What if your Valentine's Day flowers are delivered late?

What if your Valentine's Day flowers are delivered late?

For florists, Valentine’s Day is their Black Friday and Christmas all rolled into one. There’s big money to be made, but the risk of reputational damage for service delivery fails is also massive. What are your rights as a consumer when you don’t get what you paid for, at the promised time?  Wendy Knowler tells all...

Valentines Day gift / Pexels
Valentines Day gift / Pexels

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It goes without saying that people who spend hundreds of Rand in a bid to show their loved ones their love and appreciation on Valentine’s Day are not interested in the delivery being made after February 14.

A late birthday delivery is bad enough, but a late Valentine’s Day delivery is a particularly bad let-down.

What legal rights do consumers have when delivery promises are not met? 

Well, Section 19 of the Consumer Protection Act says a supplier must refund a consumer if they are unable to deliver on the agreed date and time. So if you order a new fridge or lounge suite from an actual physical store and they say they will deliver on Friday morning, and then you don’t hear from them on the day, you have the legal right to cancel and get your money back.

When you order on a website, the Electronic Transactions and Communications Act covers the purchase.

Under “Performance”, the Act says: “The supplier must execute the order within 30 days of receiving the order, unless the parties have agreed otherwise.

"If they fail to do so within 30 days or the agreed period, the consumer may cancel the agreement with seven days’ written notice.

"If a supplier is unable to perform in terms of the agreement on the grounds that the goods or services ordered are unavailable, the supplier must immediately notify the consumer of this fact and refund any payments within 30 days of that notification.”

If a retailer promises you delivery in three to five days, or by a particular day, and that doesn’t happen, you can cancel the order for a full refund, no matter what the company's own terms and conditions specify.

Also, if the goods arrive in time, and you don’t want them anymore, for whatever reason, you are entitled to cancel the deal without any penalty, but you must pay the cost of the return. Perishables such as food and flowers are excluded, of course.

And here’s the thing - it doesn’t matter if you bought the goods on a sale or promotion or not. That is totally immaterial, but it doesn’t stop some online retailers refusing to issue refunds for “sale goods”.

But getting your money back is small compensation for not delivering on time when the order is time based.

It’s hard to feel delighted when the red roses arrive on February 15 or 16..

That’s what happened to a Joburg woman at Christmas - she ordered two bottles of Moet en Chandon champagne for clients on the 1st of December, and only received them on January 7, by which time she’d had to buy other gifts.

She’d tried to cancel the order when it was obvious it wasn’t going to be delivered on time, but that didn’t happen either.

When I took up her case with Makro’s eCommerce Executive Paul van de Waal, he said the company had failed her horribly at every turn, and gave a heart-felt apology.

“This order was a terrible experience for Ms Vellem,” he said. Makro refunded the order in full, allowing her to keep the expensive bubbly as compensation for the mess-up. Cheers to that!

So good luck with those Valentine’s Day orders, both senders and receivers... and let me know if they were delivered late, or didn’t look anything like the photo on the website.

READ: Airport Valet Operators: How to avoid the fly-by-nights

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Contact Wendy

Get in touch with Wendy via her website or her Facebook page. Please note that Wendy is not able to personally respond to every email she receives. If she is able to take up your case, she will contact you directly. Here are other avenues for you to consider.

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