Germany

Ende alles, alles gut… I hope!

Okay… I truly hope today’s post will be my last one about Hello Fresh.  I think I may have finally succeeded in getting them to delete my account.  But they couldn’t just shut up and delete it, could they?  No… they had to blame me one last time.

Behold…

Customer service agent Matea confirms that my account is canceled, but adds for the record that I was the one who reactivated it.

And here’s my weary reply…  Again, I share this for the record, in case the zombies resurrect my account in the future.    

 

I tried to log in last night and found that my password no longer works.  Hallelujah!  I think this is a good sign that means they’ve finally complied with my wishes.  It only took a week and multiple emails!  I hope this will be the last time I write about Hello Fresh.  And I hope any Hello Fresh subscribers who are reading this have a better experience with them than I’ve had.

Now, on to a related topic.

I have noticed in Germany (and maybe France, too) that there’s a different mindset here when it comes to what to do when things go awry.  It seems like when something goes wrong, someone has to be “at fault”.  There seems to be no room for simple bad luck or accidents.  Someone must be to blame when there’s an accident or an error, and that person must be held responsible, usually in the form of paying fines or being chastised in some way.  Consequently, no one wants to take the blame for messing up and then be held responsible. When something bad happens, many people here immediately go on the defensive.  Then, the situation becomes nastier than it really needs to be.

I think this “faulting” mindset is why insurance is such a popular industry in Germany.  If you have an accident on someone else’s property, you will be expected to shell out money to pay for damages.  I don’t necessarily have a problem with paying for things that break on my watch; however, I don’t see why there must be such an emphasis on blaming the other party.  Everyone messes up sometimes, because nobody’s perfect.

I feel compelled to be very well insured while we’re living here.  Courtesy of USAA, we have car insurance, renter’s insurance, life insurance, valuable property insurance, and personal liability insurance.  Courtesy of a German company, we have personal liability insurance, legal insurance, and pet insurance.  We also joined the Mietverein (renter’s union).  And, of course, we also have TRICARE, dental insurance, and health insurance through Bill’s employer.  We probably pay more than we need to for insurance, but as I wrote in my previous post, I don’t like being fucked with.

Our new landlords require us to have pet liability insurance and strongly recommended personal liability insurance.  Bill was happy to tell them we have both.  He bought both policies due to my insistence.  So far, the personal liability insurance has paid for itself.  It only costs a hundred euros a year, yet we’re covered for millions of euros in case there’s a mishap and someone’s property gets damaged.

I have recommended purchasing personal liability insurance many times in my blog, especially to any Americans who will be living in Germany.  Many Americans don’t understand German and have no experience with the German legal system.  If something goes wrong, they are going to need someone local on their side who can help them navigate the situation.  However, I notice that quite a few Americans are reluctant to pull the trigger.  They seem to think personal liability insurance is a “scam” and assume that what they get through USAA or another American company will protect them adequately.

I think it’s helpful to remember that there is a different mindset here.  Many Germans have no qualms about going to court, which is why so many Germans have personal liability insurance.  What’s more, accidents can and do happen.  I have a friend who ended up paying for her German landlord’s brand new kitchen due to an accident one of her guests had while staying with her.  She did not have insurance, so she and her husband had to pay thousands of euros out of pocket.

If this post makes you want to explore more about why Germans have so much insurance, I recommend checking out poster Starshollow on Toytown Germany.  He has written many helpful posts that explain why having insurance is such a must in Germany.  Also, in the Stuttgart area US military Facebook groups, there is a poster named Gerhard Koch who sells insurance.  His English is perfect and he is extremely helpful.  In fact, he’s our insurance broker, and he’s helped us out more than once.

Anyway… I didn’t mean for this post to become yet another caveat about purchasing insurance, another subject besides Hello Fresh I’d like to retire.  It’s just that the Hello Fresh drama reminded me once again that Germans often have a very different mindset regarding how to settle accidents, and their concept of who is to “blame” might be different than yours is.  It may seem cost effective to skip purchasing insurance, but if something goes wrong, you may live to regret that choice.

