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Willy Dog review: Useless warranty and broken promises

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12:00 am EST
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Willy Dog Corp. does not exist, it is Willydog Ltd. aka World’s Best Hot Dog Carts; U.S. HotDog; Carts of Canada. These are all variations of the same carts with the same crappy warranty.

My ordeal began when I ordered a Willy Dog hot dog cart on July 19,2005. The promised delivery date of two weeks never happened in spite of verbal and written guarantees and paid deposits. I told Will Hodgkiss, company president, I would pick up the cart in Kingston, Ontario, near the end of August for our planned sales on Labor Day weekend and beyond. The cart was not ready and would not be in two weeks, even though their Internet adds did (in 2005) state a two-week delivery. I was forced to cancel out festival/fair bookings and lose deposits, as well as planned income at various summer festivals. The season was over and still no cart.

I still wished to pursue selling at summer and fall festivals and hoped I would have better luck next year. Will Hodgkiss said he would honor previous prices and commitments.

By March 2006 Will Hodgkiss, still hadn’t built my cart. I canceled the hot dog cart and opted to use my $2,000 deposit to purchase a cheaper ice-cream push cart instead. I ordered this on April 1/06. Then, ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’, I reconsidered and re-ordered the Willy Dog cart. Both carts were to be shipped together for $200. May 10/06 the final order and bill was paid in full and Will guaranteed delivery by June 1/06--another empty promise. The cart still did not arrive. Some delays were due to various shoddy accounting/paperwork on their part.

Will became evasive: I was put on hold, calls were not returned, and I did not receive an itemized copy of the bill. When I did get through, promises were made to send me one. Still no carts arrived on the promised date. A phone call revealed they still had not yet put the cart together and they guaranteed to have them to me on June 8/06 by 10 pm for a $200 delivery charge. The cart was delivered to me on June 9/06 for $873 incl. insurance - uncovered and unrated on a pickup truck, visibly in rough shape: warped panels, pitted, gouged, paint chipped, scratched, and noticeable damage to two spots. It looked as though a used cart was cobbled together and substituted.

Missing parts included umbrellas for both carts. A few weeks later the umbrellas finally arrived.

-Inadequate operating parts: cooler with one Styrofoam piece for insulation; heating system not separated from exposed wiring; tabletop steamer cannot adequately heat up wieners.

-Safety concerns: no bracket to keep a copper propane line from rubbing against steamer; no sealer rings on pipelines to keep from rubbing on metal. Water jug cannot be drained or removed for cleaning.

-Warped panels on storage doors that won’t stay closed. Locks appear to be installed upside down. No fitted cover to protect it while in transit. No automatic igniter as stated on instructions.

-Tail lights on trailer not hooked up; however I was provided wiring harness to do it myself. No locking brakes to keep cart stationary. Hubs on wheels are plastic, not full, round metal discs we were shown and ordered. Trailer wheel is bent and wobbles.

Various other minor parts are missing.

I was told my complaints were 'unique'. Their one year warrant explicitly states and implies “Should your cart fail for any reason due to workmanship or material defect... we will fix it free at your location. No arguments.”
Will Hodgkiss said to send back the cart and offered $300 compensation, and missing items would be forwarded ASAP. He also said he’d have someone call to repair the steamer. No one ever called. I received a cover on July 4th that did not fit. They wanted me to take the cart to Kingston Ontario to be repaired without any guarantee of a return date. I finally did receive my umbrellas in July. Various other parts were paid for but never received.

All this for $12,000!

My last contact with Will Hodgkiss was July 19/06 when I left several messages on both his phone numbers but he never returned the calls.
If anyone else has similar complaints that have not met with satisfaction please email me at and together we should try to get some satisfaction.

Update by Elaine Magee
Sep 18, 2007 9:03 am EDT

This is from the Chamber of Commerce in Kingston, Ontario disputing Mr. Hodgkiss' claim:

Greetings Elaine…….

We regret to learn of your problems with Mr. Will Hodgkiss of Willy Dog Ltd, unfortunately, we only have information regarding their business location etc. Currently this Chamber has no relationship, association or contact with Willy Dog Ltd, Carts of Canada or Mr. Will Hodgkiss.


