinder I threw out, thinking I had a fit replacement. The old grinder cost $25 originally.

    BBB Processing

    01/21/2008 web BBB Complaint received by BBB
    01/21/2008 web BBB Complaint Validated by BBB Operator
    01/21/2008 Otto BBB Send Acknowledgement to Consumer
    01/21/2008 Otto BBB Inform Business of Complaint

  2. I have also registered the following with the Ohio Attorney General's office. Now, we will wait and see if online consumer affairs go better than those conducted offline.

    Complaint Confirmation
    Please print or save a copy of this page for your records
    Consumer Information
    Tim Ferris
    4022 Denison Avenue
    Cleveland, OH 44109
    CUYAHOGA County
    Email Preferred: Yes
    US +1 2162556640 Call (Daytime)
    US +1 2163510254 Call (Evening)
    Supplier Information
    Seattle Coffee
    990 Grove Street
    Evanston, IL 60201
    COOK County
    US +1 8882172233 Call (Daytime)
    Product/Service Information
    Product/Service: Food Memberships
    Problem Area: Unauthorized Debit
    Solicitation: Internet Banner Ad
    Purchase Date: 1/9/2008
    Amount Total: 9.99
    Amount Paid: 80
    Amount Disputed: 336
    Complaint Description: I have blogged the complaint at I ordered a coffee grinder for $9.99. They charged me for the grinder and shipping and coffee. My total charges are now over $80.... I see no way to recover besides having them pay for my bank charges and to give me back the money they charged me over and above the $9.99. I also have not received the promised Microsoft Office 2007, which costs around $300. This is a mess, and they defrauded me.Desired Resolution: I want my money back for the grinder (which burned up in three days), for the coffee I didn't order, for the charges that appear after my cancellations, for the overdraft charges they have caused. I also want a copy of Microsoft Office 2007, as promised.Uploaded Documents:

  3. An acquaintance got stung when he couldn't get a company to stop mailing (and billing) for stuff, even though he had called multiple times and told them to stop. I think in the end he called the post office and found out how to refuse deliveries. Apparently, even after a package has been dropped off at your door, you have a certain number of days to refuse delivery. Don't really know if this is relevant here.

  4. Yes, what you're talking about is very relevant here, and thanks. I'll be doing that tomorrow, taking them to the post office and returning them.

    However, I still have to get my money back, from people who don't deal straight up.

  5. Those old Krups grinders kick ass, wish I still had mine. They get noisy, jam up ,and we pitch'em. Bet there's a repair kit made in Vietnam.

  6. You're kidding about the contact of the Attorney General's office I hope. By your own admission you have spent around $80, and you didn't get your Microsoft product.
    Also, the NSF fee, isn't Seattle Coffee's problem. It isn't as if they have charged you extra money, you knew the cost of the product, and it overdrafted.

    But let us humour your obviously padded disputation of $336.

    I don't know how much Ohio's Attorney General makes, but let's assume that an entry level attorney in Connecticut makes $110,000 per year.

    Given that, if the attorney general's office wastes it's time with your nonsense, you will have wasted, at a minimum, of $423.08 in taxpayer dollars. Assuming they spend around 9-10 hours total working on your disputation.

    For what? Because you feel slighted and you can't deal with it yourself, you're going to waste taxpayer money over your coffee?

    Give me a break.

  7. Glenn, do you really think I'm the only one banged here, that this is the only time this happened? You're being sort of myopic, or simplistic.

    And I'll give you a break when you start using your full name. What is it?

  8. Glenn M. Burton; Birdgeport, CT.Friday, January 25, 2008 2:01:00 PM

    If the bully in the school yard steals your lunch money, you don't call the U.S. Marshalls office, you talk to the kid's parents.

    This is a legal small claim (under $5000) and I don't think the Attorney General's office was established for this purpose when this could be taken care of by Judge Wapner.

    It's not only a waste of public office and tax money, but it is a quiet ugly display of one of the major things wrong with the United States today. And I say that as a double entendre. Not only am I bothered by the company scamming someone, but I'm bothered that you are so...American...that your reaction is to get the government to solve the problem, to hell with the tax payers, to hell if it's selfish, I'll do whatever it takes, burn any bridge, to resolve my issue.

