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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:00 am    

Negative Reviews on Yelp.com
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First, I would like to thank Unbelievable for bringing this to our attention. He discovered this complaint against Kamado on Yelp.com:

Kamado at Yelp.com

It turns out that there are actually multiple complaints on Yelp, but their content filter hides overly negative reviews. So in fact there are only two reviews visible, one positive and one negative. The positive review by "Laura P" of Sacramento reads suspiciously like an advertisement... my money is on her being one of Laura J's sorority sisters. She gives Kamado 5 stars. Then PJ gives a 1 star review detailing the non-delivery problems he's had with kamado (with which we are all quite familiar). So Yelp averages the 5 and 1 star reviews to give Kamado 3 stars.

But hidden, are 5 additional 1-star reviews that you would only see if you happened to notice the barely visible gray "5 filtered" link at the bottom. This will take you to a page of reviews that have been filtered out by Yelps algorithm. Below is the text of PJ's review, followed by the additional filtered reviews, in all their glory. Enjoy!


Pacifica, CA
1 star rating

I own 2 of these smoker/grills and bought them from owner Richard Johnson when they were located in Sacramento. Kamados do a good job smoking ribs, pork shoulders, etc. We love the way they look and with the stainless steel bands, they hopefully will not rust and break off like it did on my original (pre Richard Johnson) clay Kamado. The Kamados we have now (from Richard Johnson) are made of cement rather than clay. I think the original clay-made Kamados hold heat much better than the current cement-made ones.

If I were in the market for a smoker/grill today, I would definitely not buy a Kamado from this company. I would probably go to BBQs Galore and buy the original Green Egg, which does not look as good as a Kamado, but is made of clay and they have them in stock. I say this because of a non-delivery service issue I am having with the Kamado Company. I ordered and paid for a #3 Kamado on 2/3/10 and to this date (7/29/10) I have not received it. I feel that this company is either no longer in business or someone is scamming the public. I called them in May and a person named Tony Lomeli said they were behind schedule and to wait. I called back in June and he said he could not find my order and would call me when he does. I waited a week and called back only to hear a recording saying the mailbox is full and is not taking new messages. I've tried calling and emailing them several times since then and I do not get a response. I think I have been patient long enough and I will email 7 On Your Side today to see if Michael Finney and the 7 On Your Side Team can help me to either get my money back or get the Kamado delivered.

BTW, if you do get a Green Egg, check out an attachment called The BBQ Guru. It attaches to the lower vent and helps maintain the temp at a constant setting.


Sliwa G.
Seattle, WA
1 star rating

I have no had an opportunity to use my grill since it came incomplete and damaged & have yet to recieve a call back or email back from the company for over two months. I tried to contact then while I waited for my gril to amend the order to include another accessory and never recieved a call. Their customer service is terrible.

I hope the grill cooks well once if ever I recieve all the parts.


steve n.
Philadelphia, PA
1 star rating

Justice. This is the type of place I threatened Kamado that I would create if they did not give me either my money back or my BBQ unit...but wait...I am getting ahead myself.

My name is steve. I ordered a number #7 grill with drum and all the extras from Kamado in the summer of '06. The cost was $2216. On May 24th, 2006 I officially ordered the grill and paid a down-payment of $1,097 with my VISA card. Prior to this order, I worked diligently with Laura J. to select a suitable color. The color and patina of the tile was most important to me. Finally I agreed on a matte green, ordered the grill, paid my 50% deposit and waited.

On July 28th, Laura called to say that the unit was finished and she requested approval for full payment which I gave her. On July 29th, the final $1097 was paid via VISA.

On August 1st, I received an e-mail from Laura J. telling me that the color of my unit was inexplicably changed without her any notice. The company said that they would send a pic of the new color. They did, And they assured me that if I did not like the color, they would re-engage in finding a suitable color and rebuild me a new one. The color of the grill they sent me was a mottled green/blue gloss and I did not like it. They said, "Okay. Sorry." And I said, "Oh well...I want a Kamado...so let's start anew."

Beginning in December of'06 (they delay being my responsibility), I began searching for a new color with Richelle J. In the last week of February '07, we identified the new acceptable color and a new invoice was drawn up, sent to me via e-mail and marked: "Paid In Full".

Mid April, Richelle wrote and said that the drum was completed and the grill should be finished, crated and shipped in three weeks.

I began calling Kamado in md-May. No one picked up. Instead of a live person, there was only a recorded announcement and an answering machine's inviting me to leave a message.

Let me be clear, up until now, Laura and Richelle had been lovely to work with---except of course, the mistake with the original color---but I never atributed that mistake as their personal fault.

