Most recipients of flowers will never tell you they were dissatisfied with the condition of the flowers you sent them, for fear of hurting your feelings. But wouldn’t you want to know if you were being ripped off?
What is a Fake Florist?
A Fake florist is typically an entity that operates on the internet, or advertises in a manner that implies they are local, when in fact they may not even have a physical location, and sometimes even purchase local phone #’s to give they appearance they are local. It is not uncommon for Fake Florists to advertise in such places as the Yellow Pages or Internet Directories and give the impression that they actually deliver flowers locally in a specific area.
What is an Order Skimmer?
Order Skimmers are frequently Fake Florists, or sometimes real florists that operate in an unethical manner. Order skimmers typically use one or more, well known national wire services such as FTD, Teleflora, or 1800flowers to operate. Order skimmers typically focus on gathering flower orders, charging a large or unreasonable service fee (which is typically not disclosed to the customer), and sending the diluted dollar amount to a real local florist, who then receives a discounted order, frequently resulting in a much smaller or cheaper arrangement than what the sender intended or requested.
What is a Direct Shipper?
Direct Shippers are entities that frequently work directly with flower growers or wholesalers, are internet based, and rely on national delivery services such as UPS or FEDEX to deliver their flowers. Direct Shippers are sometimes able to provide flowers at a lower cost claiming to cut out the middle man (the real local florist). It may be true that direct shippers are able to ship fresh flowers but, while those flowers are in transit, they are typically exposed to conditions that drastically reduce their life. These flower packages are frequently shipped with all other types of cargo exposing them to extreme conditions such as freezing temperatures, extremely warm temperatures, no water, and exposure to ethylene gas which contributes to a much shorter vase life.
How do Order Skimmers and Fake Florists operate?
Order Skimmer’s and Fake Florists generally rely on customers to find their phone # or website via advertisements on the internet or publications such as the Yellow Pages. The customer places his order with the company, who then transmits the order through a wire service. The wire service sends the order to a real local florist who delivers the arrangement.
The following example is for demonstration purposes only, and not specific to any particular order gatherer or wire service.
* Customer decides to send a dozen roses for $60
* Customer unknowingly contacts a skimmer and places order. Skimmer deducts $15. Skimmer sends order through a national wire service.
* Wire service receives order, now valued at $45, and sends to a real florist in recipient’s area. Wire Service deducts handling fee of 7%.
* Real local florist receives order now valued at $41.85.
* Real florist deducts a delivery fee which typically ranges from $5-$10, leaving florist with approximately $30 – $35 for the actual flowers
* Recipient ends up with an order that is frequently diluted by as much as 30-50%, or an order that was delivered from a drop shipper and may have suffered temperature extremes or dehydration drastically reducing the vase life of the flowers.
Avoid Fake Florist flower scams! Follow these tips prior to placing your order!
* Ask family or friends for recommendations!
* Deal only with shops that list a real street address with a local phone #
* Ask for directions to the local shop to determine if the shop is indeed “local”
* Ask the flower shop to itemize your charges
* Ask the sending shop to email
you a photo of the actual arrangement
This article and links to other useful sites can be found at Bloom’in Bee’s website.