• Report: #983551

Complaint Review: Cookology

  • Submitted: Mon, December 17, 2012
  • Updated: Thu, December 20, 2012

  • Reported By: Howard — Centreville Virginia United States of America
21100 Dulles Town Circle Sterling, Virginia United States of America

Cookology Chefology LLC, CookologyOnline Lying company that sells you a gift certificate that isn't valid Sterling, Virginia

*Author of original report: More Lies

*Author of original report: Untrue and insulting

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Response from Cookology to Gift Card Report

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In October of 2011, my soon to be wife and I received a wedding present  from her best friend and their family. It was for $150 at Cookology.  On Oct 8th 2011 about 10 days before it was about to expire my wife went online to book us a class. The first issue was the gift certificate code # was hard to decipher, as it was hand written it was either a 1086 or 1066. Now to go into
a bit more detail, the way their gift certificate system is setup is to take a four digit code and a dollar amount.  My wife entered the first code and the system told her the gift card had $65 left on it, then she tried the 1066 number and it told her she had a different amount. Neither amounts being the $150 stated on the gift certificate. Not wanting to cheat the system, my wife decided to call the next day to straighten out the situation.

When my wife called, she spoke to a very rude lady who told her the gift certificate had been used back in February of 2012 and there was nothing they could do. [continued below]....
..... The conversation was going nowhere, so my wife called back again and asked to talk to a manager who also told her there was nothing they could do. When further questioned on who used the certificate, the employee said they didnt have that information, only that it had been redeemed and again said there was nothing they could
do. They never offered any kind of solution. My wife said, well, whoever it was, it was not me, because I have the gift card in front of me. At this point I called back and asked to speak to the manager. I was told the same thing my wife was. I then asked to talk to someone else and Maria Kopsida, the owner of the company, came to the phone.
She was less then helpful or sympathetic to our issue basically saying someone redeemed the certificate in February and that is all the information she had. When I mentioned how easy it was to type in a random code and value in their system, her response was, we have one of the best systems in the industry. At this point I threatened to contact the BBB, her response was to go ahead and then she hung up.

After that I went online to check some of the reviews of her company and I noticed a trend of most of the low scoring reviews all said the same thing, that their customer service was horrible. I added my own reviews at this time of what had just transpired. I also went ahead and opened a case with the Better Business Bureau.

Next I contacted an attorney to see if there was any chance of getting a refund as I no longer wanted to do business with this company. They received the letter from my attorney on October 22nd, it asked them to contact me within 30 days. While waiting for a response I received an email from the BBB stating they had made numerous requests to contact the company but never got a response, so they would update their records that the company was unresponsive.

Over a month went by and I did not receive a  response, so the other day, I emailed their CEO to confirm that they had gotten the letter from my attorney and if they were planning to reply. Their CEO responded now stating that the gift certificate was only partially used in February, (never told us it was partially used before) and that she offered both my wife and I the opportunity to still come to a class (which was untrue-she never offered us that option) as well as she stated she told me who redeemed the gift certificate and I stated I didn't know that person, (which was also untrue). We then requested via email the name of person who redeemed the certificate and still have not gotten a response.

The best spin that could be put on this situation is that they have no control over issued gift certificates to insure that they are being properly redeemed. When confronted with this, the CEO told untruth after untruth about what she had told us and what she had offered us to cover herself. The worse spin is that they are running some sort of scam where gift certificates
are issued and can never be redeemed for full value or at all.

We would just like them to give our friend back the $150 back which they originally paid for the gift certificate. We have no interest in utilizing the services of such an unprincipled company.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/17/2012 08:10 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Cookology/Sterling-Virginia-20166/Cookology-Chefology-LLC-CookologyOnline-Lying-company-that-sells-you-a-gift-certificate-t-983551. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

More Lies

AUTHOR: Howie411 - ()

In the below email sent by Ms. Kopsidas to Office of the Attorney General of Virgina she states in 3 different paragraphs that it was her companies fault yet she still refuses to refund my wife's friend her $150 and still claims I am trying to scam her.  She also states she offered us 2 seats in one of her classes which I previously mentioned before she did not.  This letter also contradicts what she wrote earlier where she states that a family member used it and they were scared to inform me.

