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What I Learned from Spoiled Yogurt

Jenetta emailed in the following tip:

Recently I purchased a container of non-dairy coconut yogurt. When we opened up the yogurt, it was molded and the store I bought it at was far away, so there was no way I could return it.

Instead, I sent an email to the company. They apologized and asked for my address so they could send me some coupons.

Well, my goodness, did they ever send coupons! They sent me 12 coupons for any of their products.

These are products that can cost up to $5 each. So basically they sent me what could be the equivalent of $60 worth of free product coupons!

In another instance, I purchased a container of non-dairy soy yogurt. I thought it looked funny when I opened it, but non-dairy yogurt can look different and I had not used this brand before. Then I tasted it… and immediately confirmed that it was spoiled.

Again, I wrote to the company. They apologized, too, and asked for my address. This time I received nine free product coupons — six for a large yogurt tub and three for small containers.

Lesson learned: Never just throw out food that is not good and straight from the store. Either take the food back to the store and get your money back or write to the company and let them know.

You might just be surprised at how generous they are! -Jenetta from Frugal Freebies and Deals

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  • Kandace says:

    Yes, I did this with some raspberries that didn’t last 2 days in the fridge. The company sent me some coupons for the amount I paid for the product. Never hurts to ask.

  • Nicole Spiers says:

    I always call the company if something is not 100% satisfactory with a product. I’ve called on diapers (the sticky pads were tearing off a good portion of my box of diapers, I got (2) $20 coupons from Pampers) to food (coupons for free 2-4 of the product that spoiled) to toys (refund of purchase price and coupons if the toy broke or ripped).
    The calls usually take 10-20 minutes and almost always I get the product refunded via a check and bonus coupons a much better option then driving back to a store.

    Also, if you use a product a lot like a certain baby formula call and they will often send out coupons and put you on a future coupon mailing list.

  • I do this with Driscoll’s when I buy fruit and it goes bad within a day or two and they are very generous about it too!

  • Jodi says:

    I always do this. I find companies are usually more generous when you have a problem, versus a compliment. Sometimes I even call the company to let them know about an issue (so they can correct it in the future), and still return the item to the store.

    • Mabel says:

      Thank you for this. I just contacted a pet food company that I recently bought some spoiled CAT FOOD from! My poor girls health was at risk…..hopefully I will have a good experience with this company like you did!

  • Julie says:

    Always follow up on bad food, bad service, bad experiences!

    My husband and I had a terrible experience with a hotel stay. We vowed never to stay there again after an assistant manager was just as rude as everyone else. The next week I called and spoke with the General Manager and she refunded one night of our stay! It was worth the trouble to call.

  • Stephanie says:

    Boy is this true! Once when I was a teenager, my mom bought a box of Snackwell cookies, the first bite I took sliced the roof of my mouth. My mom was so mad, she grabbed the phone and called them as I was bleeding into the sink! They told her to take me to the dentist and send them a copy of the bill. When the check came there was also a huge stack of free coupons for products made by their company. So, from that lesson, I always call companies when something isn’t right. Most recently, Mann’s veggies. I bought a package of broccoli and when I opened it, it was a few florets with one HUGE (seven inch long, one inch diameter) stem. I called them and they sent me two free product coupons and six $.55 coupons. Another time I had bought a box of HotPockets and upon opening, one of the pockets didn’t have its little silver sleeve. They sent me the sleeve along with a free coupon and several cents off coupons.

  • I never forget the day my mom received a very large box in the mail and when I asked what was in it she said “free underwear” . Turns out she had complained to the underwear company that the elastic on her panties had started ripping apart after only a few washings, my mother even went as far as to mail it in to show them. However, in return for her efforts, and exposing the company to her panties she got probably several years of underwear for free. I remember being so embarrassed when she did this (I was a teenager) but now I think that was pretty brave and pretty cool!

  • asmith says:

    I had a similar experience with Tyson fresh chicken it really was my misunderstanding but they still sent me 3 free products coupon up to a 5.oo value.

  • Emily says:

    I have contacted diaper companies when a tab rips off when I’m putting it on (only if it rips off without me pulling hard on it) . They actually want to know for quality purposes and have always sent a few high value coupons. One time they sent a coupon for a free pack of diapers.

