Christmas morning should be a time filled with delightful surprises. But one California family received a rude awakening when they opened an Amazon box and discovered a teal waffle iron — with an old, crusty waffle caked on the inside.
On Dec. 26, Brian McCarthy, a Los Angeles-based photographer, posted a photo of a newly unboxed waffle maker that had clearly been used.
"Wow, my mom sent my daughter a new wafflemaker from @amazon and they sent us a used one with the FOOD STILL IN IT. Disgusting! I guess @khadeeja_safdar, @deniseduana & @shaneshifflett of @WSJ are right. @amazon has no quality control," McCarthy wrote, sharing a link to a Wall Street Journal article published in December. Last year, reporters found that it was pretty easy for an average person to resell trashed food products (yes, actual trash) on Amazon.com via its third-party marketplace.
But this waffle maker was not advertised as used or refurbished, and McCarthy shared a screenshot of the order to verify that it was actually sold by Amazon Prime and not a third-party seller.
Despite the icky mixup, the online retail giant's customer service team did respond pretty quickly to McCarthy's tweet.
A representative from Amazon's help team reached out on Twitter the same day McCarthy sent out his tweet and apologized for the "condition" the "item arrived in."
When reached via email, a spokesperson for Amazon provided the following statement to TODAY: "We work hard to provide customers with a great experience and regret this situation did not live up to our high standards. This item was sold as 'used,' but clearly should not have been sold at all. Due to human error, it was not properly inspected after being returned by another customer. We are working directly with the customer to address this situation."
Someone from Select Brands, the manufacturer of the Babycakes waffle maker McCarthy's mother purchased, also reached out via social media.
"Mr. McCarthy, We are so sorry that you had this experience with one of our products. Select Brands maintains strong quality control processes. We only ship first hand goods and do not restock or resell returned or used goods," a brand representative tweeted, adding that once a product is shipped from its facility, they can't control how other companies monitor the product.
McCarthy has already returned the item to Amazon and said that he plans to buy the same waffle maker — but this time he'll be buying it from a brick-and-mortar store.
"My gripe is with what I believe is deceptive marketing from @Amazon and poor quality controls," he wrote.