Even the Hello Fresh debacle could have led to us needing to access our insurance, in case we wound up in court over that erroneous 54,98 euro charge.  If Hello Fresh had insisted that we pay for their mistake, it seriously could have led to a lawsuit.  Don’t believe me?  Read Toytown Germany.  People have posted plenty of nightmare stories about being sued over seemingly insignificant debts, which eventually turn into much larger debts due to fines, interest charges, and collections fees.

Incidentally, I think you should read Toytown Germany anyway.  It’s  a very useful site for English speaking expats and will give you a non-miltary/US government perspective of living in Germany as an expat.

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Hello Fresh admits it’s got a “glitch”…

Here’s a brief update on my Hello Fresh saga.

I will completely admit that I have a tendency to go a bit off the deep end about some things.  I also admit that I kind of did go off the deep end about this Hello Fresh nonsense.  It’s partly because we’re about to move, and I had visions of the next people in this house receiving unordered food boxes while I get billed for them.  Then, because I refused to pay for the boxes, I had visions of being tracked down by hostile German collections people.  Having read up on what happens if you have a bill that goes into collections in Germany, I started getting anxious just thinking about it.  I envisioned myself cussing out old ladies in English as they insulted me in German and dragged me to court.

I can be a real stickler about certain things.  One thing I am very uptight about is paying my bills on time.  I have never missed a bill payment.  I have never had so much as a late charge, let alone had anything go to collections.  Because of that, I actually did give some thought to simply paying off Hello Fresh.  I did that the last time this happened, but it was also the event that made me decisively come to the choice to sever my dealings with Hello Fresh back in 2016.

I was really close to just paying the bill so we could move past this, but then I got fired up again.  This was truly Hello Fresh’s error.  What’s left of my pride couldn’t take wimping out and paying off the bogus 54,98 charge, even though it would have been easy to do that.  I suspect that a lot of companies count on people to pay them off so they’ll go away.  If I had done that, I would only be encouraging the practice and/or not giving them an incentive to fix their “glitches” so other people don’t get similarly inconvenienced.  So, even though simply getting an email from Hello Fresh now raises my blood pressure, I determined that I’d risk eventually being sued by Hello Fresh or a collections agency and/or insulted by “Frau Zickig”.  I refused to pay.

We waited out the weekend after I sent several irate emails and left a pissed off comment on Hello Fresh’s Facebook page, as well as a review on Trust Pilot.  Poor Bill had to listen to me repeatedly grumble about this issue, which came up at a very inopportune time.  I suppose I’m glad it happened this month instead of next month, though.  Next month, no one will be here to collect any packages and send them back to the company.

I am convinced that raising hell on social media and riling up other people is one way to get companies to listen.  Also, I am relieved to see I wasn’t the only one who had this problem.

  

Yesterday, I got an automated from Hello Fresh wanting to know how I liked the box they sent.  Since I sent the box back to Hello Fresh, I can’t judge how good it was.  I will admit that I sent a profane response that included the f-word.

About an hour later, I got this email from Maria, at Hello Fresh.

I sent this response…

Then I got another email from Domagoj, who noted that Maria had helped me.  And she did help me, although I notice they only canceled one charge.

I hope that by the end of today, this mess will be a memory.

 

Earlier this year, Germany passed a very strict data protection law that has, so far, done much more to annoy me than anything else.  But Bill noted that if Hello Fresh doesn’t delete my data, we could have a case for making things very unpleasant for them in court and sending some very expensive fines their way.  I would rather not go that route because it seems like overkill and I have a life to lead.  But since we have invested in legal insurance and haven’t yet used it, I will admit that the thought crossed my mind.  What can I say?  I don’t like being fucked with.

In the course of dealing with this mess, I also discovered Germany’s consumer protection agencies.  Before I got yesterday’s emails from Hello Fresh, I gave some thought to giving them a buzz, too.  They might have enjoyed getting into the fray.  Although I have been on the receiving end of classic German strictness and insistence, as well as the yelling and unpleasantness that can come from it, I have to admit that sometimes, strictness and intolerance for bullshit is a good thing.  In fact, I think some of it is rubbing off on me.