David Radford


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Add a comment
Nov 24, 2012 5:54 pm EST

I believed that Will was a business person of respect and humility, boy was I wrong. I had sent them a comment on employee who was driving erratically and cut me off while driving home with my wife and 4 day old daughter. (see below for message sent) I could have been rather rude with my comment to him but choose to take the high road. I received this email back from Mr. Hodgkiss. I couldn't believe what I received (until I had searched and found this board). I was expecting a response back that was humble since he had lost all his money and owes everything to this company. I am posting the email in full with nothing edited or paraphrased. I refused to respond to his multiple emails responses for my personal information. I am glad that I trusted my gut and didn't send more information. It is hard to believe that he would become so heated over something small I can only imagine what he would be like with something serious.

Email received from Mr Hodgkiss

Well, whomever you really are, in the absence of you identifying yourself or offering more detail I looked into it. That's the beauty of Internet, isn't it. You can say whatever you like & hide. The driver of the car that night who has been with me for 15 years and I trust him, claims that some [censored] sped up to impede his passing in a passing zone. He claims this [censored] then beeped the horn and flashed the lights for the next couple of stoplights. Let's keep in mind this is a diesel Smart car we are talking about here, not a Porsche ! Your story of your wife's high blood pressure touches my heart but this gentleman was himself going to the hospital with symptoms of a heart attack. He respectfully suggests you get a life and that you keep in mind you are not the only one on the road.

My Original email sent.

Please be more respectful while driving. I was the car that you cut off, while passing on a solid line, cutting into my lane where there was no space and speeding as I was doing 90 kms/hr and it is posted 80 km's and still passed me on Highway # 2 by CFB Kingston heading into Kingston itself. My 4 day old daughter and wife ( who is suffering from high blood pressure and that is the reason that my daughter had to be delivered early or I would have lost them both), where both in the car as we were visiting our family doctor. Please be more respectful while driving as that few minutes that you may have saved could have have caused issues to other around you. Be aware that you do drive with a vanity plate that you are a representative in the community for your company.

Feb 27, 2012 8:19 pm EST
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

Will is a coddled little rich boy that pissed away Daddy's money. You should see his office, it's obvious he has either a really teeny tiny p****, or he has THE most fragile ego on the planet. Why else would you sit on a throne (yup, a throne) surrounded by awards you yourself paid for? He's being sued by multiple vendors, customers, contractors, renters, neighbours (because nobody wants a 30 foot high lit sign in a residential area:see tiny p****) former employees and his former labdlord.
He relocated his 'business' to Napanee last year and since then has flooded the neighbours yards because he was too cheap to pave the parking lot properly, he has dumped garbage AND equipment on neighbours' lawns because he refuses to build a fence. He is constantly under scrutiny for code violations by town inspectors because he hides behind his lawyer like the coward we know him to be, and he thinks so little of his employees that for the first several months there were ZERO bathroom facilities. So, all the neighbours got to watch guys piss off the loading dock all summer.
Would you do business with this ###?

Jan 16, 2011 8:20 am EST

Will was very rude to me when i tried to ask simple questions. i would never purchase a cart from a [censor] like this

Nov 14, 2010 10:55 pm EST
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

Yes we will sue this dishonest man but i have been waiting for a (vital news against Willy) which proves that Willy have been tipping off even officials! I'll pass on your willingness to join us in kicking Willy's [censor] to another victim of Willy and i let you know the result...keep intouch by [email protected] and i live in Toronto...Thank you

Nov 13, 2010 2:40 am EST

DON'T DO BUSINESS WITH WILLY DOG, MR WILL HODGKISS IS A SCAM ARTIST! I Sell Pepsi Machines, this man asked to rent one for his festival, i told him we only sell them, he agreed to buy one. We test all machines before going out and don't offer a retun policy .

After using the machine for 4 weeks, he wanted to return it! (festival was over will?) i made a acception because i could tell this guy was a real class act, and a proffessional at taking money of unsure people. i subtracted a 200 $ fee for his use of machine.

At some point this man snuck onto my property and stole my vin number off my sportscar and placed a illegal lein on my car for 1175$ . what a complete fraud, he is willing to bend and break the laws of ontario and is a fool and a laughing stock of what a good business operates like, anyone can email me anytime if you are sueing this man. [email protected]

Sep 20, 2010 2:29 am EDT

i recieved the hummer from arrived damaged.was obviously shipped damaged.the welds were split in the coldbox, both hinge and latch sides, approx. 5-6 inches.screws not even screwed into plastic liner.only after will accusing me of "trying to steal his $!", and contacting Visa, was i able to have him pay for that repair.finally got it out last weekend and the top is warping and lifting away-welds coming apart around the steam's back to the machine shop in the morning. the steamers were sent with no pan to fill with water for them to set in which keeps your hotdogs from BURNING.shoddy workmanship. shady business. hey will! gotta bridge to sell ya...

