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On joining Ciao, I made an agreement with myself that I wouldn't write reviews that were totally negative, scathing or could damage a company or product's reputation. I mean, everybody has some redeeming features…right? I'm struggling to find the good points in Bloomin Delightful, but I'll do my best to paint a relatively balanced picture.
I found Bloomin Delightful whilst searching Google one Saturday morning, looking for an online florist who could deliver a bouquet for my friend in Newcastle, as it was her birthday the following Monday and I wanted to give her a nice surprise. They appeared to be a relatively new, small company, but their prices seemed very decent and, when I added the bouquet to my basket and went partway through the checkout process, I was given the option to select Monday for delivery - better than other florists, who could deliver on Tuesday at the earliest. This swayed it for me and I duly entered my card details, then waited for the email confirmation of my order. Nothing arrived, but hey ho - new company, glitch in the works…benefit of the doubt, I'll just leave them to do what they do - "I'm sure the flowers will arrive" I naively thought.
Before this review descends into a personal rant, I'll give you some factual information on the company.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ WHO ARE THEY AND WHAT DO THEY DO? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Bloomin Delightful are a flower and gift delivery company, based in Hounslow. They offer bargain-priced bouquets and arrangements, along with chocolates, soft toys, helium balloons and gift baskets, all with free delivery on a day of your choice, including next day delivery if required. You pay by card, over the internet, through a secure system and should receive an email confirmation of your order.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ THE WEBSITE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The website is a vibrant pink colour, laid out in such a way as to be relatively accessible and easy to navigate. It's not difficult to find the products you would be interested in, with the option to search by event (anniversary, birthday etc), sentiment (get well, I'm sorry, with sympathy) or by product (bouquet, soft toy, chocolates etc).
Photographs of the arrangements are really very tempting - the flowers are bright, fresh and beautifully arranged and you really get the impression that they will be of high quality when they arrive.
I did find the incorrect grammar throughout the site a little off-putting, with some of the sentences sounding a little like they've been translated into English by Borat, so you do have to read them through a few times before you get the point. For me, proof-reading is a must before you go live - if your spelling and grammar is bad, the website looks unprofessional and (unless you're a total muggins and out for a bargain, like yours truly) can put people off, as it doesn't seem professional or trustworthy. Oh, how I wish I'd trusted my instincts!
The site informs customers that security is provided by SSL (secure socket layer) ordering (I'm not techie enough to be able to explain this!) and the automatic destruction of card details as soon as your order has been processed. While I don't know much about internet security, the little padlock did appear on my taskbar when I logged in so I did have a level of trust when handing my details over…and I do like the idea of my card details being destroyed straight away.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ HOW DO THEIR PRICES COMPARE TO OTHER ONLINE FLORISTS? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prices start at just £9.99, which seems really very cheap for any delivered bouquet, regardless of the flower content. I've tried to find some equivalent products on more well-known florist's websites, to give a better basis for comparison - however, they all do different arrangements, so this is only a rough guide. I've arranged them by price rather than by name, to make it easier to compare.
20 Mixed Roses (BD don't do 20, so I've used their price for 18. Sainsbury's don't do 20 either, so I used their price for 24) -- Tesco Direct: £15.50, currently on offer at £13.95 -- Sainsburys: £23.00 (these are fair trade too - an added bonus!) -- flowersdirect.co.uk: £24.00 (+ £3.99 delivery) -- Bloomin Delightful: £24.99
24 Red Roses -- Tesco Direct: £20.00 -- Sainsbury's (Mixed red & White): £20.70 -- Bloomin Delightful: £29.99
So, what at first glance looked to be bargain flowers, is actually pretty much average compared to other florists.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ THEY SOUND OK - WHY AREN'T YOU HAPPY WITH THEM? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
-- The website is slightly, unintentionally, misleading When I placed my order, I was given the option to select Monday delivery. Little did I realise that, although my order was accepted for Monday, they couldn't offer this service and in fact could only deliver, at the earliest, on Tuesday. It was my fault for not checking their delivery page…but in my defence, most florists I've used in the past have their websites set up so that you can't select a delivery date that isn't available to you. I do know this isn't really a strong argument and do know I should have my wrists slapped for not double checking.
