Friday, April 27, 2012

Melba Ketchum Has a History of Failing to Deliver DNA Results

Dr. Melba Ketchum's DNA Diagnostics Better Business rating is an "F"
Disappointed by the delay in the Bigfoot DNA results? Get in line. A Post by Michael Merchant, of the Team Tazer Bigfoot Fanpage, linked to the Better Business Bureau® rating for Dr. Melba Ketchum's business DNA Diagnostics, Inc. Unfortunately on a scale from A-F, Melba's company gets an F. Why? Failure to deliver DNA Results. In these cases it is horse, cat and dog DNA results.

Under the additional complaint information header on the BBB page was this paragraph.
DNA Diagnostics has developed a pattern of complaints and has failed to correct the underlying reasons for complaints. Consumers claim have paid for services that have not been delivered or have not been delivered within a reasonable time. Further, they have not received a refund when services were not provided.
To be fair, we do not know the percentage of unhappy DNA Diagnostics consumers, we do know there have been 19 complaints submitted to the BBB and 18 are due to "delivery issues". 7 of the complaints were resolved with the aid of BBB, 8 did not get resolved, 3 have not even been responded to by DNA Diagnostics and 1 was determined as a good faith effort to resolve. Click the following link to read the entire details of every BBB DNA Diagnostic Complaint.

Here is a brief of each of the 19 complaints

  1. 04/19/2011 - Extremely poor custstomer service and communication. [Resolved]
  2. 09/01/2010 - Missing Feline DNA results. Pre-Paid. No results   [Resolved]
  3. 08/23/2010 -  I ordered 5 tests from Catgenes (Dna Diagnostics) and none of them were ever completed.   [Resolved]
  4. 08/04/2010 - Service not done. I purchased testing and sent in samples, which were received, and never got results.  [Resolved]
  5. 07/23/2010 -  I ordered DNA tests to be completed in the beginning of March, and have not recieved my results or had any phone calls/emails returned.  [Resolved]
  6. 04/14/2010 - I paid for a service (feline DNA testing) and never received the results.  [Resolved]
  7. 03/12/2010 - Provided a sample to be worked, they have not worked it and will not provide a refund or assistance.  [Resolved]
  8. 12/16/2010 - I submitted hair for a DNA test with Shelterwood Lab. almost a month ago and they have cashed my check but they have not returned calls or emails.  [UNResolved]
  9. 09/03/2010 - I ordered $320 worth of DNA tests in Dec., 2009. Results were promised in 3 weeks. In March, 2010: received incorrect results.  [UNResolved]
  10. 08/20/2010 - I sent samples to be analyzed & included full payment. Have received no results and almost no response to my inquiries over the past 12 months.  [UNResolved]
  11. 08/02/2010 - I submitted a request for an equine paternal test at the end of March 2010. It is now July 1, 2010. I still have not recieved test restults. [UNResolved]
  12. 08/02/2010 - Paid for a service in Feb 2010, and have not received test results.  [UNResolved]
  13. 07/30/2010 - Sent DNA in on two horses last week of March. Still no report on these. Have called numorus times . No responce.  [UNResolved]
  14. 05/17/2010 - I paid for services they did not give me.  [UNResolved]
  15. 05/13/2010 - For 2 1/2 months have been told at least 10 times I would recieve results of DNA test in 1 -3 days.I ask for a refund today and they say no refunds.  [UNResolved]
  16. 11/01/2010 - Sent samples with full payment in April 2010. I have recieved no results to date and have tried repeatedly to contact them for a refund. [Biz did not Respond]
  17. 06/25/2010 - Sent dog DNA in for testing 1/23/10 no results...  [Biz did not Respond]
  18. 07/20/2010 - Delivery Issues  [Biz did not Respond]
  19. 03/31/2010 - They have not provided me the diagnostic service as promised from June of 2009. [BBB Determined Biz made good faith effort]

We are not blind to the irony of the complaints. Most of them categorized as failing to deliver DNA results on time. Bigfooters have been waiting for Melba's DNA test results for a while too.