    • Heather says:

      We have the exact same issue with some diapers here too and called the company and they were more then happy to replace them free of charge. They also wanted me to hold onto those unused diapers as they were sending me a package to put them in, postaged paid by them, to send them back to have them researched by quality control so that it doesn’t keep happening and/or to ensure that if they need to set up a recall on a certain lot! Nice customer service!

      • Slides 'n Sandboxes says:

        When I contacted a company, they asked me to send two diapers back in a prepaid envelope for quality control to check over. And to be honest I haven’t had a problem with those diapers since.

    • Heather T. says:

      I had that happen with Luvs ha they never even returned my message, that was a few years ago, I was talking with a friend and she suggested contacting them on FB so I did and let them know I had recently bought a box with the birth of our 4th child all they said was welcome back hope these diapers work! Really that is all you have to say so much for the money back claim I will never buy Luvs again, sorry for the rant it just recently happened and makes me a tad unhappy. Congrats on the company doing the right thing.

      • Christine says:

        I had the same happen with a box of Luvs about two years ago, and they were great about it. Sent a coupon or two for $10 off, and let me keep the current box. I told them not all of the tabs were coming off, but enough of them that it was unusual since I had been using their brand for…5 years?…at that point. Nothing a little duct tape didn’t fix on the defective ones (thanks, dad!).

  • Kelly says:

    Is it weird that I’m sort of hoping for some spoiled yogurt soon? Great tips!

  • leslie says:

    I did the same thing with a razor company, i wrote them and told them my negativt feedback about their razor, they mailed me a coupon for a free razor.

    • Slides 'n Sandboxes says:

      I have done it. Once I just let the company know how their product had been a disappointment (very kindly detailing what had happened) and I added that even though other products they make are great, I won’t be buying this one again (basically not to send coupons), but wanted them to know about it. They wanted to refund my money. I had no idea they’d do it but it was nice of them.

      • Slides 'n Sandboxes says:

        (I didn’t mean it as a reply to a comment here but as a separate comment – I don’t know what happened 🙂

    • Nichole D. says:

      I’ve had this happen to me with meat and milk. When I opened the package of meat (cut up chicken for salad. forgot name of brand) I almost passed out from the smell. I put it in a ziploc and drove back to the grocery store. They gave me a new one. I was in a hurry a few weeks ago at the grocery store and bought a gallon of milk never bothering to check the expiration date. Got home and opened it. Tasted funny. Turns out it was several days expired. I called the store right away explained what happened. I got a new gallon of milk (NOT expired) and my money back.

  • Tammy says:

    I have done this several times, and gotten a good response. Just recently I contacted a company to ask a question regarding their ingredient list, and they sent me coupons. 🙂

  • Karla D. says:

    Our local Publix store is really good about this. A few times we’ve had issues with produce and they’ll replace the item (the store is extremely close to our house) however recently I had an issue with a product and I contacted the company via social media (essentially they put an ingredient into their soups that didn’t bear the name MSG but was-Autolyzed Yeast Extract. I let them know that for an Organic company, I was disappointed in their approach since I and many others are allergic to MSG-derivatives.

    It turns out that they were already one step ahead of me, they said by the end of this year their soups would no longer have the ingredient and because I didn’t realize and had an allergic reaction after consuming one of their soups which I thought were safe to eat at one point, the lady that emailed me offered to send some free product coupons since there are some other items that I can eat right now from their line. It pays to speak up!

  • Bonnie says:

    I do this too. And I’m not nit-picky about it. A opened a box of taco shells once that was supposed to have 12 and it only had 11. I hit the roof! I swore! I…am just kidding. 🙂 I called Kraft and they sent me a bunch of coupons…1 for a freebie. Like others, I have done the same thing with diapers. I have had 3 kids in diapers a couple of times in my life and I don’t have a single penny to waste on ones that aren’t right. I’ve only ever been disappointed once by a company. I bought a pineapple that hailed to be the sweetest, juiciest pineapple I ever had. It was the toughest, driest piece of pineapple-disguised shoe leather I ever tried to eat. I contacted the company…no response. That’ the only time I’ve ever had an issue like that.

  • denise sprague says:

    That’s awesome. We dont do dairy either, and the alternatives are really expensive. I would wonder tho, if the companies require any proof of the spoilage before they send out really valuable coupons?

    • Allie says:

      Yes, many times they want you to take a picture and email it to them or at least give some identifying numbers from the package. That way they can investigate further. Also, it probably helps to establish the person’s credible complaint.

