Customers complaining online is nothing new, but a customer being reduced to weeping because they was unable to afford the mistake of service and not allowed a refund is something I’m sure CEO’s do not have in mind when starting out.
Lately many of us have expected businesses to have our interest at heart. In fact this is exactly what they tell us – “we are here to help you”. Trust in online services is constantly being tested but are today’s new generation of e-commerce purposefully skipping over the responsibility of customer care?
A well known Fresh food delivery company, recently boosted with its TV adverts, has recently come under fire with a number of complaints about its customer service and the grey area around its refunds.
Stories have emerged on social media and online forums such as MumsNet, one of the UK’s biggest community website, of customer feeling mislead. According to BBB un-filtered reviews, in the last 3 years 47% of customer complaints were Billing/Collection Issues. “Failed to respond to the dispute“and “customer did not accept the response ” being prominent reasons. Though they keep up a 8.9 star rating on Trust Pilot. This business is definitely a great idea of making cooking easy and quick.
Being sent a week of free week of meals from a trusted friends is something that most people wouldn’t shy away from. A friend has treated you to a great deal, right?
This popular Fresh food startup sends you all the exciting, simple recipes and pre-portioned ingredients you need in order for you to cook delicious dinners in 30 minutes or less!
But before Claiming Your Free Box be aware of the small print below the button about their flexible subscription service you will be signing up to. We decided to try ourselves, finding the sign-up process not sufficiently warnings of what a flexible subscription service involved.
After 3 days into the free trail we found that without any warning or notification of selecting next week’s box, a payment had been taken out from our account. This same lock-in process was experienced by Robyn, a previous customer who says “CRM structured purposefully to catch you out it would seem… although they claim to adhere to the 14 day cooling not off period, which made me feel safer about trying it out, they then counter this by saying it’s not applicable to fresh goods“.
From 13 June 2014 the Consumer Contracts Regulations gives UK residents the right to cancel an order for goods starts the moment you place your order and ends 14 days from the day you receive your goods.
Although, there are some circumstances where the Consumer Contracts Regulations won’t give you a right to cancel or refund. These include, CDs, DVDs, software, tailor-made or perishable (food) items.
When contacting the support team and trying to cancel the service, immediately after the payment was taken and with 4 days to go before the next delivery, an automatic message from 3 different reps was sent saying the same thing:
“I’d like to say sorry about any confusion regarding how our flexible subscription works. Of course, we’d never want to send out a box you weren’t expecting which is why we very deliberately make it clear before and throughout the ordering process that we are a flexible subscription to avoid misunderstandings…“
Our cancellation was refused as they go on to say their suppliers are contacted on the Wednesday about all orders. Understandably this is how they say they manage their supply chain. But should it be the costumers fault for the way a business runs?
The reluctance to help and scripted response made us (as a previously happy customer) feel that we are to blame for not understanding and reading every section of their full terms and conditions, instead of trusting that the company had our interest at heart.
It almost seemed that a system of taking payments on Thursday, having a cut off period on Wednesday and not contacting customers about choosing their next week meals is intended to land customers in a legal grey area around cancellations and returns – forcing delivery of goods and taking payment.
The company, recently backed by Jamie Oliver boasts having many happy customers, helping them cook easy meals at the end of a hard day. It makes us question what is more important in today’s new generation of online businesses, customer service or making a quick buck?
Asking their feedback team for comments about their return and refund policies they once again stated:
“I would just like to say that our flexible subscription service is described clearly on our terms and in the welcome emails. Unfortunately, [we are] not able to cancel after our Wednesday deadline, [as this] leads directly to food waste.“
A UK Government petition is now in progress following action against internet companies using trails inappropriately.
A follow-up email was then sent saying they are looking into changing their email structure so you get notifications before their Wednesday cut off. Evidence the process was unclear beforehand? We hope all startups and small businesses respectfully honour refunding customers who felt not enough communication was made.