I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit this. I almost didn’t post about this on Nose Graze because I didn’t really want anyone I know to know what my husband and I did. But I’m just going to suck it up and talk about it because I so badly wanted to post/blog about this SOMEWHERE.
A “bespoke” weight loss programme
My husband and I wanted to try a low carb diet for weight loss purposes, but for some reason we had ZERO confidence in our cooking abilities. Yes we had cooked before, but it was always stuff like: boil pasta and add sauce from a jar. Easy.
But on a low carb diet, pasta was going to be out of the question. Suddenly, we were terrified. We didn’t have any confidence in our cooking skills and didn’t believe we could go on a low carb diet by ourselves. So we sought out a company that would deliver prepared meals to us, and that’s how we found Natural Ketosis.
They brag about their personal consultations, their “all natural” and “high quality” food that’s “from local farms”.
What if we don’t like the food?
Our biggest concern with using a company like this was the quality of the food. What if we didn’t like it? There’s no way we’d be able to diet on food that we hated. So, the first thing we did was check their terms and conditions for some kind of refund policy. Their terms state:
Right to Cancel Your Diet Plan
Pursuant to the terms of the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling ) Regulations 2000 (” the Regulations”) once you have concluded a contract for a Programme or Plan with us your seven day cooling off period will commence. To effectively cancel your Programme or Plan pursuant to these provisions you must return within 30 days all goods delivered to our head office at your cost in adequate condition and unopened. .. While you are in control of our goods you must take good care of our products.
So we figured: we buy their smallest plan (a box for one month) and we can always cancel it within seven days (the “cooling off period”) and return the goods within 30 days. No problem. This also matched up with the Distance Selling Regulations. My husband has told me about these regulations many times. In the UK, whenever you purchase something that you haven’t seen in the flesh, you have seven days to return the items and get a full refund. This law always trumps any other terms and conditions the site has written up. So I knew we always had that to fall back on anyway.
After talking with one of their sales reps, we decided to go ahead with the £500 purchase for one month of food (for two people). It was about £9 per day, per person.
Well, how was it?
The food arrived in four big boxes. All of the meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) were spread across these four boxes. The first thing I noticed was that they got our order wrong. I specifically requested that I not receive the chicken and mushroom meal, but they added it anyway. Then I specifically did request the sweet chilli pork, but they didn’t include it. We immediately sent them an email about this, and also inquired about some additional breakfast options. No reply.
My husband was the first one to try a meal (lunch). He had a soup, which he said was “okay”. That first day I just had a salad for lunch (which consisted of me buying all the salad ingredients separately and using their salad dressing).
That night, we both tried the dinners.
I had the “beef in peppercorn”, which is:
Tender slow cooked British beef in creamy, delicate pepper sauce.
If I’m being honest, the peppercorn sauce wasn’t too bad. It was DEFINITELY oily, but the taste wasn’t so bad. I had two huge problems with the meal though:
- The quality of meat
- The amount of meat vs the amount of sauce
The the meat tasted like airplane food
If you’ve flown on many planes, you probably know what “airplane food” tastes like. It tastes low quality. It tastes pre-packaged. And the meat is almost always uncomfortably chewy. You know, when you’re chewing it forever and ever and you know in your head that this is bad.
That’s what this meat was. I had to close my eyes and hold my breath as I swallowed the meat.
It wasn’t a beef meal—it was a soup
This is where I started to feel ripped off. I so desperately wished I had taken a photo of this meal, but I didn’t. To see a similar meal, check out this review of the chicken breton dish. My beef looked exactly like that. It was peppercorn SOUP with about four chunks of meat floating in it. Did I really pay £9 per day for myself for that little meat? It’s almost like having a liquid dinner every night!
My husband hated his meal
While I was “okay” with the taste of the peppercorn “soup”, my husband absolutely hated his chicken. Like my meal, his was soup with small bits of chicken floating in it—not a proper chicken dish. But his biggest complaint was the quality of the chicken (airplane food) and the sheer amount of oil present in his dish.
Why this is a total rip off
Long after this incident (which isn’t over yet), my husband and I did a lot more research into a keto, low carb diet. It turns out, you’re allowed to eat A LOT of meat. You can have fat, meat, and protein galore. And yet, this Natural Ketosis company is charging people £9 per day for what is probably less than 100g of meat per day. Their portions are so incredibly tiny that it’s almost a wonder that people aren’t starving on their diet.
My problem with this is you don’t have to do this to lose weight. You don’t have to have only four tiny chunks of meat and then soup for dinner. Now that we’re off this Natural Ketosis plan, we have:
- A full chicken breast each with plenty of cheese and veg
- TONS of bacon. I mean tons. Bacon in EVERYTHING.
- Cheeseburgers (usually with two patties each) without the buns.
See how much more meat that is? Four chunks of meat (less than 100g per day I bet) vs 250g of chicken for one meal (never mind the bacon and sausages I had for breakfast). And even though I’m now eating a lot more meat, I’m still within my daily calorie goal (of about ~1200 per day).