Anyway, hopefully my next update about this situation will be in a post that isn’t about Hello Fresh and it will be along the lines of “Ende alles, alles gut“.

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More stellar Hello Fresh customer service… NOT

A couple of days ago, I wrote about how HelloFresh.de dropped a surprise on me by sending me a food box TWO YEARS after I requested that they cancel my account.  Because I wasn’t an active customer, my payment information was out of date.  And when they tried to debit the money from my account, they were not able to.  This set off automated emails from them letting me know my “payment had failed”.  However, they still sent the box.

When the unwelcome food box arrived on Wednesday, I instructed the UPS guy to return it to Hello Fresh.  I got an email from UPS indicating that the box that Hello Fresh erroneously sent me has been delivered to their office.

Today, a full three days after my first of several irate emails arrived, I finally got a response from “Hana”, who wrote this.  I am screenshooting it for the record, in case I have to get an attorney.

WTF???  Nine subscriptions?  Their system is even more fucked up than I realized!!!

 

This was my response.

I actually feel sorry for Hello Fresh customer service people.  

 

And here is the proof that UPS delivered the package to the Hello Fresh office in Berlin.

I don’t have the box in my possession.  I sent it back to them.

 

Is 54,98 euros worth my telling everyone who will listen to me what an incompetent, underhanded company Hello Fresh is?  I don’t know… but this is not something I enjoy dealing with, especially since I thought I was done with this company two years ago and asked them to delete my account information.  It took two weeks before I got a response.  Obviously, they didn’t do as I asked, nor did they delete it as a matter of course, as they say they’ll do.

Someone named Nicole was assured that they “delete every data”, but clearly two years of inactivity wasn’t enough to convince them to delete “every data” in my case…

 
This is my review from today.  
 

This is a screenshot of my most recent orders.  The top two with the failed payments were sent almost exactly two years after I stopped ordering boxes.  Somehow, near the second anniversary of my cancellation, my account was reactivated without my knowledge or consent.  Either someone at the company did it manually, or there is a glitch in their computer that did it.  I did NOT do it.

Needless to say, I recommend anyone reading this to steer clear of this shitty company.  Weeks before a move, I sure don’t need this extra stress.  I can only wonder what would have happened if I had already moved back to the States or somewhere else.  It’s an enormous inconvenience.

Edited to add:  Here’s an email I sent to another customer service agent named Maja, who responded to one of my missives.  It’s slightly less pissy.

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I thought I was done with Hello Fresh. Guess not.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a few years might recall that in the winter of 2015, I became familiar with Hello Fresh, a service that sends weekly “cook boxes”.  The boxes contain all of the ingredients needed for three to five recipes per week.  Although Hello Fresh’s customer service left much to be desired, I remained a member for about two years.  Bill liked the convenience of the service and having to translate the recipes was doing good things for his German skills.

The day we got SEVEN boxes from Hello Fresh!  And then they sent me an email, blaming me for this.

Of course, we did have a pretty serious billing SNAFU at first.  One time, I ended up with four boxes of fruit and three classic meal boxes, when I only wanted one box of fruit and one meal box.  It took several emails and a phone call to straighten out the mess, but it did get fixed and I only ended up having to pay for one box of food.  I got to keep the rest, so Bill took the extras to work for his colleagues to raid.

After a couple of years of maintaining the service, I determined that I didn’t like Hello Fresh that much.  I didn’t enjoy a lot of the recipes and didn’t like having to worry about trying to pause boxes for the many weeks I didn’t want the meals.  As of November 4, 2016, I canceled my account…  or so I thought.  I even got a personal email from one of their customer service people confirming that my account was closed.  For two years, I only got the occasional sales email from them, which I totally ignored.

