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America's Test Kitchen


Unethical business practices

Complaint Rating:  100 % with 23 votes
100% 23
Contact information:
America's Test Kitchen
United States
For years I have received America's Test Kitchen cookbooks. This past year, I started receiving overdue notices for books I either never ordered or had yet to receive. This happened most recently with their 2010 Annual recipes. My "2nd notice" overdue came before the book (which actually arrived a full week later). I sent my payment with what I freely admit was a nasty note asking them to remove me from their mailing list and complaining that this was not the first time this had happened. Last year, according to their customer service rep, everyone who ordered one of their books received the "2nd overdue notice" when nothing had been mailed. The evidently have too few people to deal with all these complaints--wait time to get through averages 5-10 minutes, regardless of the day or time you call. This is a company to avoid.
Complaint comments Comments (15) Complaint country United States Complaint category Books


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A  15th of Mar, 2011 by    +1 Votes
The exact same thing has been happening to me. Twice this year they just took the money out of my bank account using my debit card. I did order one book a long time ago and since then they keep taking my money. Luckily the last time (a couple of weks ago) my bank flagged their charge as possible fraud and confirmed it with me therefore stopping the charge from going through. Today I receive an "URGENT INVOICE" stating it is a second notice, trying to collect for yet another book I did not order, receive, or want. I have written them three times and each time the letter comes back stamped "Unable To Process Payment." Tomorrow I am meeting the the U.S. Postal Inspectors office to file a mail fraud complaint.
A  4th of Oct, 2011 by    +1 Votes
I received a book from ATK that I did not order and immediately returned it by writing "Return To Sender" on the cardboard packaging and handing it back to the mailman. A few months later notices started coming indicating that payment was expected. I spoke and wrote to them indicating that I had returned the book unopened and I owed them nothing. Notices kept coming. I wrote more emails and called customer service all of whom said they would take care of it. Last week I received a notice from a collection agency threatening my credit if I did not pay immediately. I went to the ATK bookstore website and checked any outstanding balance on my account and it indicates $0.00 amount due yet I cannot get anyone to formally write me an email stating that I do not owe them this money for a bood I did not order! Absolutely horrible customer service!
N  18th of Nov, 2011 by    0 Votes

The Best of America's Test Kitchen - Recipe book sent without being ordered
Cook's Illustrated
255 Long Beach Blvd.
United States

This is the second time this company has sent an unordered publication.
A  19th of Apr, 2012 by    +2 Votes
Same story here. I ordered a book for a friend who was getting married and had it sent to her address. A few months later, I received a package- foolishly I opened it. A cookbook I never ordered! After receiving multiple "urgent invoices" I took time off of work to go to the post office and pay to send it back. Complete with a nasty note and a request never to be sent anything ever again. And what do you know? Another cookbook arrived last week. I am going to "Return to Sender", but after hearing gwhaia's story I'm even more furious. If they so much as send me one bill I'm going to lose it!
N  19th of Apr, 2012 by    +1 Votes
Somebody ought to tell Chris Kimball, who seems like a decent enough guy, that these book/merchandising people are ruining his reputation. I like the show but I am starting to develop a really bad feeling about the brand.
N  29th of Aug, 2012 by    +1 Votes
I'm quite angry that the show airs on PBS (a PUBLIC station) yet constantly directs to the website for "recipes, tips, and tricks". The website FORCES a paid sign-up (yes, there is a 14-day trial) to access any content! I had a friend that signed up for the free trial, and was billing and sent to collection after cancelling on day 13! The bill read $0.00 from ATK, but she was still harassed by collection agencies for delinquency! After doing research online about their cookbook scam, and what my friend experienced, I will not give them my credit card under any circumstances even for a free trial!

