Online florist Bloomex pays attention to online gripes

July 15 2008 by Ellen Roseman

Last February, I wrote a blog post about consumer protest groups on Facebook. And I mentioned Bloomex (among other companies) that has dissatisfied customers taking up battle in cyberspace against them.

Dimitri Lokhonia, the Ottawa-based founder of Bloomex, decided to respond online. He said some “unhappy customers” were actually small retail florists, whose business was threatened by a lower-priced national rival.

That comment opened the floodgates to many new complaints about Bloomex, usually angry, sometimes hysterical.

You could tell people were tired of calling and sending emails to a company that let them talk to customer service reps, but not escalate their issues. They were getting nowhere with requests for help or compensation, despite including order numbers as Lokhonia asked them to do.

I wrote a Toronto Star column in March that Bloomex didn’t like. It stayed online, despite threats of legal action. I watched the complaints continue coming in and wondered whether this online florist would wilt.

But things are perking up. Lokhonia met me at his Toronto production facility last week and we spent a couple of hours together, going through some of the online complaints. He told me about hiring a new public relations manager, Michelle Robitaille, who would review all of the complaints and explain what happened.

Robitaille has worked in customer service for more than a decade. She describes herself as being a tough customer, someone who questions corporate bafflegab and pushes for what she wants. While forced to deal with Bloomex policies, which I find quite restrictive, she’s willing to admit that this online florist can and does goof up.

Last May, the company put in new customer service and tracking systems, which are designed to improve overall performance. Bloomex’s new approach to customer service “will dramatically reduce hold times, eliminate the need for customers to repeat information after arriving at a live customer care representative and even allow customers to chat live with a service agent, resolving their issues faster and more conveniently,” says a press release.

Robitaille has now gone through 16 emails I sent. Here’s how things stand, in her words.

In 6 of the orders, we retained our original decision. Please bear in mind that some of these decisions were to refund the client, but no compensation was provided for dissatisfaction. Many of these cases were of people not wanting to follow company policies. They do not reflect errors or mistakes made on our part.

In 7 orders, people were refunded in full or partially. Again, this is a combination of both clients who were unsatisfied with our product where a refund was issued and a combination of errors made on our part, where a full refund was issued.

In 2 orders, we did a re-send of flowers to the client to compensate for our error, with the client’s agreement.

One person received a credit of $75 for our errors in his 2 orders.

Finally, I’m dealing not only with complaints you sent to me, but with other unhappy clients who posted on the web. I have done that on several different occasions if I am able to find the client in the system (via order # or last name).

I have issued 4 refunds for orders outside your blog site complaints, and issued 2 re-sends, and 2 credits in lieu of our new systems, to regain the trust and patronage of past clients.

I’ll try to post some of these complaints and company responses in the next few few days. Meanwhile, here’s how to get in touch with Robitaille. Write to publicrelations@bloomex.ca.

144 comments

  1. Thankful

    Oct 14 2011

    Thanks for the reviews. I was about to place an order with them for sympathy flowers and first thought I would read a few reviews. I have yet to find one website (other than their own) that actually recommends you use this company. The article and comments have saved me time and money.

  2. Bloomex Stinks

    Jan 2 2012

    This company is still scamming its customers. They were late with an Xmas order despite having a month’s notice and delivered something far less value than what was ordered.

    If you have used this company in the last 30 days, I recommend you have your Credit Card company do a charge back.

  3. bloomex sucks

    Feb 15 2012

    They suck literally, the first time was fine. but the second, third and fourth. i had order several several items, instead they give me substitutions.

    I understood that. What i didn’t understand was the fact that there were a smaller number of items. I had ordered perhaps 100 items and received less than 9.

    I call customer service and their only response is we will look into it. This is a horrible company. DON’T EVER BUY FROM THEM.

  4. Unsatisfied

    Mar 15 2012

    I ordered a fruit basket from Bloomex to be delivered February 7, 2012 and it was just delivered on March 14, 2012!! Over a month … really? Were they growing the fruit? Tried calling them several times but no one will return my calls or even acknowledge me. Will never order from this company again. I will not recommend them!!