  9. Glenn, my intent is to make sure we clean up our business dealings, bringing back scrupulousity (did I spell that right, and was it ever here?); I'm using what means I have at my disposal to combat internet fraud, over and above my ability to broadcast the event widely. That they have been operating this way for a few years, as the complaints board seems to indicate, shows that we have a basic weakness in our on-line-commerce checks and balances that can be exploited by the unscupulous. With me, I hope it's not personal or petty--I don't need the money--I am trying to take a shot on behalf of all of us. I think everybody should get back their money if they feel they've been swindled or defrauded or duped or suckered.

    If this happens once a day, and the total charges are $34.00 and $48.95, that's $82.95 flowing in the direction of scammers, at a rate of over $30,000 per year per daily occurrence. At 10 people a day, that's $300,000 in motion, at 100 people a day, that's $3M in motion. Now that I'm roughly quantifying this, I wonder quite seriously what the magnitude of the problem is, merely with Seattle Direct--what are their numbers really like?

  10. Dear Tim,

    I apologize for the trouble you have had with my company, Seattle Coffee Direct, and I believe I can help you to rectify this situation. Please call to speak to a customer service representative at 888-217-CAFE as soon as possible. By providing us with some basic information, such as your name and zip code, we can look up your account to clear up any problems. If you are unsatisfied in any way, we will reasonably terminate your membership and provide refunds. To better understand the charges to your account, please see our details and terms at

    Jeff Berman
    Direct of Customer Service

  11. I just got screwed too and am now going to call my credit card company to give me a new card. Here's what I am curious about all these auto-ship scams and people like Glenn who say that there's nothing you can do because "you didn't read the agreement" - where does it end? What if instead of $39.99 the amount I "agreed" to was $2499.99, would that be ok? What if the agreement said we can now take possession of your house after the 14 day trial period ends? I am pretty certain that such an agreement won't stand in the court of law. So how can you automatically charge someone an amount based on their lack of agreement?

  12. We too have been scammed by this company. We cancelled our order (don't even know how we came to be signed up w/them) over 2 months ago and are still trying to get our money back. The wife calls them almost everyday and the response is almost always one of 3 things. We've been having a problem with our network, or, it will be 7-10 days (many times) or you will see it in your account on Monday. WE are contacting ABC News 20/20, NBC's Dateline and CBS's 48 hours to see if we can get them interested. I suggest EVERYONE take this approach. To us, it's not even about the $63.95 anymore but that that there is a company out there that is allowed to continue this practice. I suspect they simply think you will get tired of calling them and just give up. Obviously it's more expensive than what they owe to get an attorney involved and I think they bank on this for just that reason. WE ARE NOT GIVING UP. We may even contact an attorney to see about a possible class action lawsuit. People like this MUST be dealt with.
    I for one am tired of seeing people get away with this kind of crap simply because they can! Even if ( a BIG IF) we get our money back, we’ll still pursue this in some way to help stop these people

  13. Yes, being raped is no picnic.

    Trying to set things straight is less so.

    If you hadn't posted as "Anonymous," it would give us all more contact options, to drive the dialogue.

    I agree this must stop; it must get straight.

  14. Looks like there are a lot of folks out there getting the runaround by this obviously disreputable company. I made the mistake of signing up for the "trial" ... i.e., $5 for this and $5 for that. What was not clear AT ALL was that, by doing so, you're signing up to receive this extremely expensive and, I might add, lousy coffee on weekly basis. Who in this day and age can afford $38.95 per week for coffee. Certainly not I. Once this was brought to my attention a call was made to Seattle Coffee (April 13). I was assured they would place a hold on the account and the $38.95 plus the additional $38.95 (already had been shipped and was instructed to refuse shipment) would be refunded to my account within 10 to 14 BUSINESS days. Those 14 days have come and gone and still no refund. I placed another call on 1 May inquiring as to when the monies might be refunded. This time, the cusotmer service rep was rude and continally asked me why I was being rude? When attempting to explain to him that I do not have the product yet the money is still in the company's hands and not mine. He put me on hold. Came back a few minutes later with some song and dance about a "manual" refund. I then asked, "So is this going to take another 14 "business" days?" His smart a** response was, "if you would have just let me finish I would have explained to you that I'm placing a "rush" and it shoulbe be refunded to your account within (get this) 5 days. FIVE DAYS????? 14 DAYS????? What's inexcusable about this entire scam is they are so quick to deduct the money from each individual's account and yet don't have the ability to refund monies in a timely manner.

