A mother who ordered a vegan box was sent meat in her delivery and told to “just throw it away” when she complained.
Victoria Boarer paid £20 for the half-price Hello Fresh vegan delivery box, but was sent two packets of pork as well.
It was supposed to contain enough food and recipes for four meals for four people.
But when she told the recipe box delivery company about the mix-up, the response was to just throw the unwanted meat away.
Victoria, from Worthing, West Sussex, was also auto-charged a further £36 for a repeat order she had not requested, she said.
The 36-year-old contacted the company when the box arrived last Thursday morning (Jan 21) asking them to cancel and refund next week’s order but in an online chat the company did not apologise and said, “I mean, just throw the meat out”.
She was also told next week’s order could not be refunded as the deadline was Tuesday evening – two days before she had even received her first pack.
Victoria said the company’s response was worse than the actual mistake.
She added: “You can’t deliver someone’s first box, make a massive mistake like this which is insulting, then say something quite rude and tell them ‘you can’t have your money back’.
“None of that’s acceptable. If you were at a restaurant and ordered a vegan meal, you wouldn’t expect to get a side of meat and them to just say ‘well we’ve not charged you for it’.”
Victoria, who owns Inkquisitive tattoo parlour in the seaside town, said the firm’s response was inadequate and would create even more waste.
And the company’s suggestion that she should simply ‘throw the meat out’ would only mean more meat had to be produced, Victoria said.
She added: “I wasn’t trying to get free food. I was annoyed that these companies aren’t taking it seriously.
“I am vegan because of the damage the animal industry is causing to the world due to the nature of the industries and the global waste of this food.
“So being told to throw it away because I haven’t been charged for it – that’s what annoyed me. Someone has paid – animals have suffered.”
Hello Fresh has now apologised and refunded Victoria for both orders, which she has donated – along with the meat – to homeless charity Turning Tides.
A spokesman for the company said: “We apologise to the customer for mistakenly including meat in the order and for the response from our customer service agent.
“On this occasion we did not meet our usual high standards of service and care in getting our recipe boxes right.
“We have reminded our team of the need to recommend the passing of unwanted items to local food banks, where possible, to minimise any waste.
“HelloFresh is a flexible subscription with no minimum term so it fits in with our customers’ lifestyles.
“Customers can cancel, skip or amend the date for the following week’s delivery up until midnight on the Tuesday before the order is due.
“This benefit is made clear at the point of signing up as a customer and in all welcome messages to new recipients.”