A couple of weeks ago, out of the blue, I got a “welcome” email from Hello Fresh that was dated February 2015.  I thought it was a mistake, since the date was from three years ago.  I ignored it, and didn’t hear anything else from them.  Apparently, ignoring them was a mistake, because today, I got an email from Hello Fresh letting me know my payment failed.  I responded with an admittedly pissy “Why are you sending me emails?  I canceled my account two years ago.”  Then they sent me another failure notice, probably because I also used to get their fruit box.  So I sent an even pissier response, asking them to stop sending me emails and letting them know that their shitty customer service was the main reason I canceled my account.

You’d think that when the payment fails, the company wouldn’t send the product.  Unfortunately, that’s not how it works at Hello Fresh.  I got a notice that I’m getting a box tomorrow, even though I never ordered one.

Then I logged into my account, which I hadn’t done in about two years.  I noticed that somehow, my account was reactivated.  I didn’t get a good look at this week’s recipes, but I did notice one of them is loaded with mushrooms, which come from hell as far as I’m concerned.  I don’t even like looking at mushrooms, let alone eating them or putting them in my refrigerator.  So I went on UPS’s Web site to see if I can either arrange to have the box sent back to Hello Fresh or cancel the delivery.  It appears that I’m not able to do that.  I plan to refuse the shipment.

I see I’m not the only one who’s had a bad time with Hello Fresh. Here’s an account that went viral.  It was written by a guy who did Hello Fresh in the Netherlands.

I’m not in the best mood today because a number of bad things happened before it was even noon.  I took Zane in for a dental and the vet found an oral tumor.  She thinks it’s benign and actually showed the tumor to me.  Hopefully, she’s right, but I’ve about had my fill of canine cancer.  Aside from that, we’re moving, so this news comes at an inopportune time.  Zane is about to turn ten years old and is sprouting new lumps left and right.  I doubt we will do anything aggressive, even if the lumps are cancerous.  Still, it sucks.

It’s a good thing there’s wine.  I have a feeling I will need it.

ETA: Here’s an update.

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Goodbye, Hello Fresh…

In January 2015, I caused a little stir in the Stuttgart community when I subscribed to Hello Fresh, a service that provides fresh food and recipes on a weekly basis.  You can order a three or five meal box, vegetarian or “classic” (including meat).  Initially, Bill and I liked Hello Fresh, even though we had a major billing SNAFU.  The recipes were different, could be prepared quickly, and the food was basically high quality.  It spared us having to go to the store to buy it.  We got the three meal classic box fairly regularly for awhile.

Over the last couple of years, Hello Fresh has made some improvements.  For one thing, their Web site is a lot better than it was when I first started using the service.  It’s a lot easier to pause shipments.  For awhile, I was having to email customer service every week I didn’t want a box.  That got old.  They also made it possible to switch out recipes.  When I first started using Hello Fresh, you couldn’t make any substitutions to the planned meals.  So if you didn’t eat pork or, in my case, mushrooms, you couldn’t substitute a different meal from the five day box.  They have since changed that, which I think is a good thing.

But after awhile, the novelty of Hello Fresh simply wore off.  I realized I didn’t like the recipes that much and I was tired of having to decide each week if I wanted to order boxes.  The last straw came last week, when we decided to order Hello Fresh again.  For some reason, the payment for my classic meal box didn’t go through, though I did manage to successfully pay for the fruit box.  I sent them an email last week and they still haven’t responded, though I have gotten at least two auto-generated emails letting me know I “haven’t been forgotten”.  I finally decided this week that I am done with Hello Fresh.  Their customer service simply sucks too much to bother with it anymore.

That being said, it was an adventure to use the service for awhile.  We did get to try some new stuff and learn a few new recipes.  Bill’s German improved by following the recipes in German.  Some of the meals we had were beautiful to look at, even if I didn’t always think they were that tasty.  So I’m glad we did it for awhile.

Quitting Hello Fresh was interesting, though.  They really do try to get you to reconsider.  With every step before I cancelled online, I had to affirm that I really wanted to stop the service.  I guess in that regard, they’re taking cues from Americans.  Given that Hello Fresh is available in the United States, I guess it makes sense.