    I can promise you this, I'll not tire of calling, harassing or whatever has to be done to get what is rightfully mine. In addition, the BBB will be notified along with the attorney general of the state I live in.

    This is beyond ridiculous ... it is, quite simply, stealing.

  15. I wonder how much they keep because people just give up?

    And what about the "float" on all the funds they keep for a while, but give back?

    And what about the fact that the coffee is worth nowhere near what they bill? Isn't the shipping sort of high, too? I can't recall the breakout in our own case.

    By all means, take this to the state attorneys general--is it possible to get this taken care of on a national basis?

    What constitutes mail fraud, for instance?

  16. It wasn't too long ago that a major news station in GA did two feature stories on my struggles due to unemployment (first time in my life). I'm thinking about contacting them to let them know that this is going on and, perhaps, they can do something. They were certainly helpful during my plight with the DOL here ...

    And, just as I suspected, the money isn't in my account and, of course, another call was made and now I get the "wait until the end of the business day." I really wonder what type of fool they think I or anyone else for that matter is?

    I have family where the company is located ... think I'll put out a shout to them as well ... this is becoming absolutely ridiculous and it will be my mission to ensure that no one goes through what I've been through.

    As I explained to the rep today, "if I had your product, it wouldn't bother me as much (DUH) but, the fact is, I don't have the product and, as a result, the money should be in my account!

  17. Take my word for it, the product would only make things worse--it was simply awful.

    In GA, they can give it the spin that it's a depredation from YankeeLand,. For years, I was a Yankee interloper in Columbus, Atlanta, and Decatur. Do they still treat northerners different, or are they overrun by this time? I quit living there late in 1978.

  18. Well ... I'm originally from California (born/raised) ... got so sick of the cost of living and everything else in the "Golden State" I packed my bags and left ... arrived in Atlanta in 1997 and have been here since (except for a brief 4 year stint @ The Citadel in SC). For the most part, the "natives" here are generally friendly ... I just keep to myself.

    By the way, ended up talking with a "supervisor" at Seattle Coffee (Friday) who assured me (believe me, I won't hold my breath) that my money will be in my account by next Wednesday. Asked the woman if she was proud to be an employee of a company that rips people off ... especially in this day and age where every penny counts. She couldn't say diddly squat ... just kept apologizing ... even asked her how in the world she slept at night knowing that I didn't have their product and yet they had my money since 13 April ...

    One way or another, I will get my money and if I have to contact the local media by doing so, that is what will happen.

    This entire situation makes me sick.

  19. I am curious, has anyone gotten their refund? I am still waiting 62 days later and still no refund...

    Penny in GA

  20. I can't believe the number of complaints that all sound the same when it comes to this company and how they're handling their "customer service". How they stay in business, I'll NEVER know! I've been reading up on class action suits for the same fact as stated by so many people on so many's simply WRONG! They can't do this and something needs to be done. I've also been waiting for my refund for over 2 months. They told me that when I shipped my coffee back I would receive a refund within 12-14 business days. They received my cofee on May 6th and I haven't seen a dime. They owe me $200. I've called and called and called and will keep calling until I have my way or another. :)

  21. Look back through these comments. Did you contact the BBB and also your state attorney general?

  22. I haven't yet - they have promised to start putting the money back (hand hold my account - manager Becky)starting this Tuesday...I know, I I'll give them this last chance (which I've told them) and then I'll take action. I was actually on vacation when my account wouldn't let me draw out anymore money - saw I had gone overdrawn and they had sent me 10 bags of coffee in less than a week. Really??? Oyee...Anyway, one person said 12-14 days, one said 5 business days, one said 7-10, one said 30-60 days...LIES! Anyway, I will definitely contact BBB if I don't see anything on Tuesday...and call back ONCE again!


