Fresh Direct Fails

Over at the Brooklyn Record they’ve posted a photo of their latest order from Fresh Direct, a grocery delivery company that serves New York City. For the rest of you, it’s sort of like Peapod, only they deliver everything in huge boxes, which is annoying.

Anyhow, the Record’s order was seriously messed up. Not only was there yogurt everywhere and their zucchini really yellow squash, but their Seitan was rancid and stinky as well. Fresh Direct said they’d credit their order the price of the yogurt and zucchini, but the post has spawned a lot of comments about Fresh Direct’s track record. Do any of you use this service? They once delivered us a huge case of Tide that we did not order. Seriously, like 4 boxes of Tide. We have so much Tide.—MEGHANN MARCO

Can we keep the faith in Fresh Direct? [Brooklyn Record]


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  1. crown victor victoria - no star, no problem says:

    I had the “some items missing” and “ordered x but got y” problems with them more times than I could count. Maybe once or twice I lucked out and got some stuff I didn’t order on top of everything I had actually paid for, but this was usually just a can of creamed corn, and just once, two whole Poland Spring fridge pak cases of water bottles.

    A lot of the time there’d be 2 or 3 items missing from my order, but they charge you for it all ahead of time and then you have to call them to get credited for the missing stuff. The operators just take your word for it, they don’t really ask a lot of questions. If you say that the 4 lbs. of veal you ordered isn’t there, they’ll either apply the cost to your next order or reverse charges to your card.

    This is all well and good, but having to go to the store to buy the items they messed up on sort of defeats the purpose of ordering groceries online, especially if they shaft you on ingredients that you needed for a meal you were cooking that night.

  2. corporatedrone says:

    I’ve used fresh direct several times and they have really great customer service. Twice there were eggs in my order that were broken and they credited my next order with the amount of those eggs (like Tyler, they took my word on how many). Also once I ordered a pound of shrimp, got 3 pounds, and was charged for those 3 pounds. So I called up and got the excess credited to my account (and obviously kept the shrimp). I think you have to expect that with a delivery service to that many people , food will get banged around occasionaly and mistakes will be made. They’re so helpful though that I have to forgive them. The only problem is that if they mess up and give you a credit, you have to order again from them to get that credit – it only goes towards future orders, not the order that they messed up. Also they do not sell cheese grits. But neither does any grocery here. Boo.

  3. kimdog says:

    I’ve had good luck with Fresh Direct, too. Once I was missing a couple of small items, and was credited Another time, they put my loaf of bread in the same box as my 14lb container of kitty litter. They credited me for the squished bread.

    The delivery drivers have always been on time and very polite.

    Oh, and we ordered an entire Thanksgiving dinner for 12 from them this year. It was really delicious, and had enough food for about 20. They actually were late with the delivery, but there was a notice posted on the website saying that there were problems.

  4. str1cken says:

    My wife and I stopped using them because we frequently recieved produce that was clearly rotten. The boxes were packed by hand before shipping – can’t their employees tell when an onion has turned black from rot and mold? We wrote e-mails about the service (and lack of response from customer service) to every Fresh Direct person we could get the e-mail of, threatening to never use their service again unless we recieved a response.

    We never got one, and we haven’t used them since.

  5. sam says:

    My big problem with FreshDirect is that the delivery people are consistently late. And not by like 15 minutes – At least twice I’ve had to sit around a full 2 hours extra for them to show up. My favorite time though: 15 minutes after the delivery window closes, I call to find out where they are. They call the driver, who says the guy has my stuff on the cart and is on his way to my apartment. Two hours and several phone calls later (where I point out that if the guy is walking around in 95 degree heat for two hours with my milk, meat products, etc. none of it is going to be good anymore), the guy finally shows up and all of my stuff is actually still cold. Which means that the driver provided a steady stream of lies to FreshDirect customer service about the fact that my stuff had ever even been unloaded from the truck.

    these days I try to limit my usage of them to non-perishable heavy items (soda, water, etc.) that can get left with my doorman and which I really don’t want to carry from the store.

