When you search online for flower deliveries in towns and cities across Australia, one of the top results is likely to be Bloomex.
Bloomex declares itself "Australia's official florist" and lays claim to "3.8 million smiles delivered worldwide".
But behind the claims is a trail of scathing reviews and customer complaints about a company that simply doesn't deliver on its promises. The negative online sentiment has been enough to spawn a Facebook group dedicated to Bloomex disappointment stories.
After receiving a number of complaints from readers about low-quality and late flowers from Bloomex, we did a mystery shop of the company in September 2022, and found the negative online reviews were well-founded.
CHOICE mystery shop
We ordered bouquets to be sent to 21 regional addresses in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and WA.
In each instance, we began by using the search term "flower delivery" and the name of the regional location where our recipient lived.
We then clicked through from the Google ad for Bloomex that we found in the results and placed the order. We didn't try to order to any towns that Bloomex didn't advertise as a location it delivered to.
CHOICE editorial director Margaret Rafferty says that Bloomex was unable to fulfill eight of the 21 flower deliveries we ordered – deliveries that the company had already accepted and the customer had already paid for.
In these cases Bloomex sent us an email, anywhere from the same day to four days later, offering to pass the order on to a local florist for an extra $20–30 dollars, send a "gourmet gift basket", or give a store credit. A refund was not on offer. In all cases we needed to send multiple emails to get our money back.
"Bloomex appears to use extensive Google search-engine marketing to target flower deliveries in regional parts of Australia," says Marg. "But despite being one of the top results on Google for many of these locations, when orders were placed they couldn't be delivered."
Bloomex was unable to fulfill eight of the 21 flower deliveries we ordered – deliveries that the company had already accepted
"Even worse, the disappointing news that the order couldn't be fulfilled sometimes came too late for us to order flowers from elsewhere that would get delivered in time."
Of the 13 orders we placed that were fulfilled, almost half arrived later than the nominated delivery date. Eight deliveries contained flowers that were already showing signs of decomposition.
Update 9 December 2022: Following the original publication of this story, the ACCC commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against Bloomex for allegedly publishing misleading online star ratings and price representations.
"Over and over again, we've heard from people whose flowers arrived late and in poor condition, and were refused a satisfactory remedy from Bloomex," says Marg.
Norma Smith lives in Tarneit on the western outskirts of Melbourne. She says when she ordered flowers from Bloomex to cheer up her great niece, she was "disgusted" by what arrived.
The flowers were wilted and crushed up, they were dreadful, in a terrible conditionNorma, Bloomex customer
"The flowers were wilted and crushed up, they were dreadful, in a terrible condition," she says.
When she complained and sent photos of the flowers to the company, it refused to offer any remedy or even acknowledge a problem.
"I was disgusted, not only by what arrived, but by the company's response when I complained," she says.
No bouquet for Bloomex
The company has been registered in Australia since 2010 and its long-time directors are both registered to the same Canadian address, according to ASIC documents. The company's headquarters are also in Canada.
We made repeated attempts to contact the company by phone and email to get a comment, but it didn't respond.
"Bloomex needs to be upfront with customers about what they can expect when they use their service," says Marg.
"It is very concerning that so many people have had such a poor experience with this company and yet it continues to promise a service it can't deliver."