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12 Mar 2021

Mother's Day flower delivery disaster? How to get it put right

Don't put up with flowers that are late, poor quality or not as described. Find out how to get your flower problems resolved

Selecting the most beautiful of blooms could only be half the battle for some this Mother's Day.

With lockdown restrictions still in place, many will put their faith in flower delivery companies to serve up a treat for their mums this weekend.

It can be disappointing and embarrassing for the sender and recipient to deal with a dodgy bouquet - no one wants to complain about a thoughtful present they've received, and the sender certainly didn't intend to send sparse and bedraggled flowers.

Rather than chalking it up to bad luck, there's plenty that you can do to get this resolved.

So if the flowers you ordered for your mum turn out to be a bloomin' disgrace, here's what you can do about it.

'When it's a gift, you and the recipient are let down'

Flowers that arrive late, looking lacklustre, poor quality, not as described, battered and bruised on receipt - these are just some of the very valid reasons to ask for a full or partial refund under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

We asked our Facebook community about their experiences, good and bad, and Which? member Carol Rocke shared her recent experience with some disappointing blooms sent to her daughter as a gift.

Carol had ordered flowers from M&S for her daughter, who is a teacher and she hadn't seen for more than a year. The flowers that arrived were not as she'd expected, she said they were a 'poor, sparse spray, looking nothing like the photo on the website'.

This is a photo of the flowers Carol's daughter received, next to the flowers from the photo on the website:

M&S flowers vs online image

Some flowers will be sent 'in bud', meaning the flower is yet to bloom, so they may not look as full on receipt. But you should expect the product to bear a reasonable resemblance to the description and its photo.

Carol complained and a second bouquet was sent out to her daughter. She said: 'The point is when it's a gift, you and the recipient are let down.'

A spokesperson for M&S told us:

'We offer a wide a range of flowers both in-store and online which are really popular with our customers. They're perfect for brightening the home and celebrating life's special moments, such as Mother's Day this Sunday.

'While instances are rare, like with all our products, customers are entitled to a full refund in cases of poor quality. If this happens, customers should contact our customer service team who will be happy to discuss their purchase with them.'

If you're looking for advice on where to order your Mother's Day flowers from, we've tested out eight delivery companies and have shared our findings, including care advice.

Dealing with an unresponsive retailer

We've seen lots of complaints about Lovely Flora World failing to deliver flowers as promised this Mother's Day with many disappointed customers finding it difficult to reach the retailer to resolve their problem:

We've tried contacting Lovely Flora World about this issue and will provide an update when we hear back from them.

If your flowers failed to arrive, arrived late, or arrived in a sorry state and the retailer is not responding, you can try a chargeback claim with your bank, providing you paid via debit or credit card. If you paid via credit card you can alternatively claim using Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Chargeback and Section 75 enable you to reverse the transaction for breach of contract issues.

Typically you have 120 days from the date of the transaction to submit a chargeback claim to your bank, so it's better to submit your claim sooner rather than later. Find out more about chargeback and use our free tool to start a chargeback claim.

How to complain about a dodgy bouquet

If your blooms are not what you'd expected or the experience wasn't up to scratch then you should contact the retailer to complain.

Take a photo of the flowers upon arrival, and grab a picture and description of the flowers from the retailer as well if you can - this may help when lodging your complaint.

If the flowers were a gift, then speak to the person who sent them and let them know that you think they've been let down by the retailer - it's not easy to complain about a gift, but it's also not fair if the sender has paid for something that's turned out to be a flop. It's likely that the retailer will need to speak to the sender as that's who their contract was with in the first place.

The retailer may offer you a replacement, but you don't have to accept this if it isn't a suitable solution - for example, if your flowers were a gift and that date has now passed, and you can insist on a refund.

Your rights to a refund or replacement

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, you're entitled to a full or partial refund within 30 days of rejecting the goods if the flowers are:

  • Poor quality (wilting and browning leaves for example)
  • Damaged
  • Faulty (lasting a few days rather than the guaranteed period advertised)
  • Don't meet the description given by the retailer.

If the flowers arrived late then you should complain to the retailer, not the courier, as the retailer is responsible for the delivery of the goods and they could be in breach of contract.

If you were given a timed delivery, within 48 hours for example, or you paid for a special delivery service and the goods were not received within this timeframe, then you're entitled to a refund under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Use our free tool to make a complaint and ask for a refund for undelivered items.

If you were given an estimated delivery, then you may not be entitled to a refund for the flowers turning up later than you'd hoped as 'estimated' isn't guaranteed. However, if you've been waiting a few weeks, then it could be argued that it's reasonable to expect the flowers to be delivered sooner, you can try contacting the retailer and asking for a refund.

Take a look at our guide to your consumer rights if you're not happy with your flowers for more information.