Fruugo Review

A review of Fruugo, the online marketplace.

Fruugo Review

This is the first in a new series of reviewing online services & retailers. This series will only review services and retailers I’ve personally used.

Fruugo is an ‘online marketplace’. You may not have heard the name before, but Fruugo are growing quickly. They’ll start popping up more on searches for goods.

There are no affiliate links in this article.

What is Fruugo?

Fruugo is a relatively new ‘online marketplace’, initially founded in Finland. They now have operations all over the world.

Although they had a bit of a troubled start. arcticstartup published an article in 2012 titled “Nearing Bankruptcy, Fruugo Burned Through €40 Million to generate €100K”

They are a small player in the online retail space. But Fruugo is now growing, with growth of 100% over the past 5 years.

Fruugo does not self-identify as an online retailer, but a ‘marketplace’. They are a middleman. Like Amazon’s Marketplace, but without the logistics & customer-obsession.

Fruugo advertises the goods, performs the transaction, and provides a sprinkling of customer service. That’s about it.

Fruugo are just a middleman. As they say nowadays, a ‘marketplace’.

Fruugo does not self-identify as an online retailer, but a ‘marketplace’. But they are the retailer in the eyes of the Consumer Contract Regulations, even their Terms of Service state so.

In the UK, Fruugo is the trading name of Fruugo.com Ltd, operating out of Ulverston, Cumbria. A private limited company of 34 employees with a loss of £4.7m in 2018.

This Fruugo review will give you an overview of what to expect when you buy from this online retailer.

How does Fruugo handle orders?

All orders are fulfilled and dispatched by a third party, not by Fruugo.

You don’t buy from Fruugo, you buy from the ‘merchant’. Fruugo are at pains to say they are just a marketplace.

The kind of lorry your goods might be delivered on. If they arrive at all.
The kind of lorry your goods might be delivered on. If they arrive at all.

The problem is you don’t know who the merchant is when you buy.

Your order will be fulfilled by, dispatched by, handled by, serviced by, and everything by this unknown-at-point-of-checkout ‘merchant’.

How does Fruugo handle complaints?

Fruugo customer service is handled via non-realtime chat messages on the Fruugo website.

Initially you deal directly with the merchant, so chat messages are between you and a third party.

There is the option to escalate the chat to Fruugo. If you do this, you can no longer speak to the merchant, and only to a Fruugo customer service representative. They take over everything from there.

I found the customer services polite and professional. But very slow and entirely reactionary. You won’t get any movement from them unless you chase.

How does Fruugo handle cancellations?

Fruugo claims they are just a marketplace and not the retailer. Instead, they say the ‘merchant’ is the retailer.

This means you’ll initially be negotiating a cancellation with the third party ‘merchant’ & not Fruugo.

This is their stance. Their standard operating procedure.

But it’s not the law.

Don’t forget your statutory rights & point them out if Fruugo doesn’t agree to your cancellation. Fruugo is the retailer in the eyes of the law. They are the ones with whom the transaction was placed. They are the ones the contract is with. Their Terms say so despite their employees saying and behaving otherwise.

Under the Consumer Contract Regulations, you cancel any time from point of purchase up to 14 days from receiving your goods. You will be liable for the cost of returning the goods & any damage incurred during that return. There are some exceptions. Which has more about your rights.

If your goods do not turn up after 30 days, you have the right to a refund.

I found the whole cancellation process obnoxious. Especially with Fruugo not adhering to UK Consumer Regulations and hiding behind their ‘merchant’.

How does Fruugo handle returns?

You will be returning goods to the merchant and not to Fruugo.

You will likely be responsible for arranging the return. You may well find the cost of return deducted from any refund.

My Experience with Fruugo

I bought quite an expensive item of Fruugo in 2019. It was a relatively big-ticket item worth about £700.

The other-MM and I had done plenty of research. We’d found the item we wanted, but not many places stocked it. We’d found it stocked in one small mom & pop outfit which we’d rejected. We could buy from Wayfair for about a 15% premium.

Then we found the item on sale on Fruugo.

Oh how high my hopes were. It all looked great.

Card transaction goes through. Then an email comes through. Dispatched by: mom & pop shop. The one we’d previously rejected. No mention of mom & pop on Fruugo’s website all the way to point of checkout & accepting payment.

Mom & pop promptly email me telling me the item isn’t in stock and they have no idea when it will be.

A few chases later, and 30 day have elapsed. I still don’t have my goods. Worse, I have no date for when I will have my goods. All ‘negotiated’ with mom & pop. Mom and pop, who may as well be a front for the mom and pop maffia in Bulgaria. Fruugo are nowhere to be seen.

I escalate to Fruugo. I may as well have escalated to a cadaver. Utterly useless. Fruugo basically claim it’s not their responsibility. It’s mom & pops. ‘We’re just a marketplace’ they whine like a petulant child.

So pull the cord.

I politely point out they are the retailer under the Consumer Contract Regulations and they need to fulfil it within 30 days, which they have failed. I give them 7 more days for it to be at my door, or I expect a full refund.

7 days pass, no item, and Fruugo still refusing to refund.

After more kicking up (emails & letters) I am finally refunded after around 45 days since the point of purchase.

I buy the same item from Wayfair for a 15% premium and it arrives the next day.

What are others saying about Fruugo?

Fruugos reviews are mixed.

On Trustpilot, around 18% of reviews echo my experience. Goods do not arrive. Refund process is impossible to navigate. Customer Services polite but useless. Generally terrible.

The rest of reviews however are positive. Cheap. Items arrive. No need to interact with Customer Services.

Seems to be 80/20. If you are lucky to be in the 80% of people, it looks like your order will be fine!

However, if you are unlucky enough to be in the 20% where your order has problems, the reviews have in common:

Can I trust Fruugo?

We’re all used to customer services being at the forefront of online retailers minds. Customer first. Customer centric. Avoiding the bad reviews.

Fruugo are different. Fruugo treat you with contempt. Like it’s your fault. Get back in the workhouse!

Fruugo’s dog has just evacuated its stinking bowels in the middle of the pavement. Great news: the wee plastic bags are in stock. Dispatched in 7 days! Oh wait, no they are not. 45 days later and it’s still your fault for treading in it.

‘Did we advertise your goods as in stock and dispatched within 7 days? Oh? Really? Oh well. Sorry, we can’t help you. It’s the merchants fault. Here you go, speak to them.’

You have to push their customer services hard. Much harder than with other online shops. All communication will need to be initiated from your side.

This contempt runs deep. Throughout their customer services. Even in responses to my letters, which were completely ignored.

If you’d asked me ‘Can I trust Fruugo?’ just after dealing with them, I’d have said no way.

They eventually refunded me. They do have that going for them I suppose.

How can I protect my Fruugo order?

If you do buy from Fruugo, you can protect yourself with the following simple steps:

I expect BoJo will rip up the latter two points in January 2021 though. As the Consumer Contract Regulations is one of those bloody-laws-from-Brussels.

Make sure you order your wee plastic bags with plenty of lead time.

Should I buy from Fruugo?

Fruugo are one of the cheaper retailers out there, by all means buy from Fruugo If you don’t:

  1. Need the goods urgently
  2. Mind dealing with problems with the dispatch, delivery or returns
  3. Mind having to deal directly with a third party seller who might just be a one-man band

On the other hand, if you are buying a big ticket item that you need by a date, or if you just used to an ounce of customer service, go elsewhere.

There were no affiliate links in this article.

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Sources and Attribution

  • Old Lorry (c) muffinn, CC-BY