DOWNEY, Calif. - An executive with Amapola markets, which sold thousands of bad tamales at its four stores, apologized to its customers and said the company is working to provide full refunds to everyone.
Carlos Galvan Jr., the company's chief operating officer, said the Downey store ran out of cash to process the refunds because Monday is a bank holiday.
All four markets will be closed on Tuesday so that store employees can have a break after dealing with the problem all weekend and the company can regroup. They will resume processing refunds Wednesday morning.
The processing of refunds will start with customers who have receipts or were given tickets from waiting in line, he said. Customers who don't have receipts can fill out paperwork and will be taken at their word.
"This is not the perfect solution, but it's the best solution we can offer," Galvan said.
Amapola apologizes for bad tamales, promises full refunds
He said the company is not only reimbursing customers for the bad masa, but for costs that include other ingredients used in the tamales, even if bought at other stores.
Hundreds of customers have lined up at the company's four markets demanding refunds for the masa, a key ingredient in tamales. Galvan said most of the complaints were about tamales that didn't cook properly and he's heard of only a few instances of people getting sick.
"At no point have we encountered any evidence that has made us believe that there are any health risks with consumption of our masa, but in short it just does not taste good as it should," Galvan said.
He said because of the long lines, the company is not putting a time limit on when refunds can be requested.
The bad masa was sold on Dec. 23 and 24 and the company is still investigating the source of the problem.