View Full Version : AccuStar

Darren Miller
02-04-2009, 08:16 AM
Here’s a company you should never conduct business with.
For $47.00, I purchased a radon in water test kit. The kit consisted of a small water vial and a box to mail it back.
The box got lost in the mail; AccuStar now says I need to buy another kit; they won’t replace the one that got lost.
They never analyzed the kit, but too bad, they want me to purchase another kit.

Never, ever, conduct business with:

11 Awl St
Medway MA 02053

Ron Bibler
02-04-2009, 08:31 AM
Darren. the way I understand your post. you put something in the mail. and the post office lost it correct?

Why should this company pay for something they had no control over?

If this is correct then you should not call the a rip-off.



Darren Miller
02-04-2009, 08:45 AM
I paid for the water to be analyzed; it was never analyzed.
The test kit itself probably cost $2.00; it's the cost to test and report on the radon in water that I never got.

So, send me another test kit, I'll pay the $2.00 for the kit, but why should I pay for it to be analyzed when it never was?

Scott Patterson
02-04-2009, 09:44 AM
I would just call it good customer service if they were to send another kit for testing.

As Darren said, the majority of the cost is in the lab testing fee. If it was never used then what is the company out.

In today's market, you would think that a company would step-up and just send another test kit. On the other hand, I would think twice about putting it in the USPS mail without any way of tracking it.

Ron Bibler
02-04-2009, 09:50 AM
Darren. I bet if you were to call them. and be calm about it. you could work something out.

Just say something like I want to give you all my work but I need your help in doing this. and work with them. some times i say stuff and then i think about and go back and correct to mistake.

Give it a try



Rick Hurst
02-04-2009, 09:56 AM
Send them a 2 buck check, don't sign it. :D

Darren Miller
02-04-2009, 10:07 AM
I was on the phone with them for about 20 minutes. I explained to them about the cost to make the kit; about how I was out the money for a service THEY didn't perform.

I asked to speak to a supervisor; she said one's not available at this time. She (Doris) was, to say the least, not a bit sympathetic to my plight. It was like 'tough luck'.

The box was pre-labeled by them, so it shouldn't be addressed incorrectly. I asked her how many packages a year get lost, she had no idea. So, I'm wondering if there are lots of lost shipments, why not use UPS; she said it would be more expensive.

DUH! it would have been cheaper for me in the long run.

Anyway, I purchased another kit from a different lab (in NY); chalk it up to a bad experience; but a warning to others, don't use AccuStar!

Darren Miller
02-04-2009, 10:19 AM
By the way, I went to their web-site and e-mailed them a link to this thread.

Let's see what happens there.

Rick Hurst
02-04-2009, 10:28 AM
I have re-read this again and it seems the package was lost from the time Darren sent it back to the lab.

If so, his problem lies within the post office and not the lab if they did not receive it.

USPS has a record I believe of losing stuff or mis-directing articles of mail.


Erby Crofutt
02-04-2009, 11:59 AM
I see it a bit different.

Seems, from what I read, that he paid $2.00 for a kit and $45.00 for analysis. Total $47.00.

Kit got lost. Analysis was never performed.

Now instead of a new $2.00 kit, using an analysis that hasn't been performed yet, they want him to pay another complete $47.00 for a new kit and a new analysis even though the first analysis wasn't used. They pocket the $45.00 for the analysis that wasn't ever performed.

Sounds like a rip off report to me!

Darren Miller
02-04-2009, 12:09 PM
Erby's almost correct.

I paid $47.00 for the kit and shipping (I can only assume the kit itself is worth about 2 dollars because it only consisted of a box maybe 5" x4", styrofoam and a small bottle for the water). Oh, and a piece of paper to record the data.

The $47.00 included the kit and analysis. I didn't get any analysis because the kit never got here.

Rick, I'm not blaming the lab for the lost box; but gee, offer me a replacement kit for cost; don't make me pay for a second analysis when I never recieved the 1st one.

Jack Feldmann
02-04-2009, 02:53 PM
This is close to the reason I made the switch to continuous radon monitors. The post office lost the priority package of cans I sent to the lab.

Never looked back.

I think this is a tough call. From the test company I can see someone trying to get a test for free. However, I guess if there was a ticket number they could check to, they could always take that one off the books and re-issue another kit. OK, bad for the company for not sending another test bottle.

If there is no way to verify the number of the test kit, then I can see why they are not so fast to send out another.

I learned with the radon cans to always get something I could track when I sent something by mail - ALWAYS.

But the real problem is with the post office, not the lab.
Customer service does suck, but really is not their problem.

Ron Bibler
02-04-2009, 03:58 PM
If I was Accustar and Darren was willing to work with my company in the future then i would give him a new kit. But if Darren is just going to keep calling them a rip-off then I would blow him off. its not Accustar fault the post office lost his test kets.

I had the post office miss place some tax paper from a company I sold one time and 5 years later they came walking in the front door of my new office with my old tax paper still in the box un-opened. the post lady was so sorry. she told me the box was under a desk in their Reddings post office all this time and when they were working on the building the found my box.