Again to be fair, some of the complications arose when Cat Fanciers Association.(CFA) stopped using DNA Diagnostics and continued to test with another DNA testing contractor. Why CFA decided to go with a different lab is unknown to us.

To put this in some further context. According to the BBB there are 19 other businesses in the BBB category of  "Laboratories - Medical" serving the Tyler & Longview TX area. None of them has had complaints within the last 36 months.

Another independent source also expressed frustration with Dr. Melba Ketchum. A company called International Genetics has this on their page.
April thru July 2008     Melba Ketchum became very tardy in extracting PinPoint’s DNA samples. This was the first period of delays that caused severe customer service problems. We then came to an agreement with Texas A&M to handle this process as well as the PID testing.
April 2009     The 2nd lawsuit was filed and this was the final straw between Dr. Ketchum and InGen. Due to Dr. Ketchum’s failure to properly research certain tests that are allegedly protected by patent, InGen was drawn into another lawsuit which eventually led to the early termination of the contract between InGen and Texas A&M. InGen severed its relationship with Dr. Ketchum which was the best thing that has come from that suit.
We attempted to reach out to Dr. Melba Ketchum for a response regarding the BBB rating and have not yet heard back from Dr. Ketchum. If she responds we will update this post.

We truly hope for the best, there is a good portion of people who sent samples to Ketchum that have good standing in the community. We would love to have all of our concerns proven to be baseless.

A final thought: when the press release comes out before the evidence, that press release might as well be a red flag.


  1. The BBB better be careful. The good Dr. might block them from her FB page

  2. Wow, Out of the 10's of thousands of DNA tests plus writing a thesis discovering a new species these issues have arisen? Have any of you checked other large Vet/DNA services to see how many complaints they have had? Plus, have not most of these issues been resolved? Really, Do we have to reduce ourselves to character assignation because we do not wish to have this species verified? That is what we are doing, but why? Every business has disgruntled patrons, and has anyone bothered to ask Dr. Ketchum' business about these issues? In America we are innocent until proven guilty. Judge not lest *you* be judged.

    1. Thanks for the comment Linda. I thought I was being fair. Most of the information in the Facebook groups only acknowledge the F grade. I am probably the only blog that acknowledged that almost half of them have been resolved. I also acknowledge that there were some issues due to the relationship with Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) that made it difficult for Melba to reach a resolution. So when given the opportunity to editorialize, I tried to provide enough information to be fair. I tried to share all the information in context, which, I hope you agree, is better than just flaunting an "F" grade. I am completely sincere when I say, "We truly hope for the best, there is a good portion of people who sent samples to Ketchum that have good standing in the community."

    2. Thank you Guy Edwards. I sincerely do appreciate your comment to mine regarding Dr. Ketchum. I always try to give everyone the benefit of being able to explain unusual circumstances that have led to complaints being filed. I suspect, only suspect, because I don't know for sure, but Dr. Ketchum's work on the Sasquatch DNA may have caused delays and an overworked schedule that has made it difficult for her to catch up on some of these complaints, plus many may have been settled. Guy, I do appreciate your comment to me. Thanks, and hugs for being the man that you are:honest and forthright.

  3. it says they did check other similar co's and it says no complaints in 36 mo.also shows reasons and status of each complaint,more unresolved than resolved. i don't see the character attack you do. i do see apearently researched info relevent to the long time coming dna results. indeed she has done signifigant work in the past and that establishes cred not a free pass on all things so myself i think a fair post. i hope she is taking her time to ensure all her ducks are in a row before full disclosure. by way of disclosure my sighting was in 1969 as documented by john green

    1. Anon, thanks for the comments, we appreciate that you recognize our attempts to be fair. Bigfoot can bring out sensitivities in all of us, so we try to be sensitive back. I love the passion that the community has and I would never want to take it for granted. Thanks again.

  4. The Stuff that Ketchum foes is supposed to be pretty
    routine for cats, dogs, horses, etc. So I don't know why she has this number of complaints.