Sep 17, 2010 5:31 am EDT
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Hi guys wherever you are... just prove that you are not William R Hodgskiss the owner of bogus franchise hot dog business called (Willy dog) or his crime partener so i could send & recieve Willy's dishonesty information (with solid prove only) plus letting those (such as myself ) that they have been (robbed by him) to know which authorities are helping me to kick Willy's [censor] (hord enough that sends him to sue his plastic surgent who made a mess on his face)! Please remember that (we are talking about a low personality conartist) who has robbed (me alone) $575 cash up front plus 3 years x 12 x 270 royalty paymenent every mounth and (if his franchise agreement was not a fake one) then i could have been selling hot dogs at the same address mentioned above for (atleast) 7 more years (never mind) if the income of it was (seasonal or unstable)! Therefore (be sure that you have solid prove) so the legal offices that i refer you (if you wish) wouldn't consider our complain as (junk mail)! Good luck

Aug 31, 2010 9:43 am EDT

Will Hodgekiss is the rudest, most pathetic hot dog manufacture I have ever come into contact with. I believe the complaints, I have talked with other manufacturers about his horrible horrible reputation in the hot dog industry, and I was comforted when I found out that he is a laughing stock in the industry. His reputation confirms his attitude towards me, a new optimisitc entrepreneur in the field, that he is a bitter, jaded, and gross soul. Who hangs up on clients? How come no one else ever answers the phone? Is there any other sales people? Hang it up Will, you're doing yourself more harm than good. After speaking with other manufacturers and people selling their used willie dogs, I was grateful that I did not make the mistake of doing business with him, or touching anything so riddled with such loser qualities that Will Hodgekiss possessess.

Oct 31, 2009 12:36 am EDT

I am the man who asks difficult questions.

If all these people's glowing testimonials are real - as opposed to phoney shills sent in like so many judas goats to whomp up business for this fine specimen of honest Canadian business practice - why don't you make an offer to buy these "perfectly good hot dog carts" and resell them? Talk is cheap, let's see the color of your money.

The old Yankee philosopher

Oct 30, 2009 1:56 am EDT

This is Auburn / Heather again. Will has a lot of nerve to call an accountant and project manager "a puppet". We were sold an inferior product and spent $3000 of our own money to bring the cart to code. Will promised to reimburse the $3000 but insisted on us signing a "no intent to bring legal action" contract in order to do so. We provided him with pictures of the problems with no reply. The thing is parked and unsellable. Any of you who think he has provided an excellent product are welcome to contact me and we will be happy to sell our cart to you. (Bob, you're welcome to ours.) We have requested many times that he simply take the thing back and refund our money. Instead we have a 21, 000 dollar paperweight. I could give you countless examples of the problems with the cart, but for now I'll just list these:
1. The sinks we ordered were to be a specific size and that was not what we got.
2. Our flooring was required to be seamless up 6 inches from the floor. It wasn't.
3. The sinks were not properly trapped and vented, nor were they screened.
4. Exposed wiring
5. fenders were grommeted on, not bolted, so they kept falling off
6. Battery for refrigerators were not encased to protect them from water
7. The roof leaked on delivery
8. Window gaskets were flimsy and broke almost immediately.

I could go on but you get the idea. All of these required items were promised on our original quote - I still have the invoice. If you love this company's products please feel free to contact me at [email protected] and we will be happy to sell you ours.

Their one year warrant explicitly states and implies “Should your cart fail for any reason due to workmanship or material defect... we will fix it free at your location. No arguments.” Yeah, right. Didn't happen. Elaine's ordeal mirrors ours.

Aug 10, 2009 8:24 pm EDT

OMG...Let me tell you that my husband and I not knowing a thing about the hotdog business checked out carts online and spoke with Will.Hhe was always there to answer questions and we ordered a cart a year and a half ago. Was it perfect? Absolutely not BUT Will never let us down when we had problems. There were improvements that we made to the cart that will reimbursed us for and I believe it was a learning experience for all of us. in fact I believe that his new carts have only improved because of some of our communications so...if you want an affordable cart that will not only produce you a good income but many new friends and relationships and want to deal with someone that believes in his product and will be there for you Will is the guy. Thank you Will for helping us to succeed. When we are ready for the 2nd cart you will definitely get our order.

