It’s almost Mother’s Day! Whether you are ordering flowers, shopping for custom jewelry, or arranging for a special spa day appointments 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 vendor scam, especially when shopping online.
BBB urges consumers to take extra precaution when placing floral orders, especially online. “Not all online florists are the same,” says John Paschall, President/CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Southeast Texas. “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 2012, more than 96,000 consumers searched for trustworthy florists on www.bbb.org. Most 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.
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 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, there are times when delivery instructions need to be confirmed or a delivery driver needs additional directions. Make sure the florist has a call-back phone number or your cell phone to help them make sure the delivery is made without a hitch.
For more tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org. In Southeast Texas, call 409/835-5348 or 855/BBB-SETX.