I am rewriting this review to give the whole of my experience, now that I have finally managed to contact customer services. In short, I had a very bad experience with HH, and they then refused to respond to me for 5 days... but then I managed to discover their 'live chat' service. And when I did finally speak to someone, using that, that individual was in fact very good, and sorted out my complaint.
First, my general observations are:
It's a good idea, and there are loads of restaurants to choose from. The basic ordering system seems to work ok. However:
- some restaurants do not seem to keep their menus up to date, so you order an entire meal only to find out they can't supply it. My complaint began because I ordered from one place, cancelled because they couldn't then supply the order (although they still charged me!!!), then had to start again and order from someone else... and then they turned up without all the items. Rubbish.
- they do not exercise any quality control over their restaurants, other than customer reviews, which means that rubbish stays on there and is never, so far as I can see, kicked off.
- they do not seem to set rules for their restaurants - e.g. if they cannot supply items ordered, I think they should be obliged to ring the customer and tell them that. NOT turn up at your door with other random substitute items, as happened to me on Monday.
- the restaurant staff seem to be, by and large, unfamiliar with the system, so if you need to ring them up, e.g. if the order is late or you need to change something, you will struggle to get through to anyone who understands what you are on about. I've discovered that some are on multiple online ordering sites now, so just saying 'hungry house' won't mean anything to them unless you happen to get the manager.
- although they say that the order is normally passed to the restaurant within a couple of minutes, this is not true in my experience. I've ordered 4 or 5 times and It's usually the full 15 minutes, or close. Which really means you may as well have phoned them yourself with the order!
- there is currently no way of cancelling an order online, and you can still get charged by mistake for a cancelled order (I've also read others' accounts, where they have said the restaurant would not accept a cancellation).
Many of the failings are down to the restaurants and their dismal customer service, not Hungry House itself. It might have the potential to be a good system. But at the moment it can unfortunately be a long-winded and frustrating experience. And if something goes wrong, you have no real means of redress - in fact this is the biggest problem with the whole thing.
As explained above, first attempt was cancelled by me (by ringing the restaurant) because the restaurant didn't have half the items. I got a message from HH informing me of the problem and telling me the restaurant would ring me. They did not, so I rang them, and they at first could not find a member of staff who had even heard of HH. Different people from there kept ringing me to check whether I had cancelled, even half an hour later. The second attempt at an order, with a different restaurant, was accepted by them, but then they also contrived to turn up on the doorstep with half the order missing, with the driver offering some random other items he was hoping I'd accept instead! So the restaurants were just awful. (Toscana and Top Hut.)
I was charged for both orders, and HH then would not reply to my emails about this. They just did not respond. After several emails on Monday when it happened and another one to follow up on Friday, I also used their web form. *Still* no response, so I took to here and to their Facebook page, repeatedly. No response to that either. It really was not good. And they still had my money.
On top of that, my card was defrauded the morning after all this happened, and obviously that caused me to be suspicious - I complained, my card got defrauded, and now the company appeared to be completely uncontactable. Not saying it was necessarily someone there, I may never know, but you can understand I'm sure that I was not overflowing with trust at this point.
Right now I'm still thinking that it might be better to just use this service to identify take-aways and look at the menus, then ring the restaurant up myself and order directly. It would have been much simpler on Monday, and I wouldn't have had the risk of my credit card being charged twice either. That way there is no ordering delay and they can tell me directly if the things I'm ordering are out of stock.
I believe the true measure of a company is how they handle it when things go wrong. HH clearly did not want to handle it at all. In such circumstances, my policy is to make the complaint public and update people about it often. Usually this elicits a prompt response! In this case it did not. I posted warnings on their Facebook page and was really starting to think they must have gone into insolvency or were not even a real company. Real companies respond to their own email addresses and web forms.
So far, so bad. Plus, I was finding more and more other people online who have had similarly bad experiences with their customer services.
The redeeming bit of all this, however, is that I then discovered they have a 'live chat' feature on their Facebook page. Since they would not respond to me any other way, I thought I would try it. I'd found another complainant online who had tried to use this and there had been no-one there, but I thought it was worth a try. And I actually got through to someone.
This person, called Hannah, was actually very good and restored my faith somewhat. Unfortunately, it takes more than one good employee to make a good company, and they still have a way to go to win me back. However she listened, understood what had happened, apologised sincerely, sorted out my refund, and has also given me a goodwill credit. She also agreed to pass on a few suggestions of mine. In addition she explained, without making excuses, that they had some extra operating difficulties around the time of my order. It remains to be seen whether their customer service will really improve. But I really think they do know there is a problem and want to address it. The thing is, the fact remains that they never contacted me in a week of complaints through various means, and the only reason I got to talk to the helpful Hannah was because I stumbled across this 'live chat' thingy and initiated live contact myself.
In short, Hannah gets 5 stars, but I can only, for the time being, elevate my overall Hungry House rating by one star, to two, since it was still a bad experience, and they should not have let the unresponsiveness go on and on for a whole working week like that. Let's see if they can really improve their customer service performance over time. I will be reading others' reviews on here to see if they can overcome these difficulties.
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