HelloFresh food boxes showed up but no orders were placed

Last year, millions of HelloFresh customers around the world ordered over 1 billion meal kits, lured by the promise of home-cooked meals for 2-4 people without the hassle of planning or shopping. bottom.

But none of those orders were from the Back Bay Brownstone, which delivers HelloFresh boxes with an annoying frequency.

“It’s strange,” said Judith Said, a medical professor who has lived in Brownstone for decades. “I have repeatedly told them to stop delivering food that no one has ordered. But the boxes keep coming.”

They are addressed to people who do not live there, and their names are so unusual that Sayde suspects they are fictional. For example, “Tryst Brenk” or “Braxt Bail”. A Google search for these names yielded “no results”.

The shipping label printed on the box listed the house number for Saeed Brownstone on Beacon Street between Hereford Street and Massachusetts Avenue.

The box was about one-and-a-half feet long, wide, and tall, and was surprisingly heavy because it contained a thick pack of ice. Said and his neighbors said they saw several delivery men arriving in regular cars, vans and, once, in his UPS truck. None of the delivery men could explain how the boxes got to the building, she said.

HelloFresh is a subscription-based product, but none of the Brownstone residents have a subscription. Also, Mr. Said has never been charged a shipping fee.

At first, Sayde said, the free, high-quality meals were the “reward”. She happily sampled some of her chicken dishes. But it soon turned into her chore as she felt responsible to find someone to take her good food so that it would not go to waste.

Nothing she tried could stop HelloFresh from delivering. She said that the person in charge always promised that they would “get it done”, but the boxes kept coming in. They promised a call from a supervisor, but that didn’t happen either.

“After each delivery I called HelloFresh to report the error, and each time I was told it would never happen again,” Saide wrote to the company on April 27.

“This is close to harassment as no one in the building wants food. I feel like I have to refrigerate the contents and find someone to feed me,” she wrote.

“Unfortunately food banks are not accepting perishables,” she wrote. “Take steps to stop these deliveries and tell us how you plan to stop them. It’s infuriating.”

A company rep replied, “I’d be happy to help,” but the boxes kept coming in, the latest on May 10th.

Saide contacted me because I wrote about a similar situation with Amazon in 2018. At that time, unwanted packages were arriving one after another at the front door of the couple’s house in Acton. Plastic fans, cell phone chargers, and USB cables were all cheap.

Amazon wasn’t very helpful when the couple filed a complaint. After I got involved, the load stopped with very little explanation. The most popular theory I heard was that the couple had unwittingly become involved in a ruse to manipulate the all-important “verified buyer” reviews Amazon posts.

When asked to answer, Amazon said, “As villains get smarter, so do we. Amazon is constantly innovating to protect the customer experience.”

Since this column, several women have contacted me about a strange and horrifying package they received from Amazon, a sexually suggestive item from an anonymous sender. And I couldn’t get Amazon to stop me either.

What is Amazon’s response? “We take action against bad actors who abuse our systems and services for marketing purposes.”

Deliveries stalled again, perhaps because Amazon finally took action amidst the heavy publicity glare.

I have reached out to HelloFresh on behalf of Saidhe and his neighbors with details of their plight. He actually dates back to late 2021 when the first boxes arrived. Said said there were a few deliveries in 2022, but nothing compared to the recent deluge.

Like Amazon, HelloFresh did not explain the incorrect delivery in their reply to me.

“HelloFresh is aware of this incident and is actively investigating it,” it said. “You can be sure that the necessary guardrails have been put in place to prevent unwanted boxes from being delivered.”

HelloFresh’s statement continued: “We are taking this very seriously and … we apologize to our residents.” [of the brownstone] Sorry for the inconvenience. ”

I replied to HelloFresh that “you want to know what really happened here,” but HelloFresh doesn’t put up “guardrails”.

HelloFresh responded, “Our team has identified an immediate issue, but we are still investigating it, so we cannot comment on the details at this time.”

HelloFresh’s manager separately wrote to Said saying the company had “blocked deliveries” to Brownstone. The manager also said the company will donate to the Greater Boston Food Bank “in honor of your building.” I think this is a great gesture.

Said thanked HelloFresh. But she, too, wanted better answers. “It would be helpful if we could know what steps (such as software tweaks?) would be taken to prevent future deliveries, and why this happened,” she wrote.

Companies do not like to divulge information about their internal operations. They say it could give competitors an advantage. But companies need to tell us more about what went wrong when their relentless deliveries and endless runaways seriously disrupted our lives.

having a problem? Please send consumer issues to sean.murphy@globe.com. follow him on twitter @spmurphy Boston.

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