Planning to buy flowers for your special someone this Valentine's Day? If you're buying online, consumer advocates say you really need to do your homework before making the purchase.
The Better Business Bureau says it has received a substantial increase in complaints about online flower sellers from 2010 to 2011. Many complaints focused on the condition of the flowers that arrived, broken vases, different flowers than the photographed advertisement, and late deliveries.
The BBB advises to pay careful attention to the options offered, such as size of arrangement, color of flowers, color of vase, delivery in box or vase, and the inclusion of an enclosure or giftcard. Some online companies contract with local florists for a discounted rate, so the quality of flowers could be less than what you'd receive if you went into the brick and mortar store. Other online stores ship the flowers already boxed, so depending on the length of time it takes to ship them, the flowers could arrive wilted instead of blooming.
Personally, I've received on different occasions (from different companies) flowers that were dead on arrival. I've also received vases that were shattered when I opened the box. In the instance of the shattered vase, the company tried three times to replace the vase and each time, it arrived broken. I finally called and told them there was no sense in attempting to send it again -- clearly there was a defect in their product.
The takeaway here is to read the fine print and be aware of all the hidden fees (you know, the ones that appear right before you checkout!), save the stock photo of the bouquet you purchased just in case there's a discrepancy, and don't be shy about communicating with the flower recipient to make sure the arrangement that arrived is the one you intended to send. Afterall, it's your money!
Have you ever sent or received faulty flowers from an online dealer? Let me know! Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or post on my KVUE Facebook page.