That’s a Bloomin’ Big Fine – Bloomex Penalised $1,000,000 for Breaking Australian Consumer Law

The Federal Court on Friday, 15 March 2024, ordered online florist Bloomex to pay a hefty $1,000,000 penalty after finding it breached numerous provisions in the Australian Consumer Law. The ACCC initiated the proceedings, highlighting the importance of legal compliance for small businesses. This article explores Bloomex’s missteps and the lessons for small businesses in Australia.


In early December 2022, the ACCC launched proceedings in the Federal Court against Bloomex for allegedly posting misleading online star ratings and price representations.

Between February 2019 and March 2023, Bloomex purportedly displayed products for sale on its website with a ‘star rating’ frozen since January 2015. These included customer reviews for products prepared and delivered outside Australia, and ratings from non-Bloomex customers.

Moreover, from February 2019 to November 2022, Bloomex advertised ‘strikethrough’ prices, ‘half price’ or ‘50% off’ discounts for its products on its website, despite rarely selling them at the higher prices. This misled consumers about the actual value of the discounts. The ACCC’s concise statement is available for further reading and can be found here.

Additionally, between August 2022 and March 2023, Bloomex admitted it hadn’t adequately disclosed a surcharge. The price of surcharge applied ranged from $1.95 to $4.95 on orders made through its website.

Federal Court Findings

Bloomex’s admitted conduct was deemed misleading and deceptive, violating sections 18, 29, and 33 of the Australian Consumer Law. Those sections are:

  • Section 18 prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct.
  • Section 29 forbids false or misleading representations regarding the price of goods or services.
  • Section 33 prohibits misleading conduct concerning the supply of goods or services.

Ultimately, Bloomex misled customers by maintaining a static ‘star rating,’ displaying inaccurate prices, and failing to disclose charges properly, creating false impressions about product quality and pricing.

The substantial financial penalty reflects the duration and severity of the misleading conduct.

Lessons Learned

Several lessons for small businesses emerge from these proceedings. Importantly, all businesses should:

  • Ensure that advertised reviews or ratings are current, impartial, and accurately portrayed. They should be published in real time or, at least, updated regularly.
  • Clearly display all charges so customers know what they will pay upfront and before completing transactions. Any additional fees to be added at checkout should be included in the displayed price.
  • Avoid false discounting; advertised strikethrough prices should reflect actual charges.
  • Prioritize legal compliance, where the ACCC will be watching. As emphasized by ACCC commissioner Liz Carver: “The ACCC focuses on investigating manipulative or deceptive advertising and marketing practices in the digital economy, where it is often harder for consumers to verify claims made by businesses”

If you are a small business and would like some assistance with complying with the Australian Consumer Law, please contact us for an obligation-free initial discussion.

Disclaimer: This article contains general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Magnolia Legal disclaims any liability arising from reliance on this article. Our terms of use apply