    I have used a couple of DNA Testing Labs in the past
    few years to parent verify offspring of cattle.
    UC Davis' Genetics Lab and Biogenetics, Brookings, SD
    Both delivered exactly in the time frame they state on their websites. I did have Biogenetics mess up one test a couple years ago, and they were fast with a "sorry bout that" and they immediately retested at no charge.

  5. I have to agree They are Not good . I sent In dna in Jan 2012 paid said I would Get back in less then 2 weeks . Its now June 2012. I have gotten nothing but lies every week ,I asked for my money back last month .They do not answer emails or return calls .Filed with BBB 2 weeks ago . Fileing attorey general of Tx and web frud .Along with anything else I can find to file .

  6. has anyone looked into the story about having here dna cases being thrown out by fbi cases she was asked to do. I maybe wrong but do belive i read somthing about this in the news quite a few years back. like i said i maybe wrong and truly sorry if i am

  7. So an old company all but disbanded has some complaints regarding QOS? These complaints are on par with an irresponsible eBay seller, they are unrelated to the scientists' skill in the trade or knowledge and sincerely of their work. What's the point, author? Just like to hear your pencil scrape on paper? Common young MTV journalism.

  8. When I first heard that Melba was getting involved in Sasquatch DNA testing I was mildly excited. Finally, it seemed as if someone who knew what they were doing was in the picture, and were going to publish and have the result peer reviewed. As time went on it became more and more apparent that this was just another one of those blind alleys we Sasquatch buffs have stumbled down too many times.

  9. Whomever prepared this rant, appears to have prepared it under fraudulent circumstances. The unlisted author/fraud made a CRITICAL mistake in that he listed a complaint against "Shelterwood lab" on item #8, except the whole basis for this fraudulent article is complaints against DNA Diagnostics. You know, if you are going to put crap like this in print, you can be put in jail for it in many States because defamation of character is a CRIMINAL FELONY.

  10. Michel Merchant was the apparent author of this fraudulent rant. What legitimate publication would post a defamtory rant made by an unknown person, who may well be paid to post crap like this. I knew that the National Bigfoot Bigots Club had something cooked up to discredit the DNA study and Melba Ketchum, apparently this is it. Better do a lot of fact checking before you post it to the internet, BIGFOOTLINCHCLUB. Otherwise, you are as liable as the original fraudulent author for repeating and posting defamatory material.

    1. For the record we do not want to discredit or defame Dr. Melba Kethum's Study. It is of our opinion that the communications has been handled extremely poorly, that is our opinion and we are sticking by it. The science hasn't been seen, so we couldn't discredit it if we wanted to--which we don't.

      If you read , you will see a fresh non-sensational approach to Ketchum's Press Release. We take pride on being more balanced than most of the voices out there.

      Also in this very article we acknowledge that Ketchum has made efforts to address complaints and that some of the complaints were beyond Ketchum's control, due to the situation with Cat Fancy.

      And finally we reached out to Melba Ketchum herself and she did not respond.

  11. Actually, you can only sue if monetary damages result. Obviously that is not the case here and the BBB reports are public record. I believe that anyone can repeat public facts without worrying about legal recourse. Whether you like the facts or not has absolutely no weight in the situation, but I hope you feel better after blowing off some steam to no avail.

  12. You just don't know. The fun has only just begun.

  13. I worked with Melba few years ago on some very difficult issues, she is as credible scientist as any in the field. Obtaining a DNA profile for any species (dog, horse, human or big foot) from a field sample is still a huge scientific and technical challenge. Just check the back log of crime labs and all the DNA samples that did not yield a profile. Only in the US, every year there are more that 100000 DNA samples that can not be processed due to technical difficulties. And these are cases involving missing persons, murders and rapes. So, can you tell us what BBB says about cancer treatment clinics? Anyone left that could file a complain?

  14. And the winner, AND still hide-and-go-seek champion of the world, Bigfoot. Those of us who live in the real world have just one request. SHOW US ONE. Capture one and show us. NOT a bunch of grainy or obviously doctored photos, NOT some mash-up DNA, let's see the real deal. THEN there won't be any question.


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