Mar 11, 2008 6:20 am EDT


I have been reading this board and am not sure what to think. I've contacted several of the people and basically, heard both negative and positive comments, but mainly...positive.

I ordered my cart about a week ago, so, I have about another week to go. I ordered the 'hummer' model which seems like a good value with several extras, including 4 sinks, mounted fire extinguisher, and a stainless steel sink seperator. I ordered mine through the Fort Wayne office (U.S.Carts).

So far, my experience has been pretty positive and everybody (the lady I bought from, and Willy himself) has been really good about responding to me with my questions, etc...and I am expecting everything will be okay.

I will take a photographer with me when my cart arrives in Sweetwater, TX. and take pics as I open the crate, pull out the cart and attach it to my car. Assuming all goes well, this will be a great relief to me and the many people ordering carts through his offices like me...because seeing the complaints really freaked me out, and we all have enough stress in our lives when you're trying to start a new business already.

I can not post pics here, but after the 24th (my cart should arrive on or about March 19th), if anyone wants to see what I get, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] and I'll let you see the pics for yourself. Again, I think the two (2) weeks deliver date is an estimate, so a day or two one way or the other should be okay.

Wish me luck, say a prayer and greetings to everyone out there! I am really excited!

Jim Riley
Jim/E.'s Chicago Style Hot Dogs
[email protected]
San Angelo, Texas

Jan 29, 2008 7:15 pm EST


It was great speaking with you Will, as always, about this great business that I have purchased from you!

I'm currently writing you to place ANOTHER order for your wonderful Willy Carts. Before I get into the order, let me mention a few things to you and whomever else is willing to listen:

I have known Will for a little over five years now, when I purchased my first cart from Will. It was used, Will offered AND did paint it for me AND put in an extra sink according to regulations FREE OF CHARGE! The reason I mentioned the whole internet thing is because I noticed some characters on "the net" talkin' up "Big Hate". I know Big Hate when I see it for two good reasons, I have been a consumer/civil rights advocate for many years now and deal with Hate on a regular basis. I am also a syndicated investigative fraud reporter with numerous fraud and child predator watch sites, I have had a "little" practice in outing crooks.

This is a note of encouragement for Will, but all who read this are welcome to call me & share my feelings in part or in whole how ever you choose. Will has been honorable to a fault with myself and ultimately to my family. We have survived quite well from hot dog sales ONLY for the past 5 years. We are now located in The Little Rock, Arkansas Rivermarket. Just a stones throw away from the President Clinton Librarary. Will's reliable products and services have made this possible.

BTW, those crooked stories about Will have now motivated me to launch a Willy Dog USA blog. This will be something like my 15th blog or so. You can be assured that a refferal to Willy Dog Blog SHALL be on everyone of them within the next two weeks.

Ean Lee Bordeaux
American Creole Indian Nation
Chief Elder, Bordeaux Band

Jan 21, 2008 10:16 am EST
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Elaine McGee's comments from the Chamber of Commerce were not at all what was said or implied by Mr David Radler from the Chamber of Commerce. He comments on that himself:
"As far as my e-mail communication, noted by Ms. Elaine Magee, is concerned it seems my statement to her with regard to your company, “no longer being associated with Chamber”, has been misquoted by her to infer your claim of being the winner of the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year award 2006 was incorrect, when in fact Willy Dog was well publicised as the 2006 winner of this award reflecting its 19 years of successful of business in Kingston.

Our reference to Willy Dog's membership status, to Ms. Magee, as it currently stood, inferred nothing other than we are in no ethical position to become involved or provide comments with respect to any disputes regarding non member organisations."

David Radford,
Marketing, Chamber of Commerce, Kingston, On,

Oct 03, 2007 7:31 pm EDT

WOW what a load of BS this is. I would never believe a word of this. We have bought several WillyDog Carts. Will is NOTHING BUT PROFESSIONAL ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE BOARD.

Will has gone above & beyond the call with us from day one. Will pretty much baby sit us when we started out approx three years ago when we bought our first Hummer cart.

