Finding a reputable florist with help from your BBB

Flowers are a fitting gift for any occasion. Valentine’s Day is a busy time for florists, so if you plan on purchasing flowers for your loved one, it’s important to know you’ve chosen a reputable business. Most florists feature online and over-the-phone ordering for flowers, as well as in-person ordering, to make your purchase a breeze.

Turning to online retailers is becoming a popular way to shop for flowers due to its convenience. Online florists are a great option, but they come with some risk. Better Business Bureau warns of the importance of knowing the signs of a scam before you’re ripped off. Look out for red flags, including too-good-too-be-true deals, shady websites and untrustworthy retailers. If you suspect you’ve fallen victim to a scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker at www.bbb.org/scamtracker.

BBB offers help in finding a trustworthy florist:

• Do your homework. Ask friends or family for recommendations of florists they’ve used. Also, visit bbb.org or call 937-222-5825 or 800-776-5301 for a list of reputable and reliable florists and Business Profiles on ones you’re considering.

• Determine your budget. Florists will need to know it when you order.

• Decide if you want to pick up your order in person or purchase by phone or online.

• Make sure the florist has a physical location and phone number in the area you’re sending flowers to when ordering online.

• Always order ahead to allow enough time for processing and delivery. Make sure your preferred delivery date is specified clearly and guaranteed when you order.

• Make sure the business has your information. When it comes to flower and gift delivery, there are times when delivery instructions need to be confirmed or a delivery driver needs additional directions.

• Use a credit card to make your purchase. You can offer yourself protections, such as the ability to dispute a charge, when using a credit card. Paying with cash doesn’t offer you the same protection.

• Track your purchase. Sign up for delivery confirmation updates to make sure your delivery gets to where it needs to be. Some florists may even offer online tracking.

• Be aware of third-party involvement. Some florists may use a third party for delivery or transport, especially if it’s a busy time of the year.

• Focus on customer service and style. You want a florist who is friendly and creative.

• Understand promotions and deals. Most have terms and conditions, so check that you’re getting the savings you expect. Also, be aware of hidden costs. Look for added fees like shipping, handling and delivery, as these can add up fast.

• Keep your receipt and any paperwork. Plus, know the florists policies regarding late deliver, damaged flowers or failure for flowers to arrive at all.

Valentine’s Day can be a stressful time, but buying flowers doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re shopping locally or online, be sure you’re dealing with a trustworthy and reliable business. Shop smart with BBB’s help this Valentine’s Day.

By John North

Better Business Bureau

The writer is the president and CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Dayton and Miami Valley.