I would suggest to avoid! Lobby PBS to do something about this as well!
N  10th of Feb, 2013 by    0 Votes
I am very disappointed with their advertising on the television show. If you happen to sign up for the ATK website, you do not get access to all the recipes on the show. You have to purchase access to the Cooks Country also. Otherwise, you get very few recipes. They have a very deceitful way of advertising. I am cancelling my web subscription as it is virtually useless.
A  18th of Dec, 2013 by    0 Votes
I ordered two copies of the Cooking School Cookbook and received one. I have sent four messages, received four BOT replies that someone would "contact me soon" with no response. It has been since Nov 10 that I sent the first message. In my opinion, the business ethics of the company are a direct reflection of the business ethics of Mr. Kimball. What a phony.
N  13th of Nov, 2014 by    0 Votes
I ordered some merchandise in 2013 as a Christmas gift and THIS YEAR I received an unsolicited cookbook with a bill attached! This is a TERRIBLE business practice! When I called to complain, I was told that I agreed to this in the "terms and conditions" when I ordered LAST year! They clearly do NOT want MY business again!
N  19th of Nov, 2014 by    0 Votes
I received the 2014 version of their book which I did not order. I ordered some years ago but not recently. They included an invoice in the book along with a product return label. I went to the post office to return the book with their label. I was charged 12.45 to return the book. I asked the post office about a law I heard about saying that you don't have return unsolicited merchandise. The clerk said I would have to pay for the book if I kept it. So I returned it. But I'm out $12.45. I tried to email them several different ways including their form. Nothing worked. How do you contact these people? Would I have any chance on getting my money back? John
N  20th of Nov, 2014 by    0 Votes
John, I called and complained about receiving an unsolicited book, and I insisted on talking with a supervisor. She told me I could print a return label and I insisted that I did not want to go through that trouble and then have to take MY time to return the book to the post office. She finally agreed that I did not have to return the book and I would not be charged with it. I will donate it to my local library and I will NEVER do business with America's Test Kitchen again. Good luck to you.
N  21st of Nov, 2014 by    0 Votes
I posted a complaint here. I like to respond to problems by email. I usually don't call. But none of the email addresses worked. So my wife's caregiver called. A very polite young man said they had some site problems. He closed my account and is refunding the 12.45 I had to paid to return the book because I had opened the package. The label they include in the book is not prepaid. If you just write refused without opening it, then you will not pay postage, but you may still have a problem of them billing you. My payment is pending the return of the book. Who knows what is next. I recommend you call the 800 number. John
A  24th of Nov, 2014 by    0 Votes
I recently received a "Best of...2014" cookbook, with an invoice for $24.85. I knew I had not ordered the book, so I tried to contact ATK. There was no contact info anywhere on the invoice. I went online - no contact info on their website either. I took a guess and sent an email to "support@americastestkitchen.com". I received a quick response - I had "signed up" a year earlier for a cookbook series when I purchased one book. I don't remember seeing this anywhere in the fine print. The information emailed me by ATK stated that they would send out a postcard prior to sending any cookbook (they did not) and that I had a 45 day free review of any cookbook received and that I could return the book and ATK would pay the postage. That was not stated anywhere on the invoice, either. ATK initially told me that I would have to pay to return the cookbook - until I quoted its "terms and conditions". Service rep then agreed to send me a postage-paid return envelope. I did a quick search online and found scores of similar complaints. I then contact ATK support again and told them that I was not going to spend my time and energy returning something I did not order. I quoted postal service regulations that stated I could keep or dispose of items that were mailed that I had not ordered. I then told the rep that I was going to file a complaint with the FTC and BBB of MA. I did both (they are both online and very quick/easy). I had a response from the BBB in less than 24 hours. ATK again quoted the terms and conditions to which I had "agreed", but "generously" offered to waive the payment, remove me from my "cookbook subscription" and allow me to keep the cookbook as a gesture of good faith. Needless to say, I will NEVER order anything from ATK or Cook's Illustrated ever again. These business practices are fraud at worst, gross deception at best.
A  19th of Dec, 2014 by    0 Votes
About a year ago, I ordered a cookbook from America's Test Kitchen. It arrived and I thought nothing more about it. About two months ago, I received a notice in the mail that I would soon receive another cookbook, although I had not ordered one. I though nothing more about it until a few weeks ago when I received a large package from ATK. Since I did not order it, I took it to the post office and noted "Return to Sender." Although something received which has not been ordered may be treated as a gift, I did not want future hassles. Today I received a "2D NOTICE, " although I did not receive a first notice! I phoned the number on the notice and heard a recording telling me to disregard this notice and that my return was being processed. Although I'm not going to have to pay for that book, this has been a real time waster. ATK is beginning to sound like a real flaky company. and no pun intended. I will also write PBS, which carries their program about this.
A  19th of Jan, 2016 by    0 Votes
I didn't mind the $19.95 for ATK and CC when it first came online, or the bump up to $29.95, or even the bigger bump up to $39.95 in the early 2010's. But $69.95!!! For a great big bundle I don't want! I don't know if they know this, but you can find every recipe online anyway...for free. And I remembered receiving 1st notices, 2nd notices, and the barrage of "last notices"(which was a lie, because they kept on coming for over 8 months!) for a subscription to Cooks Country Magazine that had expired. They couldn't auto-bill me because the credit card's number changed. They hounded me for months! I don't want to do business with them anymore. If I want the magazines and cookbooks...I will go to a clearing house and order them.

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