So long, Hello Fresh.  It’s been real.  Guess we’ll go back to our regular cooking and use some of those new cookbooks I invested in last Christmas.

The best of the three Hello Fresh recipes we used last week.  Turkey, rice, and pickled vegetables.

Edited to add: I just yesterday got a response from an email I sent to Hello Fresh two weeks ago.  Their customer service is the height of suckitude.  Good riddance.

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Hello Fresh update…

Some folks in the local Facebook group have asked me about Hello Fresh.  I was in Vienna when I got the request for the update and didn’t have my laptop with me.  Now that I’m home again, I’m ready to dish.  I don’t work for Hello Fresh and don’t care one way or another if anyone else decides to subscribe to this service.  These are just my honest and unbiased opinions based on our experiences so far.

Bill and I subscribed to Hello Fresh in late January.  I did it on a whim because it looked like an interesting concept.  Hello Fresh is a worldwide company offered in a number of countries, including the US and the UK.  Hello Fresh in Germany is based in Berlin.  They offer meal boxes every week.  You can get boxes with as few as three meals for two people or as many as five meals for four people.  Hello Fresh sends most everything you’d need for their recipes as well as the recipes themselves.  We’ve been using this service for about three months.  Here are my observations so far.

* The recipes are written in German.  If you don’t know German, you will have to translate them.  We have successfully used the Google Translate app.  My husband has also taken the recipes to work with him and printed them out after using an online translator.  More recently, he’s finding that he doesn’t need to translate.  He’s picking up some language skills.  The Web site is also, of course, in German.  I recommend accessing it via Google Chrome if you aren’t a German speaker; that browser will automatically translate for you.

* The recipes are German.  By that, I mean they will likely suit German tastes.  You get a lot of lean beef and chicken recipes (if you use the classic box) with pepper cream sauces.  Last week, we had what was supposed to be a Mexican inspired chicken salad.  It was pretty good, though perhaps maybe a little bland for some Americans.  Also, it was topped with Feta cheese, which is not Mexican!  I have found the recipes to be hit and miss.  Some we’ve loved and some we haven’t liked as much, though all have been edible.  Bill is learning some new cooking techniques, though, so that’s a good thing.

* You may find yourself trying stuff you’ve never had before.  To be honest, that’s one reason why I still subscribe.  There are many fruits and vegetables I’ve never tried and honestly should embrace.  Hello Fresh lets us try them in small quantities.  Plus, every week you get one vegetarian meal, which I like because left to my own devices, I eat too much meat.

* Their Web site is glitchy.  When I first subscribed, I got a message from their system that my payment failed.  So I tried again.  I got the same message.  I think after four times, I finally got a message that the subscription worked.  Unfortunately, the previous times I tried to subscribe had actually gone through.  I ended up with four subscriptions!  To Hello Fresh’s credit, they did refund the other orders and we ended up with some free food.  But since there are only two of us in our household, it was a bit of a pain.  I didn’t enjoy dealing with their customer service at first, either, because I think we had a bit of a cultural clash as to what Americans consider good service and what Germans do.  But we did get the billing issue straightened out.

* If you want to pause a week and you get a classic box and a fruit box (like we do), you should ask customer service to do it for you.  Don’t try to do it on their Web site.  For some reason, when I tried to pause a week myself, I only paused the fruit box.  Frankly, I would have liked to have gotten the fruit box.  It was the classic box we didn’t want.  For some reason, their site isn’t set up to make this happen.  Fortunately, their customer service folks are good about pausing if you ask them early enough.  They usually post the following week’s menu on Sundays.  I check it and decide if I want it. If I don’t, I immediately send an email.  If you wait too long, they won’t be able to stop the order.  * ETA: They have since improved their Web site and now I can easily pause the shipments myself.  That makes using Hello Fresh a lot easier.

* There is no flexibility.  If you like two of the three meals in the classic box, you can’t ask them to replace the one you don’t like with something else.  Personally, I think it would be great if they let the people who get three meals a week to choose the three they want from the five available.  I don’t like mushrooms and prefer not to have to handle (or pay for) them.  But I can’t ask them to leave mushrooms out of the box, so I pause the weeks the recipes have mushrooms in them.