  5. Allan Marriott

    Apr 27 2012

    I have sent an email to wecare (lol) and given them 7 days to refund the difference in what was delivered versus what they sent.

    I will re-post in 7 days with the result. We will see if Bloomex has improved at all in regards to customer service.

    Personally, I feel as if they deliberately send a poor quality product with little to no concern or care about the state it arrives in.

    They hope that 99% of the time, the recipient never talks to the sender and tells them honestly what they got, so the sender never even knows.

    It is only because my mother knows the sort of gifts I send out and knows I would never send something of such poor quality that she even told me about what happened.

    She feels embarassed and a bit of a complainer if she lets me know the gift is not well received, but her anger at someone being ripped off drives her to let me know.

    Stupidly, this is my second order with them. The first, although equally poor, was semi-excuseable on the basis the weather last February (Valentine’s Day) was crazy, and obviously the date itself poses an issue.

    I ordered a week in advance, delivery for my parents’ 30th Anniversary. It arrived 2 days late and all but dead, not half the display I ordered or with the selection of flowers advertised (again, I will be fair and state they substituted with equal or better types of flowers, but being near death, bruised and broken, kinda negated that).

    Their solution was to send a full repeat order, including the extras, chocs and so on as an apology. I explained that it was entirely too late to “make it up” as this was for a specific event (one time only). Therefore, having missed it, sending it again doesn’t really cover it, but they refused a refund.

    As it turns out, the replacement order was very nice and was sufficient enough for me to drop the issue. But I vowed to myself not to use them again, and then unfortunately, I accidentally used them again.

    On this occasion, the delivery was shocking. I ordered a 25″ x 21″ basket display. They sent a broken glass vase, a dozen flowers (3 roses, chrysanthemums, some small flowers and some greenery), a smaller version of the teddy I ordered, NO balloon, and amazingly, as ordered, the box of quality chocolates (these were good, shamefully the only thing that was).

    Total order with taxes was $135. The cost, if you chose items similar to what was supplied (not including the vase with broken glass), was $72.

    I have requested a refund of $63, but this doesn’t account for the distress, phone calls, time to resolve, that would be expected if you went to court for breach of contract.

    I have threatened to sue if they don’t acknowledge my claim within 7 days, not to mention the campaign on every social network I belong to, ensuring their customer base thinks twice about using them, and all the major newspapers within each country they trade in, and all floral magazines and publications that allow advertising that will listen to my story.

    Making a mess of one order is excuseable as a one off mistake or unfortunate. Doing it twice to the same address and in almost the same fashion can only indicate a business that should not be in business, or a deliberate policy to rip people off.

    They seem to work on the assumption for every complaint paid out on or re-delivered, they make enough deliveries not challenged that they come out smelling like roses, making a small fortune in the process.

    Highly unethical, but extremely difficult to prove!

  6. peter ryan

    May 14 2012

    Not hearing from Bloomex or the recipient after the intended delivery date for Mothers Day flowers and chocolates, my mind was racing to the worst outcome.

    However, I am pleased to report — albeit the package was delivered a day late but before Mothers Day — that this is good enough for me!

    Wish all the posters on here the best of luck, but felt these comments should be tempered with some positive perspective. Hats off to Bloomex. You came through for me and wish you all the best in making all of your customers happy.

  7. SM

    May 16 2012

    I ordered flowers and chocolate for my Mother for Mother’s day. Everything seemed fine, I paid in full. They said my order would be received between 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 13, 2012.

    The order was never received.

    After calling purolator and finding out that they do not deliver on weekends I was left feeling that maybe she would get it the next day. She did not.

    After countless phone calls and voice mails I was feeling very upset with this phantom business; there to take your money but not to deliver.

    This is the email I sent to customer service and the PR department Michelle Robitaille (who by the way – you guessed it – does not answer her phone):

    Good day,

    This is 100% unacceptable.

    I was in touch with puralator in Sudbury, Ontario regarding this order. The person from that location told me that they have been experiencing problems with bloomex in terms of telling their customers that their flowers/gifts would be sent on the weekend, when in fact they do not send any shipments during the weekend.

