HelloFresh customers are fed-up with being charged for meal kit boxes they opted to skip. This issue first cropped up more than three years ago.
“This is an ongoing issue for some HelloFresh customers,” said Caitlin Cherry, Consumer NZ Head of Content.
“It’s been well documented in the past, but HelloFresh insists it’s not in the wrong. Some HelloFresh customers are being short-changed, and it needs to stop.”
HelloFresh offers customers the option to skip boxes on weeks they don’t want to receive the meal kit. The customer must opt to skip their order before a specified cutoff date, and according to HelloFresh, this stops the box being delivered and the customer from being charged.
“At Consumer we’ve received numerous complaints about HelloFresh from unhappy customers,” said Cherry. “A quick social media search also shows people are being charged for boxes they have skipped and subscriptions they’ve cancelled.”
The HelloFresh refund policy states that if a customer is charged despite cancelling within the required timeframe, they will be issued a full refund minus the postal cost of returning the product, which the customer will have to cover themselves.
"Any customer who cancels their box before the cutoff date is entitled to a full refund – they should not have to fork out to return the box they cancelled – even if their terms say otherwise.
“HelloFresh has obligations under the Consumer Guarantees Act to carry out services with care and skill – they cannot shirk their responsibilities.”
The HelloFresh app is supposed to make life easier for customers – providing the ability to skip a box at the touch of a button.
Consumer NZ understands customers have contacted HelloFresh to let them know skipping deliveries, via its app, doesn’t always work.
Alice, a fed-up HelloFresh customer told the watchdog “It’s a known issue with their app but when you initially query it, their argument is you should have contacted them to say the app wasn’t working in time, but (a) you don’t know it hasn’t worked and (b) they know full well it doesn’t!”
HelloFresh is standing firm, with a spokesperson stating, “there are currently no identified issues with the website or the app functionality in the back end.”
Under the Consumer Guarantees Act, companies have an obligation to carry out their services with reasonable care and skill.
“This means any requests for skipping a box (before the specified cutoff date) must be actioned by HelloFresh,” said Cherry.
“If you are left out of pocket because a box you’ve skipped ends up on your doorstep there are steps you can take.
“When you skip or cancel – take a screenshot. This could come in handy if you need to provide evidence that you opted out of a delivery.
“If you skipped your order within the specified timeframe, but HelloFresh refuses to provide a full refund, you can contact your bank to request a chargeback, provided you have paid on a credit card or debit card. Alternatively, you can escalate the matter to the disputes tribunal."
“Finally, report any issues to the Commerce Commission – that way the Commission knows about matters affecting New Zealanders.”