Omaha Steaks Responds to Privacy Complaint

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 31, 2005

Last week, I raked Omaha Steaks over the coals as a particularly annoying example of the continuing poor privacy practices of many Web sites. Well, I have to give the company credit for listening at least a little.

A few hours ago, I got a letter via UPS to my doorstep from Omaha Steaks CEO Bruce Simon. He apologized for my receiving repeated, unwanted telemarketing calls and apparently took me off the company’s list. (He also said the company is sending me a complimentary box of filet mignon. While I appreciate the sentiment, journalistic scruples will require me to decline the shipment. So if it hasn’t been sent out, Mr. Simon, please hold the steaks.)

Still, while it’s good that the company at least offers an opt-out alternative for emails and removes customers from telemarketing lists on request, I don’t think that’s good enough in this day and age of relentless marketing pitches. The savviest companies have opt-in policies, which require customers specifically to check boxes saying they want to be emailed or called with pitches.

Don’t get me wrong. Kudus to Omaha Steaks for responding promptly to my public complaint. It’s just that I don’t want to have to take the initiative to tell a company to leave me alone. And I don’t think most people do either.

Reader Comments

eb

September 1, 2005 12:00 PM

re the steaks, perhaps you could have UPS reroute the package to a shelter in the MS/LA/AL area, I'm sure they would appreciate it greatly.
I hate to see food go to waste.

eb

Kemp Ruffner

September 6, 2005 3:12 AM

Perhaps you should do an article telling clueless companies how to create a privacy policy and how to make it work on the web.

Rupert Pupkin

December 14, 2005 7:52 PM

Apparently he hasn't learned. Some jerk from Omaha Steaks just called my cell phone.

Don't do business with these ^*%&^&#&&#%@!

anonymous

April 22, 2007 6:50 PM

Note: Do not provide your cell phone numbers when you place orders, and you will not be called. These people are just doing their jobs.

Bill Levinson

November 25, 2007 11:27 PM

I have reported Omaha Steaks to its Internet service provider for spamming on more than one occasion.

It's possible that someone gave them my E-mail address to cause trouble for them or for me, but "confirmed opt-in" has been around since 2000 if not earlier, so that is not an excuse even if that is what had happened.

Peggy Wolf

December 4, 2007 12:56 PM

Are their steaks any good? I'd like to send some to my brother for Christmas. P.S. I like my brother.

Chris

December 16, 2007 1:18 PM

You guys should know better about the cold calling an spamming. I am not a revolutionary by any means but might I suggest that each person create a spam only email address. For example I have an email that I use anytime I order anything on the web and it is no suprise the 1000's of unsolicited spam located in the inbox. I also offer my fax line for the phone number. I know what if they need your number in case of a problem. Face if their is a problem the only number needed is their number so you can call them. Telemarketing and spam could be ended in 5 seconds but the powers that be do not really want to solve that problem.

J

December 21, 2007 6:10 PM

Absolutely! I had the same issue with Omaha Steaks.

Right after accepting my first steaks at an "introductory price" I started receiving unsolicited calls from Omaha Steaks.

What's worse, I started receiving phone calls (in Spanish, a language I do not even speak, simply because my last name is Spanish) from their "business partners."

I called them, complained, and they admitted they "rent" their customer's phone numbers to business partners.

The upshot? I promptly asked for a full refund for the steaks as a VERY unsatisfied customer: not because of the food, simply for the VERY unwelcome intrusion.

Needless to say, I will NEVER give them my business again, and encourage anyone who cares about their privacy to steer clear of this cheesy, disrespectful company.

J. Lopez, Los Angeles

W R

January 22, 2008 11:27 AM

They are still at it. I bought some steaks as presents for Christmas. I now am deluged with emails and phone calls. I told the caller that I would never buy another steak from them if I recieved any more calls or emails.

Guess What? They still are calling and spamming.

jazz

February 2, 2008 6:23 PM

Omaha Steaks still to this day continues to phone spam people. I ordered a gift box online for Christmas, and they started to call twice a day for a looong time. When I finally picked it up (Saturday AM), the guy on the phone started to tell me that he had just been informed of a "SPECIAL DEAL good for today ONLY".
I'm so disgusted that they still do this. I will never order from them again.

Anon

February 16, 2008 1:11 PM

You people are dumb to say the least.

I work with omaha steaks, as an outbound telemarketing rep. A LOT of our customers, do indeed like to be called. A lot don't. If you don't pick up your phone and TELL US "take us off your call list" we cannot do so, or we will be let go. Our computer systems can't tell when you're looking at caller ID.

If you don't want to be called at work or on your cell phone, don't give out those numbers it's as easy at is sounds.

Oh, and also. It takes five seconds to take your name off the don't email list.

Welcome to the 21st century.

-bye.

Katt Morris

February 24, 2008 4:08 PM

How can I put this? I also work at this company, and for some reason they can't keep their employees because of the same reason. What you really need to do is start contacting Customer Care and let them know how often you would like to be contacted and in what manner.

Make sure they have a correct telephone number on file and just be patient because they are changing their call cycles (again) hopefully lessening the need for too many phone calls. Its just the way things are going now, and before you know it, maybe they'll get the message to stop calling so much. I don't like to do it, but its my job too!

