BBB Scam Alert: Don’t Let Phony Florists Ruin Valentine’s Day

Ordering flowers for Valentine’s Day? Don’t procrastinate, or you may end up falling for a scam. BBB.org/ScamTracker has received numerous reports from shoppers who turned to online florists for last-minute orders. They paid for a beautiful arrangement but got disappointing flowers – or nothing at all.  

How the scam works 

Unfortunately, you waited too long to order flowers for your special someone, and now your local florist can’t guarantee delivery on a special day. To solve this problem, you turn to the internet. You find a website that promises beautiful flowers delivered on time at a reasonable price. You enter your credit card information and delivery details. Problem solved… or so you think!   

From here, the scam can take a few different routes. In most cases, your flowers are delivered but don’t arrive on time, are damaged, and/or look nothing like the picture. Your attempts to get a full or partial refund go unanswered or are flatly refused. In other scams, your flowers are never delivered, and the online florist shop becomes unreachable. Other consumers have reported that after paying, they are contacted by the florist shop and forced to upgrade their purchase, paying extra for something they don’t want. Some even report that their card is still charged even after the initial purchase. One consumer shared on BBB Scam Tracker, “I selected a bouquet, placed an order using credit card. Flowers never arrived, and have been charged 4 times, 4 days in a row for same amount from same vendor. No response when called phone number.” 

How to avoid online florist scams 

  • Research the seller. Don’t get roped in by flash sales and great deals without homework. Start by checking if the florist is BBB Accredited on BBB.org. BBB Accreditation signifies a commitment to ethical business practices and customer satisfaction.  
  • Read customer reviews. Feedback matters! Look for customer reviews on BBB.org. Read what previous customers say and see how the business handles complaints. Genuine customer experiences can provide insights into the quality of service and products. 
  • Verify the seller’s contact information. Scam florists often use fake addresses or phone numbers. Verify the florist’s physical address and contact information. Legitimate businesses are transparent about their location. 
  • Check for secure websites. Ensure the florist’s website uses secure connections (https://). Look for security badges and verify the website’s authenticity before providing personal and payment information. 
  • Get to know the business policies. Be wary of exceptionally low prices or deals that seem too good to be true. Review the florist’s pricing structure, understand delivery fees and policies, and read the fine print before making a purchase. Find out the florist’s return policy, whether they have a satisfaction guarantee, how their delivery process works, and what additional fees they charge. 
  • Review the seller’s photos and advertisements. Ensure that the seller uses realistic imagery in their photos. Scam florists may use stock images or misrepresent the quality of their products. Look for realistic and varied arrangements.  
  • Use secure payment methods. Legitimate florists accept secure payment methods, such as credit cards. Credit card payments provide additional protection if you need to dispute charges. Avoid making payments through wire transfers, as these transactions are often associated with scams.  
  • Understand order placement and delivery timelines. Understand the florist’s delivery policies, including estimated delivery times and guarantees.Reputable florists provide clear information on delivery processes and address concerns promptly. Florists may charge extra for quick deliveries or require orders to be placed ahead of time, especially around holidays. If you want your flowers delivered on time, don’t wait until the last minute.  

By considering these tips and opting for BBB Accredited florists, confidently send flowers and celebrate special moments without falling victim to online florist scams. The BBB remains dedicated to fostering a marketplace where consumers can trust the businesses they choose. 

For more information 

To learn more, read the BBB Tip: Choosing a Florist. You can also learn some practical tips to avoid scams in general by visiting BBB.org/ScamTips. For safe online shopping tips, visit BBB’s Online Shopping HQ

If you’ve been the victim of a scam when you made an online purchase, please report it at BBB Scam Tracker. Your report can help expose scammers’ tactics and prevent others from having a similar experience. 

About BBB Midwest Plains 

Better Business Bureau of the Midwest Plains is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit organization, dedicated to serving over 300 counties across Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota. Headquartered in Omaha, it also has offices in Kansas City, MO, Lincoln, NE, and Sioux Falls, SD. BBB sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Its consumer services are offered at no cost, providing objective advice through a comprehensive directory of over 5.3 million companies and 11,000 charity reviews. BBB offers dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit BBBinc.org for more information.