Online florist and gift retailer in court for misleading customers
The ACCC is taking Bloomex to court for allegedly publishing misleading online star ratings and price representations.
The ombudsman claims that the online retailer has been lying about its customer reviews and star ratings since 2019.
“We allege Bloomex’s product star ratings were misleading because they were several years out of date and included the experiences of customers that had likely never purchased from Bloomex’s Australian business,” ACCC commissioner, Liza Carver, explains.
“Online reviews and product ratings are an important tool that consumers rely on when making purchasing decisions. It is essential businesses ensure reviews are complete, accurate and current.”
The ACCC also alleges Bloomex made misleading price representations on its website.
From at least February 2019, products across its website displayed two prices: a higher ‘strikethrough’ price and a cheaper price. Some products were also accompanied by a ’50 per cent off’ or ‘half price’ statement.
The ACCC alleges that Bloomex did not ordinarily offer products for sale at the higher ‘strikethrough’ price and that the discounts displayed on the website were misleading as they were not genuine.
“Sale prices can create a sense of urgency that motivates a consumer to make a purchase. It is misleading to represent that a price is discounted when that is not genuinely the case,” she adds.
Also, since 2022 the gift retailer has been adding surcharges to its orders, however, only disclosed this cost at the final stage of purchase.
“Businesses must display the total price of a product or service including any surcharges when displaying prices. If a business displays a price for just one part of a product, the total price must also be displayed at least as prominently as the partial price.
“This year we began a focus on misleading and deceptive online advertising and have been very concerned with what we have seen in the online florist industry. We are warning all online florists to make sure they are meeting their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law.”