-- Delivery dates were not adhered to Ok, so it was my fault for not checking the website - I couldn't expect my flowers to be delivered on Monday. But Tuesday came and went…no flowers. On Tuesday night I contacted my friend to ask if she'd received 'anything'…but no, nothing had arrived for her. At 9pm I sent an email to the address on Bloomin Delightful's contact page, requesting that my order be cancelled as it hadn't been delivered on time. Wednesday came and went - no flowers, no return email. On Thursday afternoon I had a call from my friend - her husband had just accepted delivery of the flowers…but…
-- Flowers were of poor quality Yep, you guessed it. The flowers looked as though they'd die if he didn't get them straight out of the box and into water - apparently they were in a very bad state and didn't last very long when they did arrive.
-- The staff don't check emails I was a little irritated, to say the least, and called the number on the webpage. When I eventually got through, a woman asked me which email address I'd sent my email to and, when I told her, she "found" the email. Apparently they hadn't checked their email account in the past couple of days, so my order cancellation hadn't been seen.
-- It's hard to find accurate contact details There is another email address, in addition to the firstname.lastname@example.org address, which I'm guessing I should have directed my email to. I found it once, when trying to figure out what exactly was going on, and remember it was something along the lines of CS@etcetcetc.co.uk...but for all of my searching it's very difficult to locate where exactly I found this address - I can't seem to find it on the website!
-- Bad communication between staff members and poor customer service The first person I spoke to suggested that she could send a bigger, better bouquet to my friend to "rebuild my trust". Fair enough - she was trying and this was a nice sentiment…but it was supposed to be a birthday surprise and they could have delivered a bouquet the size of a jeep for all I cared - my friend hadn't had her surprise and I was concerned that she'd think I'd forgot/ blamed the florists to cover for myself. So, I politely declined and asked for a refund. She agreed to this, took my card details again (seeing as they'd already been destroyed) and promised me that I would receive email confirmation of my agreed refund. At this point I was feeling quite charitable - ok, they'd screwed up, but they were doing everything they could to make things better again - what more could I ask? By the next day I still hadn't received my email confirmation and, beginning to understand that this company needed a lot of nudges before they'd act, sent a polite reminder, "just checking that they had my correct email address" so that they could drop me a note.
The response I received: 'Hi
Yes I do have your email address, could you please verify that the recipient was not out as the royal mail would have left a red pamphlet through the door. Could you also send me your card details including the 16 digits on your card, expiry date, start date (issue number if maestro) and the three digits at the back of the card and your refund will be processed. The refund does take up to 28 days so please allow time for the money to go onto your card.
We'll ignore the fact that they're requesting "verification" of my story so far, because…
-- Poor security surrounding credit/debit card details Good Golly Miss Molly…are they really asking me to send my card details over hotmail? And what happened to the form/scrap of paper/whatever the girl used to write my card details down on when I'd told her over the telephone the day before? Quite unnerving to say the least!
I did respond to this saying that I wasn't comfortable sending my details over hotmail, that I would call again with the details and that I would appreciate email confirmation when my refund had been processed.
Need I even say it? The email never materialised and, eventually, eight days later I sent another message asking for my confirmation. I have received one, telling me that the refund will happen after 28 days, so she will mail me on the 26th day when it is being processed. I started this whole farce of a refund process on the 30th October, so I'm expecting an email in the next few days - watch this space, I'll update when things have been resolved (if they ever are!)
EDIT: I waited for several days after the 28 day deadline...but had no email and no refund. In the end I had to contact trading standards. I'm happy to say that I did eventually get my money back!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS COMPANY…? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In short, no. While their prices do seem competitive, the flowers may not be delivered on time, they may not be in good condition and the management are slightly aggressive in their customer service (and never give out a name, which doesn't instil a lot of trust). I would recommend using a more established company, such as Tescos Direct or Interflora, where you can usually trust that you'll get what you pay for…and if you don't, at least you can trust that your complaint will more than likely be handled in a professional and timely manner.
Unfortunately I read your review to confirm what I already know: that this company are happy to receive orders, but then don't deliver flowers. I ordered some at 7am last Wednesday for delivery on Thursday, and at the time of writing (Sunday) they still haven't arrived. I'm going to be complaining tomorrow, and demanding a full refund. Thanks for the review, though I wish I'd checked it before ordering...
HotBabes 24.11.2007 11:48
Are these connected to Bloomin Britain? There was a lot of bad press about them. x
monkpunkgaming 24.11.2007 10:28
Awesome review. Greatly written. Well deserve E. Bravo!!!!