* The food is very high quality.  We have only had one or two times when fruit was damaged.  They pack them very well, though.  The bananas are usually wrapped.  Last week, we got a starfruit that was wrapped securely in plastic.  Meats and dairy products are packed with cool packs and wrapped in wool.  Other items are what I’d call “Whole Foods” quality.

* Meat servings tend to be small, but there’s always been enough food for Bill and me.  Others might not agree.  Again, I need to eat less meat, so this is a plus for me.  We often end up with leftovers and sometimes even have leftover ingredients.

*  Hello Fresh delivers via UPS.  I usually get my orders before noon on Wednesdays.  If you live on an installation, I don’t know if Hello Fresh would work for you.

* You can return some of the packaging to Hello Fresh.  Save one of your boxes and put as many wool and cold packs in it as you can.  After five deliveries, you can send your box back to Hello Fresh and they will recycle for you.  You print a label from their site and take the box to drop off.  It doesn’t cost extra.

* You get “gifts”.  After a certain number of boxes, you get “free gifts”.  So far, I’ve gotten a Hello Fresh canvas tote, which comes in handy at the Aldi.  They also send coupons, which may or may not be useful to you.  And you can get free boxes for your friends, too.

I don’t know how long we’ll keep using this service.  Bill enjoys the boxes and I particularly enjoy the fruit boxes, which sometimes include a surprise like coconut or mango.  One reason Bill likes these boxes is because he does a lot of the cooking and it’s very convenient to have the food shopped for us and delivered directly to our home.  It saves him time.  I do think this company’s customer service could be improved in many ways, but overall it’s been a fairly positive experience.  I suspect I’ll be updating again if and when I decide to cancel.  😉

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Austria, shopping

Vienna, Austria Part 8… coming home!

Unfortunately, our last night in Vienna was a bit of a let down.  Bill picked up a cough of some sort while he was in Africa and he woke me up in the middle of the night.  I had indigestion, no doubt from all the good food and beer we enjoyed on Sunday.  I managed to grab a little more sleep, but was still kind of crabby in the morning as we packed up to get to the airport.

Bill ordered a cab online.  He says this is a good thing to do, especially if you are coming in to Vienna.  If you don’t pre-book a cab, you end up paying more.  Our trip to Vienna from the airport was over 40 euros, but coming back it was only 32 euros.  Bill rounded up to 40 because he’s a generous guy.  The cab was prompt and arrived at 6:30am, getting us on our way despite the heavy Vienna traffic.

We tried to pre-book my bag but for some reason weren’t able to, so once again we paid 30 euros to check my luggage.  Paying to check luggage is one of my many pet peeves, especially since it’s a rip off.

I must say, Vienna has a lovely airport with lots of nice amenities.  One thing I loved was the free wi-fi.  There are very nice stores in the airport as well as a beautiful food court/gourmet market.  If we’d had more time, I could have had a good time shopping for goodies.  Instead, we had a nice and huge breakfast that I couldn’t finish.  More eggs, sausage, and bacon.  My eyes were way bigger than my stomach, though Bill was able to finish his with ease.

Really good shopping!

One thing the Vienna airport doesn’t have in abundance is electric outlets.  They haven’t followed the trend of other airports that have installed outlets for people who need to charge their electronics.  I managed to find an outlet in the food court area, though the wi-fi didn’t work there.  I guess that’s to keep people from camping out there all day.

The flight back to Stuttgart was uneventful, yet annoying.  The guy in the seat in front of me insisted on reclining for a one hour flight.  The guy across the aisle from me kept farting or something… it wasn’t nice.  Fortunately, the flight was quick and turbulence free and we were soon on our way home… until we got on A8, which closely resembled a parking lot.  I mean it.  The cars were barely moving.  It took forever to get to the exit to A81.  I was feeling queasy from the flight and the smell of diesel fumes.

