BBB: Beware ‘Petal Pushers’ on Valentine’s Day

Flowers and Diamonds...It Must Be Valentine's Day_-8949613305650132150

The day set aside for lovers is also an opportunity for scammers according to the Rockford Better Business Bureau.

In 2015, the BBB reports that consumers spent nearly $19 billion dollars on gifts for their loved ones for Valentine’s Day, primarily flowers, and the number one complaint has to do with quality of the delivery of flowers. 

“Every year, after the fact, the BBB receives complaints from consumers that the flowers they purchased were DOA, or the arrangement never arrived,” says Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau. “Those problems may be avoided by placing your orders early”.

Horton says scams are a problem too.  He explains that, “Because of the amount of money that consumers are expected to spend this Valentine’s Day you can be certain that scammers and unscrupulous businesses will also be looking to benefit.” In fact he says, “The Federal Trade Commission even has a name for unscrupulous online florists – petal pushers.”

‘Petal pushers’ are disreputable businesses that sometimes place fake listings in local phone directories, making it appear as though they are a local shop. Consumers who call their number are unknowingly forwarded to an out-of-town telemarketing operation. That means an extra processing fee, since this third party in the transaction requires compensation.  The telemarketer takes your order and forwards to a local florist, leading to extra charges and potentially no delivery at all.

The BBB offers the following tips:

  • Do your homework. Before ordering flowers, chocolates or any other gifts for Valentine’s Day check out the company’s Business Review on <> in order to help prevent disappointment with the product or customer service.
  • Review your order. Discuss the description of the floral arrangement or any other gift you are purchasing online or in your conversation with the florist or sales person. Make sure that your order is clear and detailed. Review the guarantee on the site or with the salesperson.
  • Allow time for shipping. Check with the retailer or check the Web site to make sure that you have allowed enough time for delivery by your specified date. Make sure that this date is specified clearly and guaranteed when you order.
  • Be wary of any email received from an unknown sender. Do not open any unsolicited email and do not click on any links provided. Fake e-cards coming from scammers/hackers may send you an infected card or send you to a link where you are going to compromise your computer’s safety.

For more information on online safety, visit the regional BBB site here.

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