WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Better Business Bureau is warning the public about ordering a last-minute floral arrangement online and being scammed.
“BBB.org/ScamTracker has received numerous reports from shoppers who turned to online florists for last-minute orders. They paid for a beautiful arrangement but got disappointing flowers – or nothing at all ,” said the BBB.
The BBB says the scam targets anyone who has waited too long to order flowers for that someone special. A local florist can’t guarantee delivery on the desired day, so the customer orders a bouquet that can be delivered at a reasonable price from a website.
From there, the BBB says the scam can take a few different routes.
“From here, the scam can take a few different routes. In most cases, your flowers are delivered but don’t arrive on time, are damaged, and/or look nothing like the picture. Your attempts to get a full or partial refund go unanswered or are flatly refused,” said the BBB. “In other scams, your flowers are never delivered, and the online florist shop becomes unreachable. Other consumers have reported that after paying, they are contacted by the florist shop and forced to upgrade their purchase, paying extra for something they don’t want. Some even report that their card is still charged even after the initial purchase.”
The BBB shared tips on how to avoid being scammed:
Research the seller. Don’t get roped in by flash sales and great deals without homework. Start by checking if the florist is BBB Accredited on BBB.org. BBB Accreditation signifies a commitment to ethical business practices and customer satisfaction.
Read customer reviews. Feedback matters! Look for customer reviews on BBB.org. Read what previous customers say and see how the business handles complaints. Genuine customer experiences can provide insights into the quality of service and products.
Verify the seller’s contact information. Scam florists often use fake addresses or phone numbers. Verify the florist’s physical address and contact information. Legitimate businesses are transparent about their location.
Check for secure websites. Ensure the florist’s website uses secure connections ([https://]https://). Look for security badges and verify the website’s authenticity before providing personal and payment information.
Get to know the business policies. Be wary of exceptionally low prices or deals that seem too good to be true. Review the florist’s pricing structure, understand delivery fees and policies, and read the fine print before making a purchase. Find out the florist’s return policy, whether they have a satisfaction guarantee, how their delivery process works, and what additional fees they charge.
Review the seller’s photos and advertisements. Ensure that the seller uses realistic imagery in their photos. Scam florists may use stock images or misrepresent the quality of their products. Look for realistic and varied arrangements.
Use secure payment methods. Legitimate florists accept secure payment methods, such as credit cards. Credit card payments provide additional protection if you need to dispute charges. Avoid making payments through wire transfers, as these transactions are often associated with scams.
Understand order placement and delivery timelines. Understand the florist’s delivery policies, including estimated delivery times and guarantees. Reputable florists provide clear information on delivery processes and address concerns promptly. Florists may charge extra for quick deliveries or require orders to be placed ahead of time, especially around holidays. If you want your flowers delivered on time, don’t wait until the last minute.
Shop for flowers this year from any of the BBB’s accredited florists.