Veggie box company wants £50 a day after bad review
Have you heard of Kelly's Vegies? If you have, you may have given them a wide berth, thanks to the crappy spelling of 'veggies'. However, it looks like there's a whole other reason to avoid them, as one customer was hit with a number of charges after giving the company a negative review.
According to TiM, Alice Ridgley signed up with the company to get fruit and veg delivered to her home. She was offered a free trial box when she started her service with them. However, she got caught in a 'subscription trap' and the whole thing has been a nightmare.
After an unsatisfactory experience, she posted a critical review online, and for her troubles, Ridgley was on the receiving end of a £385 court claim, with Kelly’s Vegies asking for £50 in compensation for every day her review stayed online.
The trouble started when she wanted to cancel her subscription - £15 a pop - with the service, but was told she couldn't unless she paid a ‘restocking fee’, which had been set off by her card payment being declined (she'd cancelled the card for an unrelated fraud). Emails were swapped and the fee was waived, and she carried on with her deliveries. So far, so unremarkable. However, last month, she decided to cancel the service again, and this time, was hit with a charge of £20 for not putting out her empty veg box in time for collection.
This all seemed a bit fishy to Ridgley, so she went to social media, and left an 'honest' review, warning potential customers that there were things in the terms and conditions that should be highlighted, before signing-up. In her review, she said: "There is no room for you to make an error. You will be faced with charges left, right and centre."
The company's t&cs show that there's charges for card handling fees, early cancellation fees, and penalties for not putting your box out for collection. However, in the last few weeks, they've added the clause about negative reviews. It seems that this was introduced to discourage people from leaving bad reviews, and was not part of the terms when Alice signed-up. Other customers have also been hit with similar court claims, or the threat of them.
Another customer called Louise Bynoe cancelled her account, and was hit with a £30 fee. After disputing it, Kelly's Vegies boss Kelly Wheeler called at her house in the evening. With Bynoe not answering the door, she received an email, which said: "I swung by your property to collect my crate earlier and try and resolve this face to face but no answer at the door. Please now find attached my claim which has been submitted to Northampton county court."
These two cases are being handled by consumer help group Legal Beagles, where Alice and Louise hope to have them struck out. Kate Briscoe, who is the chief executive of Legal Beagles, says that it isn't acceptable that Kelly’s Vegies "continues to lure unwitting consumers into onerous long-term contractual agreements which they find expensive to escape from".
The advice here is that, if you're ever offered a free trial of anything, make sure you have a good look at the terms and conditions.