My mother is a frail 85yr old pensioner, smart as a whip but still old and frail.
Mum likes to make sure that she eats as healthy as she can because she cannot cook for herself without exertion . She has been getting pre-prepared meals from a company called Choice Fresh Meals for about 4 years.
In February she had a fall in her flat which meant an ambulance was required to transfer her to the Royal Melbourne hospital. She arrived at 11pm. This was the beginning of a very long stay in hospital plus a long period in rehabilitation.
At the emergency department, covered in blood and in severe pain, Mum had the nouse to remember that she was getting a delivery at 10am the next morning at her flat. Despite the pain and confusion she managed to ring her neighbour to let the food delivery man know that she was in hospital and to cancel the order. Her neighbour did this at 10am the following morning and the order returned to the company – not bad for a frail 85yr old to organise.
Thirteen weeks later Mum was released from hospital, and rang the company to resume the service only to be told that she owed $44 because she did not give the company 48 hours notice of cancelling the order the night she fell over and admitted to hospital.
Mum argued that it was impossible to know that she was going to have a fall 48 hours before she fell. The company said thanks for being a good customer but you still need to give 48 hours.
I argued that it was impossible to know that she was about to fall then the company dropped the clanger and told me that she should have got a doctor or nurse to ring to cancel the order. That would be right – get a hard working doctor or nurse in the casualty department to ring at near midnight to cancel Mum’s order.
The sting is in the tale here. Even if a hard working doctor or nurse went to the extreme to notify the company, their phones are only manned between 9 and 5 business hours. So their platitudes to my mother are totally hollow, there is no way a 48 hour cancellation could be adhered to if you don’t know 48 hours in advance that you’re going to need to be hospitalised
The policy is harsh and unjust, it fails to take into account unforeseen circumstances a lot of pensioners find themselves in their last years.
I have sent a number of e-mails and phone calls but the company adheres to this uncompromising policy of taking money from the most vulnerable in our community.
Should people like to assist my Mum get a refund before I take the company to VCAT, they can contact the company on email@example.com to say how unfair their policy is
Here’s the contact info How to contact Choice Fresh Meals