My point is that Natural Ketosis so obviously includes as little meat as possible in order to cut down on their costs (because meat isn’t cheap). And yet they’re still charging people £9 per day, which is A LOT.
So, we wanted a refund
After realizing we didn’t like the food and that we were getting ripped off with these “liquid” dinners, we wanted a refund. We contacted Natural Ketosis saying so, and they immediately told us they don’t offer refunds. Here’s the exact chat transcript:
We immediately thought this was bullshit. We can’t return the closed, sealed food packets that have an expiration date of one year in the future? What the hell?
This doesn’t sound legal, let’s check those laws
The first thing my husband and I did was double check the Distance Selling Regulations to see if there was a note in there about food. And actually, the regulations did have an exception in them for “perishable goods”. However, that was a bit ambiguous in this case because yes, we did receive food, but the expiration dates were in summer 2015. That’s hardly perishable, is it?
So next we called the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. They looked up the exact bit of legislation for us and the definition of “perishable” in this instance. They told us that “perishable” referred to things like flowers or fresh food that had a quick expiration date. They also told us that the law had changed recently and we’re now allowed 14 days to return any products—not seven.
In short, Natural Ketosis trying to deny a refund was ILLEGAL!
The Citizen’s Advice Bureau confirmed with us that Natural Ketosis was wrongly trying to deny us our refund and even asked us if we wanted to report them to Trading Standards, which we agreed to do.
We were finally put in touch with the “managing director” of Natural Ketosis. She tried so hard to make us look like the bad guys taking advantage of the law, even though what they were doing was totally illegal! She sent me a message, trying to make me look as bad as possible, but then finally agreed to do a refund on a “one time basis”. We were to send the boxes back and then they would refund us the retail price of the remaining goods.
Waiting on a refund
While we waited for the refund to be processed, my husband and I did more research into the law to reconfirm that we were in the right. We didn’t like being told we were wrong and taking advantage, when we were so sure otherwise.
It turns out, the Distance Selling Regulations had been changed on June 13th, 2014 and is now called the Consumer Contracts Regulations. This supersedes the Distance Selling Regulations. We noticed that in this new law the “perishable goods” phrase had been removed and replaced with “the supply of goods which are liable to deteriorate or expire rapidly”. This OBVIOUSLY didn’t apply to Natural Ketosis products, which had a shelf life of nine months or more. The only products that could have possibly applied were the salami packs they sent us, which only had a shelf life of one month.
Two weeks later…
So it had now been ALMOST two weeks since Natural Ketosis received our returned boxes and we had yet to receive a refund. Natural Ketosis received the boxes on September 4th, and it was now September 16th. We had sent them multiple emails asking for a status update or when we could expect a refund and never got a clear response. We finally sent them one last reminder because the law states a refund should be processed within 14 days:
(5) If the contract is a sales contract and the trader has not offered to collect the goods, the time is the end of 14 days after—
(a)the day on which the trader receives the goods back, or
(b)if earlier, the day on which the consumer supplies evidence of having sent the goods back.
I had to “threaten” them AGAIN with the law and my credit card company before they finally came through with the refund. I said:
The law states that you have 14 days from receipt of the goods to issue a refund. Since the items arrived on September 4th ( as per http://www.city-link.co.uk/consignments/tracking/LVZ77543/ ), Thursday the 18th will mark two weeks. I haven’t heard back from you or the dispatch team, so I just want you to be aware that if we don’t have a refund by the 18th we will be contacting our credit card company about this.
Finally, this prompted them into action and they refunded us about £480.
Wrapping it up — why you should avoid Natural Ketosis
- Their food is INSANELY oily.
- Their meat is very low quality and tastes like airplane food.
- Their dinners are just soups with a few chunks of meat floating around. Because of this, the portions feel TINY and almost certainly won’t fill you up.
- Their “personal consultation” is a complete joke. Sure, we only “used” it once before asking for a refund a few days later, but they NEVER replied to us. We never got a response.
- They are BREAKING THE LAW by forbidding any kind of refunds or returns. If you are stuck in this situation with them, FIGHT! Quote the law to them and don’t be afraid to get in touch with your credit card company if you have to.
A keto diet is actually FABULOUS—it’s just this company that sucks
I want to be clear about one thing: I think a keto/low carb diet is great. I know for a fact that it works for helping you lose weight. But this company is a horrible, horrible example of a keto diet. In order to make things cheaper for themselves, they give you as little meat as possible. This makes no sense when on a keto diet you’re allowed PLENTY of meat. You’re even allowed “comfort” foods like tons of bacon, cheese, and BUTTER (yum). You can even eat until you’re full and satisfied. But Natural Ketosis gives you as little food (and meat) as possible. The portions are bitty and won’t fill you up. The food is oily and unappetizing.
If you want to go keto, do it yourself
I’m planning a whole other post about the keto diet and how/why it works. But for now, just keep in mind that YOU CAN DO THIS YOURSELF! You don’t need to do what my husband and I did and turn to a premade/packaged food company. There are so many easy dishes you can make yourself, such as: