Daniel agreed to throw away 35 cans of Slim-Fast after the company announced a recall last month over fears of contamination. He called the number provided by Unilever and provided his address, and then waited for the full refund they promised. What he got was a check for $10.20.
I called their toll-free number for a full refund, just as they requested. I was greeted with a recording that asked me to leave my name, address, and the number of cans of Slim-Fast I had at the tone. I had 35 cans, so I recited the required information clearly and hung up the phone. On the phone, I also mentioned that if there was any question about the quantity, I would send them a picture of the 35 cans.
After I hung up, I wondered how they would value the cans. After all, the price someone pays really depends on where they buy them. If you bought a can at a convenience store, you would pay about $1.99 each. If you bought them at Walmart, you would pay about $1.00 each in a six pack. (I actually purchased my Slim-Fast cans at Walmart in six packs, so I paid around $35.00 for the cans.) If you bought them at a warehouse club, you would pay about $0.75 each in a 24 pack. These prices I listed are not exact, but they are pretty close to what I have seen.
The message said to discard the cans, but I was concerned enough about the value that I saved them anyway. Sure enough, I received my check today. The total they reimbursed me was $10.20 for my 35 cans of Slim-Fast. That’s $0.29 each and in my opinion, completely unrealistic. It’s less than one third of what I paid. There is nowhere in America that I know of where anyone could have purchased Slim-Fast cans at that price.
Unilever is obviously trying to save themselves money by sending out checks in the smallest amount possible. I don’t think anyone would ever keep receipts for Slim-Fast shakes, but I would think that if a company asks you to discard their product in the trash because of their mistake and offers to send you a refund, they should send you a reasonable amount to cover replacement costs.
Does anyone have any idea how companies value their product in recall situations like this?
I’ve asked Unilever to provide some insight into how they determine the per-can value for recalls like this. If they get back to me, I’ll post an update.