  6. jspcc says:

    Eggs are always a disaster, yogurt a guaranteed explosion. And I’ve never received and order that didn’t have something missing. Still, a bit of spilled milk and an absent frozen pizza is a small price to pay for not having to: a) deal with underpaid, angry cashiers and b) leave my apartment. Ever.

  7. hshdgtycvk says:

    we have used them twice. the first time they messed up a few item–sending us stuff we never ordered and leaving out things we had paid for. so the next day they brought the correct items–no big deal we figured–it happens. the second time we used them they were hours later than the delivery window. when we called the customer service person kept telling us they’d be there in 15 minutes. they finally delivered about closer to two hours late. that was it for us.

  8. lypocenes says:

    the delivery guy on the commercials is so cute that i would forgive him anything

  9. ElizabethD says:

    I stopped using Peapod (the New England analog to Fresh Direct, I guess) after several botched orders that required me to go out and drive to Stop & Shop to get the correct items on time; AND after my credit-card info was stolen and used within the next two days to charge thousands of $$ of goods in Virginia.

    At first the excitement of getting food delivered was neat. But I started to realize the time I spent filling out my order online and the frustration of not being able to get certain things we regularly buy just made it not worth it. The credit-card snafu was the last straw. I suppose if I were housebound I would reconsider.

  10. I hired someone to go to the store for me. it was a lot easier.

  11. timbnyc says:

    You’re all going to hell for encouraging such a wasteful service.

  12. ellagood says:

    I keep getting Spike Lee’s Chinatown Chicken ingredients.

    It’s really fucking annoying.

    However, I have it on good authority that he will be making Eggplant Parm next week.

  13. apollonia666 says:

    I’ve had very few problems with FreshDirect. I’ve only had exploded yogurt twice (and I order yogurt almost every time, so that’s not a bad track record) and have never had anything missing. I’ve never had produce come rotten — to the contrary, it’s usually a bit underripe, so I do have to plan around that, especially with stuff like bananas and avocados.

    And I was having problems with late deliveries happening a lot, but a little over a year ago they rejiggered their delivery routes and that seemed to take care of it. Haven’t had a late delivery since then.

    The only thing I’ve had repeated problems with and now just won’t order from them is eggs. No matter how hard they try to pad them, they’ve just been completely unable to deliver eggs unbroken. Fortunately those are easy enough to pick up at any corner bodega.

    I do wish they’d find ways to reduce their packaging. And that they’d start stocking Special K Fruit & Yogurt cereal. :)

  14. kimdog says:

    I agree completely about the packaging. It’s not uncommon for me to open a box, and find only a roll of paper towels. But at least I know that whenever I need a packing box, there will be a pile of Fresh Direct boxes in the basement of my building.

  15. brooklynbs says:

    I’ve been using FreshDirect for a couple of years now and I’ve only had a few, isolated problems.

    Once, they forgot an item, and when I called to inquire, they credited my account immediately. Another time, I received a bottle of Tide for free (spooky!). They were late once, and the driver called me 30 minutes ahead of the end of the delivery window to tell me they were running late (in the end, they came 15 minutes after the close of the delivery window).

    Otherwise, I haven’t received any rotten food or anything like that. The drivers/delivery guys I’ve dealt with are the nicest folks in the world (maybe because I tip them well and I’m only one flight of stairs up).

    I like the convienence of FD more than anything else. I live alone so I’m easy to shop for. I generally buy my baked goods, meats and cheeses from local specialty shops, so FD is especially good for basic groceries and basic produce when I’m too lazy to go to the farmer’s market. I’ll never set foot in the local grocery stores because they’re absolutely filthy.

    If I miss anything about living in the burbs and owning a car, it’s the ability to shop for a bunch of stuff at once and not have to push a granny cart 20 blocks and then lug stuff up the stairs.

