I-Team Report: Blooming Rage

February 22, 2012 8:51:50 PM PST
Angry Valentine's Day customers say they never received flowers ordered from one of America's most recognizable names.

Imagine the blooming rage there would be if the Valentine roses you ordered for your significant other never showed up. You probably couldn't get out of the doghouse just by saying Cupid dropped the ball on lots of orders.

The I-Team was tipped to this situation by an e-mailer from Washington state who said he had ordered flowers from Downers Grove-based FTD.com. It was an order that never arrived.

In a promotion, FTD's iconic mercury man darts around Chicago delivering flowers. But it wasn't that easy for Mike Flagin of Snohomish, Washington who emailed the I-Team to report that on Valentine's Day his girlfriend received "no flowers, no phone call, no e-mail, nothing."

"Imagine how popular I am," said Flagin.

And he isn't alone.

"I was pretty mad. I was so disappointed," said Jessica Flores.

Flores, a North Sider, says she paid $117 for roses for her girlfriend, ordering through FTD on Valentine's morning. A few hours after taking the order, she says FTD contacted her to say the order couldn't be filled.

"FTD is a well known name so I figured I wouldn't have any problem and I started looking at all the complaints online and thought wow, I couldn't believe it," said Flores.

Since Valentine's Day, FTD's Facebook page has been filled with similar complaints. Some jilted customers have started entire websites devoted to complaints about FTD; from delivery problems to customer service to products that showed up looking different than what was ordered.

The I-Team requested an interview with FTD president Robert Apatoff at the company's headquarters, but he declined. Apatoff sent the I-Team two letters defending FTD's business practices and citing it's millions of satisfied customers. He maintains the majority of deliveries are on time; there is just a small percentage of unsatisfactory deliveries; and that ftd has in place customer protection policies that hold florists accountable for missed deliveries.

Apatoff concluded, "we regret, that despite our best efforts, we occasionally have some dissatisfied customers for reasons either in or out of our control."

Chicago resident Melissa Mercado is among them.

"I ordered some flowers for my mom's birthday October 4th. I ordered them on line from FTD and the delivery didn't show up till the following day," said Mercaod. "I just received an email saying we are sorry, we will try better next time."

What started as Florists Telegraph Delivery in 1910 then Florists Transworld Delivery for more than a century has promised same day flower deliveries through a network of more than 10,000 local shops, including this 65-year old Northwest Side FTD affiliate.

"FTD, first of all, promotes the floral industry like florists couldn't promote itself," said Bruce Cohen, Bonnie Flower Shops. "I've been in probably 6 different wire services and presently I'm only in FTD because they are far and away the best."

The Better Business Bureau in Chicago received 588 complaints about florists last year; 539 of them were about FTD. Late last month the bureau issued a consumer warning about purchasing flowers online.

Many angry customers the I-Team spoke with eventually got their money back but say it took hours on the phone.

An attorney near Los Angeles says he plans to file a lawsuit against FTD claiming the company took money for orders that it knew wouldn't be delivered, including his.

FTD's website:

FTD's Facebook page:

Website that tracks flower consumer problems

Better Business Bureau Chicago