Local florists warn customers of deceptive flower delivery

PUYALLUP, Wash. - There's a problem blooming among florists and their customers who are getting the short end of the stem.

"Call centers that are representing themselves as a local florists are really taking away from what my customer deserves when they're purchasing flowers," says Puyallup florist Rebecca Richner.

Look online to order flowers and you'll quickly find companies promising deliveries by local florists. What you might not know is that sometimes you're paying out-of-town call centers a service and delivery fee. What's left of the purchase price goes to local florists they contacted to make the arrangements.

Richner says, "If somebody wants a $60 arrangement, they're not going to get a $60 arrangement through a call center." She says florists at the Puyallup shop where she works, Buds and Blooms at South Hill, often supplement the bouquets and eat the cost so that customers aren't upset by the size.

Senate Bill 6103 before state lawmakers would make a law banning floral businesses from misrepresenting or failing to disclose their location. Arlington florist George Boulton testified, "This is deceptive, it's deceiving the customer regardless of the results of the order." Boulton also told lawmakers that florists have all experienced the nightmare of unhappy customers.

Richner says, "We're the ones that take the blame if it's not the right color or wasn't delivered on the right day even though we're doing the job exactly what we were told." She showed a slip from a call center that told the customer one delivery date, and the local florist another.

The call center then asked Buds and Blooms to write an apology card on the flowers telling the customer they're sorry the delivery was intended the day before.

"That makes us look bad and we didn't do anything wrong. They're the ones that broke the promise to the customer," Richner says.

Florists suggest to avoid getting duped on your delivery, ask the business if it's local and ask for the specific address of the storefront. If you're delivering out-of-town, you can ask your local florist to find a florist in that town for you.