Mother’s Day is right around the corner! If you are ordering flowers, beware of petal pushers! Unscrupulous florists will place fake listings in local phone directories, and when you call you are unknowingly forwarded to an out-of-town telemarketing company. The telemarketer takes your credit card information and forwards your order to an area florist. The telemarketer takes a processing fee, and a percentage of the total order. Later, you realize you were charged more than you had planned, and the flowers are not as ordered – if delivered at all!
Don’t get duped by a petal pusher! Here are some tips from BBB:
- Ask family and friends for referrals to a florist they have used.
- Check to see if a florist is a BBB Accredited Business at www.bbb.org.
- If you find a florist in the phone book, look for a local address, when you call, ask for directions to the store. If they hesitate, hang up!
- Visit the shop. It is a good way to determine the quality of flowers and of the business.
- Ask or a guarantee. Most professional florists should have one.
If you are shopping for something besides flowers - a particular product or service - for a Mother’s Day gift, be a smart consumer. BBB sees a lot of scams that focus on holiday shopping, and warns consumers to proceed with caution - especially when shopping online. BBB recommends the following:
- Do your homework. Before ordering 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.
- 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 the delivery date is specified clearly and guaranteed when you order. If you order ahead of time, delivery and other charges will be less than last-minute or overnight shipping
- 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 information. Sometimes delivery instructions need to be confirmed or a delivery driver needs additional directions.
For more tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org or call 1-800-388-2222.