The Holidog ‘Happy Box’; free automatic renewals and poor customer care come as standard

image1Holidog have been streaming a torrent of direct marketing towards me since I registered with the site a couple of years ago just to get a feel for the service.  These emails continue sometimes daily despite me having never used the site either as a pet sitter, or for pet sitting services.  However, when they sent out an offer to try their happy box last month, I thought it was worth a go.  Unfortunately, rather than happiness, this box has ended only in disappointment, frustration, and what will consequently become the end of what could have been a beautiful relationship.

We received the happy box 5 days ago, and our big brown bubbly Labrador showed a mild degree of disinterest; she liked the snacks, but has blatantly ignored the scented rubbery toy.  I had actually responded to the offer of a ‘fox in a box’, but this was not what we received, and since I have had no communication from Holidog at all about when the box would arrive, or what to expect, it was a surprise for all of us.  I was not at all certain that this particular ‘treat’ was worth £29 a month. But I did consider purchasing a one-off box maybe every few months, around Christmas, time for instance, Easter, and Birthdays.

I was genuinely astounded to discover last night that Holidog have taken a further payment of £29 from my card, as this was not something that I had authorised, and they have not communicated their intention to do so.  When I had accessed my account previously, the status read that I was subscribed for 1 month only.  Exactly what I would have expected, since I had no intention of signing up to a full subscription service for a product that I had not even sampled (at that time).

Assuming an error, I contacted them this morning through the online chat facility and connected with ‘Cindy’.  I explained the problem, that I had not intended to agree, nor seen any written statement of a monthly subscription, and that I wanted to cancel this service, and that I would like a refund of the amount they had taken from my card.  She told me that I would have to send an email, wait around a week for acknowledgement of this, and then wait for them to make a decision on my case.  There was no mention of turning of the subscription to my account (which I later discovered on the website), and her tone was unhelpful and frankly sarcastic at times.  Cindy also seemed unaware of Distance Selling Regulations, if she believes that there is a ‘decision’ to be made here.

After several attempts to cancel my monthly subscription online (which I do not recall at any point being asked to ‘turn on’, or authorise), and receiving numerous error messages, the site has allowed me to perform this action, but will not allow me to remove my credit card details.  I await an email from the ‘refund’ department, which appears to be an ‘Ana’ at Holidog.  After this experience, I would offer caution to anyone before becoming involved with this company, whom I think retain business through scam tactics and unclear communications.

Never again.

Author: TheZooKeeper

An IT Consultant, specialising in messaging and infrastructure (Wintel). Diabetic who used to like chocolate, doughnuts and Frank's RedHot sauce, but never got the chance to try all three in combination!

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