SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Chopping and dicing, mincing and slicing — essential skills for any chef, as Francisco Renteria will tell you.
The knife is an extension of a chef’s arm — and he should know. He’s been doing it for two decades, now teaching regular cooking classes to the public in Sacramento.
It’s the reason he spent more than $2000, paid in several installments, to own his own set of high-end Cutco Cutlery knives. He wanted the right balance and the sharpest blades.
“You can see the difference,” he said.
When Renteria moved back to Sacramento in January, he paid special attention to insure his knives.
But he someone stole them right out of the box — and the U.S. Postal Service rejected his insurance claim twice.
“I sacrificed myself to get those knives,” he said. “Now I don’t get my knives, I don’t get anything.”
He shipped the 24-pound, 10-ounce package from the U.S. Virgin Islands when he moved here — but said the package he picked up from his mailbox inside The UPS Store felt almost empty.
Snapping pictures of the box inside the store, he found the knives were not in the box — just the knife sharpener.
Renteria thought someone sliced open the package to steal the expensive knife set before resealing it, he said.
“I expected to get my money back.”
USPS rejected his claim twice — once even after he sent along a notarized letter from The UPS Store worker saying the “package was lighter than it was supposed to be” and “the seam was cut.”
“The $2,000-question here is who tampered with it?” said consumer attorney Eric Ratinoff of Sacramento law firm Kershaw Cutter & Ratinoff.
Because Renteria authorized The UPS Store to accept his package and sign for him, it’s unclear when someone took his knives, Ratinoff said.
“The problem is you’ve got two entities, neither of them who want to take responsibility,” he said.
Ratinoff said if a consumer knows he or she was wronged but isn’t sure by whom, he or she can take both parties to court, putting the burden of proof on them to prove they weren’t responsible.
But that wouldn’t apply to the USPS, as a federal agency that can’t be sued at the state level.
After we reached out to the USPS, they opened an investigation into Renteria’s case.
A final decision is expected within the next several weeks.
Forced to use knives not quite as sharp, Renteria said he’ll never buy USPS insurance again.
“I’m done with those people,” he said.
USPS said it is working with The UPS Store to investigate the matter further.