The sweet presents — 100-gram bars of Torino chocolate manufactured by Swiss producer Camille Bloch — were sent out as a loyalty reward for 15,000 customers of the bus service last month.
“I found it super to get a candy in my mail but I can’t tell you my bitterness when I saw the past due date,” one of the recipients, identified as Dominique, told the 20 Minutes newspaper.
In her case the “best before” date was November 20th.
“It was really our fault and we are sorry for that,” PostBus spokeswoman Katharina Merkle told The Local on Wednesday.
The chocolate was sent last month by Swiss Post “but it wasn’t an express mailing,” Merkle said.
As a result, some customers only received the gifts last week and in around 3,000 cases the past due date had already passed, she said.
While the chocolate was fine when it was sent, the bars with the due date for the end of November “should have been destroyed,” Merkle said, describing the foulup as a “logistical problem”.
PostBus first learned of the problem last week and so far 30 customers have called to complain, she said.
The company has no way of knowing which of its customers received the out-of-date chocolate, Merkle said.
But those affected can contact the customer service programme by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and new chocolate bars will be shipped to them, she said.
Merkle emphasized that the dated chocolate is not harmful.
“It’s not dangerous for one’s health — I tried one yesterday, it was good.”
With a network covering 11,249 kilometres and 2,157 vehicles, PostBus Switzerland bills itself as the country’s “leading provider of road-based passenger transport”.
The company, a subsidiary of Swiss Post, the national postal service, keeps a database of regular customers and often sends out chocolate as a reward for fidelity — and not just at Christmas, Merkle said.
The company also sent out bars last Easter, she noted.