  • dorothy says:

    I too have made numerous phone calls to the companies… They need to know when a product is less than satisfactory. I have called with suggestions too on how to make something better. A big beef I have to is if the product doesnt match the picture. I got a Guy Fieri pizza from BJs and after opening it there were maybe a 1/3 if the toppings as what the pic showed. I called them and they sent me a check for the full refund. Also from BJs I got the big box of Goldfish and it was in a foil bag that ripped upon opening. Since it was not resealable I had to put in a big Ziploc. I called to complain about the bag and to suggest resealable be used since it’s so big and they sent me enough $1 coupons to pay for the whole box..

  • Heather says:

    I bought a couple half gallons of milk from our local Safeway midsumme and they were the paper carton variety. Once home, one of the bottoms seemed to leak and it leaked out all over my fridge. Needless to say I wasn’t pleased, so I called the store and they said to call the Manu directly; which I did. They not only replaced the half gallon of milk, but sent me coupons for free food as well. The coupons were for $5 each and I got 4=$20! They don’t expire til 2014 either! Yahoo!

  • Kamila Straker says:

    Well, it doesn’t always work like this. I purchased a half gallon milk at Whole Foods and in about 3 days the milk turned brown and smell horrible. I called the manufacturer and the not so nice lady told me that I have to take it back to WF. Well, I live good hour away and will not drive to return spoiled milk. She said that WF was probably not rotating the milk how they should. Whatever the reason was, a coupon to replace that expensive milk in glass bottle, sure wouldn’t put the dairy company out of business. It left a bitter taste in my mouth.

  • Von says:

    I did this once with a Neutrogena concealer product. The container was terrible, and the product would randomly start oozing out all over my makeup bag. It was a mess and I lost half the product as it happened often. My sister owned the same product and the same thing happened to her. I emailed the company and only got a generic acknowledgement letter which didn’t even mention my issue at all. Was very disappointed, not very professional at all. However, I also did this with a bad batch of Chex mix, and they sent three coupons for free products!

    • Neutrogena must need to completely overhaul their method of sealing their products! Every time I travel with a bottle of Neutorgena anything (face wash, soap, etc.) it ALWAYS leaks! I’ve taken to putting some of the product into a smaller (more reliable) container to carry with me. It’s very annoying!

  • Jodi says:

    Awesome! So many times this has happened to me and I just toss it. I have done this with clothes where a part such as button or zipper broke. I might as well just send it back to the manufacturer than what i would have done in the past, which is toss it.

  • jan says:

    I don’t usually do stuff like this but one time I decided to speak up and try for a box of crackers from a major brand, that was just full of crumbs and few crackers intact. They sent me a coupon for a free one plus a bunch of high value coupons for their products. I also called a major diaper co. because a few of the diapers had missing tabs(apparently, they are made in Mexico). They sent me a high value coupon as well.

  • k king says:

    I always do this. When I gave birth to my first child, I got over dozen -$10 off any pampers super mega or larger size and boy was that helpful!

  • sand says:

    i bought a name brand young mens deodorant,went to give it to son a few weeks later and it wouldnt turn ,so the deodorant would not go up. i didnt remember wich store i bought it at,nor did i save the receipt. i e -mailed the company with my name , adress etc. its been 2 months and i havent even heard back from them . very dissapointed ,it was not cheap deodorant,on sale its about 4.00

  • Laurie S says:

    Good advice, I’ll remember this.

    Actually today my order at Burger king was wrong so when I got home I called and they offered to replace the whole order the next time I’m in there! So will be returning in the next few days. Very nice of them.

  • LaTanya says:

    A few years ago my dad sent a letter to Walmart with a suggestion about their store brand southwest mustard. The mustard had bits of peppers and onions in it which would stop up the top. Dad loved the mustard but it was a pain to get it out of the bottle. He suggested they consider redesigning the top for that type of mustard. Walmart sent him a letter thanking him for the suggestion and that they forwarded his letter to the manufacturer of the mustard. They also included a $10 Walmart gift card. A couple of weeks letter he received a box from the manufacturer. They also thanked him for the suggestion and let him know that they had discovered the problem and had already been working on redesigning the top of the bottle. They included a $10 check AND two bottles of every type of mustard they made.