I say we privatize the US POST OFFICE.:D

So Darren i think its on you bub.



Darren Miller
02-04-2009, 04:56 PM
"So Darren i think its on you bub."

No, not really. I'm a service provider, I called another lab, will get a test kit tomorrow and re-do the test. I will NOT give AccuStar another dollar.

Nick Ostrowski
02-04-2009, 04:57 PM
I've got the top lost-in-the-mail story.

In 2006, both my wifes parents were diagnosed with cancer within a couple weeks of each other. Her Dad passed after complications from surgery. Her Mom then left Pennsylvania to go live with one of the kids in Minnesota where she passed away 2 months later. Due to the cost involved and logistics of shipping her body halfway across the country for a funeral and burial in PA, the family opted for cremation. Making sure the cremains got back to PA was the responsibility of the parties who handled the cremation. Well the day of the wake arrived and still no cremains. Nobody seemed to know where to look so the wake and funeral came and went with my wifes Mom literally late for her own funeral.

After all the services, my wifes sister in Minnesota got an attorney involved who was able to track down their Moms cremains. They were sitting in a post office in Philadelphia waiting to be picked up by somebody, apparently the PA funeral home. This wasn't discovered until one week after the services.

Ron Bibler
02-04-2009, 05:07 PM
"So Darren i think its on you bub."

No, not really. I'm a service provider, I called another lab, will get a test kit tomorrow and re-do the test. I will NOT give AccuStar another dollar.

Darren love man. but i think you are just a bit hard on AccuStar instating they are a rip-off.

I can understand you frustration but I don't see that you are assuming any responsibility in this mess.

So you have moved on to another company. how will you handle the next shipment?



neal lewis
02-04-2009, 08:02 PM
Darren, how many of those tests do you do per year? Why not just refer it to a local radon lab?

Darren Miller
02-05-2009, 04:52 AM
I got another lab in NY who is sending me a kit via UPS. The return will also be UPS; that's how they do it. Remember, the water has to be in the lab within a certain time period, otherwise the test cannot be performed.


Radiation Data is who I purchased the kit from. They are my 'specialist' and they don't analyze radon in water.
When calling around, there's not many labs that do.
I can't remember the last radon in water test I did, that's how long ago it was.

Here's the other problem, if I don;t re-do the test today, I'll have to wait till monday

Carolyn Allen
02-06-2009, 05:11 PM
Dear Mr. Miller,

I am sorry you were dissatisfied with our service. Since you chose to air your complaint in the court of public opinion, I am compelled to reply in the same venue. I believe your opinion of our business is unduly harsh.

When you called AccuStar earlier this week to inquire about the status of your water sample, we searched our database, and our premises, for the test kit. We did not have it. The following morning, Radiation Data called to check on the status of the test kit. It was still early in the day and the mail and courier services had not yet arrived. Within an hour of our conversation with Radiation Data, you called AccuStar to request a free replacement kit. It is AccuStar’s policy to refer people who purchase our products from a reseller back to the reseller for any customer service concerns.

AccuStar routinely provides free water kits to replace those that get lost, delayed or damaged in transit. Radiation Data did not know that we would replace the kit for them, and that is why they refused to give you one. AccuStar failed to make our policy clear to Radiation Data. I can understand why you were frustrated and I am truly sorry you had this problem. I personally spoke with Radiation Data this afternoon to inform them. They planned to contact you to offer a free kit; I hope you have heard from them by now.

When your test kit finally arrives it will be analyzed and a report will be issued. Every test kit we receive, even a delayed or damaged kit, gets analyzed and reported. This is because there may be evidence of high radon that we can report. We never assume that a delayed device will have no detectable radon left in it.

Whenever a radon test kit is delayed in the mail, everyone loses except the US Postal Service. You lose because your results may be invalid, or an estimate, at best. AccuStar loses because we replace the kit, analysis included, even though we did nothing wrong. Nevertheless, the Postal Service always gets its postage! I don't think they give out free replacement postage stamps, either.

By the way, AccuStar sells a FEDEX billable stamp to customers who prefer to use a courier service to return our test kits. The price of the stamp is $15 to $20, depending on the distance from AccuStar. The price of the water test kit (including 1st class postage, analysis and report) is $35.00.

For the past 2 years, on average, about 1% of the devices sent back to AccuStar have been delayed in the mail. The US Postal Service is quite pleased with this. To them it’s a 99% success rate - an A+! If a “lost” kit is finally delivered they’ve done their job. After all, time in transit for First Class Mail is not guaranteed. AccuStar works regularly with the US Postal Service to make sure our packaging is up to date with all their sorting equipment so it will get the fastest processing possible. However, the US Postal Service suffers the same problems as any other business: mechanical, personnel, and especially this year, bad weather. Add those quotidian challenges to the 4 postal holidays between Thanksgiving and President’s Day, and we see that 1% delay rate creep up during the winter months.