Will always does what he say. Will always answered our question & returned our calls.

Sounds to me like someone having buyers remorse or undecided if they want a cart or the kind of cart.

Actually I resent this slander against Will because he has worked very hard to get where he is in business and has not done so by lying or cheating one single person.

One little issue or two does not warrant turning this into a federal case or causing an honest business man a bunch of grief.


First of all carts are created to come through customs and umbrella & other misc items are always shipped seperate.

I will go you one even better. One of our carts got into an accident and was damaged so bad we could not work on it. Will shipped us a brand new Hummer without our payment trusting us to pay him so we could continue our business. When we received a check for the damaged cart we sent the money to Will.

How dare to slander this man.

If you want junk we can tell you a place in Flordia where it is created everyday.

David & Brenda Forsythe

Jul 20, 2007 2:22 pm EDT

I just wanted to say how happy I am with my Willy Dog hot dog wagon. Its my third wagon and it built very well. They took care of the warranty when it was out of warranty. Not to many places do that. Thanks again... Buds Hot Dogs Rt. 28 Boiceville, N.Y. 12412.

Jun 08, 2007 7:06 pm EDT


This complaint was brought to my attention by a friend and I don't believe it.

Mr Hodgskiss has given my husband & I nothing but the best service and attention we could hope for. We have called him at all times of the day with silly questions and he ALWAYS took plenty of time to help us and put us at ease.

I question the motives of this lady who says the mean things. If anyone has any questions about this just call me and I will tell you how Will made it possible for my husband & I to make a pleasant living doing something we enjoy and with a great cart!

Breana EMAIL: [email protected]

Jun 02, 2007 5:10 am EDT


Do you have a showroom in Kingston Ontario? What are the operting business hours? Do I need to make an appointment?


May 27, 2007 6:54 pm EDT
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My name is Will Hodgskiss.

I own the Willy Dog company described above. I also sell under several other brand names. So do Coca Cola, Pepsi and McDonalds. I started Willy Dog from scratch by myself 18 years ago. I started the business when I was absolutely poverty stricken. Flat broke. I started by selling hot dogs on the street. Not quite what my kind mother had expected of her son. Since that time Willy Dog & it's subsidiaries have sold over 9,000 carts! We are now probably the largest maker of carts in North America. I got there because I offer value & help to people who are often in the same position now as I was 18 years ago. Not by ripping off people like the above pair will have you believe.

Two complaints in 18 years is very good I think. Don't you?

I cannot help it that the odd time someone gets something that is, maybe a bit damaged in shipping or not exactly what was anticipated. Sadly it happens & I ALWAYS try to fix it. I won the prestigious 2006 business of the year award offered by the Chamber of Commerce indirectly because of my overall regard for the satisfaction of the end user of our products.

I know my carts have always been a good value & getting better.
We sell in the low-price end of the market but we often rival & sometimes surpass quality of products sold by companies who are priced at the top of the market.

What actually has happened here are 2 parties who have failed in business due to their own weaknesses, not mine. I still offered in both the above cases to spend, potentially thousands of dollars to fix the "problems" that did not in fact exist. To any legitimate inquirer I will send the paper work to prove it. ( Please note that Heather, above is not & never was a customer of mine. Rather she was the puppet of an arrogant, rude fellow who called himself "Q" ). My defense of my above argument is bullet proof as anyone who observes the facts will see.

Thank you for taking time to read my side of the story.


May 26, 2007 4:22 am EDT

I have done business with the above company on several occasions with great results. I would recommend them to anyone.

I got exactly what I wanted & more & it arrived in a timely fashion. If anyone has any doubts please feel free to call me.

M Gilbert.

May 11, 2007 2:02 pm EDT

Wow. We're just heartbroken to read your story and learn it is nearly identical to ours. We bought his top of the line enclosed 2 person hot dog cart and doubled it's price to make it legal for California. We got a piece of junk we're out more than $3k in repairs for. Will keeps putting us off and I've realized it's going to take legal action to get anything from him, or at least shut him down. We plan to try and initiate class action against him - you in? You can call me - Heather - at [protected]. It says Auburn on my voicemail - that's my nickname but you've still got me. I'm still organizing my paperwork but my outside investor is very serious about at least making life difficult for this jerk, so please feel free to call or email for more information / commiseration! Thanks.


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800 Proctor Ave., New York United States