If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, by now you know that my experience with FTD Florists has been a raging nightmare–one that has YET to be resolved. There are still large portions of the population who refuse to buy anything from online platforms, companies, or vendors because they’re afraid that what they buy won’t look like what they ordered, or that they’ll be scammed. I’m going to preface this by saying that this was the first and will be the absolute last time I have ever ordered from FTD. Here’s what happened (followed by a rant):
I needed to send flowers for Mother’s Day. It was Saturday, and I was unable to order the flowers the night before, so I was in a bind. I went online to search for Mother’s Day gifts and ended up on the FTD website. Flowers… perfect! Obviously, one of my concerns was that ordering flowers on the day before one of the busiest flower-giving holidays was going to be a problem. “NOT SO!” said FTD! Right there on the front page was a banner proclaiming “Still available to be delivered by Mother’s Day!” I clicked on the particular bouquet that I wanted and entered the zip code of my mother, praying that it would still be available once it knew where the flowers were going (See, FTD outsources and contracts with local florists, so it would depend on whether the local florists had the flowers to deliver). I chose this bouquet:
The description of the flowers directly from the FTD site: “This precious bouquet holds radiant hot pink roses, deep red matsumoto asters and light pink mini carnations designed to warm her heart. All are lovingly arranged in a clear round glass vase.”
Sweet, right? And from the information and banners on the site that particular bouquet would arrive to my mother on Mother’s day! I had gone to other flower sites, and I considered ordering from them, but FTD made it a point to remind me that they would arrive without a hitch. Sold!
After a delivery charge that was nearly as much as the cost of the bouquet itself, I ended up spending around $60 for that bouquet. “It’s okay… it’s Mother’s Day, I’m out of state, and I know she’ll love them…” Except she didn’t. I got the phone call on Mother’s Day thanking me for the … Potted Plant?!
WTF?! Potted WHAT? I ordered a bouquet! Roses! Prettiness! Vase and all! But no. Not even close. What she received was a “blooming plant” instead… Okay, hold the damn phone. Here’s what she got (don’t mind the quality, it’s from my parent’s cell phone):
I don’t know if you can see the bottom of that plant clearly, but that, my friends, is an industrial, potting container–not a planter, and it most certainly is not wrapped with any kind of gift wrapping at all (what about the ribbon? Yeah… wrinkled and reused. Classy. Oh yeah… AND IT HAS NO BLOOMS! You noticed that too??
Needless to say, I was highly upset when I called FTD’s customer service line. I told her my complaint (this is before I found out that the EXACT plant my mother received was hastily dropped off, and available at the local Home Depot and Walmart for $12-$15) and the customer service rep was patient and kind and she made an effort to resolve the situation by asking what it was I wanted them to do.
Did you receive notification that there was a substitution to be made because of lack of product? NO, as a matter of fact, I did NOT. I received an order confirmation, and I received a delivery confirmation (Which, by the way, did NOT indicate that there was a substitution made). I received no Email or phone call to see if I still wanted the order to take place. I paid for one thing, and they delivered something entirely different and less valuable. This is unacceptable business practice. I would not have ordered with you had your website not said that particular bouquet was still available and deliverable by 5/10.
Did I want them to deliver the bouquet on Wednesday? Uhm, NO. Mother’s Day was SUNDAY. The gift was supposed to be there, according to your confirmation email on Saturday 5/09 or Saturday 5/10. I didn’t order my mother flowers for a random Wednesday, I ordered them for MOTHER’S DAY. Thanks for ruining that.
Did I want the florist to go back and pick up the plant and replace it later with more flowers or another plant? Excuse me?!?! No, I do NOT want you to inconvenience the recipient of my gift because YOUR FLORIST screwed up! You will NOT go BACK to her house and TAKE BACK THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF A GIFT YOU ALREADY GAVE TO HER. What a disgrace!! And NO, I do NOT want you to replace it with another kind of bouquet or plant!! I want the bouquet I paid for, thankyouverymuch, otherwise I want my money back!
Did I want them to see if the florist would offer me a refund or “discount on future orders?” Oh my god… ARE YOU EVEN SERIOUS?!? Future orders?! Are you NOT LISTENING?? I will NEVER order from FTD again, and I will most certainly never patronize the florist they used in the area ever again. They ran out of flowers and took my money anyway!
Yes, Ma’am, but our substitution policy… Is right here online, Miss CSR. It states, and I quote:
- In arrangements of assorted flowers, the colors shown online will be used if at all possible, even if this means substituting other kinds of flowers of equal or greater value.
- For one-of-a-kind flower arrangements, such as all roses or all lilies, we will make every attempt to match the flower type, but may substitute with another color.
If the floral container shown online is not available, a similar container will be used.
What, about that, is unclear?? It does NOT SAY POTTED PLANTS PURCHASED AT A HOME IMPROVEMENT STORE WILL BE USED BECAUSE THE FLORIST RAN OUT OF FLOWERS AND TOOK MY MONEY ANYWAY! And no, your “specialty gift” clause does not apply because A. This was a bouquet of FLOWERS, and B. it claims a gift of equal or greater value. Last time I checked $15 was not equal to $60! There is no negotiating… I WANT MY MONEY REFUNDED IN FULL. PERIOD.
Well, Ma’am, I’ve sent a note to the florist, and we’re not allowed to contact them on holidays because of the rush. I’ll be contacting them tomorrow and have this resolved for you. I’ll contact you tomorrow once we have a solution. Great. I appreciate that. Do you need my contact information?
No, we have it here on the order. *Reads it back to me and I acknowledge that it’s correct* Thank you ma’am, and I do apologize. We’ll do everything necessary to resolve this problem to your satisfaction. Someone will contact you tomorrow.
It is now Wednesday and FTD has not contacted me by Email, by phone, or otherwise. I attempted to get through to FTD yesterday (Tuesday… a day and a half later than they promised to contact me) three separate times. Each time I was told the wait would be 15 minutes. Each time I waited 30 + minutes and was never connected to a representative. I had had it. I went to the website and submitted a formal complaint, and I’m now in the process. What do you know… I received another email from them that they received my complaint and they’d get back to me within 48 hours.
48 Hours?! I was told I would contacted and this problem would be resolved by 5/11. It is now 5/13, and I’m supposed to wait another full day? Really? Is that what you call good business practice? First you lie to the customer about the product (I don’t care if it was a holiday and last minute or not. You do not say you can deliver something and fail to do so, especially when you assure the customer over and over again that you can, and then take their money. It’s a bait and switch), then you lie to the customer about resolving the problem and contacting them. Now You expect me to wait even longer?
I don’t think so.
What I am GOING to do is stop payment on my card and report your transaction as fraudulent. I’m GOING to turn you over to the BBB (though I’m sure I won’t be the first, and even though it may not do much, it will make me feel better). And I ALREADY posted the contents of my complaint to you on the site FlowerComplaint.com (surprise, surprise, I wasn’t the only one!).
I’m getting my refund, one way or another. I don’t care if I have to get a lawyer to do so. The fees will certainly be more than the transaction I made with you, but it will be worth it to me.
Congratulations, FTD, you just started an avalanche of bad publicity, and lost a first time customer. Word of mouth is powerful for good causes and business, and it’s viral and toxic for bad business.