Floral Tribute

I tried to order some flowers online a few days ago. We tried several different sites, from the big boys (proflowers.com, FTD.com) to a couple of smaller players. It was an interesting experience.

Many of the websites were quite badly designed, some had a habit of forgetting all the details that you had just typed in if you went back to change anything. But those were relatively minor gripes.

What really annoyed me, however, was the way that all of them sneakily hid the delivery and handling fees until late in the process. One successfully hid a $15 delivery fee until the very last screen before placing the order, presumably in the hope that the customer would not be paying attention and would blindly click “submit order”. NEXT!

Perhaps the scariest example was FTD. They used this graphic on their page, which looks like they are offering “free shipping or no service fees”.

On further investigation they wanted you to take out an “FTD Gold” Membership at $30 a year. The fact that this is one of those “auto-renew subscription” deals is a red flag for me. Nothing illegal here, but very, very sneaky. NEXT!

Proflowers added TWO delivery fees, a “care and handling” fee and tax, turning a $30 order into $52. NEXT!

And so it went on… here is my advice if you are purchasing flowers online:

  • Don’t bother creating an account – you may not be completing the order. Once you know you can trust them, go ahead and create one if you want.
  • Never assume anything: As we have seen from FTD, they will use phrasing to suggest that something is free when it isn’t.
  • Watch for the upsell: Sometimes they have a choice of three sizes, and “accidentally” select a larger size than the one you selected.
  • Triple-check before submitting the order – just in case a charge (or two… or three!) somehow sneaked into the order.
  • Don’t reward bad behavior: You my be tempted to just pay the charges and get it over. Don’t do it. Once they know the order and the delivery address, they have enough information to tell you the delivery charge. If they try to surprise you with a “Gotcha!”, give them a “Gotcha!” of your own – take your business elsewhere.
  • And finally… Check your e-mail: Sometimes one of these outfits will notice that you left without ordering and will offer to waive the shipping fee. This is what happened to us, and they got the business.

The winner was fromyouflowers. The flowers arrived on time and they were lovely. they have my recommendation and I will be using their services again.

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