Checks find problems with online flowers

Hu Min
Shanghai's consumer council highlights the need for regulations to cover delivery times, quality and freshness in the emerging market for buying flowers from online platforms.
Hu Min

Online flower deliveries were found wanting during checks by the city's consumer council, it said on Tuesday. 

An investigation looked at 11 shops on four online platforms, with delivery times, packaging, freshness, quality and design all checked. 

The Sinan Xiangshan store on Taobao failed to deliver flowers in the time promised, the council said. 

Yanyu on Tmall promised to deliver flowers twice a month while the interval between the two deliveries was just three days, it found. 

"Nearly 20 percent of online flower shops do not allow customers to change delivery times, which is very inconvenient for people on frequent business trips," said Tang Jiansheng, the council’s deputy secretary-general.

A broken vase was found with flowers delivered by the Pulao Meisi store on JD.com, the council said. 

Gaps between promised flower quality and reality was also detected. 

Sinan Xiangshan did not deliver peonies as promised with staff using the excuse that the flower varieties were randomly picked, the council said. Some flower shops promised the majority of their flowers were not fully open, while they had completely withered after just two or three days, the council found. 

Withered flowers were found in over 35 percent of cases while 4.55 percent had broken stems and large numbers of withered flowers, the council said. 

Flowerplus on WeChat was on the 4.55 percent list with broken flower stems noted, the council said. 

Fake promotions and discounts were also problems. 

Flowers delivered by some businesses were fresh and of good quality the first time, but second and third deliveries had deteriorated significantly, the council said. 

Poor after-sales services was also a subject of complaint, and fewer than 30 percent of customer service staff with professional flower knowledge, the council found. 

Tang said regulations, which were absent at present, should be released to cover this emerging market. 

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