So when I did that, they simply sent some form letter via email saying sorry for the inconvenience, the flowers you ordered were out of stock and we had to wait an extra day for new stock to arrive.
So I left it, and they arrived on Tuesday. I ordered a planter's basket for both of my moms, something that wouldn't die right away. Bloomex delivered yellow roses... which, I might add, were cheaper than the baskets because roses were half-price. Did I mention one of the moms doesn't like roses? When I called again to complain and ask for a refund, asking them to PLEASE call me so I could discuss this with someone, I simply received an email saying not to worry about a refund, they were resending the proper baskets out immediately.
Today I get an email from my stepmom saying she's about to go away on a trip, and she still hasn't received her basket. A WEEK LATER.
So I called Bloomex back. This time I pressed 1 for a new order. Sure enough, I finally get a real live person (Bloomex assumes you're giving them money rather than asking for it back, so they'll treat you REALLY well until they have your cash). I got a customer service rep and talked to her about it and said I was really happy to speak to a live person, and laughed, and she did, too, and I explained the issue. She said no problem, but that she was on orders and she'd have a manager call me back immediately. I said I just wanted a refund, and didn't want to deal with this anymore, and she said she'd let them know that and a manager would call me back.
Only a few minutes later, someone did call me back. She started off very kindly, just asking what the issue was (rep #1 asked for all the details and then didn't pass any of them on) and so I ran through all of it again and said I just wanted a refund. I've worked in customer service years and years ago... I think people who just call up and yell and swear at people who had nothing to do with the actual problem are rude, so I'm never like that. So I was very calm and cheerful, and laughed it off and said look, one of my moms doesn't even like roses, so I look like I don't even know her. I'd just like a refund and I can go and get her something she does like.
The manager said, "It is our policy at Bloomex to not issue refunds of any kind. I can give you store credit or redeliver the flowers, that's it." I said you must offer refunds. She said nope, I had to get them redelivered. I said I'd asked for that a week ago and no one sent them, so I could say ok, sure, redeliver them, and nothing will happen and I'll just have to make this phone call again. She said if I'd wanted a refund, I had to contact them within 7 day and it's outside of 7 days. I said I DID call them within 7 days, and they didn't call me back and instead reassured me the issue would be dealt with. She said sorry, I didn't follow their policy. I should have asked for a refund within 7 days.
I said, "OK, so just to reiterate [realizing as I said it I sounded exactly like my husband], I ordered flowers, you sent them two days late, and then you sent the wrong ones, and then you didn't call me back when I called to request a callback, and then you promised to redeliver, and you haven't redelivered, and now you won't do anything for me? Seriously? What can I do here?"
"I'm sorry, we can't issue a refund."
I said, "Actually, you have my credit card; any company that can take a credit card CAN reissue a credit back onto it, you just choose NOT to. It's not that you can't, it's that you won't. You won't redeliver, and even if you did, you'd probably send the wrong thing anyway and I'll have to call again. Is it really cheaper for you to send the flowers six times rather than just issue my refund and keep me as a future customer?"
"Ma'am!!" she suddenly bellowed into the phone quite abruptly. "LISTEN TO ME. I am a HUMAN BEING." No, really. She said that. "You simply CANNOT scream and yell at me the way you are right now." Irony moment? She was yelling as she said this.
Now, anyone who knows me knows I can be excitable, and my voice rises, but not in an angry or yelling (and definitely not screaming) sort of way. I never swore at her, nor was I rude or talked down to her in any way. She doesn't know rude if she thinks I'm being rude. I told her that I wasn't yelling at her, that I was simply frustrated, and-- and she cut me off to say I most definitely WAS yelling, and she was a HUMAN BEING and CANNOT be treated in this way.
Now, I could have responded angrily. I could have said, "Actually, in this particular case you're not a human being. You're a representative of your company, a faceless voice on the other end of the phone that I'm speaking with to try to resolve an issue," but I didn't. I doubt she would have gotten the subtlety. I asked her what her name was, and there was a long pause before she said, "Michelle." (I don't for an instant believe that's actually her name.) "Michelle," I said, as quietly as I could with her still being able to hear me, "I'm sorry if you thought I was shouting at you. I'm very frustrated right now. I know you didn't put through the wrong order, nor are you the person who delivered them late, nor are you the one who reassured me I didn't need a refund and my flowers would be redelivered. But right now, you're the first person who's called me back. You're the only one who can help me. I'm frustrated. What was supposed to be a thoughtful Mother's Day gift looks like an afterthought, something I ordered the day after because of the timing of the delivery, and you sent the wrong thing to boot. I look like I don't even know what my own mother would want. I don't know if you're a mom, and that's none of my business. But I'm one, and Mother's Day means a lot to me. The flowers were what I sent as a gift, and it was a screw-up. So please, please, can you help me?"
"You know," she said, clearly now on speakerphone because obviously my booming crazy voice was too loud for her eardrums, "You can sit there and scream and yell until you're blue in the face, and I'll sit here all day and listen to you. I don't care. I can do other work while you're screaming. We have a policy. I'm not changing it. You either take a company credit for your next purchase or I will redeliver the flowers to you."
She said that, after I had just apologized to her. I've been inconvenienced, humiliated, wronged, and ignored, and instead of an apology, I just apologized to her. And I did so in my "indoor voice." And she again accused me of screaming at her. Which meant her earlier freakout that I was screaming at her and not treating her like a human being was some weird put-upon thing acted out by a drama queen who doesn't understand how to do customer service.