Webwriter

March 4, 2008 12:07 AM

Add me to the list. I ordered a gift card for my husband. He spent it, enjoyed it and would've ordered more. The daily emails were a bit annoying. When the phone calls also became daily (to my cell, which I had given "in case of a problem" with my order) I started getting really annoyed--especially after I double checked my listing with the National Do Not Call Registry. Yup. I'm still listed, with ALL my numbers. Doesn't matter to Omaha Steaks.

Today they called my husband's OFFICE! There is no WAY they got that number from either of us. They tracked it from the return shipping address on the order he placed. People could get fired over stupid moves like that! How many "personal calls" are tolerated on the job these days anyway?

Needless to say, we won't ever order from them again, regardless of their quality.

I was glad to read this article and know I'm not alone in my frustration. I was sad, however, to find that nothing at all has changed. Just another publicity stunt to make bad marketing practices look good.

I wonder what their P & L would look like if they could retain their repeat customer base... Hmmmm...

jj

March 5, 2008 2:26 PM

Omaha steaks is great... I told them to take me off the calling list and they did...right away. All u have to say is dont call me. And they wont. I love there steaks and the rest off there food.

They are very good with custmer service i had a problem with a product and they sent a replacement out....the replacement had the same problem and they are sending me a gift card now.

I will only eat omaha steaks for the rest of my life.

Jeff King

May 12, 2008 10:27 AM

Took my name off email list and got another email from Omaha. I would be a repeat customer if they didn't have such irritating marketing practices. One of the worst are the "sales" they have. I've NEVER checked their website and saw non-sale prices. I know in most states you must actually sell product for the original price for a period of time before marking an item down. Curious how they get away with it.

r

June 19, 2008 7:14 AM

i'm very familiar with omaha steaks. it was really popular in the 80's and 90's for sure esp with the low carb diets. but now you can buy superior meats at a fraction of the cost from places like costco, whole foods, trader joes or even your local meat butcher. i mean my local butcher sells dry aged prime cuts of beef for $10-13 per pound. omaha steaks does not sell dry aged beef. all the other things they sell like side dishes can really be bought at your local supermarket or one of the above stores that ive mentioned. all companies now are getting involved in prepacked side dishes. so open your eyes and save alot of money.

Mark

July 10, 2008 10:20 AM

That's funny. I had the same experience about a year ago when I bought something online from their site. I was deluged with telephone calls with people trying to sell me "specials". Each time I told them to stop calling me but the calls continued. Finally I called someone in the corporate office and the calls stopped. But I never received any steaks! Oh well.

Kurt Kuster

July 15, 2008 10:56 PM

I live only a couple miles away from an Omaha Steaks store. I buy things there rather often, and I do receive e-mail coupons and mailings from them. I have never, in over five years, received a single phone call.

My name at Staek

July 24, 2008 10:23 AM

I love it when they call me. Usually I would not order unless they did. I am a marketer and know this is how and why they make so much money. If it was you making millons by doing it you would too. So stop crying. And make some money yourself.

Gretchen

September 16, 2008 7:00 PM

I wish my biggest problem in life was receiving unwanted emails and phone calls from Omaha Steaks. You people need to count your blessings. You also need to locate the "delete" key on your keyboard and learn how to use it. And ask someone smarter than you (shouldn't be hard to find someone that qualifies) to show you how to hang up the phone.

This is really NOT a big deal in the whole scheme of things.

BTW - Thanks Rob Hof for the big laugh in your 2nd paragraph! "journalistic scruples" - ROTFLMAO! I love a good oxy-moron. :-)

Capitalism ROCKS!

Amber

October 6, 2008 1:45 PM

I would have to say...my favorite part of this whole comment section would have to be the telemarketing rep "Anon" commenting on how his Omaha Steak customers are dumb. Did you even pay attention in your customer service class? Talk about dumb, look in a mirror.

clyde jerry glenn

May 31, 2009 5:34 PM

received my order on friday may 29. it was short the filets and crab stuffed sole.not sure iff was packed wrong.are the ups driver took some. im a past customer but dont think ill order again.the filets were what we were looking for.o well

Notgonnahappen

June 30, 2009 1:27 PM

Every day for three straight weeks. Man, you would think in this poor economy that their sales dept would have better scruples than to pull this kind of bush league garbage. Sorry folks, you lost yet another customer for life. And to be called "dumb" by one of your "so called" associates shows how much Omaha Steaks has gone into the toilet.

Mark

August 24, 2009 2:37 AM

OMG, you asked them to take you off their list and are sending you a FREE box of Filet Mignons?!? Must be rough, i pity for you. Omaha Steaks are frickin' delicious!

dcm

September 16, 2009 11:12 PM

Rob Hof please write another story about how Omaha Steaks is BREAKING THE LAW! We are on the no-call list (as several others have mentioned) so Omaha Steaks is blatantly ignoring the law. Because I ordered steaks (via a gift card given to me) DOES NOT GIVE CEO BRUCE SIMON THE LEGAL RIGHT TO CALL ME. Especially EVERY night at 9pm! Are you kidding me? I finally answered the phone and told them to stop calling. But I should not need to do that as I'm on the no-call list and never gave them the approval to call me. Ordering a product is NOT a legal "opt-in" to use my phone number.

I urge a lawyer to start a class action again Bruce and his company to get this guy to stop harassing people. I was shocked it was Omaha Steaks calling. And I'll never order from them again.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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