It’s almost Mother’s Day! Whether you are ordering flowers, shopping for custom jewelry or arranging for a special spa day for the wonderful women in your life, be a smart consumer. BBB sees lots of scams that focus on holiday shopping, and is warning consumers to proceed with caution before falling victim to a Mother’s Day vender scam, especially when shopping online.
BBB urges consumers to take precaution with placing floral orders, especially online. “Not all online florists are the same,” says Warren King, President of the Better Business Bureau of Western PA. “While some people are extremely happy with their online floral purchases, others find themselves disappointed when the flowers don’t arrive on time or don’t arrive at all.”
In 2011, more than 96,000 consumers searched for trustworthy florists on www.bbb.org. Many major floral delivery services are BBB Accredited Businesses, as are more than 500 local florists across the U.S. and Canada. When finalizing gifts and shopping online, BBB recommends adhering to the following:
Do your homework. Before ordering flowers, jewelry or any other gifts for Mother’s Day, check out the company’s BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org. This is a great way to help prevent disappointment with the product or customer service. You should also ask for recommendations from trusted family and friends. Deal only with companies that list a verifiable street address with their phone number.
Allow time for shipping and delivery. Check with the retailer or website to be certain that you have allowed enough time for delivery. Make sure that this date is specified clearly and is guaranteed when you order. If you order ahead of time, delivery and other charges will be less than last-minute or overnight shipping. Some florists offer discounts for deliveries a couple of days before a major holiday, since that helps them deal with the rush.
Have a back-up plan. Make sure you understand the store's guarantee. Find out how customer complaints are handled and what recourse you will have if the arrangement is not satisfactory. It’s best to use a credit card when ordering online because you can dispute charges, if the vendor doesn’t come through. Charges made on a debit card are the same as cash and you have no recourse through your bank if there is a problem.
Make sure the business has your correct information. When it comes to flower delivery, there are times when delivery instructions need to be confirmed or a delivery driver needs additional directions. Make sure the florist has an accurate call-back phone number to help ensure your mom gets what you expect. Don’t forget to ask for a written receipt for the order you place, including the price, what was ordered, time of delivery and location.
Your BBB encourages you to make educated and informed buying decisions this Mother’s Day. For more tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org.
About the BBB System
BBB is an unbiased organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 116 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about the BBB System.