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Warning about a dodgy company

I heard of TheVeganKind from a blog, and thought they sounded fun, so I set up a subscription to their food box. First of all they asked if I wanted to have one of a previous month's boxes instead, so I said "sure", thinking I'd help them out by using up their stock, but it ended up being two boxes and two charges. I thought it I must have misunderstood, and it's expensive to send things back in the post, so I left it. You don't get as much as they promise in the box, I ended up getting something like three tiny food items and a cheap fabric carrier bag with their name printed on it for £13. Then two weeks later I got an email saying "Your Payment Was Declined", big bold letters. I rang the bank, really worried that something was wrong with my card that was going to affect my other payments, but there was no sign of any transaction at all. TheVeganKind don't have a phone number, which I should have noticed as a warning sign when I set up the subscription. Anyway, I emailed them, and got this reply:

"Hi [name],

There was an issue with the servers due to a large number of transactions that were attempted at 12pm. We would normally automatically retry this for you later on the same day once the system is quieter and you would still receive your box as scheduled but we will of course organise for your subscription to be cancelled.

Thanks,
Team TVK x"

Pretty cheeky of them to send that sort of scare email when they were just having trouble with their servers. I realised they were worryingly incompetent, asked them to cancel the subscription, and they agreed, all confirmed by email.

And today another box arrived. I've been on the phone to my bank for twenty minutes trying to find out what's going on here, and putting a block on the company. They have my bank details. They could still be taking money from me under another business name, if they're fraudulent rather than plain incompetent. It was really foolish of me to set this up based on some reviews from bloggers which may well have been paid for anyway. Don't make my mistake.

ETA: I just got this auto-response email from them.

If you are emailing in relation to a PAYMENT DECLINED email, do not worry! We had a slight issue with our servers due to the large number of transactions we process and are working on resolving this ASAP. You do not need to do anything! All payments will automatically be reattempted, and we promise you your box is in safe hands, and will be shipped after the bank holiday as planned. We won't be responding directly to any queries on this as we are busy working hard getting it resolved so please don't worry if you don't hear back from us. All is well! Lots of love, Team TVK x

So it seems that they are not going to bother to reply to my email informing them that they have failed to cancel my subscription. This is really poor business practice.

Comments

I subscribed to TVK for a year but gave it up because they kept on sending the same brands again and again, when I'd rather discover new ones. I did enjoy a lot of what I got though, and bear in mind you're only paying £10 for the box, plus postage - the extra £3 is just to get the box to you. I usually found it good value for money. (I was narked though when they hyped a 'special treat' for the one-year anniversary, for people who'd been subscribers since the first box, and it ended up being 10% off one box :/)


I always found them helpful when there were any problems (once they forgot to update my address properly when I moved house, but apologised and sent me another box to my new address right away), but it sounds like they're not handling your subscription so well. They're still a young company and need to look after their customers.


They're usually fairly active on Twitter if you want to try contacting them that way, although hopefully they'll reply to your email since it's about your subscription cancellation and not just the payment processing issue.


When I cancelled my subscription I cancelled the payment with online banking - it's always best to take care of things at your end too just in case (although in an ideal world that wouldn't be necessary!).

They did reply eventually, and told me to keep the box, which was nice of them. This one was much better value, so evidently they vary. I realise that it's harder to get good value with a small box like this, especially when a fair bit has to go on P&P (Graze probably manage it by being a big organisation by now and being able to do things in bulk), but they must be using packets of crisps worth £3 or something, and vegan food really doesn't need to be that expensive.

But with this level of problems from a single month's subscription, and having to make two lengthy calls to my bank because of their errors, I really do not feel comfortable with them at all. And when you can't find out much about a company, and emails about errors get that sort of response, and they don't have a phone number, it's pretty worrying when they start doing things like sending you emails falsely claiming that your bank card was declined. Even if they're acting in good faith, which they hopefully are, that sort of level of mistakes can lead to being charged twice for the same product, or ceasing to cancel a subscription.

TheVeganKind - not a dodgy company

Hello,

It's TheVeganKind here - We thought it was important to address what could be potentially be interpreted by others as a defamatory post about us - we would like to categorically state that TheVeganKind is not a 'dodgy' or fraudulent company and in no way at all, at any point have your bank details been compromised or at risk.

We shall address the points stated here to explain our position.

1) We ship our boxes once a month, at the beginning of every month. For someone who subscribes on the 3rd of the month, for example, that's an awfully long wait to receive their first box, if they have to wait until the beginning of the following month for the next box to ship. So we send each customer an automated email, regardless of when they subscribe, to let them know we have some past boxes/mystery boxes available, and to let them know they can start their subscription straight away, and that we will debit funds and ship a box within 48 hours. If you subscribe close to the beginning of the month, this may mean that you receive two boxes close together. The large majority of our customers are delighted at this! If you misunderstood the situation we can only apologise and say that if you had advised us of this, we would of course have offered you a refund on this box.

2)Every box has a guaranteed retail value of £10, which is what we promise, and what we stick to. The box in question had four food items and one TVK tote bag with a total retail value of £11.97 We are very sorry if you didn't like the contents of the box - we know that we can't please everyone all of the time, but we would like to state that we don't falsely advertise the value you will receive in the box - you will always receive products worth more than £10. Some will of course be more to your tastes than others, but that is just the nature of subscription boxes.

3) The Payment decline email you received was an automated email sent from our payment provider and not something that we had control over (i.e. not a scare tactic from us) and this happened due to the servers timing out as there were a large number of transactions processed at one time. We like to think that an issue with a payment provider is something that all companies can fall victim to from time to time - off the top of our head we can recall occasions where VISA, Santander and Lloyds all have server issues which caused payments to fail. This is simply one of the risks of the digital age. Of course, we appreciate this was concerning for some people and so set up an auto response to reassure everyone who contacted us that we were in the process of resolving the issue.

4) We won't go into any personal account information on a public forum, but we can assure you that your account has been cancelled and no further payments will be debited. No payments have been taken this month and if you received a box from us then this was free of charge and you can keep this with our best wishes.

5) The auto response email was set up simply to cover emails in relation to the declined payments issue. Your email which was sent to us today was in relation to a cancelled account and as per all of our other emails would have been responded to within our standard 48 hours. You should now have received a response to this.

We would like to finish by saying that customer service is really important to us, and given the chance, we will always rectify any issues that are reported to us.

We hope this explains our position, and if you have any other queries please feel free to contact us on info@thevegankind.com

Thanks
Team TVK