Netflorist: the most hated florist on the internet?

If you have ever tried to unsubscribe from Netflorist you will know: it is a never-ending, impossible, nightmare.

Netflorist: the most hated florist on the internet?

Stop dragging your blooming feet Netflorist. No one is making pot pourri. This is final. We want a divorce.

Imagine this. You’re about to go on a date. There is excitement and possibilities in the air. You dress up, you are ready. But your date is late. Not fashionably late. Just sloppy. Still in yesterday’s clothes with a coffee stain from 35 hours ago. And by the way, your date looks nothing like the photo you saw on Tinder. It was all brutally misleading.

But it is 2016. You put your pride in your pocket, go on the date and after a horrible evening you break contact. You ask your date to never contact you again.

Five days later you get another message. You ignore it.
Three months later you get an SMS. You nip it in the bud.
Just before Mother’s Day 2017 you get an e-mail.  You block it.

It’s been more than a year without any contact. You have changed numbers, you have changed e-mail addresses. You think you have finally succeeded. It’s been a journey, certainly no bed or roses.

But then Valentine’s Day 2019 swing by. And you get another message. And it happens again and again. Easter. Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. Women’s Day. Christmas. Your budgie’s birthday. Every time you opt out of the message. Every time you get another one.

How can one decision you made in 2016 still affect you to this date?

The answer is simple. Your 2016 date was with none other than the infamous Netflorist. Congratulations.

The rise of Netflorist

Netflorist is South Africa’s oldest e-commerce company. But the start was not intentional. The business started in 1999 as an accident, as an online test store during a time when e-commerce still sat in the back row in South Africa. And more than two decades later Netflorist has expanded its offering from just flowers to a wider variety of plants, gifts, home-baked goods, and even clothing, receiving 700 000+ orders per year.

However, despite the success, it has not been all sunshine and roses.

Especially for the customers.

Is Netflorist the most hated florist on the internet?

Scenario 1: If you have ever ordered from Netflorist, chances are that you got a few e-mails from them, especially around certain dates.

Scenario 2: If you have ever received a delivery from Netflorist, chances are that it was not the bouquet that was ordered, or that the flowers are anything but fresh.

And here is the clencher, Scenario 3: If you have ever unsubscribed from Netflorist’s e-mails, chances are that – even years later – you are still receiving e-mails. Even after numerous futile attempts to unsubscribe. Even after successful confirmations that you have unsubscribed. Sometimes a year or two will go by with no Netflorist e-mails but then out of the blue it pops up again.

And one would think that when the POPI act – an effort to safeguard people’s personal information – took effect on the 1st of July 2020, that Netflorist would actually take the ‘unsubscribe button’ more seriously. But alas.

Stop dragging your blooming feet. No one is making pot pourri. This is final. We want a divorce.

Netflorist and the POPI Act

Netflorist’s privacy policy is very quirky. Referencing to the POPI Act, they start out stating that “a poppy is not just a flower.”


They say, “You have the right to request that we no longer contact you for the purposes of direct marketing by any form of electronic communication, such as email, SMS or WhatsApp notifications by “opting out” of any direct marketing communications we may send to you.”

Cute. And thank you.

But it seems like one must fight for those rights. Because now it gets interesting. And tedious.

“NetFlorist makes use of multiple sending lists. If you wish to unsubscribe from all e-mails, please ensure that you unsubscribe from each mailing list by clicking ‘Unsubscribe’ at the bottom of each e-mail.”

Okay Netflorist. But how many e-mail lists do you have? If one has ordered flowers for someone in May 2016, why do you only come around with this “birthday e-mail list” (or whatever you call it) again in 2022? Not complaining about not hearing from you between 2017 and 2021. But why?

And yes, sure. One can unsubscribe every single time you receive an e-mail.
And yes, sure.  One can block them.
And yes, sure. One can update your account details and change the e-mail address to and let them spam themselves.

But why is Netflorist making us work so hard?

