Internet message boards have been humming with speculation over the past few days that online currency company Flooz.com is going out of business.
As of Friday, Flooz itself had left no clear signal of its status and has made itself unavailable for response to any inquiry.
The company took its Web site offline Wednesday and posted a message reading: “We are currently unable to process your transaction. Check back for further updates. We apologize for this inconvenience.”
Adding fuel to the speculation that Flooz has gone under without notifying shoppers is the fact that sites around the Web — including Ashford.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Outpost.com and Tower Records — have stopped accepting Flooz as a payment method.
Alerting Shops, Not Shoppers
“They notified us Wednesday that they were suspending all transactions and we took it down,” Ashford.com spokesperson Kim Richard told the E-Commerce Times.
“We have taken Flooz off our site,” Barnesandnoble.com spokesperson Carolyn Brown told the E-Commerce Times. “They are having problems and it’s in the best interest of our customers to take it down. I’m not exactly sure what kind of problems.”
Flooz, which was endorsed by actor/comedian Whoopi Goldberg, allowed consumers to purchase Flooz currency for themselves or gifts and use it like money at sites that accepted Flooz. Some sites, such as American Greetings, also offered Flooz as rewards for frequent buyers.
Calls to Flooz’ toll-free number by the E-Commerce Times were greeted with a message that the number was invalid, and Flooz responded to an e-mail request for information with an auto-response reply suggesting the use of the site’s “Live Chat” feature to chat with a customer service representative.
However, the “Live Chat” feature, along with the rest of the Flooz site, was still disabled as of Friday morning.
“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you may have experienced with Flooz,” the company told customers who e-mailed the company Thursday requesting more information. “Please note that, since we are presently updating our site, you will not be able to access our website. We suggest that you visit our website www.flooz.com later for further updates.”
Customers trying to use Flooz at sites around the Web have repeatedly been told that Flooz is no longer an acceptable form of currency. One message poster at MyCoupons.com wrote that she was told that Outpost.com was no longer accepting Flooz “because Flooz wouldn’t pay them.”
Other would-be Flooz users who contacted e-tailers to ask why Flooz was no longer being accepted were told variously that the company was going out of business or had been sold.
One poster who had attempted to pay for an order at Dick’s Sporting Goods was told, “We have been unable to successfully contact Flooz.com over the past 24 hours due to technical/corporate difficulties on the Flooz Web site. Unfortunately, we cannot fulfill your order due to these circumstances.”
Grasping for Answers
When the E-Commerce Times called the Tower Records customer service line, a representative said that Flooz was no longer an option because “I believe they are going out of business.”
However, signs of hope came from ProFlowers. A MyCoupons poster who contacted ProFlowers was told, “Flooz is currently merging with another company and has suspended any transactions for this time. We have not been informed when this service will again be available.”
MyCoupons.com posters with Flooz left in their accounts expressed outrage at Flooz’ business tactics.
“What a lousy way to do things,” one poster wrote. “No warning, no chance to spend any of it.”
Said another: “Who knows. I’m so upset. I called them when I heard the rumors last month and they flat out told me it wasn’t true, I could put my trust in their company, and Flooz was going to be around for a very long time.”
Other posters seem to have seen the writing on the wall.
“Flooz has been on its deathbed for quite some time and I, for one, have made sure to not keep a dime in my account for fear this would happen,” a poster wrote. “Maybe they are merging, maybe they are gone, maybe it’s a system problem, but to ‘shut down’ in this fashion for any reason is unacceptable to those who had balances and have purchases to make.”
I AM burning mad! My best friend gave me Flooz for my bithday and now I cannot spend it! I sent an e-mail with no response! They have stolen my friend’s money, what AM I to do? I do not want to tell her for fear she will send me another gift and she cannot afford to do that!! What recourse do I have? Isn’t it illegal to take her money like that? Help!
I agree with you, Aimee. I purchased an engagement present from flooz. Even though I told her she better use it just in case the web site went out of business, they did not use the gift. I have also sent an email to flooz with no response. This seems to be a form of embezzlement. Flooz did not give their customers any warning of them shutting down the site-no opportunity of using the gift. This is such bad business and in return, damming the future of internet business for those who trusted online shopping and business.
I was one of the many people who were burned by this untimely shut down. I had bought 2 birthday cards on July 26th with Flooz attached and only 1 was able to be accessed (but not spent) before the shut down. I was advised to dispute my credit card charges, but unfortunately I paid with my debit card. The charges came directly out of my checking account and, as far as I know, I have no legal recourse. If anyone finds out what I can do to get my money back, please let me know.
Hi Aimiee: I know exactly what you mean. A dear friend gave me a flooz for christmas. I really don’t want to tell him either. He is mad at me right now, and really don’t want to tell him, but I feel I should because they stole the money from him. As someone else said “internet fraud”. The only thing that I can say is I was so surprised about the Christmas gift, that was enough for me. It was the thought that counts. I was waiting to use it for something special. I guess I waited to long. DR
you people are all stupid
i’ve had flooz for over a year and have spent
they went out of biz cuz some people hacked into the system and "bought" over $300,000 worth of merchandise without any money
can your business stay afloat with that kind of hit??
I had $ in my account. My address has changed. Is there a way to figure out what they owe me? Is anybody in charge of this? How do I file a complaint? Thanks for any information.
While I agree that Flooz is behaving poorly, I do not agree with your saying that this will affect people’s trust in online shopping.
There is no difference between poor customer service offline or online.
People will keep using the net. If they don’t like the service in one place, they will simply move to another.
I had the same problem here. I actually sent the flooz the same day they shut down. My friend didn’t even receive an email, but I was immediately charged on my card. Anyone know how I can get my money back?
Dunno if this helps much, but in Europe schemes such as Flooz are illegal. They constitute a “Deposit Taking Business” and can only be operated by registered and regulated banks.
If they can be seen to be trading in Europe, they could be prosecuted through a local court.
Flooz did NOT go out of business because someone hacked into their system. There are no public statements or news releases to varify this. Flooz.com went out of business because they had a poor business model, mismanagement and they simply ran out of resources, venture capitalists who were interested in contributing money and money in general. Duh!!! That’s why all these .com’s go out of business. Flooz was NEVER hacked. They were just poorly managed. For the record, and I don’t necessarily agree with this, the law states that a company has no obligation to pay debts of any kind after they file Chapter 11. They do not have to refund money on any level. There are lawsuits that are still in the courts today, and none of the money that was given to Flooz in good faith by customers and investors has been returned. This is the nature of a capitalist society. Companies have more rights than the general public. In rare cases you are entitled to refunds, and contacting your credit card company or bank is a good place to start. You can dispute a charge up to one year after the incident.
for one flooz was a weak service to begin with.. but one good thing came out of that lame service… free stuff.. i hit them so hard they went bankrupt.. LMFAO
I’m glad I heeded the warnings on DealHunting.com before Flooz went away. I’d read on the DH forums that Outpost had dropped them, and took that as a warning sign that they were teetering on collapse, and used up my Flooz about 2 days before they pulled the plug.