I usually don’t blog about my personal shopping experience, but a recent experience forced me to publish this post. I travel a lot for business, so for Valentine’s Day I decided to order a bouquet of flowers for my wife. Well knowing that online flower delivery is a trivial online commodity these days, I opened up Google and searched for “flower delivery”. One of the first hits was an allegedly Australian company, ReadyFlowers.com.au, which promoted their special same-day Valentine’s Day delivery of high quality roses. Order before 1pm and the flowers will be delivered the same day all over Australia, the company advertises proudly. Valentine’s Day is on February 14 and I put in my order for “6 long stem premium roses” (product link) on February 13 before lunch. According to ReadyFlowers, everything was all good and on track for delivery:
I was away for business on Valentine’s Day, so I ordered the flowers to be delivered to our apartment in the city as a surprise for my wife when she returned home after a long day at work. The flowers never arrived. I waited for her reaction throughout the day, but nothing happened. When I called her at night, I asked her: “So did the flowers arrive?” Puzzled and surprised she told me that she had not seen even a dry flower leaf at the doorstep.
Actually, the flowers did not arrive the next day – or the following day. On Friday February 17, I received a call from my concierge that somebody had dropped off a bouquet of flowers in the reception. When I got home, this is what I found:
They had sent my wife six small, dry roses without any water (normally, florists deliver flowers with a temporary water container so they remain fresh for the day). They were by no comparison the “six long stem roses” I had ordered. The flower heads were dry and mistreated. The wrapping was crushed. The obviously careless florist had added six dry leaves into the bouquet, most likely to compensate for the lack of fresh flowers and long stems. The greeting card, for which I was asked to add a friendly note during online order, was crushed. My wife’s name was not spelled correctly.
Unsurprisingly, I was furious. Not only had the company decided to charge me AUD $ 90.90 (almost DKK 500) for this pathetic so-called “bouquet” of dry, mistreated roses. They also delivered them three days too late without sending me a single notification of delay. Even half-decent companies send a quick apology and an estimated time of delivery to their clients if orders are stuck or delayed. But ReadyFlowers? Zip, nil, zero, nothing. As I was waiting for the flowers to arrive, I called ReadyFlowers’ so-called customer service centre three times (a 1 800 number) with no luck. Both times I was stuck in the waiting queue as number 23 or 33 with “an estimated holding time of 65 minutes”. Go figure. At least I knew that I was not alone in my pointless endeavour to trace up my missing flower delivery. The third time I called, I was in the queue for 20 minutes before I was diverted to a voice mail with the friendly message that ReadyFlowers had taken their customer service offline due to a high number of calls! I What kind of company pulls the plug on their customer support during expected peak periods?
Friday, I called the company on the Friday the flowers had arrived. Instead of going into the “enquire about existing orders” I selected the third option for local distributors. This time I got straight through to a ReadyFlowers employee within two minutes. I explained my story and complaint to the customer “service” officer (named Leo) who obviously couldn’t care less about their recent atrocity. I explained to him that I expected them to come and pick up the flowers and that I wanted an immediate refund. Leo, who was probably working in a call centre far away from Sydney, responded that his managers had “left work for today” without any kind of apology or desire to help me. He asked me to send them an email with pictures of the flowers (which I did) and they would get back to me as soon as possible. This, of course, turned out to be a pure scam -- five days have gone by without a single reply from the ReadyFlowers service desk. I have sent multiple requests to their support email address – still with no reply.
I can’t emphasise this enough: ReadyFlowers is a scam, a fraudulent company that should be penalised by the ACCC. They simply to not deliver what they promise on their web site and they overcharge their clients for products that do not meet the expected, decent level of quality and timeliness. Save yourself time and money – avoid ReadyFlowers at all costs.
My next step is taking this case to the ACCC, NSW Fair Trading, and, if necessary, the NSW police.