ALCO-BUDDY Breathalyzer Vending Complaints

ALCO-BUDDY Breathalyzer Vending Complaints:  Have you had any dealings with the ALCO-BUDDY Vending business opportunity or ALCO-BUDDY breathalyzer vending machines?  Please share a comment about your experience – good or bad – below, as well as advice for those considering investing in the breathalyzer vending business.

(Unhappy Franchisee) ALCO-BUDDY breathalyzer vending program seems like a decent opportunity to make a supplemental income while helping (in theory) to reduce the problem of drunk driving. 

Alco-Buddy sells breathalyzer machines to opportunity seekers who then place the wall-mounted units in bars, nightclubs, VFW halls, comedy clubs and anywhere else people intoxicate themselves.  For an average of $1.00 to $4.00, buzzed patrons can blow into the Alco-Buddy tube and get their blood alcohol level reading.  The machines include a disclaimer that the service is for novelty and entertainment purposes only.

It’s not clear whether more money is to be made from responsible drivers who want to check their actual impairment level, or rowdy college students competing to see who can get the drunkest.

Alco-Buddy sells the machines at pricing based on volume, starting with about $1889 for a single machine, $1449 each for 2 machines or more and as low as $999 each for 250 machines or more.

There are not a lot of complaints about Alco-Buddy on the Internet, especially compared to other vending business opportunities.  the two types of complaints we’ve found were 1) pricing related and 2) operationally related.

Alco-Buddy machine pricing variations can cause problems.

On the website, a very pissed-off Ronny P. wrote:

I bought a Alco-buddy back on February 4th 2011, I was burned out of $1000, the guy Robert told me that I had to hurry up and buy the machine because they where going to cost more, but in reality they only cost $999 each, I’ve been on at least 10 other sited that have info on franchise businesses and they all say it only cost $999 to start, they called themselves running a March promotion, where you get two machines for the price of one, I paid $$1899 for only one, watch these guys!!! they are out to get you, it is very hard to place the machines yourself, so you will have to pay a locator a fee from $150-300 per machine to place your machine for you, Alco-buddy has a 7 day money back guarantee, so if you decide that it’s no working for you, your pretty much out of the money you spent, they say they have ongoing support, it’s only for the 7 days, after that they treat you like crap…watch out

To their credit, an Alco-Buddy representative responded professionally to the online complaint, but Ronny has a point.  If customers buy a single machine for nearly $1900 then see a special for $999 for the same machine, they are going to be pissed even if the special ended.  Additionally, there are some big price variations across the Internet.

Recently, a “Brand New Alco-Buddy Breathalyzer. EVERYTHING INCLUDED” sold on eBay for only $400 + $45 shipping.  There are currently 10 listed at the fixed “Buy It Now” price of $600 each + $50 shipping.

The Alco-Buddy company itself appears to be selling single machines on Craig’s List for $1499, $400 less than they sold to Ronny.

Alco-Buddy operational complaints.

On the Breathalyzer Secrets Forum, Friday, 22 April 2011, Kevin Melanson wrote:

…I purchased an Alco-buddy and am having some issues with it. After fixing the LCD screen it is not calibrating correctly. It says the user is blowing a .02-.04 when they are not even drinking…

Also on the Breathalyzer Secrets Forum, Jake wrote:

I am about to base ball bat my alco buddies… I spent thousands on 10 machines almost a year ago and they work like crap. Their customer services says someone must be blowing liquid in the sensor and they sell me more sensors. Come to find out that semi conductor sensors do not function in smokey bars or busy bars with alot of cocktails floating aroud. Baiscally, anywhere worth placing a machine is not going to work… If only I can sell the alco craps and get some of my money back so I can by more boozelators I think I can actually have a good business going here.

In Alco-Buddy’s defense, the guys who run the Breathalyzer Secrets website use Alco-Buddy machines in their Good Night Vending business and speak pretty highly of them.  If you are thinking of getting in to the breathalyzer vending business you should check out the Breathalyzer Secrets forum and probably pop for their $27 eBook which covers a lot of the practical and legal aspects of the business.  Check it out at Breathalyzer Secrets.


17 thoughts on “ALCO-BUDDY Breathalyzer Vending Complaints

  • June 5, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    I helped write the ebook that does cover a lot of good information for getting your breathalyzer business rolling. We do have some Alco Buddies, but keep all our information neutral. We did just meet the Intox Box guys and they have touch screen machines Let them know you heard of them through Good Night Vending and save money. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me [redacted]!

    “Be Wise, Breathalyze”

  • June 15, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    I was the one on eBay selling the alcobuddy for 400+45 shipping, it was indeed unused and brand new. I didn’t even try to put it up in bars etc because they are a scam plain and simple. I was lied to by ALBERT LAGO from Alco-Buddy, and in case he reads this, I haven’t forgotten your personal address… They have since changed name to Unique Vending. Please please please do not fall for their scam. You can literally make an alcobuddy machine for less than $150 easily.

  • July 29, 2011 at 11:30 am

    The company is a complete joke. Don’t be fooled. It is a huge scam. The owner is the most unprofessional, uneducated person I have ever met. I went to the facility to check out the machines. These machines are junk- it costs them nothing to make them and they sell them for thousands and then don’t work. I suppose anyone who spends a few thousand on such junk might deserve to be screwed over because they may be even more ignorant than the people who run this “company.”

  • December 30, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    I agree with you Michael P. I was ignorant to the fact and now I am suffering, especially since I was burned out of a $1000 I wouldn’t be as mad if I had 2 of them for the price I paid. I believe if we all get together to file a class action lawsuit, it’s possible we can get our money back.

