Ocado has sparked outrage from customers on social media after offering to refund anyone who paid for its “Smart Pass” service in March.
Smart Pass holders pay £10.99 a month and are guaranteed unlimited deliveries free of charge, while also receiving monthly offers.
The online grocer took to Twitter yesterday to apologise to the growing number of Smart Pass holders who were unable to access any delivery slots but were still being charged for the service.
Despite offering a refund to anyone who received one delivery or less throughout March, customers remained outraged at Ocado’s handling of the situation.
We’ve made claiming a refund for your Smart Pass fairer.
If you paid £5.99 or more for a Smart Pass in March and only had one delivery (or none at all) due to the unprecedented demand, we want to make it up to you by refunding last month’s Smart Pass fee. pic.twitter.com/gO2kNUjSgU
— ocado (@Ocado) April 14, 2020
Smart Pass holders are required to fill out a form to receive a refund and can alternatively choose to donate their fee to food bank charities, or cancel their subscription.
One customer argued that as the service being paid for was not being fulfilled Ocado should issue automatic refunds.
Surely smart pass is as many deliveries as you want – and so you aren’t fulfilling the product as it stands. Should be auto refunded especially with the price increases and offer removal.
— Munich Beer (@munichbeer) April 14, 2020
How is that fair? A smartpass entitles me to a daily delivery so you have failed to deliver on this contract. All smartpass holders should be automatically refunded. Gyms and other services have had to so why not Ocado??
— Mary Lane (@drmhlane) April 14, 2020
Another questioned why only customers paying over £5.99 would receive a refund, after Ocado confirmed those paying less “would still go ahead”.
Thanks Ruby can I check why Ocado thinks it should only refund higher paying customers, if they aren’t providing the service paid for?
— Kunal Mundul (@KunalMundul) April 14, 2020
I pay less so wont be entitled to a refund and i cancelled my smart pass of the back of not being able to get any bookings.. interestingly u cancelled my access even tho i had recently paid for the month ahead…
— Andrea Thompson (@Kaydimom) April 14, 2020
This comes after Ocado issued a public apology to its customers, who have struggled to get any delivery slots at all, stating it simply did “not have the capacity to meet demand”.
According to the blog post, Ocado has seen web traffic 100 times higher than usual, while enquiries to its contact centre were up 500 per cent.
Despite stopping anyone new from signing up to its service, Ocado said “practically every one” of its nearly 800,000 customers are now placing at least one order every week.
Average order size has also reportedly risen 50 per cent during lockdown meaning fewer orders can be delivered with each journey.