If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s the way some people appear to think that the world owes them a living. This is especially true when it comes to online stores that promise you everything but which fall short on their promises… and then refuse to take any responsibility for their actions – or total inactions, as the case may be.
Your favourite blogger has just experienced another case of a screw-the-customer-as-long-as-we-get-their-money website which makes me wonder how they ever stay in business. In this case I am referring to FloristManila.com – a site I found through my search engine when I put in Tanauan – a town in the Philippines where a friend lived and to whom I wished to send some flowers.
In China, August 28th is Valentine’s Day (OK, so they also use February 14th just like in the West, but I guess there’s no harm in having another go later in the year.) This year it fell on a Monday, and as FloristManila.com promised that all orders received the day before could be delivered anywhere in the Philippines, and as it also had a branch in Tanauan – the town in which my friend lived, I plumped for them. This was Friday early morning, a full three days before delivery was due.
The roses displayed on the site looked nice, and though the cost wasn’t cheap, you don’t splash out on bunches of roses more than once or twice in a year (do you?) so I reassured my wallet that all would be well and sent off the order.
Monday morning arrived, and my friend was online, but there was no mention of roses; so at 1425, I got online to FloristManila.com. The website has a Track-my-order button; but try as I might, it steadfastly refused to work.
There was also a button for a LiveChat, but that too refused to work.
So I sent off an eMail enquiring about the order. Within 20 minutes I got a reply. I was not to worry. The order had been dispatched and would arrive any time soon:
Thank you for your order & email. Please be assured, your order is shipped out in timely manner & out for delivery already, your order will be delivered any time soon. Thank you.
Attached was a delivery status report, from which I noticed that the flowers had not been sent out from the local town which had been so lovingly written up on their website, and which is why I had gone to them in the first place. Instead the flowers had been sent from Trabajo Market in Manila to Lipa, which is a good 45 minutes drive away from Tanauan. But delivery was still promised that day, though a Valentine’s delivery in the late afternoon is not what I would call very satisfactory!
By the next morning, still no message from my friend; so I wrote to FloristManila.com again. What was happening?
I am absolutely furious. Despite the fact that I made my order on Friday night – nearly 14 hours before your so-called deadline for next day orders; despite eMailing you to ask why at 1425 on MONDAY the flowers had not arrived and asking for assurances that they would arrive that day; despite your response at 1444 saying they were due to be delivered “any time soon”; despite the fact it was Chinese Valentine’s Day; yet STILL at 1100 on TUESDAY there is still no sign of your delivery!
I only chose your company because I searched online for Tanauan florists – Tanauan being a ten minute drive from the recipient’s address. Yet you didn’t use your Tanauan branch at all, preferring instead to send the flowers to Lipa which is a good 45 minute drive away.
Your website made promises you did not keep; and you have broken your contract with me. I demand full reimbursement of all I paid to you; a full explanation of your unprofessionalism; and an indication of what you intend to do to rectify the situation.
This time they casually mentioned that the delivery driver had gone to the right address but no one knew of my friend there (this despite the fact that not only she, but also three of her family were indoors all day long); and as she had not answered her phone, the delivery driver had given up.
Thank you for your email. We apologize for the unfortunate situation & we can’t deny the fact that your order has not been delivered as it should be, however there are some more facts that you should be aware of first before you judge us with all the blames. We surely hope that you would understand the situation. First of all, you have seen from the tracking history that the order was out for delivery, so we were true to our words, & if the order was delivered, you would not have to be stressed with this order. The courier service did try to deliver your order, unfortunately they couldn’t be able to find out the recipient as she is unknown at the given delivery location, we are trying to reach the recipient with your given contact # since yesterday with no luck as the # is always switched off, thus we couldn’t be able to coordinate with the recipient regarding this issue as of now. Thank you for your kind understanding of this situation.
All this had happened (I later found out) four hours before the first reply from FloristManila.com saying that the flowers were due for delivery any time soon. I hit the roof. More than a day after the flowers should have been delivered, nothing had arrived.
