I have been trying to lose weight in anticipation of my wedding in June. At the end of August, I decided to take the plunge and sign up for a meal delivery service that would help me control my calories during the week. I was struggling with Weight Watchers for a few months and decided that it was time to realize that my self-control was not as good as it needed to be, and it was time to step it up.
I did a lot of research, and talked to a few people who had done something similar, and eventually decided to go with ZoneManhattan.com. I wrote about my first 4 weeks here on NYC Nom Nom. I saw great results: 11 pounds in 4 weeks. The food was pretty damn good and I wasn’t hungry throughout the day. I couldn’t deny that the weight was coming off and it was easy and enjoyable. 10 weeks into the program, I was down a full 20 pounds (I hit 25 pounds off at my low. YES!) But then I had to start dealing with their customer service… that is when it all went downhill.
It started with issues with peppers. I had emails to remind them that I had received peppers (which I am allergic to) a few times in my meals. They said they would credit me for the mistakes at the end of my program. It happened a few times more and I finally called before renewing, afraid to renew knowing that peppers were showing up more and more. I was told that they would talk to the kitchen.
And then for a few weeks it was fine, but then the peppers came back. Each time it came up to renew, I hemmed and hawed about it, knowing that the peppers were a constant concern, but wound up going through with it because I couldn’t deny that it was working, it was convenient, and I was satisfied with the food. They also said they would credit the value of the mistaken meals
Each time I called to say something, I was greeted with customer service that made me feel like an idiot and was, at best, rude. I tried to shrug it off. I had a few issues with their site, where I would try to renew, and then my food just wouldn’t show up. Turns out, I was supposed to call to renew, but it didn’t say that anywhere on the site when I signed up… so how was I to know? Also, they say they don’t keep your credit card on file so you need to call each time. I never had to chase a company so much to give them my business.
Then I went to pay my credit card bill and suddenly it was $1K more than I was expecting. I looked it up to realize that the charge came from ZoneManhattan. I called them up and was greeted with yet another rude customer service person who told me that it was probably my fault… Um… Okay. He looked it up to find that they had charged me for MY meals in September, but not for Mike’s meal (we were using the same Credit Card) so they had charged it when they realized the mistake. I calmly told them that I would have appreciated if they had called me to inform me that this mistake had happened before charging the card. At that point, the man on the phone said “Well did you think you wouldn’t have to pay for it? You bought it, you have to pay for it!” I was quite taken aback by how obnoxious he was being. (Not to mention I thought they didn’t keep credit cards on file? Hmmm)
When the next renewal came up, I decided to do it for one more week just to get me through the New Year. I confirmed that I would be credited for the mistakes and asked them to let me know how much credit I would be receiving. He said he would let me know.
He never did.
I emailed the last day of the scheduled service to inquire and they asked me to list out the days that were a mistake. I listed out 12 days and informed them that I had called on 3 separate occasions in addition to these 12 and was told I would be credited. They then informed me that they had already credited 2 snacks to me in October. I then realized that there was one day in October that I received 2 snack 1s and 2 snack 2s and didn’t know why. I had called them that day and they told me it was a mistake, and since I didn’t want to eat extra calories than my daily allowance, they wound up going to waste. Now those somehow were the credit I received. I was not pleased that this was their policy and told them so.
Basically… “too bad.”
They also informed me that they had given me credits along the way… so I requested that they inform me when those credits were, since I was not aware of it and was told they would be at the end of my subscription.
Still waiting 3 weeks later to find out.
Oh and those 3 times I called them and was told I would be credited. Turns out, those don’t count, because I had to put it in an email. Even though they never told me that when I called. I also told them that I disagreed with this policy.
Today, 2 weeks after talking to Richard about how upset I was at their customer service, I called and spoke with him again. I told him that if I had been credited, then all I wanted was to know what days they were. He said that he was not going to go back to previous times and tell me when I received credits because I could look for myself which dates were extra. Excuse me? He said he would look into only this previous one and figure out those credits.
Well F you too, ZoneManhattan.
I have never seen customer service like this. If I treated my clients like this, even once, I would have been 100% fired. I would have been their customer all the way up through the wedding, which is not an insignificant amount of money by any means, but this has just been too much.
So last week I took advantage of a GiltCity deal and tried FreshDiet.com for a week. The first week was decent. I lost about another 2 pounds (from the 5 pounds I had put back on over the holidays) this first week and only felt ever so slightly hungrier than I was on the ZoneManhattan diet. I didn’t love all the food, but some of it was actually very good (and nice portions too!).
Their oatmeal came with a lovely edible flower (and tasted damn good):
And I really loved the lamb chops they sent (filled with flavor and eating a chop off the bone certainly doesn’t make me feel like I’m dieting!)
I don’ t think they use as high quality ingredients as ZoneManhattan does, but it isn’t that much of a difference to make up for the trade-off. FreshDiet allows me to pick which meals I want (instead of whatever is on the menu that day, as ZoneManhattan does) and is a bit cheaper. They have a promotion going on where it’s 31 days for $29.99 per day right now (more than $10/day less than Zone Manhattan) so I just renewed. And when I called them up I talked to a very nice customer service person who actually made me feel like a human being.
More updates to follow.