pasta boatOn the heels of my favorable review of Pasta Boat -- I gave it a perfect score on the Buy-O-Meter -- consumers are complaining that the online ordering process is confusing and tricks them into buying products they don't want.

I love the Pasta Boat, made by TeleBrands, which nukes pasta faster than you can cook it on the stove.

In stores, the product costs $10. And I always say buy As Seen on TV products in brick-and-mortar stores whenever possible. You save huge shipping and handling charges. And most stores easily refund money if there's a problem with the product.

Still, I am not happy that so many Consumer Ally readers say they are being mislead during the online ordering process.One reader says her son intended to order one Pasta Boat for $10 plus $6.99 shipping and handling, and ended up spending $114.09 for:
  • three Pasta Boats
  • a chopper
  • three knives
  • four steak knives.
Several consumers told us high shipping and handling charges were applied to their credit cards before they authorized the purchase. One not-very-happy customer complained she was "ambushed" by product offers before she finally arrived at the submit screen.



"By this time," she says, "they already have your shipping and billing info, so there is no previewing your order before it's done, and there is no 'holy crap it's wrong' button afterwards, either."

I reached TeleBrands CEO A.J. Khubani and asked him about the Pasta Boat website, which employs confusing but all-too-common methods to warp up sales.

The site:
  • Makes buyers type in credit card information before placing and confirming the order (never a good start)
  • Indicates upgrades in blurry type
  • Endlessly hawks other items -- knives, cooking utensils, even jewelry. Only a tiny and faint "No Thanks" button lets you turn them down.
"Sounds like there's an issue, and I'll look into it immediately," says Khubani.

In two hours, Khubani and his people discovered what they say is the problem: It's the consumers who don't read the fine, blurry and buried print.

These eager beavers should slow down and click the tiny "No Thanks" to bonus offers. If they are dissatisfied with the result, they can ask for a refund. But not too quickly, because the system processes orders in up to 48 hours. Call back later in the week.

"Our policy is to always give money back," Khubani says.

TeleBrands' official statement:

"For more than 28 years, TeleBrands has been providing cost-saving products that help solve common, household problems for consumers. In these nearly three decades we have successfully served more than 100 million consumers ... When a consumer orders a Pasta Boat on-line it should be processed within 48 hours. The consumer is not billed until the item ships. Should a consumer decide at any time within 30 days of receiving a product that they wish to return it, we will issue a full refund to their form of payment upon the return of the item. We certainly apologize for any consumer inconvenience ..."

Consumer Ally readers who have Pasta Boat problems are asked to call: 1-800-777-4034 ext. 5

As for dozens of complaints and questions from readers about the dangers of microwaving plastic, Khubani says the Pasta Boat is made of food grade plastic approved by the FDA.



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