This is a disgrace. Kindly refund me the full amount now and stop trying to make excuses for an abysmal service which is taking money under false pretenses!
But FloristManila.com started adding insult to injury…
Thank you for your email. Please be advised, we informed you already that we are trying to reach the recipient since yesterday, and we would like to inform you that the delivery attempt was made by LBC Express’s delivery personnel, & the tracking status is from their website, so if you are not satisfied with that, we have nothing more to say on this regard [my highlighting!].
I was incensed. Quite clearly the delivery driver had not gone to the right address; but equally clearly, FloristManila.com intended to wash their hands of the matter. What did they intend to do to redress the matter, I asked. Not a lot, it appeared. Once again I replied to them demanding my money back…
Now I am getting angry!
According to the LBC tracking info LBC "tried" to deliver at 1041 yesterday morning when I know there were at least four people in the house! Yet when you first wrote to me at 1444 you never mentioned there was any problem with your deliveryman not being able to find the place!
This is also the first time you have mentioned you were using LBC couriers, so how was I meant to check the status of delivery when your web site clearly doesn't work in this regard.
If the LBC deliveryman was not able to find the place how come it took until I wrote to you this morning to be told there was a problem?
How come no one tried to contact me if there was a problem? You have my eMail address and you have my phone number.
Your web site clearly implied that Tanauan City Flowers Shop would be dealing with the order - that's the only reason I ended up at your site, because it is only 10 minutes drive at maximum to get from the centre of Tanauan to the recipient's address. If you chose to deliver by another route that is your choice - but do not make your problems into my problem!
[The recipients’ address] is easy to find as it is a massive development. There are so many trike drivers and security guards around there that your delivery man obviously did not ask directions but simply gave up without bothering.
The fact that the recipient's phone was switched off is no reason for the delivery not to be made. The address was correct and there were people there in the house. So your assertion that "unfortunately they couldn’t be able to find out the recipient as she is unknown at the given delivery location" is ridiculous. Your courier was either extremely incompetent or extremely lazy or extremely stupid. Take your pick!
Irrespective of whom you used to deliver the flowers, my contract is with you, not with LBC. It is up to YOU to honour your contract which you have clearly failed to do. As I have already asked, kindly refund me the full amount now - that's $60.90 - and stop trying to make excuses for an abysmal service which is trying to take money under false pretenses!
I wrote again demanding a refund. Again no answer.
Luckily I had paid by PayPal, and they have a buyers’ protection in place; so I invoked their procedure. First I would have to write to the seller through the PayPal communications channel (in order, I guess, to ensure PayPal could see the communications between the two).
Again no answer.
After three days, I elevated my complaint through PayPal to an official demand, but still not a peep from FloristManila.com.
But finally PayPal decided in my favour and refunded my money.
PayPal had done a sterling job; but from FloristManila.com, not a peep. No apology; no explanations, nothing.
Who are these fly-by-night shysters I wanted to know? A search of Whois.com reveals the following information:
Well, it turns out the web site was registered in Hong Kong, but the head office is at 44 G Main street, Makati City , 02116 Philippines. They also have a US call number given: +1 (213) 457-3191.
There are any number of florists in Manila, of course, many with similar names. I have no idea if this outfit is related to any of the other florists (but I did find that, according to PayPal CebuFlorist.com is also part of the same organisation).
So in conclusion, from my experience I would strongly warn anyone even thinking of using FloristManila.com to think again. (Yes search engines… I said FloristManila.com. Kindly note that for all to see.)
@ FloristManila.com – some may think your courier “service” simply sucks. But their incompetence is only aggravated by your insolent and disgraceful customer “service”. Incompetent or dishonest? In my view you are both!
And just for your information, this blog normally attracts approximately 7,000 views every month. I intend to publicise this posting as widely as possible through the likes of FaceBook to get even more views. Hopefully others will be warned off from using your abysmal company.
@ my dear blog fans – if I hear anything further from FloristManila.com, I will of course post their comments here and you will be the first to know.