Business & Investment

Sour taste: Milk delivery giant turns his back on loyal customers

Joan Watts has been delivering milk to the front door for nearly 60 years. As many British have been doing for decades, she left a note in an empty bottle to order, previously in cash and then by direct debit to the milkman.

However, his great-grandmother Joan, 90, is now one of the thousands of elderly people whose milk delivery was suddenly canceled.

Milk & More customers, the UK’s largest milk delivery service and serving approximately 500,000 households, place all orders online and use their website or smartphone app with a debit or credit card. It is said that you have to pay.

Online Only: Milk & More customers are told that all orders must be placed online and paid by debit or credit card using the website or smartphone app.

After April 24th, delivery will be suspended for those who cannot or will not use the Internet.

This move has sparked an angry reaction from older customers who feel abandoned by “ageist” policies.

“I was happy to be able to pay by direct debit, but they said they wouldn’t allow it anymore,” says widow Joan.

“I had to cancel because I couldn’t use my computer and I was worried about online banking due to fraud.”

Approximately one in five Milk & More customers buy products without the Internet, but the company has made several attempts to change this since it was acquired by German dairy giant Muller in 2015. ..

In 2019, the company announced that it would ban cash or check payments from January 2020. Still, customers could pay monthly by direct debit or telephone card, but for offline customers, the price was increased by 4p per pint.

Last September, at Essex, “the majority of customers” went online and tested a new system that they said was “really successful.” But that wasn’t successful for everyone, and Joan, who lives in Essex, was just one of those left behind.

Starting next week, all customers across the country will need to go online. Otherwise, the delivery will be cancelled.

A Milk & More milkman, who has been serving the area for 38 years, told customers that he was “overwhelmed” by the decision and was very worried about the vulnerable and isolated elderly.

We had milk at our doorstep for 50 years

Offline: Jean and John Solt will deliver milk at the end of next week

Offline: Jean and John Solt will deliver milk at the end of next week

Jean and John Solt will deliver milk at the end of next week, just 50 years after it was first delivered on their wedding day.

This pair of Bexleyheath, Kent has a computer but is reluctant to order milk online.

There are no other delivery services in the area and must be canceled.

Jean, 78, said: “Since we got married, we have always delivered milk.

“It was nice because our milk deliverers knew everyone and cared about people.

“Now we have to buy milk from the supermarket. We are one of the lucky ones because we have a car.

“It’s very unfair to those who don’t have a computer, and that’s what the world is doing now.”

Campaign participants said this is another example of an elderly person left unattended without access to basic services, as more than 2 million people over the age of 75 do not have internet access in the UK.

“As a result, it is imperative that people who do not have or do not want to use the Internet are not excluded or penalized,” said Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK.

In the 1970s, about 99% of milk was delivered to the front door, but before the pandemic, this was reduced to just 3%.

Prior to Covid-19, about 527,000 customers delivered milk, according to market analyst Canter, which surged to 716,000 in 2020 and then settled at 672,000.

Milk & More has acquired 175,000 new customers over the last two years. This is driven by both blockades and the demand from environmentally friendly shoppers for reusable glass bottles.

The company has confirmed with MoneyMail that the move to online only is “cost-effective” due to the high cost of direct debit processing.

You said you’re providing help for your customers to get online, but we’ve found that Money Mail’s instructions are only useful if you already own a computer or smartphone and understand the Internet.

A Milk & More spokesman said the company “invested in our business to change from what had been declining for over 40 years to what is growing.”

Online habits will “turn around the business and protect the work of hundreds of milk deliverers, milk deliverers and small suppliers by stopping offline orders and payments.

“We understand that not everyone agrees with our decision, and we are grateful that some people cannot or do not want to make changes.

“In these cases, we would like to help you find an alternative supplier, if possible,” he adds.

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Sour taste: Milk delivery giant turns his back on loyal customers Sour taste: Milk delivery giant turns his back on loyal customers

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