BBB Tips for Successful Mother’s Day Shopping

May 07, 2012

Mother’s Day is almost here! Whether you are ordering flowers, shopping for jewelry, or arranging day spa appointments for the wonderful women in your life, remember to be a smart consumer. BBB sees lots of scams that focus on holiday shopping and warns consumers to proceed with caution before falling victim to a Mother’s Day vender scam.

BBB urges consumers to take extra precautions when placing online floral orders. “Be sure your online florist is reliable,” says Claire Rosenzweig, CEO and President of the Better Business Bureau Serving Metropolitan New York. “While some people are happy with their online floral purchases, others are disappointed when the flowers arrive late or not at all.” In 2011, more than 96,000 consumers searched for trustworthy florists on Most major floral delivery services are BBB Accredited Businesses, as are more than 500 local florists across the U.S. and Canada.

When buying gifts and shopping online, BBB recommends the following tips:

Do your homework. Before ordering flowers, jewelry or any other gifts for Mother’s Day, check out the company’s BBB Business Review at 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 that 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. 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 information. When it comes to flower delivery, sometimes delivery instructions need to be confirmed or a delivery driver needs additional directions. Making sure the florist has a call-back phone number or your cell phone to help them make sure your mom gets what you expect.

Be aware of special offers. Be sure you understand the terms and conditions regarding special offers, discounts and deals. Always read the fine print for extra charges.