"I don't want a store credit," I said as calmly as I could, despite the fact my hands were shaking in fury. (Why do our hands shake when we get angry??) "Because, if you don't fix this, I will never use your store again. That's not an idle threat, and I'm sure you don't really care, actually, but this has been one of the most frustrating customer service experiences I've ever had. The only option you're giving me is to have you redeliver the flowers. And I'm going to hang up this phone and you won't redeliver them. And then I'll have to make this call again. I don't want to do this. Could you just please help me?"
"We. Can't. Refund. Your. Money. You give me a date to send those flowers, and I will. But otherwise, I can't help you."
I sat for half a second, and finally just told her to send the one bunch at the end of the month when my stepmum is back from her trip, and send the other one immediately. I felt completely defeated, talked down to, and this woman who had the nerve to act like I was a shrieking banshee had just won.
What Bloomex did was reassure me twice within the 7-day refund period that they would send out my flowers again. They delayed me until I was outside the 7-day period, and then threw their hands up and said, "Whoops! Looks like you can't get a refund now, Missy!" And that was that.
I'll never use them again. They may be convenient, but it's just as convenient to pick up a phone and call your local florist. I've never used a local one I didn't love, and the only reason I didn't use one in this instance was because I didn't know if one that would deliver to a rural route address. But I'll find out who does, and use them the next time.
I hope me telling you this will dissuade some others from ever using them, too. I really hope as the world begins to move online, customer service doesn't dwindle to a world where the customer is never right, and we have to bow down and apologize because they've got our money and there's not a damn thing we can do about it.
UPDATE: As I mentioned in the comments yesterday, after I hung up from Bloomex I contacted my credit card company to dispute the charge, and they are launching an investigation. But thanks to all the comments I've received on this post, I realized that there's a reason Bloomex doesn't offer refunds: their incompetence and terrible customer service is legen -- wait for it -- DARY. I'm thinking maybe it won't be too difficult to get the charge wiped from my credit card because the credit card companies have probably been inundated with complaints. Here's hoping, as Toronto Star columnist Ellen Roseman suggests, if enough people complain, the credit card companies will simply stop dealing with Bloomex.
When I tweeted the link to this blog post, I did a quick search for "Bloomex" on Twitter and found out they have their own Twitter name... wait for it again... @bloomexcares. HAHAHA! And here's their description of themselves:
Bloomex Customer Service - Industry leading policies supported by our amazing customer service agents. Need help with an order, PM us with your order number.
At least I got a really good laugh out of this whole experience. ;) Their Twitter feed is locked, so I'm thinking it's because it's filled with complaints and they won't let people see their feed... it's probably just them dealing with angry customers.
Reader Fred directed me to the Wikipedia page, which was shocking. I've learned my lesson: Next time, do your research on the company, no matter how insignificant the purchase seems to be. This is from the Wikipedia page:
On March 1, 2008, Toronto Star business and consumer affairs columnist Ellen Roseman reported on Bloomex online complaints, offering one customer's experience with a promised same-day delivery as an example of company unresponsiveness. In a follow-up Star column the next week, company president Lokhonia examined Roseman's late-delivery example, explaining that the order was entered past the deadline for same-day delivery, it was delivered according to the company's published terms and conditions, and the company never refunds delivery charges in such cases in order to maintain its low prices. Lokhonia also alleged that some complaints were actually written by small retail florists in competition with Bloomex, a statement that drew fresh online complaints.
In June 2008, Bloomex issued a press release admitting that the company had made mistakes in the past due to unexpectedly strong sales growth, and announced new systems to improve customer satisfaction.
Following Mother's Day 2009, Roseman noted many new complaints about late or damaged deliveries and advised consumers to seek chargebacks from their credit-card companies rather than pursuing Bloomex for refunds.
In April 2010, the CBC News television program Marketplace tested Bloomex's promises, reporting that the company "...sometimes substitutes one item for something completely different, without checking with the customer, or doesn't deliver at all". A "Chocolate Lovers" basket contained far less chocolate than promised; of three floral arrangements ordered, one failed to arrive and the other two were not as advertised, receiving a "thumbs down" from a professional flower judge.
As of December 2010, the Canadian Better Business Bureau (BBB) continues to give Bloomex its lowest possible rating, an "F", due to the company's overall complaint history, number of unresolved complaints, and Bloomex's failure to resolve the underlying causes of a pattern of complaints.
UPDATE #2It is now two days later, and I just received an automated message from Bloomex saying that both of the redeliveries were now complete. I called them, and left a message asking for someone to call me back, no one did, so I did the same thing I did the last time and got a callback, and I asked her if the one order (to the mom who IS NOT THERE) actually was delivered despite reassurances that it wouldn't go out until May 30. She checked and said, "Yes, it was delivered last night. Why? Is that a problem?" I said yes, actually, it's a problem, because the person living there won't be back for another week, so she'll return to a box of dead, wilting flowers on her porch. She wrote on my file a "request" that the flowers be redelivered in another week.
Three deliveries. But apparently that was cheaper than just giving me my money back. I called my mother to see if she got her flowers and she said yes, she got a second plant (and because I hadn't warned her, she thought I was going to start sending her flowers every week!) and said both times no one knocked at the door, and they dropped it off last night and never knocked so she didn't know it was there until this morning. She had to remove some of the plants from the basket because they'd wilted overnight (SERIOUSLY) but she said otherwise, it was very nice. But she added that they stuck three small plants in the basket and then some tiny flowers, and just for my own knowledge I should know that I could probably have bought these plants at a grocery store for $3 each and stuck them in a planter. I groaned and she said, "Oh no, don't think that I don't love them, because I do!" But it was just another reason not to use them.
I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau last night. They have an F rating there, the lowest rating you can possibly get. I doubt anything will come of the complaint, but at least I'll be one more customer on the list of people they let down.