UPDATE 7:00Ppm EST. July, 23, 2012 — This story has been seen by over 15,000 pet parents and concerned members of the pet community, and after 1-800-Flowers came under public attack for their actions towards Ashley Owen Hill and Lucky Dog Rescue.
On Sunday afternoon, 1-800-Flowers refused to respond to the public outcry that came through via their Facebook page and were deleting all comments related to the story. They had since come forward with a statement (after their story had gone viral via Dog Files, Blog Four Paws, Reddit, Facebook and Twitter, and the petition on Change.org had 400+ signatures in under 24 hours) saying:
At 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, we pride ourselves on offering creative and engaging contests for our customers. We apologize that there has been a misunderstanding about the prize fulfillment regarding our recent There’s a New Bunny In Town. We are looking into the matter immediately and we promise to follow up with the winner to ensure the prize is fulfilled appropriately.
As of 5:30pm EST, Mississippi news station WTOK 11, released a statement saying they had gotten in touch with a 1-800-Flowers PR Representative Yanique Woodall and she has confirmed that the company has donated a 2-year supply of dog food to Lucky Dog Rescue.
This story will continue to be updated as information is received.
Thanks for your help in rectifying the situation for Lucky Dog Rescue. The web can be an incredible force for good!
In April, 1-800-Flowers.com hosted a contest called “There’s a New Bunny in Town” Photo contest, where participants shared a picture of their pet with a pair of bunny ears and enter the photo for a chance to win a grand prize of: 1 Year of pet food from Wag.com, a year’s supply of assorted products for dogs and dog lovers from Planet Dog and a $150 Savings Pass from 1800Flowers.com.
Maria Mandel, who has an amazing service dog named Stacey Mae (Stacey has 18,000+ fans on Facebook) entered the contest on behalf of our friends at Lucky Dog Rescue. Then, she promoted the contest on Facebook begging others to vote for Stacey’s photo… so that she could donate the winnings to Lucky Dog Rescue.
Thousands of votes later Maria won the contest, on behalf of Lucky Dog Rescue. When 1-800-flowers contacted her for an address to send the winnings, she gave them Lucky Dog’s address.
Days, weeks and months passed, but Lucky Dog rescue still had no dog food. Maria then reached out to the company for more info, but she never heard back from them. So one day, Ashley Owen Hill, the Founder of Lucky Dog Rescue contacted 1-800-Flowers to find out what happened to the food for her rescue dogs.
Ashley’s attempt to contact someone who could giver her some answers proved to be quite a battle; she contacted representatives who had no idea the contest ever took place, laughed and told her that they were a flower company and that ‘they didn’t do dog food’ and that she was ‘clearly misinformed.’ Ashley continued to be transferred and redirected to no one who was willing or able to help her.
One of the last representatives she spoke with offered to take her number with the promise of a call back; when he did call back- the representative acknowledged the contest and that Maria Mandel was the winner. However, the representative informed her that the prize was “non-transferrable” and by Maria requesting that the food be shipped to Lucky Dog rescue it made the winnings null and void.
When 1-800-Flowers posted the contest it stated: ‘No clear Official Rules, Entry Frequency, Country Restriction, or Age Requirement’ and when Ashley told that to the representative He responded: “I’m sorry if the rules weren’t clearly stated, ma’am”; Ashley proceeded to ask him how can there be rules if non are stated, and if the company was clearly intent on not honoring the promised winnings for someone who entered the contest from the start advertising that she was going to give her winnings to an animal charity- she got a ‘yes ma’am’ in response.
At that time Ms.Owen Hill asked if she could please speak with someone else, since she felt that speaking with this representative was not going to assist her in getting any answers. The representative did not give her any phone numbers- but gave her email addresses, which she has since written to several times and has gotten zero responses.
Thousands of people, many of which who voted in the contest, have tried to contact 1-800-Flowers in response to this outcome. Any/all Facebook comments are deleted and no e-mails or phone calls are returned.
Members of the pet community are not taking it lightly: Ashley Owen Hill has posted a note to Facebook that has been shared close to 900 times, PetsAdviser has also written a story about it- encouraging anyone who is upset to log their complaints on the 1-800-Flowers Website.
I personally have reached out to Lucky Dog Rescue, offering a package I intended to give away here on Blog Four Paws, consisting of several bags of treats as well as some wet and dry dog food. I am also reaching out to media stations in the Mississippi area and sharing this story with them, in hopes that 1-800Flowers (a company that made $700 million in revenue in 2009) will come forward and give all of us the answers we are looking for.
Find Lucky Dog Rescue on Facebook