  16. Lkparker says:

    I LOVE Fresh Direct. I use it at least twice a month. Only twice have I had issues. Once my cucumbers were mushy upon arrival–immediate credit. The second problem was ice cream that had melted into soup–another instant credit. The drivers have always been EARLY for me if not within the 2 hour window, and always super nice. If you have a problem, I recommend complaining politely–any problem I’ve had has had an immediate resolution. I’ll continue to use them for now. : )

  17. BklynJace says:

    Had a couple of exploded yogurts and occasionally a box switcheroo, but they’ve always made good, the deliverymen are unfailingly polite, and sometimes the mistakes work in your favor. (Hello, full case of wine instead of six bottles.) We couldn’t live without Fresh Direct. OK, we could but it would suck.

  18. snazz says:


  19. snazz says:

    crap… stupid comment system. or rather, my inability to use it properly

    i once got two huge plastic bags filled with like 10 frozen pizzas and multiple boxes of garlic bread products that i didnt order. it was odd that they didnt come in cardboard boxes and even odder that the delivery guy insisted they were mine and that i had ordered them. i kept saying no, trying to give them back. after a few exchanges back and forth, i eventually got my way when i said i wouldnt sign for the delivery unless he took them back.

    other than that, ive had pretty much flawless experiences with them. though they usually show up an hour after the designated delivery times that i specified.

  20. crown victor victoria - no star, no problem says:

    It’s not uncommon for me to open a box, and find only a roll of paper towels.

    I had this happen all the time too. This is a minor thing, but it seems like an incredible waste of an entire cardboard box. At least it’s recycled, but still…maximize your material, FD. Between that happening and the messed up orders resulting in unquestioned credits to accounts, I’m guessing that a big chunk of their profit is flying right out the window.

    My guess as to why they package stuff like that is that they have a warehouse (in Queens and/or Long Island City, I think) where they keep the goods. They probably have it all sectioned off, so that produce is in one “zone” and dairy is in another, then bakery good and freezer section and so on and so forth, and all that stuff is packaged individually. So if you get a ton of food and then a toothbrush, that toothbrush is going in a box by itself. At least that seems like the kind of system they have. Anybody know?

  21. i’ve only been using FD for about the past 6 months, but i’ve never once had a problem with them – delivery is always within the window, my food has never been damaged, and delivery guys always really nice.

    i live in astoria – wondering if location has anything to do with quality of service?

  22. missdona says:

    My neighbor got a random case of Dr. Browns Diet Cream Soda. She called and said “you want it, I hate cream soda”


  23. pearlandopal says:

    I’m suddenly really, really grateful for Peapod. They’re always within the time window, very rarely make a mistake on our orders and we’ve never had exploded yogurt or broken eggs.

  24. AcidReign says:

    …..Frankly, I’d miss poring over the produce and meat counters at Sam’s and Publix. I enjoy the hell out of it! I try to go in with an open mind, and select whatever’s freshest. My family loves to eat the meal that I put out the day of a grocery trip. Mmmmm.

    …..Getting a box of rotten onions is a disaster. I’d not go with them again. Most local grocery stores will do some sort of delivery. It will cost, but if that’s what you like…

  25. I’ve gotten a few things that I didn’t order and the occasional broken seal on packages (leaky milk, for example) but I have been using FreshDirect for a good 4 years now and can’t complain. The food is always fresh and I’m very happy with the quality of the selection. I’d say they do a better job finding fresh produce than my local grocery stores.

    If there are problems (like a late delivery guy, which happened once), I always get credited back for the amount lost (or the delivery fee). Further, I’ve made requests over the phone and through email (I prefer requesting the credit through their website because I get late-night deliveries and it’s just easier) and they take prompt action every time.

    I would not hesitate to recommend FreshDirect to my friends.

  26. simpleguy says:

    I am a former employee of Fresh Direct and can tell that nothing has changed from when i worked there. It is very sad, a great concept with very poor middle managment.