March 27, 2013

Dispute Resolution Specialist
900 East Main Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219


Mr. XXXXXX's gift card shows it has been redeemed in our system. Our reporting is such that we show when it was issued, when it was redeemed, and the name of the person with credit--this is far more data than most stores keep. Further, we offered Mr. XXXXXXX two seats in a cooking class for he and his wife, which he flatly refused.  He says we're lying that, we never offered him anything and that we never shared the information about a potential family member with the credit. We are not unreasonable. It is also very likely that same manager crossed off the wrong gift card, and it was marked fully redeemed.

The manager working for us at the time told me, without showing me the evidence, that a XXXXXX family member has a credit on our report. After more investigation into our system, which took several weeks, the person we have on the credit report is named Margaret Marrons. We have tried to reach out to her several times to see if they are related, without success.  

Further, Mr. XXXXX posted negative reviews and comments on all consumer review sites. I have countered all of these reviews, and his claims are false. This is the only instance of our system not working.

Please understand my position in a world where so many people are constantly trying to scam my business to get more than what they've paid for or have been gifted. We do better than most businesses in tracking our system. This will be our first flaw in the system.

Maria Kopsidas
Cookology, Recreational Culinary School

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#2 Author of original report

Untrue and insulting

AUTHOR: Howie411 - (United States of America)

Mrs Kopsidas claims the gift card was used in February 2012 by
someone with the same last name and the remainder was likewise given to that
person.  She believes someone in my family used it without telling
me. Every time she responds to one of my letters, she makes up and/or adds new
facts.  First she told me she couldn't tell me who used it, and then
she told me she had already given us the name (which she hadn't) and now it is
someone in our family with our last name who use it.  Maybe my dog used
it-he has the same last name as mine. He is the only family member that
lives in VA with the same last name. The bottom line is that we have had
complete and total control over the gift card since we received in a
sealed envelope at our wedding.  The assertion that a family member
would take it and used it is preposterous as well as insulting.

She also states she offered us 2 seats in a class which is equal to a $130 value
which never happened. She never spoke to my wife and only spoke to me one time
and basically told me that there was nothing she could do for me.  We
repeatedly asked her for information regarding who has the credit and as
detailed above, she either never responded or provided confusing or
misleading information. 

Either there is a flaw in their controls over their gift card which they
are unwilling to admit or they are using the cards to scam people by
issuing and then claiming they were used by some unknown person.

The fact that she did not bother to reply to numerous Better Business Bureau emails seems
to indicate that she has something to hide. I have already contacted the
States Attorney Generals office as well as the local new stations to get involved
and will proceed in filing a claim in small claim court if that is necessary.


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#3 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Response from Cookology to Gift Card Report

AUTHOR: Maria Kopsidas - (United States of America)

Mr. Marans's gift card was partially used in February 2012 and credit was given for the remainder of the balance with someone with his last name. Our reporting is such that we show when it was issued, when it was redeemed, and the name of the person with credit.

He maintains that we're lying about the amount of information we gave him: 1) that we've never offered him 2 seats in a cooking class, a value of $130, and 2) that we've never shared the information about the family member with the credit. These are all false. The two seats offered were flatly refused.

We are not unreasonable. Each year, during the holidays, we sell over $70K in gift cards and redeem them in their entirety through the following year. 

He insists on pursuing us in court, which we plan to follow through to prove he is wrong with the evidence we have against his claim. 

It is our belief that someone in his family used the gift card but will not tell him they did so. He is a very unreasonable person, and it our opinion that people in his family are not willing to come forward for fear of retribution. 

Further, no  state or federal law forces the merchant to refund the gift card of it is lost, stolen or used. If someone has taken a class and leaves unhappy then we feel obligated to offer a refund or a credit.

Maria Kopsidas

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