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Plants and flowers: do you know your rights?

Ever ordered flowers only to find they weren’t quite what you were expecting?! Here’s a look at your rights with Valentine’s Day just around the corner.

Nothing says romance quite like a withered bouquet. But did you know that plants and flowers are covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015?

Just like other items bought online, you’re within your rights to ask for a full or partial refund if your flowers arrive in a sorrowful state.

With Valentine’s Day this Friday there’ll be a big increase in the number of flowers ordered online, and they’ll need to match the description given of them.

In fact, unless the retailer has specified that the flowers may vary, it must provide you with exactly what you ordered.

Matching the description

If the colour or type of flower doesn’t look right, make sure you let the retailer know you’re not happy.

And if the flowers look a little lacklustre, check to see that you’re not missing any. Cut flowers are usually priced per stem, so if you think there aren’t enough, you may be entitled to a partial refund.

It can of course be tricky to know if there’s a problem if you’re not the person who ordered them, but you should be able to spot if there are any obvious problems.

If you’ve received flowers that don’t seem up to scratch, you could also consider letting the sender know – tactfully!

What if my flowers turn up late?

If you’ve ordered flowers for Valentine’s Day then it goes without saying you’ll need them for the day itself!

If they do turn up after the 14th, you may be entitled to a refund, depending on the type of delivery you selected.

If you paid to specify the date or time of the delivery, then this is an agreed part of your contract.

If they arrive outside of this timeframe, you have the right to terminate the purchase and get a full refund.

But if you used estimated delivery, this means you don’t have an automatic right to refund.

Estimated delivery isn’t guaranteed by a certain time, so a retailer could argue that it’s reasonable for an estimated delivery to be a few days late.

Complain to the retailer

Until the flowers have been delivered, the retailer is responsible for their condition, not the courier, so be sure to take up any issues with them, rather than the delivery firm.

Take a photo of the flowers if you’re unhappy, as this is useful evidence if you’re asked to provide proof to the retailer.

The retailer may offer to send you a replacement rather than a refund, but if they were specifically for Valentine’s Day, you’re entitled to ask for your money back.

Under the Consumer Rights Act, you must be refunded within 30 days of you rejecting the flowers.

Have you ever had a Valentine’s Day or any other event ruined by flowers that weren’t up to standard or a delayed delivery?

Let us know your story below and we’ll try to help if we can.

Have you ever tried to claim a refund on flowers?
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ann wardell says:
17 February 2020

Had several plants delivered from online suppliers, Thompson and Morgan was one and they are extremely good on replacing them, I did sent photos of the plug plants to confirm. i also sent phots and complained to Gardening express and they did not hold up to the guarantee, I won;t use them ever!!

Karen Wardle says:
18 February 2020

Likewise Marshalls are extremely good, sending replacements for poor quality plants on the rare occasion it’s necessary.

McJannett says:
19 February 2020

My sister sent my mother (when alive) some flowers for her birthday and they were so few and half dead. so I took a picture and emailed it to her and told her to complain. she got her money back but poor mum with dementia never got another gift from her. need I say more! I prefer supermarket flowers, good value and more so with a food packet to make them stay fresh for longer if you can buy and take them to the receiver. One year using the RHS book of sellers I spent about ÂŁ80 on lots of potted plants from a firm. when they came it was late winter still and hard to see if the plants were alive or resting so I waited, planted out and waited and 90% of them never did grow. I sent them a really nasty letter and said I had a good mind to tell the RHS to remove their listing. I got a refund in garden vouchers and them saying they felt they needed protecting from me instead. Fothergills still owe me a replacement philadelphus from a few years back as the one they sent was dead. I was in middle of moving and too busy to chase them up. what does get me is all the seeds one can buy and find do not germinate. I have made many purchases from many firms/sellers and it could be months later when one sows them and finds they have duds. Then it is your word against theirs. On ebay where one is expected to leave feed back within 90 days means you can be saying great seller, but you have no idea of the seed quality unless it is bought and sown there and then to prove if it grows or not within that time frame. Then if it does not outside that you cannot leave an extra feed back which I am sure would show up a lot more duds. I now avoid some who sell the most seeds on the site. Do wonder if they are buying in and selling old stock as when I sow my own saved seed fresh each year it normally grows ok, but the money I have wasted over the years could have bought me something I needed but could not afford.

McJannett, I agree about flowers – although I’ve had good results with M&S flowers online. However, I prefer to choose flowers and, in general, avoid florists – they are frequently very expensive and although they make lovely arrangements I’m quite happy to make my own with supermarket flowers. I prefer potted plants to flowers simply because they last longer, particularly orchids that are good value (avoid the died – with colour – ones!).

As for plants, I’ve used J. Parker with great success for roses, strawberries, dahlias, and bulbs. Thompson and Morgan have sent very healthy plug plants and, if you time it right, at great bargain prices – 72 perennials for ÂŁ4.99

I generally buy well-known brands of seeds. A lot depends upon care when sowing – good compost, careful watering and warmth to get them going. I put 20 trays of flower seeds in a bit earlier then usual, for me. They went in an enclosed propagator with just bottom heat, trays covered to retain moisture. 3 days after sowing I checked as a routine and was astonished to find half had already started to germinate. I am a devil for keeping old seed but it can be a mistake; some, like delphinium, rapidly lose viability. It is mainly thrift, and the fact seeds are expensive – I remember Bees seeds at 2d a packet – but my garden centre sells it out of season half price, which is a good time to invest.