VALENTINE’S DAY is supposed to be a day of love – but late deliveries can turn it into a day of frustration.
Every year, Consumer Protection receives complaints from people who have ordered flowers online only to find they turn up late, if at all.
In some cases, the flowers may even be dead on arrival.
In 2017, a total of 42 complaints were received from consumers relating to floral deliveries, more than doubling the 20 complaints received in 2016.
Nine complaints have already been lodged for January with the vast majority reporting that they had not received their flowers at all.
Ordering flowers online means you will mainly deal with an ordering company who will then contact a local florist and courier company to organise the delivery.
Problems occur if the ordering service is not set up to deal with high volumes, if there is a breakdown in the communication chain or if the specific flowers you ordered are not available locally.
Dealing with an online ordering company based overseas means you may find it difficult to exercise your rights under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
Issues such as late or non-delivery, not getting exactly what you ordered or receiving poor quality flowers are all covered by consumer guarantees in the ACL and these rights are easier to enforce if the trader is in Australia.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard recommends that, when it comes to flowers for Valentine’s Day, buy local from an established and reputable florist with a physical location where you can view the quality of the product.
“When the flowers don’t turn up in time or are wilted, the ACL gives you the right to a remedy but a refund or delivery at a later date is likely to leave consumers with cold comfort if the flowers are intended for a special day like Valentine’s Day,” Mr Hillyard said.
“Be extra cautious when dealing with online ordering companies and do plenty of searching of product review websites.
“So don’t take the romance out of Valentine’s Day – consider dealing direct with your local florist by ordering on their specific website if you can’t go to their store. Read reviews and ask family and friends for recommendations.
“Take time to read terms and conditions to make sure you’re aware of any additional fees, delivery deadlines and trader policies.”
Consumers who have problems with flower deliveries this Valentine’s Day and can’t get a suitable resolution from the florist can contact Consumer Protection by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1300 30 40 54.