    My Mother is bed ridden. Purolator told her that she would have to pick it up, which at this time is not a possibility. They also told her that they would hold the shipment until the 18th – the flowers will be spoiled by then.

    This has ruined not only my Mother’s day, but for my Mother as well because this was supposed to be a surprise.

    From a business perspective, your company has falsified its services. I do not care that you are now telling me that you have a “special contract” with purolator in order to make deliveries, as they were not aware of this. This may be an attempt from your area to save face, I do not buy that at all given that Mother’s day is a popular time to receive/send flowers, thus should be top of mind for Bloomex.

    This is a major gap in services that cannot be forgiven by me, as today is Wednesday, the order was for Sunday.

    I’m not sure if anything can rectify this situation, it was very important to me and evidentally I put my trust into the wrong company.

    I am sending this to your PR department, as I feel this is an internal communications issue that should be resolved immediately.

    Additionally, when a customer leaves a phone message, you should probably return it with a phone call not with an empty email such as the one below.

    Giving me a refund on delivery will not cover this complaint, it is days late and has ruined a very special occasion.

    ______________________________

    This is the response I received:

    Thank you for your message. We are investigating the delivery details with the couriers. We sincerely apologize for the delay in delivery due to heavy volume for Mother’s day and stock shortages. Unfortunately, a refund is not possible as our records show this order has been delivered. We can resend a new order and refund you the delivery fee OR offer you a store credit towards a future order for the inconveniences of these delays. We wish to resolve your issues as quickly as possible. Kindly advise us which of these options you prefer: refund of the delivery fee or a store credit. Thank you, Management mr

    _______

    I think it is obvious that Mother’s day would be very busy, but it also has nothing to do with this order.

    Bloomex says their “records” indicate that the order was received… but by who? My Mother hasn’t received it.

    I think this is a show of very poor business ethic and over all understanding of what it takes to operate a business online.

    I will be in touch with the Better Business Bureau.

    This is 100% unacceptable. It has been days and they will not give me a refund on an order that has NEVER been delivered?

    This is straight up theft.

    Bloomex should consider that some of their customers work in areas that can do something about this and I intend to do so.

    Thanks for nothing.

  8. Liz

    May 18 2012

    I had the same experience this Mother’s Day. I ordered bright and early friday morning, two orders for same day delivery, one for Saturday.

    Come Sunday and still no flowers. I called Purolator and was told they didn’t deliver to the areas I needed them to go to on weekends.This is obvious false advertising on Bloomex’s part.

    After repeated emails, online support chats and phone calls, I finally got a two-sentance email saying I could have free delivery on my next order. That’s it.

    Well, newsflash, there will never be another order from me, or anyone I know as long as I can help it!

    The flowers sat for three days in boxes and were delivered on Monday afternoon, brown and limp. I have never felt so unvalued as a customer in my life.

    Bloomex says “we care” but it is a load of bull.They care about money making, but not their customers.

    Worst experience I have ever had in the last 5 years of frequent online shopping. What a sham!!

    I hope the word spreads of this company’s horrible customer service and they go out of business. Shame on you, Bloomex, for destroying Mother’s Day!! Jerks.

  9. Angela

    May 22 2012

    I purchased a Mother’s Day arrangement on Wednesday and paid extra to have it delivered Friday evening. Bloomex allows you to pay extra for a specified delivery window, but if the deliver isn’t made within that window and you get a hold of customer service, the only answer you get is that “they cannot guarantee the delivery”. Why are you paying extra for this service then? Needless to say, the flowers did not arrive until Monday, and it was just lucky that she was home at the time to receive them.

    In addition, when trying to get a hold of customer service to resolve the issue or get a refund on the extra paid – they do not return calls/emails and their Live Chat option on the website is a joke. As soon as they look up my order, the Live Chat operator immediately disconnects the session.

    I would not recommend this website/service to anyone!

  10. aimee

    Jul 31 2012

    I placed an order on May 2, 2012, for Mothers Day with a delivery date of May 11.

    May 11 came and went. I emailed and called them numerous times. But to this day, no one has ever called me.

    My emails were responded to with a very generic email, not addressing my issue or comments.

