With so many flower websites out there, how do you know which one will give you the most bang for your buck?
"The biggest companies out there nationally are 1-800-FLOWERS.com, FTD.com Teleflora.com and all these others. AboutYouFlowers, FromYouFlowers, FlowerShopping.com," said Bonnie Hawley of Hawley's Florist.
Many of those big companies aren't florists-- they're wire services that forward your order to local florists for delivery, but don't send along all of your money.
"We get 73 cents on a dollar for anything that comes in for the order and we have to pay for the flowers, the labor, the delivery cost," Hawley said.
According to the Better Business Bureau, complaints about online flower websites are up 67 percent from last year. The biggest complaint? People say what they're seeing online is not what they end up with.
"If the consumers were making a purchase online, the recipient was getting wilted flowers or flowers that weren't up to par. So a lot of people were unhappy with the end result, which is wilted flowers. And for Valentine's Day, that's the last thing you want to send your love," said Paula Fleming of the Better Business Bureau.
For example, one bouquet on Teleflora.com is priced at $51.95. On Hawley's Florist of Rutland's website the exact same bouquet is $59.99. Seems like you should go with the cheaper option, right? Well, not necessarily. First, Teleflora.com is going to charge you an additional $15 service charge, so really you pay $66.95. Then, Teleflora will only send Hawley's 73 percent of that $51.95-- roughly $38-- $20 less than they're charging on their own website. And losing $20 can mean losing quality or quantity of flowers.
"So now we just refuse them, tell them how much we need, and if they want to resend it to us they can, but we're just going to refuse it outright," Hawley said.
But it's not all bad. Hawley says Teleflora.com's prices usually do closely mirror market value and when she requests more money, the company usually sends it along.
"This one is Teleflora and this one is within probably a couple dollars of what it costs us to put together. So that's a fair balance," she said.
And other companies like ProFlowers.com use their own flowers, so what you see on their websites will be what you get.
The Better Business Bureau says the best thing to do is check its website for reviews before placing a pricey order to make sure you'll get what you pay for.
Most florists belong to national networks, so another way to place an out-of-state order is to call your local florist and have them connect you with a florist they work with. You will pay a service charge, but the rest of your money will go toward the flowers.
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