No one ever returned my call.
I called and left 50 messages.
I wrote 20 e-mails, to Laura, Richelle, Richard and anyone else I could glean as a potential CC.
I called other facilities listed under Kamado or personally under Richard Johnson in the Sacramento area. Still no response.
I found a non-companye-mail address for Laura who seemed to be working in Ensanada and wrote her there. Nothing. No response.
I contacted the San Diego BBB and filed a complaint. They, the BBB, attempted to contact Kamado on numerous occassions without any success.

I even contacted Laura through Kamado's e-bay site. Using my e-bay name which is different from my e-mail name, Laura answered me originally when I asked "questions of the seller" but when I revealed who I was and asked for help---asked for my grill or my money---exasperatedly asked, "why me?"...she never responded.

So...what to do?

Towards the end, I wrote and left telephonic meassages to Richard, Laura and Richelle saying that most probably I would get my money back if I disputed the charge with VISA. That being true, then why not give me my grill. I even offered to pay any extra increases in manufacturing costs and/or shipping costs over the full amount I paid in the summer of '06...and then I warned, "Look, if you don't respond to me, not only will I disopute the charge with VISA but I will create an internet site that will explain what they did to me."

No answer.

On June 25th, 2007 I sent VISA a thirteen page document complete with all the supporting e-mails from Kamado to me and vice versa disputing my charge on account of lack of delivery.

Two months later, VISA awarded me a full credit.

Thank-you YELP for giving me this voice.

The next guy has an unfortunate name: Razz


Richard J.
El Cajon, CA
1 star rating

I actually own a Kamado cooker and my experience with this cooker and this company has been exceptionally disappointing, possibly the worst consumer decision I ever made.

First, the cooker. While advertised as being a "ceramic" cooker, it is actually made from portland cement and crushed lava rock. I have had nothing but trouble with the cooker, starting about 2 months after I received it. One of the biggest selling points of the cooker is its beautiful appearance. It was indeed a beautiful cooker when I received it, but about 2 months later, the tiles started to come off. Over the next few months, about half the tiles fell off the cooker. My cooker presently is quite ugly and actually is quite an embarassment sitting on my patio when guest come to visit. The next problem was with the screw top. It rusted in the closed position and cannot be opened. As a result, I currently am unable to use this $1000+ cooker I bought. The final problem I experienced was the body of the cooker developing cracks. Some cracks are visible both inside and out, hence the cracks obviously are all the way through the wall of the cooker. One other minor problem I should note is that I paid extra for stainless steel hardware (the hinge and bands that hold the base and the lid). The hardware is rusting. Evidently the company used a fairly low grade of stainless steel.

Next, the Kamado company. The customer service is apalling. When I initially contacted the company about making a purchase, they couldn't be helpful enough. They really "pampered" me. However, once they had my credit card number, contact with them was exceedingly difficult. I ordered the cooker in January of 2007 and was promised delivery in March of 2007. When March arrived but no cooker had arrived, repeated calls and emails went unanswered for 6 weeks when I was finally told that the cooker had shipped. In actuality it had not. I did not receive the cooker until July, 2007. When it arrived some of the accessories I had ordered were missing. Again, it took about 6 weeks of calls and emails to finally get a reply. Some accessories were ultimately shipped, but one accessory was never shipped to me.

When the tiles began to fall off, I posted a question to their online forum and was told not to do that. I was told to call or email instead. I called and emailed several times and did not receive a response in 4 weeks, so I posted to the forum again asking what to do. My post was deleted and I was told to call or email. Eventually they sent me an email, telling me that the tiles were not included in their "lifetime" warrantee and that I'd have to fix the tiles myself.

At this point, I decided to dispute the credit card charge with my credit card company. To make a long story short, in the end I was told that the Kamado company had switched credit card servicers and thus the company could not do a charge back. An internet search revealed that the Kamado company had changed their name 3 times and incorporated in a different state. So, I have no hope of getting any sort of satisfaction from this company, or at least I'm not prepared to throw good money after bad by trying to sue them.

Needless to say, I'm quite angry about this company. I now have a $1000+ piece of useless cement sitting on my patio with no hope of getting either a refund, replacement or even assistance from the Kamado company. I've tried to keep this review objective and just report the information as I know it. But, I would definitely advise anyone to steer clear of this company.


Jerry Miller M.
Vista, CA
1 star rating

I can confirm many of the problems highlighted by the second reviewer. I had tiles come off and indeed they told me to fix it myself. They were rude and getting even the "fix it yourself" answer was like pulling teeth.

However, the problems with this company go beyond their poor quality cookers. The Kamado company also sells coconut charcoal. The first charcoal they sold was pretty good stuff. However, since then, they have changed suppliers a number of times and the quality has gone way downhill. In 2006 the charcoal they sold was full of mold when it arrived and much of it had crumbled to powder. Half the boxes I ordered had about 70% of the box in total powder. The charcoal was also damp and moldy. The Kamado company's reply was to either just let it air out and don't worry about the mold, or ship it back to them at my expense. The shipping charge to get the charcoal to me was over $100, so I was expected to pay another $100 to "get my money back." Like the second reviewer says, their 100% satisfaction guarantee was meaningless.

