The West

A florist founded in Perth has suffered a nationwide social media backlash after Valentine's Day was spoiled for hundreds of couples when bouquets failed to arrive on time.

Ready Flowers, managed by former Perth man Thomas Hegarty, is now based in Hong Kong and is believed to be one of the biggest floral and gift delivery services in the Asia Pacific, processing up to 250,000 orders a year.

Perth man Michael Boyce said the Valentine's Day roses he ordered for his girlfriend of seven months arrived at 1pm yesterday and were not what he would have expected to get for a $120 bunch.

Mr Boyce said that on Monday he spent about $160 on his Ready Flowers order, including a vase.

"They charged $16 for a four-day-late delivery which was appalling as well," he said. "It's just a joke."

Kylie Purcell said her English boyfriend Phil Davis used the website to order her a $200 delivery of flowers and chocolates which did not arrive until Thursday.

"We haven't seen each other for some time," Ms Purcell said. "It's our first Valentine's Day so he wanted to send something special to me and it cost over $200. He called me that afternoon on Valentine's Day and it hadn't arrived."

Ready Flowers' Facebook and Twitter accounts were flooded with similar complaints from around the country and the company has been directing upset customers to fill out an online form.

One upset lover even took to YouTube to air his complaints.

When _The West Australian _called the company's hotline, a recorded voice said there was a queue and it would take 57 minutes to talk to an operator.

Mr Hegarty, who has worked for his family's business for five years and led its expansion into Asia, blamed a large number of Valentine's Day orders.

"It's pretty regular for Valentine's Day that the industry can't cope with the volume sometimes and some deliveries are delivered the day after," he said.

He said Ready Flowers' website stated that it would use its best efforts to deliver on the day but there was no guarantee of same-day delivery.

Mr Hegarty apologised for any delays and said the company would offer a free bouquet to anyone whose order arrived later than expected.

WA Consumer Protection spokesman Dave Hillyard said complaints about the company had been received from around Australia. He said firms should make sure they could fulfil orders they accepted.

The West Australian

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