We got home at about noon and I immediately slipped into my nightie because I knew I wasn’t going anywhere.  Bill went to the Hunde Hotel Haase to get the dogs.  When he got home, he made this for dinner…

One of our Hello Fresh meals…  Zucchini stuffed with basmati rice, zucchini, and gouda cheese.  The base is rice, cherry tomatoes, and peppers.

This was healthy, tasted good, and looked pretty.

It’s good to be home again, though I’m already planning our next trip.  The champagne bucket says we’re going to the Canary Islands.  I’m not sure when yet– maybe in June.  Should be a lot of fun!

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Looks like my Hello Fresh mess is fixed for now…

So a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my disastrous attempt to subscribe to Hello Fresh.  I ended up with four fruit boxes and three classic meal boxes.  Despite my niece’s visit last week, we still have some leftovers from that huge delivery.  On the plus side, after we made the Hello Fresh recipes, we used the leftover supplies for other meals.  My husband made a mixed grill with vegetables with the extra chicken, beef, broccoli, and peppers we had.  He also took two of the fruit boxes to work with him and they were a big hit with his co-workers.  And Hello Fresh, to their credit, refunded the extra charges.

I lucked into finding a customer service guy who turns out to be half American and, perhaps in a fit of solidarity, pledged to help me out with any future customer service problems I have.  After I sent him a copy of the email I got from the first Hello Fresh rep who neglected to cancel my orders and told me not to let the extra orders happen again, my new Hello Fresh customer service rep apologized profusely and fixed my account.  So today, I got one classic box and one fruit box and I was charged only one time.  Moreover, since next week’s meals don’t appeal, he paused delivery for me within minutes of my request.

Because we like the Hello Fresh concept and enjoy the food, we may stick with it for awhile longer.  We’ll see how this week’s recipes turn out.  For now, I’m much less pissed off at Hello Fresh than I was two weeks ago.  As an added bonus, I tried Jerusalem artichokes for the first time.  Anything that gets me to try new things– especially fruits and vegetables– is a good thing.

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Doubling up on Hello Fresh boxes…

Because of last week’s billing issues with Hello Fresh, I inadvertently ended up with several subscriptions.  I asked Hello Fresh to cancel all but the first order, but somehow I’m still ending up with twice what I intended to order.  Today, I will receive two classic boxes of three meals for two people and two fruit boxes.  I guess I’ll send one of the fruit boxes to work with Bill and maybe keep the extra box for next week, when my niece visits.

I’ve sent several emails to Hello Fresh since I last posted.  One was to make sure next week’s delivery is “paused” because next week’s meals include mushrooms, which I do not eat.  I wasn’t able to pause it myself on their Web site, so I had to email them.  The other was to make sure that in the future, I don’t get double orders.  I asked them to check my account and make sure future automatic orders are just for one box– one fruit box and one classic box.  My next email to them will probably be to ask them to cancel my account.

As much as I enjoy learning new recipes and trying new foods, this screw up with billing and repeated need to email them has left me with a bad impression.  We’ll see how much or little we enjoy this week’s recipes.  The double boxes this week may turn out to be okay, since we’re going to have company.

This weekend, Bill and I are going to Regensburg, which is a beautiful Bavarian city.  We have both been there before, but not with each other.  I look forward to seeing Regensburg again and taking lots of new pictures!  I’m ready to blog about travel rather than food.

Unbelievable…

Look what just arrived.  Looks like they didn’t cancel all the orders after all.

ETA:  Here is today’s email exchange…

Okay, now you are SURE that my next order will be just one classic box and one fruit box?  Because when I wrote last week about the inadvertent extra orders, I was told the problem was fixed.  And I just received this.

