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To expect a refund from Serenata Flowers for flowers delivered DEAD?

(31 Posts)
Mendi Tue 05-Mar-13 10:43:37

I ordered a bouquet for delivery to SIL after Christmas. Duly got a text from her thanking me. Brother was away at the time

This week I hear from my mother, who was told by my brother, that on arrival the flowers went straight into the bin as they were dead. SIL had been too embarrassed to say anything to me at the time as thought it would seem ungrateful.

I contacted Serenata Flowers yesterday and they insist that they will only refund the money if I provide a photo of the dead flowers, which clearly I can't do as they went in the bin 2 months ago! Instead they will offer 20% off a future order. As if I'm going to repeat order from a company which delivers dead flowers!

I am a solicitor so have responded pointing out all the legal failings in this position but they just keep responding 'please provide a photo or no refund'.

It seems to me that unless you know the sender extremely well, most people would not contact the sender of flowers to say the flowers were dead, so florist delivery services taking this 'photo or no refund' line are just taking massive advantage. In this case it really is not the money, but is the principle. I feel totally Victor Meldrew about this but am absolutely incensed by the 'don't care' response I've had. AIBU? WIBU to issue a claim in the small claims court?

Montybojangles Tue 05-Mar-13 10:49:17

Looks like there are generally pretty rubbish.

teachertrainer80 Tue 05-Mar-13 10:49:31

DH got me some flowers from Serenata recently for my birthday which were delivered when he was at work. I had to prune quite a few dead leaves from the bouquet when I arranged them and there are only 4 actual flowers, the rest are rather grubby leaves. I think he paid quite a lot for them. Obviously I didn't tell him how much pruning I did! I won't be using them for Mother's Day! BTW, great bunches of flowers at Lidl for 2 or 3 quid (obviously not for delivery though).

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 05-Mar-13 10:50:11

YANBU! Future order. Cheeky feckers. Obviously most customers will not be able to produce a photo.

You obviously know the law better than me. Do you think small claims would find in favour of you with no photo? Would they assume you/SIL were telling the truth? Would the mere threat of going to small claims make the company cough up?

But obviously it's shite customer service to assume that the customer is lying. I'll certainly never use this company. Once it's all done and dusted you should leave a terrible (but true) review on their website, and review them wherever else on the web you can!

mmmuffins Tue 05-Mar-13 10:53:26

I probably wouldn't bother with small claims court, because flowers are a fairly small-cost item and I would say it isn't worth your time and effort.

I know you want some recourse but in this case I would just let it go and never use the company again (and tell your friends to not use them, as well as all of mumsnet wink)

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 05-Mar-13 11:06:42

I agree small claims court might be too much effort, but personally I wouldn't be able to let this go.

MidniteScribbler Tue 05-Mar-13 11:06:51

Sorry, but I think that leaving it two months is too long. If you'd rung up that day or within a couple of days, perhaps, but you can't expect to call two months later with no proof and expect a refund.

They sound like a pretty shite company though.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 05-Mar-13 11:09:49

But with something like that where they were a gift, and the added complication that she's obviously only just heard about it for various reasons ...

I think that a company should always act as though the customer is right. One little refund is not much to cough up compared to the lifelong loss of business they'll otherwise have from the OP, anyone she tells about it, me grin and whoever else on MN takes note of it.

MidniteScribbler Tue 05-Mar-13 11:14:56

But it may not be "one little refund". What if everyone called up and said that their flowers were dead two months later? Free (dead!) flowers for everyone!

Can I go to a restaurant and then call two months later and say I didn't like the meal and want a refund?

LessMissAbs Tue 05-Mar-13 11:15:05

You will know that complaining about such a commodity two months from the date of delivery is a weak case. I don't think its unreasonable of the seller to ask for evidence, and I cannot think of any evidence other than a photograph on delivery that would suffice. A small claim will take you 30 minutes to complete and the court will conclude on evidence available, which appears to consist of witness statements and/or affadavits (once you take them). Possibly also printouts of statistical information from internet sources as above relating to the company's record...

However, you could also approach the seller with this thread on mumsnet which isn't a great advertisement for them but which you can defend on grounds of veracity. This is obviously an opportunity for the seller to put right the customer dissatissfaction in a public forum. I don't think offering 20% of the next order is much of an offer, since it requires you to be out of pocket and to benefit them to obtain it.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 05-Mar-13 11:19:32

Well, companies should assume that not everyone is going to tell them two months later that the flowers were dead. I'd bet they don't get many customers contacting them saying things like this.

And the restaurant thing isn't really a good comparison. In this scenario there are various reasons why the customer only knows about the flowers now, which aren't applicable to the restaurant scenario.

