I opened a packet of Dorset Cereals Simply Delicious muesli and bit into something hard. I found out it was a plastic nose pad for someone’s glasses. I don’t wear glasses. The impact fractured my tooth and I had to make an appointment with the emergency dentist to get an x-ray and fill the tooth. I have been warned that since the filling is so large, it may require a crown. I then saw a hygienist as I was horrified to think that something that had been in someone’s nose had been in my mouth. The total bill was £330. I complained to Dorset Cereals and, at their request, sent a copy of the invoice along with evidence from my dentist that the tooth was in good condition at my routine checkup eight months earlier. That was over three months ago and I haven’t heard back.
The sick silence of a company that promises “a quiet moment of pleasure at the start of the day” can be explained by the fact that, in the world of Dorset Cereals, the pandemic is still raging. Until this month, its contact page informed customers that due to the “current global situation,” there might be a delay in replying to messages and letters would go unanswered because staff were working from home. It was removed after I checked it out.
As it happens, Dorset Cereals, now part of the multinational Associated British Foods, finally responded the day after you contacted me and paid your dental bill. However, there is no excuse for a 15-week delay, even if the staff are still in their own private lockdown. But Dorset Cereals has introduced one, and it will be familiar to all readers of this column: a systems update, or rather “technical problems associated with the introduction of a new software system.”
In fact, he tells me, he’s just covering his costs as a goodwill gesture for the delay in responding. He says that all his cereals are X-rayed to check for fruit pits. “Our food safety controls are independently evaluated and rated best in class, so incidents like this are thankfully very rare; in fact, in this case we do not know how to explain how the identified item could have entered the package, ”he says.
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