Their response

 Feb 11, 12:35:

Hello,
thank you for your message.
In future you will only recive one meal- and one fruit-box.
You wrote us on monday and on monday we couldn’t cancel your orders or change them.
This is the reason you recived two boxes each.
Best regards,

My response

Actually, the first time I wrote to you was on the evening of February 3rd when the extra orders were accidentally made.  This is what I wrote in my first email.
Hi,

I tried to order a classic box and a fruit box and use a coupon.  I kept getting messages that the payments failed, so I tried to use PayPal and a credit card.  My husband’s card worked, but now I look in my bank account and it appears that the other attempts also worked.  This is just a message to let you know that we only want one classic box and one fruit box for next week.

Thanks,
I got an email from a customer service employee on February 5th.  This is what she wrote.

Feb 5, 13:22:

Hi,
thank you for your message.
You did indeed subscribe for 3 fruit and 3 classic boxes.
I cancelled 4 boxes for you. You will get the money back automatically.
Please make sure, this won’t happen again. 🙂
Best regards,
Her response is the reason I was under the impression that this issue was fixed.

I’m pretty annoyed about this.  I’m also really disappointed.  Evidently, the guy can’t count, either.  I have three classic boxes and four fruit boxes.

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anecdotes

An update on my billing SNAFU with Hello Fresh…

The other day, I posted that Bill and I decided to subscribe to Hello Fresh.  We enjoyed our first “cooking box” and looked forward to expanding our culinary horizons.  I felt good about the decision until I went to order the subscription.  I tried to use my debit card first.  According to Hello Fresh’s system, the payment failed.  I tried again.  Again, I was met with failure.  Then I tried a credit card.  That, too, was supposedly unsuccessful.  We tried one of Bill’s credit cards.  That time, the system accepted the payment.

I immediately sent an email to Hello Fresh.  I also tried to call them, but for some reason, was unable to get through.  When I later checked on my email, it appeared to have been deleted from their system, so I sent another.  However, I did receive a response to the first email yesterday.  This is what it said.

Hi,

thank you for your message.
You did indeed subscribe for 3 fruit and 3 classic boxes.
I cancelled 4 boxes for you. You will get the money back automatically.
Please make sure, this won’t happen again. 🙂
Best regards,

It’s very possible that the person who write this email is not fluent in English and something got lost in translation.  I didn’t think it was an appropriate response, though.  So I wrote back that I would be very happy not to let it happen again, but it was their system that caused the error.  Incidentally, the money for the extra boxes has not yet been refunded.  And as she cancelled the extra boxes, I got several poorly written guilt tripping automated emails from the company’s founder… (granted, this was originally in German)

my name is Dominik judge and I am the founder of Hello Fresh. I’ve noticed that you recently your Hello Fresh supplies of fruit box fruit box size S – have canceled 12 pieces. On behalf of my team, I would like to thank you for your continued trust.
What is your delivery you will receive on 02.11.2015. Then you will not receive any further deliveries more.
It always makes us a little sad when we have to accept cancellations of good customer counter. However, we are aware that there may be many reasons why one breaks the terms of the boxes or want to stop.
Thanks again for your support!
We would be glad to welcome you soon may return to the Hello Fresh family.
With fresh greetings
Your Dominik

I called USAA about the debit card charges because they posted first.  I started the dispute process, but will have to call again to start one for the credit cards.  If the payments are not refunded, I will have to write letters to USAA explaining in detail what happened and then wait for them to either or accept or deny the dispute.  It’s inconvenient and annoying, but it’s also a sign that Hello Fresh may have customer service issues.

Also, someone from Hello Fresh was supposed to call me yesterday at 4:30pm.  I noticed that someone called at 9:00am yesterday, but I wasn’t near my phone.  They didn’t leave a message, either.

There was a time in my life when these extra charges would have been a real problem.  Fortunately, we can afford them right now.  In any case, after we get our two boxes, I will likely unsubscribe.  I like Hello Fresh’s concept and had no issues with most of the food, but I am really not impressed with their customer service.

Hopefully, I will be able to post a more positive report soon.

ETA:  I see I have two refunds in my checking account from Hello Fresh, but my credit card charge still stands.  I am now a bit confused, but glad to see the refunds are in the works.

ETA:  Now I get to call USAA again and cancel the dispute.  That’s a good thing.  Still, what a pain in the butt.

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