MidniteScribbler Tue 05-Mar-13 11:23:27

It's about having some sort of proof. If I complain about a dish in a restaurant, they can see what I'm complaining about (food undercooked, hair in my food, etc). Two months later there is no way of knowing if there is actually anything wrong, or if I'm just short this week and it's a good way of quick easy cash. Businesses have every right to expect some sort of proof that there was actually something wrong with the delivery in the first place.

ElvisIsKing Tue 05-Mar-13 11:23:34

Also, you could have quite easily taken a picture of the flowers after SIL had had them in the house for a week-wouldn't ever really prove anything except that flowers die!

I would contact trading standards and let the company know you har contacted them. Trading standards can also give you a template of a letter to send clearly setting out what has happened and what you would like them to do (issue a refund).

Annoying because (as you probably know) small claims will be a hassle but like a pp said I wouldn't be able to let this go easily!

ElvisIsKing Tue 05-Mar-13 11:24:36

Midnite see first paragraph of my post ^^

Mendi Tue 05-Mar-13 11:35:24

Midnite Scribbler it is not a question of 'didn't like' - they were DEAD!

Clearly had I been present at delivery or been told at the time I would have complained at the time. As it is I complained as soon as I was made aware of the issue.

It is almost certainly 'unreasonable' for the purposes of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 for a company offering this service to include a term in its terms and conditions requiring a photo as evidence before a refund will be given. If such a term even is included - I asked for a copy of their terms and conditions and they did not provide one.

After four messages in which I repeated myself ad nauseam, a different adviser responded saying they would re-deliver the flowers or give a refund at my election. I genuinely did not want them to think it was a try-on (because it isn't) so I said yes to re delivery but will be telling my SIL to photograph them on arrival!

Shocking customer service in my view.

Mendi Tue 05-Mar-13 11:36:18

And P.S., a witness statement from the recipient of the flowers would be perfectly acceptable evidence.

TheChaoGoesMu Tue 05-Mar-13 11:39:05

I think they should refund the money as a gesture of goodwill. Why would anyone bother to ring two months later unless it was true. Your story sounds plausible to me.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 05-Mar-13 11:52:09

Nice one, OP!

hiddenhome Tue 05-Mar-13 11:58:53

You need to read reviews before using a company or buying a product online.

Local florists generally give a better service smile

EuroShaggleton Tue 05-Mar-13 12:01:40

As you are no doubt aware, you are legally entitled to money back as they are not of satisfactory quality. I wouldn't let this go.

Ah, just seen they have now offered redelivery/refund. As well they should!

samandi Tue 05-Mar-13 12:17:00

Hm, I would contact my SIL if flowers she had sent arrived dead.

At least yours were delivered, the one time I tried Seranata they just didn't bother. No delivery, no phone call or email to say they weren't being delivered, nada. They seem pretty poor.

Mendi Tue 05-Mar-13 12:27:06

Samandi my SIL has only been with my brother for 2 years and is not confident or assertive. She would have been mortified at the idea of doing anything other than expressing gratitude.

SnowieBear Tue 05-Mar-13 13:11:09

Oh, what a shame! Serenata used to be great when they started... I remember using them for a birthday delivery for my lovely MIL, the flowers didn't get there on time (they had trouble finding the recondite address) and when we phone them to complain, they re-delivered plus added an additional delivey of a fresh bouquet just in case the re-delivered flowers were not up to scratch any longer and to say sorry.

Guess I cannot recommend them anymore, they've changed...

lurkerspeaks Tue 05-Mar-13 15:00:04

I recently got lured to their website as they came up when I was researching getting flowers delivered to an obscure baltic state.

My order kept failing. The customer service team were v. rude when I rang up to ask why I couldn't order apparently they don't deliver to that company. Yet when you search flowers obscure baltic company it takes you to a page on tehir website which raves about their relationship with local florists.

I wouldn't use.

Flower delivery can be a bloody nightmare. I've recently had lots of interflora flowers (bereavement). Some of the local florists who fulfilled made some lovely stuff up. Others made the same stuff up and it died within 3 days.
From a distance it is hard to know which will be the case. Personally, I've never been disappointed with M&S flower delivery.

EnjoyResponsibly Tue 05-Mar-13 16:42:29

The problem with using these central order companies - lets not call them florists because they aren't - is that they skim typically 25-35% of your order value off the top before they pass the order onto the underlying florist to fulfill and deliver.

It doesn't explain or justify why the flowers were dead. I'm just saying that after taking a big chunck out of a £25 order doesn't leave much by way of quality ingredients to play with.

Please, please go direct to a proper florist for creativity and quality.

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