Online florist criticised over 'flat-pack bouquet'
An online florist has been criticised by the advertising regulator after sending a bouquet that arrived flat-packed for the recipient to assemble.
The eFlorist.co.uk homepage featured an image of its "Parasol" bouquet showing lilies, carnations, roses and gerberas in a glass vase, with the promise that "our expert florist will personally create your bouquet using the finest and freshest pink, lavender and mauve stems".
An advisory further down the page said the image was "for illustration purposes only, and may vary" while smaller text said arrangements did not include a vase, flower basket or container unless otherwise stated.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it understood that the bouquet received was "flat-packed and therefore had to be arranged by the recipient", was less voluminous than the design in the ad, had significantly fewer flowers and did not include any roses, lilies or carnations.
Some of the substitute flowers were, contrary to the colour scheme in the ad, white and purple.
The ASA upheld a complaint that the image was not an accurate representation of the advertised product, ruling that it was misleading.
EuroFlorist Europe, trading as eFlorist, said the ad made it clear that the images were for illustration purposes only, that the content might vary and only the colours of the flowers - pink, lilac and mauve - were set.
It claimed the "executing florist had met the order requirements of that particular design".
The ASA said the product description did not include any claims regarding the specific flowers or foliage included, but the flowers in the images were clearly discernible and included lilies, roses, carnations and gerberas.
It said: "In that context, we considered that consumers were likely to expect that while the product received might not be exactly as depicted in the image, the image was an accurate representation of the product they would receive in terms of volume, and the colours and types of flowers included.
"Further, given the emphasis on the fact a local florist would create the bouquet, we considered consumers were likely to anticipate that the bouquet would arrive pre-arranged, ready to simply be placed in a vase or container."
It ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form, adding: "We told eFlorist to ensure that the images of their bouquets were representative of the product consumers would actually receive."
EuroFlorist Europe group online manager Paul Isaia said: "We greatly value our customers and aim to satisfy 100% of the time.
"With this in mind, we have removed the Parasol bouquet from our website and are currently investigating how to represent our florist's choice bouquets in an even more transparent way."