  • February 1, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    For those of you who are not happy with the Alcobuddy decal design, i have created a custom template so that every machine can have a unique design for their machine. I can design a skin custom for every machine to match the layout of the bar or restaurant. You can even add your own company name instead of the shady alcobuddy decals.

  • February 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Agreed in regards to what Michael P and Ronny both said. The machines are absolute pieces of crap! Cheesy, thin metal that’s so frail a 140 lb guy could shatter it with a good punch. The calibration is ALWAYS off, the things never work right. Customers are always demanding their money back to the bartenders, so when you go in there, their cut is all of a sudden up to 75% of the gross sometimes. It’s such a ridiculously awful product.

    The kid John that’s running the company, what is he, 24 years old? He’s a complete idiot. He’s obviously playing with Daddy’s money here. Alco Buddy is rated F with the Better Business Bureau, 5 complaints in the last 12 months.

    Even if the piece of crap units worked correctly, it’s still a horrible business to be in. These machines do terrible for the most part. Might be a 3 year ROI on average. Then factor in all of the time that you’re spent fixing them, and re-paying the bar for refunds, it’s just the worst business ever.

  • February 8, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Anyone interested in a class action lawsuit? I never received manuals, received the product 1 month after I was promised then had to wait another month for a replacement piece for it to work since it was damaged in shipping… and never was given any instruction how to set them up. After 5 months one of the two machines already stopped working and wont connect to power source. I finally just asked if I could just send these back for refund, and was denied. I checked with my lawyer, due to all the complaints we can do a class action. Who’s interested?

  • March 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I’m very interested in a class action lawsuit I ordered 3 alco-buddies I didn’t get a manual either I was able to calibrate one of them but it does’nt hold the calibration. I also made a complaint with the BBB because they didn’t ship them they said they would I think this company is a sham I to wanted my money back they refused. The bill acceptors jam and stop working. I’m all for a class action lawsuit contact me at [redacted]

  • May 1, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Do not be fooled. Please please please do not be fooled. This company is a huge scam. The owner is a complete scam artist in the Holbrook and Bayport area of Long Island, N.Y.

    The machines used to cost more and then they lowered their prices, probably in order to survive a few more months. The company used to have an office and warehouse but closed up because the company just sucks. Don’t be fooled by that building on their website, anyone with a brain can see that a Alco Buddy name gwas added to that building by a crappy graphic designer ha. I went to LI to scope it out, and that building is called TENS or something like that.

    Anyway, don’t purchase a thing from this company! The machines will never ever work and they are super tacky!

  • May 1, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    I am petitioning the IFA (International Franchise Association) to hold their franchisor members responsible for acts of fraud, threatening, stealing,lying and creating false documents to terminate their franchisees from their agreements.

    Although our franchises may be different most are members of the IFA and the IFA is stealing our rights to due process by helping these franchisors word their contracts in a way that when we sign up to start also forfeits our rights to due process should THEY commit CRIMINAL acts against our franchise.

    Please go to the link below and sign my petition. Then download it and post it to your web site so others will know and can sign as well.

    Thank You!

    Todd A. Peterson

  • May 2, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    I also plan to go after this company legally. I am very interested in a class action lawsuit. The kid running the company is a coward and hides behind the phone. After sending in payment it took an extra month to recieve my machines. None of them work properly. They came delivered to my house all banged up. The coward John tells me that it was UPS fault. He is so full of S**^. Id like to drive these machines up to his location and wrap them around his head. Dont ever buy anything from this idiot. This guy is a criminal and this is not over!!!

  • September 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    I think a class action suit is a good idea. I spent a 1000 dollars on one of these machines and it does not even have all the parts, so it is useless. Not to mention it took 4 months to get the machine after sending payment. How can the BBB let this company continue to operate? If someone has an attorney that is willing to take the case please send me his contact info @ [redacted]. It is time to stop this joke of a company.

  • July 23, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    To all that still want to fight this company I have filed a complaint with which was sent for immediate processing. Please send me an email at [redacted] asap. I am forwarding your complaints from this website to them as well.

  • August 17, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    This message is for Michael P., Dylan, Anthony Russo, Jason Glenn, Aaron N., Todd A. Peteson, Peter, and Eric Strangler…please contact me asap, I am trying to start a class action lawsuit with another woman, and I need for you to email me to discuss options, so that we all may move forward, I plan to add emotional distress to the case. @ [redacted]…Thank You

  • May 30, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Please, if you are out there and you are a victim of John Berlingieri and his AlcoBuddy machines—please, please email me now We were taken for $14K, and never even received the promised product. Some of the other victims have reached out to me as I have been working with law enforcement to get justice. If you’re out there and a victim, please email me now so I can refer you to the proper people with law enforcement NOW so we can get justice.!!!

  • June 5, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Hey Unhappy Franchisee…. How come the only email address you haven’t redacted is the one non-complaint response to this crook’s “business?” We are trying to stop a criminal and you are doing nothing but hindering honest people from seeking justice against a thief. I’ve emailed you directly and asked for your help in stopping a criminal but you have refused to even respond. This really makes you no better than him.

  • June 5, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Sara J:

    We have good reason to not let people post their contact information in the comments section. You could very well be the person you are complaining about, posing as a victim to find out who is posting complaints. We are very protective of our commenter’s identities.

    You may be who you say you are, but your claim that you “have been working with law enforcement to get justice” casts some doubt. We deal with enough cases like this to know that law enforcement will not work with you on a claim like this. They will tell you that it is a civil matter, not a consumer or criminal matter.

    If you would like to buy an ad, we can verify your contact info via the payment process and will post your contact info. Send me a polite email if interested. If you are working with an attorney on the class action, you can send us his/her info for verification and we’ll post it.

    As for your email, I don’t recall getting it. If it was worded like your last comment, it might have ended up in the spam folder.

    Thanks for commenting.


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