    Before the flowers were sent out, I requested a refund. As of May 11, they were not sent. No answer by email or phone.

    Flowers arrived on a Friday to a warehouse in Winnipeg. Spent a weekend there 🙁 and were delivered pretty crappy looking to Sudbury on May 16, late afternoon, 5 days after my delivery date.

    I contacted my credit card company, whic issued me a credit and dealt with Bloomex, as I could never get a response.

    Strangely enough, I have a charge from Bloomex for the same flowers on July 13, 2011.

    Hmmmm, nice. I have had to say I lost my credit card, now to get a new one so they will stop charging me. And again, no response from the company 🙁

  11. Tri Vuong

    Aug 12 2012

    I would like to thank everyone for sharing their experience with Bloomex. I wish I had found this blog before I placed my order.
    Here is my story:

    I ordered a Serenity Wreath (LF100-85) for my father-in-law’s funeral last Saturday August 11th, an order of $116.

    The flowers we received did not look anything like the picture from the website of Bloomex, with really bad quality of old flowers. Thus, I took three pictures and sent to them to ask if there was any error when they processed my order.

    Bloomex admitted that the local florist has made a mistake and offered a store credit of $ .70 for my order. I asked them why the store credit was only $ .70 since I paid $116. They explained that since an order was delivered, they have to charge me for it and the difference with the store credit resulted in $ .70.

    I am really surprised how smart Bloomex is in the way they do their business. It means that when a customer orders flowers, they could just send whatever they want or whatever left from their trash, then set the value of the wrong and bad quality product for the same value of the right order and that is it.

    Based on the Customer Protection Act 2002, if we receive goods we did not ask for, we do not have to pay for them. How come Bloomex charged me for a product I did not order?

    As if we have not had enough of bad luck that our father passed away, Bloomex has jumped in and taken advantage of it to make their money.

    Please share my experience so that other customers could avoid having Bloomex take advantage to make money on their grief.

  12. Fiona M

    Sep 21 2012

    Similar experience. How can Bloomex stay in business for so long?

    I had ordered flowers for my mom’s milestone birthday 5 days in advance since I was out of town. The delivery was late and came in a paper box, sat overnight somewhere without water and wilted.

    They answered my emails with an offer to resend, but unfortunately it’s not her birthday next week. They’re unwilling to process a refund and I can’t reach management.

    Their Twitter and Facebook accounts won’t accept posts.

    Thanks for the lack of customer service and quality product.

  13. Jason Clarke

    Nov 27 2012

    This is the fifth or sixth time I have ordered using Bloomex. Always happily satisfied until today.

    I have tried repeatedly to contact them. No one will call back and the voicemail is a joke. I’ve left a dozen messages. No one ever calls back.

    So here’s the story. I ordered 4 dozen roses to the tune of $150 from Bloomex. I ordered the day before (the 20th) for delivery on the 21st. I didn’t want early delivery, just regular next day delivery.

    Well, the 21st came and went. Since I am 3,000 miles from the receipient, she received nothing on her birthday. Let’s just say she was not happy.

    So I call and leave a message, saying no roses were delivered. Do I get a call back? Nope.

    I get to see a note on my order at the Bloomex website of an investigation. What investigation? It’s not hard. No flowers were shipped.

    So, on the 22nd (a day after her birthday), I call back. And yet again, no return call from Bloomex.

    Online chat? Let’s not go there. That’s a complete farce.

    So I check the website and now it says the roses are being delivered. Well, her birthday was the day before.

    I call the recipient and she confirms delivery. Wait, hold on, slight problem. Only two dozen roses, but I ordered 4 dozen.

    So, I’m off to call Bloomex and email yet again. Here’s what I get on their website the following day: Refund pending.

    I wait another day and there it is, in black and white, refund. I’m at least satisfied they are not charging me for this terrible mistake. WRONG.

    They refund me not even a third of the over $150 I paid. How is this? If I ordered two dozen roses, the total with shipping would have been under $70. How can they refund $50 and charge me over a hundred?

    Well, this brings me to a web search and voila, I see hundreds and hundreds of complaints like mine.

