5 On Your Side

Last-minute flowers for mom? Flower services can wilt under high demand

Posted May 6, 2016
Updated May 9, 2016

Refunds available if mom's flowers aren't perfect

People spend more on flowers for Mother’s Day than they do for Valentine’s Day.

Estimates put the number at nearly $2.5 billion, and many of those orders will be made online.

A Mother’s Day bouquet should be perfect, but holiday orders put a strain on florists, which can impact the quality of the arrangement. So, Consumer Reports ordered a variety of colored, long-stemmed roses near a high-stress time: Valentine’s Day.

They ordered from three popular online florists: ProFlowers, FTD, and 1-800 Flowers. When the flowers arrived, FTD came closest to what was ordered. Editors say 1-800-Flowers arrangements were fine, but they weren't as "wowed" by them.

The disappointment came with boxed roses from ProFlowers—they flopped out of their protective plastic collar, and all but five of the stems were broken.

A Consumer Reports editor called ProFlowers, without revealing her identity and received a fresh bouquet the next day.

Later, ProFlowers gave Consumer Reports a statement that said in part: “....we believe the damage occurred somewhere in transit between the farms ... and your doorstep.”

"If at any time any ProFlowers customer is not satisfied with their purchase, we hope to be given the opportunity to make it right," the company's statement read. "Our customer service team is standing by 365 days a year to assist our customers with their questions or to quickly address any issues if their expectations are not met."

So, if the flowers are not satisfactory, all three sites offer a refund or a replacement.

Consumer Reports also says to pay attention to shipping costs.

“You won’t see this charge until you’re checking out," said Mandy Walker, Consumer Reports money editor. "We paid between $13 and $19 per bouquet for shipping.”

Another surprise came when editors took their time to decide.

“We noticed that as we clicked around the three sites, the prices either began to drop or we were offered discount coupons," Walker said. "So, taking your time can really pay off.”

Since it's already down to the wire, delivery costs typically escalate as the holiday approaches. By sending flowers early, buyers can save money and brighten Mom's day sooner.

Once the flowers arrive, the best way to keep them fresh is to snip a half-inch at an angle from the bottom with sharp scissors and get them into room-temperature water immediately. Use the flower food that’s included. Also, remove any leaves below water level.


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