Mr. Miller, I am sorry we were remiss in our communication with Radiation Data. But our laboratory is not a rip-off. Most of the time – in fact 99% of the time – our first class mail is delivered expeditiously. We analyze every kit, even the ones that are delayed. Our standard turnaround time for short term radon in air and radon in water kits is next business day. We are NELAC accredited and licensed in every state that requires it. We are also certified by NEHA and NRSB. AccuStar takes radon testing and lung cancer prevention very seriously, as we have since 1984.

Sincerely yours,
Carolyn K. Allen
President, AccuStar Labs
www.accustarlabs.com (http://www.accustarlabs.com/)
My Direct Tel: 888-580-9596
MA Lab Tel: 888-480-8812
PA Lab Tel: 800-523-4964

Darren Miller
02-07-2009, 04:25 AM
Ms. Allen;

When I spoke to your lab people 9 days after I mailed the kit (and kinda knew I was in trouble), I asked for a replacement kit. I was told pretty much, "we don't replace lost kits, it's our policy. You need to call the company you purchased it from and buy another kit". That is when I called Radiation Data to see if they had any pull with your company.

After I got a call back from RD, they said the same thing, I need to purchase another kit. I called your lab again and pleaded my case with Doris, she flatly refused. I admit, I was VERY peeved, my client is concerned about radon in his water, it's now 9 after I did the test and he has no answer.
Not only that, he may be thinking I'm a rip-off artist.

I did hear from Radiation Data, they offered me a refund. They also stated the kits they have are older and there may be a problem with the shipping label. AccuStar is in the process of shipping all new kits to them.

Carolyn Allen
02-09-2009, 11:59 AM
Dear Mr. Miller,

Thank you for your email. I appreciate your posting my reply to the Inspection News message board on the ASHI message board. I will also post this letter on both message boards.

All of our staff has been reminded that when a customer asks to speak to a supervisor the call is to be transferred to a supervisor as quickly as possible. If a supervisor is not immediately available the situation should be fully explained and the customer given the option of waiting on hold, or receiving a call back. This is our normal procedure and I do not know why it was not followed when you made that request.

Radiation Data is now fully informed of AccuStar's support for resellers of our products. The kit that you purchased from Radiation Data was sold to them in 2005. AccuStar has changed the package label since then in an effort to improve mail delivery of our test kits. We have shipped updated replacements to Radiation Data.

Thank you for calling this to our attention. We appreciate the opportunity to improve.

Wishing you future success,

Carolyn K. Allen
AccuStar Labs
carolyn@accustarlabs.com (carolyn@accustarlabs.com)
My Direct Tel: 888-580-9596
MA Lab Tel: 888-480-8812
PA Lab Tel: 800-523-4964

Ken Bates
02-12-2009, 11:12 PM
I have been using Accustar for many years. They are as good as it gets.

I was incredulous when I read Darren’s accounting of his communications with Accustar because I considered them to be honorable. It troubled me. Finally, the denouement came much too late in the thread when Darren finally revealed an important detail. HE DID NOT PURCHASE THE TEST DIRECTLY FROM ACCUSTAR. The problem was in the 3rd party relationship and that explained why Accustar was reluctant to compensate Darren.

I purchase my radon test kits by calling them toll free and I get them in 1 or 2 days via UPS. They do not have my credit card number and trust me to remit a check from my business account.

I have dealt with several employees and found all to be helpful and courteous.
I have talked with their technicians as well.

Following 9-11 the USPS got weird regarding delivering charcoal canister tests for obvious reasons.

So, I switched to using their liquid scintillation kits. However, I doubted that little vials could be as reliable as 4 inch charcoal cans so, I double blind tested them and found that the results were exactly the same.

They are my favored lab and Darren’s contretemps was a fluke precipitated by the postal service (USPS) and purchasing thru a 3rd party and some misunderstandings.

Carolyn Allen
02-14-2009, 12:51 PM
Dear Inspection News readers,

Since there appears to be ongoing interest in this topic, I thought I would mention that AccuStar finally received Mr. Miller's radon in water test kit. It took about 2 weeks for the US Postal Service to deliver it. Unfortunately there was not enough signal left in the sample for us to report even an estimate of the radon concentration. We had to issue a report to Mr. Miller with an "invalid" test result. A copy of the report was sent to Radiation Data, since that company originally purchased the test kit from AccuStar.

We are changing (again!) our return mailer box to include the words "First Class Mail" in red on all panels of the box, in the hope that the US Postal Service will do a better job of handling the test kits. If anyone would like to replace the boxes for his test kits from the Massachusetts labs, please contact us at 888-480-8812.

Thank you to those who have complimented our service. We are always striving to improve.


Carolyn K. Allen
AccuStar Labs
carolyn@accustarlabs.com (carolyn@accustarlabs.com)
My Direct Tel: 888-580-9596
MA Lab Tel: 888-480-8812
PA Lab Tel: 800-523-4964