  • Jessica says:

    I had that happen with allergy free bread, which is pricey to begin with. I emailed the company and they sent me a whole box of goodies. There was a problem with the packaging on a certain flavor, so every time we got that flavor, it was already moldy in the package, even though the sell by date was months away. The company continued to send me replacements and usually threw in an extra loaf for good measure. It was a good thing, because in our case, the only other alternative is to make it myself!

  • Joyce says:

    I’ve actually had very good results with leaving positive feedback too…especially with places like restaurants. We have a drive-thru Subway restaurant here and I visited it once right after my daughter was born. The sandwiches were absolutely wonderful, better than when I’ve even gone inside and watched them make them. It was such a positive experience that I called the corporate number (even though it’s a franchise) and the owner of our location called me back and unexpectedly sent me 4 coupons for free sandwiches. He said he so much of the feedback he gets is negative, that positive feedback is very reassuring. I know a lot of people email companies to say they like products or had a bad experience — don’t forget, it’s always nice to commend good customer service, as well!

  • says:

    I have always done this any company worth anything will send you coupons to at LEAST reimburse you for the product your purchase most do like you guys example and go far beyond to keep you as a customer

  • Sarah says:

    I bought a carton of heavy cream from Aldi recently, and when I brought it home and opened it I found it was spoiled. I took it back and showed the manager, and she not only gave me a replacement but also gave me twice my money back!! Never hurts to complain about something that is legitamately unfair 🙂

  • Leah W. says:

    I have done this many times and most companies are generous but then there are others not so generous. I purchased a few frozen meals for my husband to take for lunch on those days when there was no left overs, he came home complaining one day because the meal did not have the plastic sealed and the whole meal was freezer burned. I wrote to the company not asking for anything just letting them know so they could inform their quality control department. All I received back from them was 1 coupon replacing the meal he threw away.

  • CJ says:

    I’ve taken expired or moldy products back to my grocery stores and didnt even receive a “sorry”, just my money back. If I was a grocery employee I’d be mortified to know any product that left the store wasnt good and at least apologize on behalf of the store. Also I emailed Kraft about a package of Fresh Take that was moldy long before the expiration date and never received a reply. I’ve never have good luck getting responses from food companies when I complain (nicely) about their products.

  • Amanda L says:

    I’ve done this a few times with broken or spoiled products. Never had a negative response.

  • Amy Lauren says:

    Thanks for the idea. We bought some peanut butter from Earth Fare a few weeks ago, and it tasted bitter. I just e-mailed the manufacturer about it- was planning on taking it back next time I go, but will see what happens with this first.

  • I’ve been using those dishwasher packs instead of regular gel detergent. Seems to be working better. I no longer have to rewash some of my dishes. This week, 3 packs in a row did not happen. I had to wash all the dishes I own and silverware, etc. by hand. I had dirty dishes waiting to go in while I ran the same load three times in a row with different packs and none opened.

    E-mailed the company. They are reimbursing my money. I hope to see it soon. Will not br buying that product again though.

  • Crystal Redmon says:

    I bought some Jimmy Dean Sauage and it blew up before the expiration date I returned it to walmart got my money back, three roles, and I called Jimmy and they sent me 5 free coupons and a 1 off any sara lee product.

  • If It's FREE! says:

    I recently learned that you can write most any products company and tell them the things that you love &/or hate about their products, and most but not all of them will mail you coupons for their products! I received a coupon for a FREE 24pk of ALL & Mighty laundry tabs, and coupons from (Bushs Beans, Heinz & Ore-Ida, fresh express, boulthouse, and many others!

    • If It's FREE! says:

      Jiffy sent me a package containing FOUR Jiffy mixes- 2 muffins, 1 corn bread & 1 pie crust mix(makes 2) & a cookbook! FOR FREE, because I complimented them!

  • Kelli says:

    This is not about a food waste– but it’s a memory I will never forget. I took my teenage girl to buy jeans at American Eagle…the young man working there suggested she try on jeggings because “even big girls look good in them.” Yes, she may have been “bigger” but who needs that pointed out?!

    I was furious but I didn’t want to further embarrass her so I waited until we got home and I called the store and then the corporate office. Both were very apologetic and when I emphatically stated we would NEVER be shopping there again….they didn’t even try to keep our business….and I have kept my word…we never sh0pped there again. We discovered buying jeans at thrift stores is the way to go!!!

  • melissa says:

    It’s almost scary how many sub-par products are out there.

