Don't get ripped off on your Valentine's Day flowers

Valentine's Day is a week away, and now is the time to start planning to make sure you get the most for your money.

Every year I get several complaints the day after Valentine's Day that involves flower orders. Some viewers tell me their sweetheart didn't get the flowers they sent, others complaint the flowers are nothing like they expected when they placed the order.

You want to make sure the business you're ordering through will get those flowers delivered and not just take your money. Alyssa Gutierrez with the BBB of Eastern North Carolina says research is key, "Take a little bit of time. Know what's good, know what's bad and know what kind of risk you are taking with what type of company you are dealing with."

Gutierrez suggests not just looking at the reviews on flower company's website, do further research and make sure the reviews are verified.

It's best if you order early and allow enough time for shipping. Before you pay, make sure you ask if there is a guaranteed delivery date and time. Ask about their policy as to what happens if they can't make the delivery as promised. If you can, pay with a credit card so you can dispute the charge if there is a problem with the flower order.

While ordering online is convenient and quick, it doesn't always mean what you pay, will all go toward the flowers. Often that online order will eventually go to a local florist. Larry Wood with Ninth Street Flowers explains, "There's a skimming between the fees and percentage they take off of the product. The local florist that eventually gets that order is given about 65 to 70 percent of what they spent. If they think they've spent $100, I might get $65, well I'm doing it based off what $65 looks like."

Wood adds just because the picture online looks full and with specific flowers, the small print online allows for substitutions. Larry offers this advice if you want to guarantee the flowers you order are made from a local florist, "Search the word florist with the zip code you're trying to have the flowers delivered to and skip down to where you get the organic search results and usually you can find someone who is local. You can ask what's fresh, what's available, and you're going to get someone who gets something in more recently, and you're going to get full value."

You can also save on delivery fees, by ordering from a local florist and picking the flowers up yourself, or of course, several grocery stores are also offering deals. If you do order online, make sure you read how it will be delivered, some of these big online companies flowers are shipped in a box, and the person getting the flowers will have to have a vase and arrange them, so just be aware of that.
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