The latest in their charcoal shennanigans is they have been advertising that they have fixed the charcoal problems. They claim that they are now using the same "formula" that they used back in 2002 when the charcoal was good quality. They have been selling sample boxes on eBay for $15 urging you to try it for yourself and judge the quality. Again, they advertise a money-back satisfaction guarantee. I decided to give them another chance and ordered one of these sample boxes. This latest charcoal is nothing like the charcoal they used to sell. It is fragile and crumbly. It doesn't burn as long and it produces incredible volumes of ash. When I tried to get my money back, they told me that I had to return the whole box to get a refund. When I asked them how I was supposed to try the charcoal without burning any, they said I didn't need to burn more than one or two pieces to know it is very good charcoal.

So, needless to say, I am through with this company. I advise anyone to stay away. Their customer service is horrible, they are rude and arrogant, they are also deceptive in their business. Frankly, I don't know how you can call their latest statements about their charcoal anything but lies.

This next guy even gives us a shoutout:


Will J.
Littleton, CO
1 star rating

Sadly. the previous reviewer has been deceived by Kamado, just as many others have been over the years. Kamado sells a shoddy product. The tiles often fall off their cookers after a year. Although advertised as a "ceramic" cooker, the Kamado is actually made from portland cement and crushed lava rock. It is not fired ceramic, it is simply poured cement. Many of their cookers crack after a year or two of normal use. Also, unless you constantly maintain the top vent (a screw device) it will get rusted shut and you may not be able to open it without doing serious damage to your cooker.

Their customer service is terrible. They ignore phone calls and emails and refuse to honor their "lifetime" warrantee. (Their answer to the many customers that had the tiles fall off their cookers was to fix it yourself. Suddenly tiles were no longer covered under warrantee. Their answer to customers with cracked cookers is to fix it yourself with some cosmetic coating they will ship you if you wait long enough. Their answer to customers with stuck tops is they offer to SELL you a replacement, but how do you install the replacement when you can't get the old one unstuck!!?? So, apparently nothing is covered by their "lifetime" warrantee.) Also, they are rude to customers and delete postings from their customer discussion forum if an owner has a problem and seeks help.

Here's a quote from a post by the wife of the owner to a potential customer: "I wish you would post your name so I will remember it so I can turn down your order because you do not deserve the best barbecue in the world." Here's a link to the whole post: http://www.kamado.com/... Be sure to read the whole thread so you can see how reasonable this potential customer was being.

This company changes credit card servicers every few months to avoid chargebacks. The Kamado company is being pursued by the State of California for non-payment of sales taxes. This company has failed to pay suppliers for charcoal and other materials. Ask yourself why this company has, in the past 4 years, moved from Sacramento to Indonesia to Sacramento to Mexico to Las Vegas and now Indonesia again. This company has also sold essentially worthless stock certificates to investors, and has sold distributorships to people and then refused to ship them any product to sell! This company is a nightmare.

You can read more about this company at http://www.kamadofraudforum.org Look around and read the intriguing story of how Richard Johnson, the owner of Kamado, STOLE a yacht in New Zealand, sailed it to Sacramento and then sunk the yacht in the Sacramento River! (He caught the mast on an overhead power line due to his negligence, sunk the boat and damaged the power line and a bridge over the river. He was slapped with a $120,000 judgement to pay for the damage he caused to the power line and the bridge.) While you are visiting the Kamado Fraud Forum, check out the Hall of Shame for photos of cookers that shed their tiles in large numbers. Here is one: http://i13.ebayimg.com...

Also, the owner has now been caught posting to his own company's forum under a phony name in order to give the appearance that he has hired a customer service person. Kamado was also kicked off Craig's List for constantly posting spam.

While their cookers do a good job of cooking until the tiles fall off, the body cracks, and the top vent gets frozen shut, do you really want to buy something from these people? Frankly, if you are seriously considering doing business with Kamado, you should probably retain a lawyer first, because you'll probably need one. At the very least, check out the San Diego Better Business Bureau entry for Kamado.

(Important note: Do not confuse the Kamado company with other companies that have similar names such as Imperial Kamado and Komodo Kamado. These are reputable companies.)

UPDATE: It appears that the credit card companies have finally caught on to Kamado's attempts to avoid chargebacks. Kamado no longer is accepting credit cards on its eBay auctions and postings to their website appear to be soliciting payments by check.

Same old story, but nice to have it visible here. Thanks, Unbelieveable!

Don't Be A Richard
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Joined: 17 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:51 am    

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I believe that this latest negative review will be filtered soon. I remember reading those bottom 3 negative reviews when they were visible, but within a few days they disappeared. Is there a way to contact Yelp and ask them what this filtering nonsense is about?
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