  24. I have had the EXACT same experience as Bailey Bonds. I sent the President of the company an email today. His name is Brian Dale. He is the president of Peel, Inc., which apparently is the parent company of Seattle Coffee. I am over three months still awaiting my credit. I find Jeff Berman's comments laughable. The number he gave to Tim Ferris' to help with his problem is the same number I have contacted 14 times with no success. I am awaiting a $311.60 credit. If anyone would like to email Brian Dale, his email address is His phone number is 847-424-0954. You have to enter his first name to get his extention. I also left a message. I am also going to report them to the BBB and the Ohio Attorney General and any other group I can think of that would possible be able to help. This is theft and is illegal. Only because it is an internet business is it so easy for this man to bilk a massive amount of people out of money. I personally think he and every customer service rep and manager should be held accountable. How do these people sleep at night? My name is Shelly Aeh

  25. I JUST reported these guys to the Chicago BBB and the Illinois Attorney General's office as that is their home state.

    My issue is with Poster Pass bilking me for $159.20. I'm not happy as I've been on their case since late June when I was told to just send in the crap they gave me and I would get my money back.

    As soon as a UPS truck showed up, I ran up to the driver and told him to send it back, that this is cancelled.

    It's true. These guys are crooks! Everytime I called, they tell me something different. I've been LIED TO! They are now telling me to wait 5 to 7 days...that was from last Monday & Friday when I spoke with a manager. After speaking with the manager, she told me that I would have to call the Credit Department. I made sure to tell her that I am reporting them to the Attorney General's office and BBB for this lackluster performance. All I want is my money back and I keep getting the runaround instead.

    It's my money. I already returned your products ages ago!!!

  26. I didn't even ORDER from this company; I just saw a charge on my account for 79.00 from them! Are you freaking kidding me? 79.00 for coffee? GET BENT! I called, and supposedly, I submitted the order this morning. Really? Because I just got on my computer at noon. I hadn't been on the net yet today. How, exactly, did I order it then? In my SLEEP? My bank can't help me yet because the charge isn't "final," It's "just being held." ACH! I just ordered books from Amazon a couple days ago, and apparently there's a link between the two that a few other people are reporting as well. I cancelled my Amazon today. Never again!

    Now to see if I get my money back from the company or if I have to do a chargeback...creeps!

  27. This happened to me too.....several 79.00 charges later and I've had to cancel my credit card and open another. I can't believe this company is still in business!!!!

  28. I tried Seattle Coffee Direct back on June 23, 2009. The deal was a
    $2.00 package to try their coffee and was to come with 2 thermal coffee
    cups. I though this seemed great. I decided, after reading further,
    cancel. I even received an email with a confirmation number stating that
    it had been canceled.

    Even after this, I found another charge on my card for $38.95, just 2
    days later. I immediately called the company and complained that a trial
    isn't a trial unless you can actually experience the product before
    deciding you want more. By the end of the call they agreed to refund my
    card and directed me to refuse the package coming.

    The refund didn't show up on my card so I called them back about 2 weeks
    later. At first the rep said they hadn't received the package back, then
    a little later said they did. He also told me it would take around 4-6
    weeks to get my credit, so I waited. Nothing was ever refunded.

    Okay, so to top all of this off, just this past week (11/24/2009, a
    $79.00 charge shows up on my Paypal account. Imagine my surprise when I
    saw this. The great thing is that I had kept the original cancellation
    email and disputed the charge with Paypal. I also had to pay a $34.00
    stop payment fee with my bank. It did get reversed by Paypal and I had
    to hot card my debit card.

    This type of thing should never happen, and I'm amazed that a company
    such as this is allowed to continue on stealing people's money.

    So, now with the $38.95 charge in June and the cost of a stop payment
    fee of $34.00, I am out $72.95.

  29. I terminated my account with Seattle Coffee Direct 6 months ago...guess what happened, they apparaently REOPENED MY ACCOUNT AND CHARGED ME AGAIN. $79.00 for PUBLICATIONS MAX and $79.00 for coffee under their new name.

