5 On Your Side

Online florists often don't deliver what's advertised

Posted February 9, 2011 4:03 p.m. EST
Updated February 9, 2011 6:11 p.m. EST

Ordering Valentine's Day flowers online – sight unseen – raises questions: Will you get what you paid for? Will the arrangement look like the pictures shown online?

To find out, CBS News placed online orders with three florists: 1800Flowers.com, FloristExpress.net and a local New York City flower shop. Expert flower designer Michael Gaffney compared the flowers that were delivered to CBS with their ads.

Gaffney concluded that most of the arrangements did not deliver on design or value. He questioned whether they were even the right orders.

An ad for the "Sweet Delights" arrangement from Florist Express showed yellow mini-carnations and super-green roses. Yet, the arrangement delivered to CBS – for a total cost of $93 – had different flowers.

The "Fun and Flirty" arrangement from 1800Flowers.com didn't look anything like the pictures online. It cost $70, with taxes and a delivery fee.

The "Sweet It Is" bouquet from the local flower shop also didn't look like its ad. It cost $54.

Roses ordered by CBS News, as well, didn't look much like their online descriptions.

All of the flower companies involved quickly offered to send new flowers. They all offer a 100 percent guarantee.

The websites also have a disclaimer that arrangements can vary based on flower availability.

The bottom line: When ordering flowers, be specific about what you want. Get to know a local flower shop, and find out what's in stock when you order.