Cyber Florists: Do You Know Where Your Delivery Is Coming From?

The cyber florist industry is impacting more than just the average consumer, but local flower shops too.

More and more people are turning to flowers for Mother’s Day or any other occasion, but as more of the industry goes online it may not be clear exactly where those flowers are coming from or what you’re going to get.

Brandon Patrick of Killingworth surprised his wife with the “My Sun, Moon and Stars” bouquet from Avas flowers. But what was delivered instead, was an even bigger surprise. He thought they were delivered from a Hamden florist.

“She was thrilled. Then, she sent me a text with a picture of the flowers thanking me,” said Brandon Patrick.”

On Avas’ website, the arrangement was supposed to include: white lilies, yellow roses, and purple miniature daisies.

Patrick said his wife received pink, white, and yellow roses with pink daisies and came in a different colored vase.

“It kind of quite frankly looked like somebody grabbed some flowers through it in a vase that they had and just delivered them.”

In response to his complaint, Avas flowers acknowledged another local florist filled the order and apologized stating:

“There are issues that we have had with them that have been addressed and dealt with.”

Avas issued a $20 store credit to Patrick’s account for any further purchases.

The cyber florist industry is impacting more than just the average consumer, but local flower shops too.

Stephanie Fusco, owner of Terri’s flower shop in Naugatuck is feeling the brunt.

“I’ve received some phone calls of people calling asking where their flowers are? Why they haven’t been delivered? I received some phone calls from people saying something didn’t look very nice,” Fusco said.

After looking up the orders, Stephanie found out the orders didn’t exist or come from her shop. But addresses of other flower shops claiming to be local but not actually located Naugatuck.

“It’s just wrong,” said Fusco.

Our investigation revealed that Teri’s flower shop is the only florist physically located in Naugatuck. But when you google Naugatuck florists, two other businesses pop up.

An address listed at 175 Church St. which is an office building with multiple businesses. The other one at 26 Church St. is a beauty salon. Neither of them affiliated with a flower shop.

We called both businesses who told NBC Connecticut Responds that they are located in Hamden.

The man who answered the phone at the flower shop listed at 175 Church St. claimed that was the wrong website address and he needed to change it.

NBC Connecticut Responds also with a woman whose shop was listed at 26 Church St. She said they closed the location to do building work.

Lora Rae Anderson with the Department of Consumer Protection says buyers should beware:

“Make sure you go right to that company’s website, call their number, and check out their email and contact them based on that information. Instead of the information that you see pop up Google,” Anderson said.

Anderson said if there are too many options and you’re not sure whether the storefront is real or fake, ask around.

“You can usually pretty quickly figure out who’s legitimate and who’s not,” said Anderson.

The Society of American Florist told NBC Connecticut Responds:

“There is an issue of deceptive listings where companies list themselves under a variety of fictitious florist names with a local phone number.”

Here’s what people should keep in mind when buying flowers:

-Don’t wait until the last minute, especially around holidays like Mother’s day.

-If you do go the online route, see if the flowers come from a central warehouse or if the company contracts with a local florist.

-Have reasonable expectations. The bouquet probably won’t look exactly like the one in the photo, but it should be pretty close.

-If it’s not, let the company know. Many florists will offer to replace it free of charge.

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