  30. I just got scammed two more times also!! Once again two charges of $79.00. I am not sending anything back to them because I did not order it. They need to eat that cost. I too had to cancel my credit card and get a new one. Is our country so bad that we can't put these people in jail and run them out of business? This has been going on for quite some time. Who is responsible for taking care of this? Is this something that is falling in between the cracks? Do we have to continue to allow these people to "steal" from the American consumer? This is ridiculous!!!! You can't even contact these idiots.

  31. I also was rapped by this company... On September 9th 2009 i tried there free trail it was suppost to cost $2.00 i had a 7 day trial i was going to cancel when i got the samples! I was billed 2 day later for $39.70... I called right away and cancled and told them to give me the money i DIDN't give them premission to take!

    I am a single mother like i would waste $40.00 for coffee! They told me it would take 2 billing cycles! I have since then canceled my account and told them to send me a check! They told me they could not do that! I gave them a new card to send it to.. I havent yet seen a charge.. I am waiting if i am charged i already have someone at the bank watching my account and they are ready to go after them!

    I have all filed a complaint with the BBB and the attorney general! I am calling a lawyer and i am calling the news here and i am going to blow this WIDE OPEN! This company needs to be stopped!

  32. Kristina, I hope you succeed. I can't believe these clowns are still pulling the same stunts after all this time.

    This is a good news story, and it ought to be posted to the internet and stay there forever. The state of Illinois must be a good place for these fraudulent operations to work from.

  33. If you want your money back, you better dispute their charges through your bank immediately.

  34. So I didn't look on the internet first, I am on Facebook trying to get Godfather points for Mafia Wars. I sign up for the no risk 5 for 5 'special'. Yep, it's 5 for $ 5.00 each for a total charge of $ 25.00. My fault for not reading the fine print. But I call and cancel the same day I get the $ 25.00 charge. 2 days later for 39.70 I get sent 2 paks of coffee. I call them and tell them I cancelled so they tell me they will issue a refund. 10 days later ANOTHER 39.70 package arrives. I sent them both back via UPS and call to request 2 refunds now. NO ACTION TAKEN. I then get a $ 79.00 dollar charge, that is when I cancelled my card, filed fraud charges with Wells Fargo and called again to complain, this time is was only a recording, BAD NEWS with these guys... I have had contact with Jeff Berman, his direct e-mail is: but apparently they've gone back under the rug. A visit to their website, now says, " is no longer accepting orders at this time and is no longer maintaining customer service via phone. All customer service requests must be registered as stated below. If you have an issue regarding a previous order or for any other issue please contact us by submitting an email to the following address, Please include your Full Name, Address, Email Address, Phone Number, the amount you were charged and the reason why you feel you should be refunded."

  35. Wow. Sounds like some good news, I guess, if it's true. We've all come to distrust anything these people say, write, or do. I'm hoping they're no longer operating, and I'm hoping they have to disgorge the money they've bilked people out of over the years. I wonder what the culpability is for the State of Illinois, allowing these internet gangsters to operate over the past few years?

  36. I don't know where to start. I have read through most of the stories set here. Looks like I was caught up in the same waves as others have had with Seattle Direct Coffee. By the sound of it others have stated exactly the same experience I have received. I made contact with my bank to stop the charges. The bank agreed to check into the situation, gave me a reversal of those charges until the claim was settled. Somehow, Seattle Direct convinced the bank that the charges were valid and reversed the credit which was given back to my account. When the "unauthorized" charges hit my account again I went back to my bank to investigate what had happened. I was told the claim was now settled and I had been denied. When I told them that was a mistake and asked them to re-open it I again was denied. That's when I started to do my own research into the company. I found this web-site. If anyone could suggest what the next step to take is that would be very helpful and appreciated. Thank you
    Kathy Phanco or 541-280-6036

  37. My husband fell for the same shit! I am still fighting the company and searching online for others who may of begun a lawsuit...We should find these people and torture them for fun, fuck the money I just want make them pay with pain for my frustration and wasting my time!

  38. I like and aggree with your penchant for instant gratification