Let’s get back to Netflorist’s multiple e-mail lists. And bear in mind that you ordered once in 2016. Whether you subscribed or they just added you to the list is a question for another day.
In August the following e-mails landed in the inbox:
– August 8: Women’s Day is in 3, 2..
– August 16: R&R + roses for a special someone?
– August: 24: Aww, ‘I forgive you’ is what they’ll say
– August 31: It’s about time you get the excited for spring

What are these e-mail lists one is presumably subscribed to? There is no pattern in terms of birthdays or Mother’s Day or whatever. Because between Women’s Day and getting excited for spring, no one is saying “Aww, I forgive you” Netflorist!

So upon calling Netflorist, and asking about the different mailing lists, the first response was: “Mailing lists, what do you mean?”.

After being put on hold they confirmed that they have 7 different e-mail lists – apparently addressing reminders, special occasions, etc. – and when one chooses the option to subscribe you automatically opt in for all these lists.

Of course there is no mention of that when you subscribe. It is buried in their Terms and Conditions page. And it has vague written all over it.

netflorist subscribe

Getting back to POPI, the law – not poppy, the flower.

Masthead, is a supplier of risk management services to independent financial advisors and other licensed FSPs, and offers POPI training, implementation, and monitoring. They were so generous as to direct our attention to Section 24 of the POPI Act, Correction of personal information.

Some legal talk following. But if you are still reading it is safe to assume that you are just as fed up with Netflorist.

  1. A data subject may, in the prescribed manner, request a responsible party to—
    a) correct or delete personal information about the data subject in its possession or under its control that is inaccurate, irrelevant, excessive, out of date, incomplete, misleading or obtained unlawfully; or
    b) destroy or delete a record of personal information about the data subject that the responsible party is no longer authorised to retain in terms of section 14.
  2. On receipt of a request in terms of subsection (1) a responsible party must, as soon as reasonably practicable—
    a) correct the information;
    b) destroy or delete the information;
    c) provide the data subject, to his or her satisfaction, with credible evidence in support of the information; or
    d) where agreement cannot be reached between the responsible party and the data subject, and if the data subject so requests, take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances, to attach to the information in such a manner that it will always be read with the information, an indication that a correction of the information has been requested but has not been made.
  3. If the responsible party has taken steps under subsection (2) that result in a change to the information and the changed information has an impact on decisions that have been or will be taken in respect of the data subject in question, the responsible party must, if reasonably practicable, inform each person or body or responsible party to whom the personal information has been disclosed of those steps.
  4. The responsible party must notify a data subject, who has made a request in terms of subsection (1), of the action taken as a result of the request.

We are no lawyers. But this is what we understand.

Consumer = data subject
Netflorist = responsible party

So if we (data subject) unsubscribe from Netflorist (responsible party) we are asking them to destroy/delete our personal information.

Again, we are no lawyers. But when requesting that the responsible party deletes your personal information, it seems like it should apply to the whole of the responsible party – as an organisation – and not separate mailing lists. Right?  

netflorist unsubscribe

Can you please ghost us, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter and Memeburn is filled with Netflorist complaints. 

It goes from noticing an international fee bank charge, to incorrect orders, semi-dead flowers and multiple delivery fees on one order. But the majority of these complaints are from people who have been struggling for years to unsubscribe.

In an East Coast Radio article, Wendy Knowler made contact with the Managing  Director, Ryan Bacher.

He admitted that the company’s email unsubscribe process “isn’t great” and put that down to the company using two systems to send e-mails.

“You can unsubscribe from each of our mailing lists but we have quite a few different ones, which makes this inconvenient for customers. So we are building an interface where you can do all at once or individually.

“We are consolidating all our emails and building a system on our site under ‘Profiles’ where customers can manage all their subscriptions in one place.

“That should be live by the end of September,” Bacher said.

East Coast Radio

We want to say “wake me up when September ends”. But that was 2021.

If you unsubscribe from Netflorist, chances are that you want 0 communication from them.

So please Netflorist, can you hear our desperation, our request, our call and take it to heart that when we say we want to unsubscribe, we want to be unsubscribed from all, forever.

Stop dragging your blooming feet. No one is making pot pourri. This is final. We want a divorce.