February 2014. Valentine’s Day was approaching, and my wife happened to be scheduled to work that day. I thought it might be a nice surprise to send her flowers. I started looking online at flower places, and they all seemed pretty expensive. While I was browsing, Groupon happened to send me a notice about a deal that FTD was running, offering $20 for $40. I figured it was better than nothing, so I started looking at FTD.
I decided on the sweetheart bouquet, which had 3 varieties. There were photos on the site that showed the different amounts of flowers you’d get with Good, Better, and Best. Good looked pretty nice, but I opted to go “Better” anyhow since it seemed more lush and full. What I actually received was nothing like the actual photo.
I immediately tried calling, but was told that the wait was over 90 minutes. Big surprise that they’re unprepared for Valentine’s Day. Perhaps others were pissed about the bait and switch as well. I decided my time was valuable, so I wrote an email to their customer service via web. (I ordered the product via their website, so I should be able to get service via web as well.) The email chain is as follows:
This “Better” bouquet was the biggest bait and switch I’ve ever seen. I want a refund. I can’t believe I placed this order. This “Better” bouquet was not nearly as full and lush as the picture indicated. There were literally the minimum number of stems, and no little flowers to fill in the gaps. This is insane. The Side-by-side photos are embarrassing. I demand a refund.
I got an obviously canned reply, but it was 8 hours later.
Please accept our sincere apologies with regard to your recent FTD.COM purchase. We understand how important this gift is to both you and your recipient, and we are truly sorry it did not meet your expectations. We always strive to provide the very finest quality and service, so please let us assure you that all your future orders will be filled with the special attention and care that they deserve.
We would be happy to replace or refund your order. Please contact our customer service line with your decisionIf you have any questions about your order, please call 1-800-SEND-FTD (1-800-736-3383)
At this point I was pretty irritated, and responded back that I shouldn’t have to call and sit on hold for 90 minutes just to get my refund. Days went by without a response. I tried calling again the following week, but was greeted with a “longer than normal hold time” message, so I hung up and sent another email. No response. I guess they were busy taking calls from angry customers. (I had another friend who also received identical flowers from a different florist, ordered through FTD. They were slightly better, but not by much.) I gave up at this point. Sure, it was only $50 in total, but for $50, I could have gotten WAY more flowers at Kroger for less money. This was a scam. A total scam.
All in all, I’ve learned my lesson. I will NEVER buy flowers online again. I’ll go to a local florist, see what they’re actually going to deliver first, then order that. The people who run FTD can burn in hell at this point. I’ll make sure everyone who ever comes into contact with me stops using your service and starts supporting their local florist directly. Screw you, FTD.
Update: Just after posting this article, I decided to tweet it out to FTD and see if they’d notice.
Within two hours, I got this direct reply from FTD. (I’ve hidden the secret email address, but contact me if you want it.)
I emailed my order information to them and received a call the next day. I told them we were very dissatisfied with the orders. She asked if we wanted replacement flowers. I then explained that Valentine’s Day was two weeks ago, so that seemed pointless. She said she could just refund the money, and reactivate the Groupons used for the purchases. She said we could either re-use them or go back through Groupon for another refund. (I already had contacted Groupon with no response, so I decided to reuse them.)
I ordered a boxed set of tulips for my daughter. They came in a box, took a few days to open up, and seemed to look OK. Were they as lush and full as the ones on the website? Not really, but they were certainly better than the previous things we’d seen. The thing that really gets me is the price. I had a $40 Groupon. I bought a box of 15 tulip stems. It still cost me $6.98 out of pocket (after the Groupon)to get delivered. They only offer next day shipping, yet the sticker on the box said UPS Ground. This means a total out of pocket would have been $46.98 with the Groupon for boxed flowers. Seems a bit pricey, especially considering my wife and I saw a larger and more lush bouquet for $7.95 at Meijer later that night. (I also ordered a stuffed animal to be delivered. $43.98. Seems REALLY expensive, but options were VERY limited to spend less than $50 on FTD.com..)
All in all, I’m glad they resolved it (sort of), but what about people who don’t have a website or the know how to use social media to get their attention? Do they just get burned by these high prices regularly? Do they not know that grocery stores sell nice flowers for a quarter of the price? It’s a good price gouging business if you can get it.