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Online florist Bloomex fined $1 million over fake ratings

Online florist and gift retailer Bloomex has been fined $1 million for making false and misleading representations on its website.

The retailer admitted it had published misleading star ratings for its products, advertised misleading discounts, and added surcharges that were inadequately disclosed.

According to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), Bloomex displayed products for sale on its website between February 2019 and March 2023 with a ‘star rating’ that remained static since January 2015. The ratings included customer reviews for products prepared and delivered outside Australia, and those from people who may not have been Bloomex customers.

Between February 2019 and November 2022, the business also offered discounts although it did not sell the products at the higher prices displayed.

In addition, Bloomex failed to adequately disclose the surcharges of $1.95-$4.95 applied to orders made via its website between August 2022 and March 2023.

“Bloomex misled consumers about the quality and price of its products for a long time, and this penalty is an indication of how seriously the court views this conduct,” said ACCC commissioner Liza Carver.

“Misleading online reviews and star ratings are an issue of significant concern to us because they can influence consumers into purchasing from a business when they would not otherwise have done so,” Carver added.

Aside from the fine, the Federal Court also imposed injunctions and ordered that Bloomex establish a compliance program and pay the ACCC’s costs.

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