Interflora customers took to social media yesterday to complain about the flowers delivered for Mother's Day. The problems ranged from flowers that arrived dead, to those in smashed vases, those not as they were described, and even one carrying a card which said that it had been bought half price.
What are your rights if your flowers disappoint?
ComplaintsCustomers flooded Twitter with complaints throughout the day.
@padhooper tweeted: "Wow, 2 orders! 1 doesn't even come close to matching description and the other is half dead!!" He attached a photo of a wilted and sparse bouquet. Niamhjean posted a picture of her flowers with the comment: "Here's what I got for £40 from @InterfloraUK Weeds. Half of them dead." When Interflora offered to make amends, she replied: "Why bother. It's too late."
Amandandacj72 said: "@InterfloraUK very shabby flowers for Mothers Day #embarrassing could have hand picked out of the garden better, plus Vase broken :-(".
@ Tara Orten, meanwhile was one of the many who didn't have their flowers delivered at all. She said: "Gutted @InterfloraUK didn't deliver my mums Mother's Day flowers yesterday. Seems I'm not the only one this has happened to."
ResponseInterflora did its best to contain the damage - responding on social media, apologising, and promising calls from customer services. They sent Tweets to over 100 customers, and tried to resolve them all. Some of the Tweets indicated that people had received apologies and refunds and others had received apology flowers too. @padhooper received two replacements.
The company tweeted: "With the 100,000s of bouquets we deliver, mistakes can happen. When they do we'll go the extra mile to put things right". However, not all the customers were satisfied with the response:
@AmaniAlNur did not have her flowers delivered and wasn't happy with the response from customer services, she tweeted: "No it's not really OK for you to ring the florist tomorrow & try to get my order delivered. Mothers Day was today #epicfail @InterfloraUK".
When the Daily Mail approached the company for comment, they highlighted that the number of complaints was a small percentage of their customers, and that by far the majority were happy with their flowers.
But it hasn't gone unnoticed that on Valentines Day and last Mother's Day the company was inundated with social media complaints too.
Why?Much of the problem appears to be related to the fact that florists do the bulk of their deliveries on a few specific days, and they are under huge pressure for those days. As a result some flowers that are delivered may not be up to their usual standard. Some florists also have to bring in freelance delivery services to cope with demand, who may let them down.
Customers can also contrast the cost of the flowers with the price of those in their local supermarket. Through the Interflora system, the company takes a cut of each order, supplies have to be ordered from Interflora, and the florists have to pay for delivery. The rules state that the customer should still receive the full value of the flowers, but it's hard to see how that would make any money for the florists. Meanwhile, the supermarkets can pile them high and sell them cheap, without paying anything to a middle man - so it's easy to see how the cheapest bouquets come in up to £15 less than Interflora.
What can you do?If you have been disappointed with the flowers, if they showed up late, or they didn't show up at all, then you have certain rights under the Sale of Goods Act. They have to match the description and be of satisfactory quality, and if they fall short on this front then you are entitled to a replacement or refund.
In terms of Interflora, you have the following guarantee in writing: "If your order doesn't arrive on time, or your recipient isn't delighted with their flowers, let us know. We'll do all we can to put the situation right, or, if you prefer, give you your money back."
So, if your flowers disappoint, you first port of call should be Interflora, and the customer services team. Try to stay calm and polite, and ask for a refund.