    My favorite story was the time that Life cereal decided to change their recipe. They called it “new and improved” but I didn’t care for it at all and called them to tell them so. They tried to tell me that everyone else liked the new recipe, and I think they sent me a couple of coupons to try it again. Well, 2-3 months later, I received a letter in the mail thanking me for my feedback. Turns out that everyone else was NOT all that impressed with the new formula like they had said and thanks to customers like me, they reverted back to their original formula. And of course, I got a couple of free product coupons with the letter as well. So at times, at least, they really do pay attention to the customers.

  • Debbie says:

    I once opened a new can of Gerber puffs for my son and discovered the tip of a green latex glove inside! I called Gerber and they sent me a postage paid envelope to mail the whole can back to them (to analyze, I suppose) and then sent me 5 or 6 coupons for free Gerber products.

  • Mary says:

    This actually happened to myelf also. I scolded myself the second time for not returning the product. I brought it up to my favorite clerk. Her boyfriend works in dairy!!! He told her, when the foil lids are puffed up they are spoiled. I feel the lids to this day. As well as check the date. But I finally called the company and sent me 10 free coupons for new yogurts. I also have done it with faulty automatic air fresheners. I hit a bad run!! To their dismay I did not have codes for quality control!!! But were very nice.

  • Amanda says:

    I’ve had a similar response when contacting companies to ask if a certain product was discontinued, and what their most similar current product was, in scent and formulation. Would never have thought to until I met my husband, since he tends to get pretty attached to products.

  • Anna says:

    I had the exact same response for a whole chicken that didn’t get gutted completely. I was so glad I contacted the company!

  • Jenny says:

    Most food has an expiration date on it. Was the yogurt expired or did it go bad before the expiration date? If it was expired than the store should have removed it from the shelves. This is not the fault of the manufacturer. Of course, if it went bad before the expiration date than that’s good that you followed up with the manufacturer. Unfortunately, I just see this post turning into a way for people to try and score free food.

    • Jodi says:

      The point is that we shouldn’t be out money if there is either a problem on the fault of either the manufacturer or the supermarket. If it is a manufacturer issue, they WANT to know about problems so that they can address it. And they give us refunds or coupons to keep us as customers. No one suggested a scam to get free food! And many of us have gotten coupons from calling or emailing companies with compliments, also!

  • Sara says:

    I once got laundry soap that had no scoop in it. I called the company to ask how much I was to put in per load so that I could measure it out properly. She got my address and sent me a free product coupon for their very largest container. So yes, sometimes it does pay to notify the company when there is a problem.

  • Sara says:

    once, my husband called a company and the lady that answered said that no one had ever called their customer service department and she was just to actually be able to talk to someone. 🙂 More people should call.

  • Etin says:

    I’ve always had great experiences with this. If I have a legitimate issue with a product, I will email and always get a response and, usually, a free product coupon.

    The only time I didn’t get even a response was from Papa John’s. They really fouled up our order, but I didn’t even get a reply. Guess who we have never ordered from again?

  • Jody says:

    I bought a case of rotel from Sam’s club. 2 of the cans were never sealed so when I went to open them they were full of black mold. I called the company thinking it doesn’t hurt to let them know. She offered me a coupon for all my troubles which I thought was super kind. When I received the coupon in the mail it was for 55 cents off any 3 products :/

  • Cindy Nichols says:

    I’ve had good experiences with any company I’ve ever emailed except for one. I emailed Gillette to ask them why they never have any coupons for Mach 3 razor cartridges and they emailed me back and said they have coupons that come out all the time and to wait and see, maybe one day it would be for the Mach 3. On the other hand I emailed Folger’s to say how much I enjoy their coffee and they sent me some high dollar coupons. Recently I purchased some Lay’s BBQ chips and there were chunks of the seasonings in it. I emailed them and they emailed me back apologizing and sent me three $5 off coupons.

  • Emily says:

    I’ve called over broken/leaky sippy cups (Nuk packaging says 100% leak & break proof) and received replacement coupons, spray n wash bottles when the nozzle spray stopped working and received replacement coupons. Target, in store, has accepted opened up&up wipes that I just didn’t like with a full refund. Next I was mailed a gift card to cover a whole box of Target up&up pull-ups after I’d used the whole box and called the 800 # on the box just to share feedback (didn’t like them, which was surprising cause I love their diapers).

    I’m a fan of polite complaints – my husband works too hard to have our money wasted on bad products!

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