BBB: Mother’s Day Gifts & Flowers

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(KTVI) - Flowers are a popular gift for Mother’s Day, especially from sons and daughters who live out of town. But how can you be sure the flowers you order will be as fresh and beautiful as the bouquets you see on a website or even in your local flower shop?

“A gorgeous bouquet or potted plant can be a great gift, especially for mothers who love flowers or those who like to garden,” said Michelle L. Corey, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau in St. Louis. “But flowers that are past their prime or that don’t arrive on time can be a huge disappointment to both the sender and the recipient. The BBB can help you find florists who want to please you and your mom, too.”

BBB Business Reviews can tell consumers whether a florist has complaints and, if so, how the complaints were handled. The reviews also give background information, such as the owner’s name, how long a florist has been in business and other details like phone numbers, websites and more.  Call 314-645-3300 or visit www.bbb.org for a review.

Last year, the BBB received more than 3,900 complaints against florists. Many of the complaints were about flowers that were late, the wrong kind or that were never delivered at all.

When looking to find a florist, whether online or in person, make sure you’re dealing with a reputable business that can fulfill your order promptly.

The BBB has the following tips for consumers who buy flowers:

  • Ask about guarantees. Request a written receipt for the order and ask about the business's refund policy if the delivery is late, never arrives or is in bad condition.
  • Make sure the florist knows how to reach you. Delivery instructions may need to be confirmed or a driver may need additional directions. Check to see that the flowers can still be delivered at a time when the recipient is home.
  • Research florists. Check out a florist's BBB Business Review to see any history of complaints and additional details about the company. Ask friends and family which florist they recommend.
  • Allow time for shipping and delivery. Check with the florist or website to be certain that you have allowed enough time for delivery. Make sure that this date is specified clearly and guaranteed when you order. If you order ahead of time, delivery and other charges will be less than last-minute or overnight shipping. Some florists offer discounts for deliveries a day or two before a major holiday, since that helps them deal with the rush.
  • Have a back-up plan. Make sure you understand the store’s guarantee. Find out how customer complaints are handled and what recourse you will have if the arrangement is not satisfactory. It’s best to use a credit card when ordering online, because you can dispute charges if the vendor doesn’t come through.

Consumers can learn how to protect themselves or find BBB Business Reviews and charity reviews by calling (314) 645-3300 or by going online to www.bbb.org.

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 Shopping Online For Mother’s Day?
Beware Of Phishing Scams Disguised As Gift Sources

With Mother’s Day coming up – and Father’s Day not far behind – many consumers will turn to the Internet to find great gifts for mom or dad. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reminds consumers that some sites offering deeply discounted gifts are actually schemes to steal credit-card numbers or other personal information.

Some scammers send emails reminding people that the holiday is coming and suggesting a possible gift, such as cut-rate flowers, jewelry, shoes or designer clothing for moms. For dads, they may offer sports cars, gourmet hamburgers or golf accessories, for example.

While there are certainly many legitimate shopping sites online, scammers also lurk, ready to steal your credit card number and with no intention of delivering the goods. These scams are known as phishing because the scammers are “fishing” for unwary consumers who might give away sensitive personal information.

“Online shopping is so popular that it’s easy to let down your guard,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB President and CEO. “But consumers need to be sure they’re dealing with a legitimate site. Otherwise, they may end up buying trouble rather than a gift.”

Consumers should be wary of offers that are too good to be true, such as gifts that are being sold at discounts of 50 percent or more. Look out for spelling or grammar errors in the email, and check the email address that the offer is coming from to make sure it matches the name of the business that is allegedly offering the deal.

If you aren’t familiar with the site offering the gift, check the company’s BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.

The BBB has the following tips to avoid phishing schemes:

  • Don’t trust unsolicited emails, even if they appear to be from familiar businesses or agencies.  If you’re concerned about the validity of an email, contact the business or agency directly by phone or through its website to ask about the offer.
  • Don’t open any attachments in suspicious emails and don’t click on any links or give any personal information unless you are confident where it is going. If you have concerns, run your cursor over a link (but don’t click it) to determine if the actual link is the same as the one shown.
  • Delete any suspicious email from your inbox and from your trash or recycling folder.
  • Don’t give your Social Security number, bank account number or any other personal information to unfamiliar persons contacting you by phone or by mail.
  • Be wary of misspellings, poor English, lots of capital letters or other signs that the person or persons contacting you may not be legitimate.

Consumers can learn how to protect themselves or find BBB Business Reviews and charity reviews by calling (314) 645-3300 or by going online to www.bbb.org.