    Hiring new people has obviously done nothing to improve customer service when it comes to errors on Bloomex’s part.

    Order #1439677.

  14. Jason Clarke

    Nov 27 2012

    I’m not done. If I don’t get a refund by tomorrow, I will contact my credit card company and charge it back.

    I will also bash Bloomex for the rest of my life. All they needed to do before this is apologize for the mistake and either refund my money or at the least give me a credit. Pathetic customer service.

  15. Hilda Sanchez

    Jan 16 2013

    In 2013 Bloomex is still playing with its customers! Now that I had a bad experience, I see the reviews! Too late!

    FYI, I send you my complaint to Bloomex, to which I didn’t get an answer…

    ________________________________________________

    I am very displeased with your service!!!

    -First, you change the date of the delivery from Saturday (day of death of the son of my aunt, to whom I was sending the package) to Tuesday!! (Why did I pay an extra fee?)

    – Second, I called and emailed you to CANCEL the order, because nobody was home to recive my package! My cancellation was not considered, either by phone or by mail!!

    -Third, you were supposed to “UPGRADE” the package because of the “INCONVENIENCE”…

    -Fouth, you didn’t send MY order, you sent whatever you wanted! My aunt is DIABETIC, that’s why I sent her flowers and fruit, NOT chocolate and coffee!! If I wanted to send her sweets, I would have chosen to do so!!!

    -Fifth, I paid extra for last minute delivery of fruts and flowers that she DID NOT GET and furthermore, the wrong date!! So why the extra last minute fees if you cannot make it happen!!

    I want her to receive MY ORDER, so please send her what I ordered and what I paid for!!

    Order No. 1483349

    Original Order:
    Bill to:
    Company:
    Full name: Hilda S

    1.Classic Fruit Basket

    The gift of fruit is a great way to tell someone you are thinking of them or to celebrate a special event.

    This wonderful basket is filled with the day’s freshest fruit and finished with a ribbon. It contains: 1 pineapple, 2 bunches of grapes, 4 bananas, 4 apples, 4 pears, 3 oranges, 2 nectarines, small cut flower bouquet

    Approx. 14″H x 15″W

    $54.99 plus tax and shipping

    Total: $84.72

    I’ll be expecting your answer soon!

  16. Sharie

    Mar 27 2013

    Crazy…they’ve been scamming for years. They sent our flowers by regular mail…who the heck thinks it’s a good idea to put flowers in a box and throw them in a mailbox? WEIRD. They were all crushed and wilting. No refund forthcoming.

  17. John

    May 10 2013

    Bloomex is still up to bad tricks again. screwed up my order and promised a refund and then said that changed their mind and was not going to do anything about it…. Horrible. I absolutely cannot recommend them. One rep even hung up on me

  18. Kevin

    Dec 17 2013

    These Bloomex people are terrible. My wife’s flowers were left on the step in subzero weather and were frozen stiff.

    I tried to live chat – they couldn’t do anything for me, it seems, and when I asked for a supervisor, “Anna” with live chat ended the chat.

    I called the 888 number, was put on hold, then transferred to voicemail and the message said the voicemail box was full, so I couldn’t even leave a message.

    These people seem very shady to me.

  19. Liesl Mitchell

    May 27 2014

    Apparently nothing has changed. I sent my mom flowers for Mother’s Day in Kelowna. They arrived the day after Mother’s Day, wilted after a 2 day trip in a courier’s truck. My dad refused to accept them and they were sent back. Bloomex promised me a full refund but only PARTIALLY refunded my money. They kept almost $15 for some unknown reason. No amount of tweeting, calling or emailing is getting me any response or explanation. Had I checked their BBB rating I would have never ordered from them. What a terrible way to do business – and yet they are still succeeding.

  20. Scott

    May 9 2015

    Add me to this list. Their not so “Guaranteed Delivery” was 4 hours late.

    I asked for a simple refund of the shipping. I was told they had to send a note to a manager and I would receive a call back within 24 hours.

    Two days later and no call. When I called back, the person said there was no message left. This means the first customer service rep lied to me. First and last order with Bloomex.