Florist Detectives. Consumer Information about alleged deceptive and misleading florist advertising and marketing practices.

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Fake Locations

Fictitious Local Phone Listings

Fictitious phone listings, where out-of-area companies purchase local phone numbers and use city names to imply the operation of local businesses, are such a problem for consumers and real florists that the US Federal Trade Commission issued a Consumer Alert entitled Petal Pushers: Is Your 'Local' Florist Really Long-Distance?  From the article:

When you call, you're unknowingly forwarded to an out-of-town telemarketing operation. The telemarketer takes your order and credit card information for payment, and forwards your order to an area florist. The telemarketer pockets a processing fee and usually a percentage of the sale as well. You don't realize youve been scammed until you get higher than expected charges from an out-of town company on your credit card statement, or learn that the flowers weren't delivered as ordered, or were never delivered at all.

The US's most well-known company to use fictitious flower shop names is Flowers with Gifted Elegance of Randolph, New Jersey. Operated my Tom Meola, his floral order gathering scams have been featured on broadcasts of NBC's Dateline, Charlotte, NC's WSOC-TV, Spartanburg, SC's WSPA-TV, New Hampshire Public Radio and in newspapers across the US including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Flowers With Gifted Elegance has been the target of enforcement actions by the Attorneys General of Delaware and Virginia for violation of consumer protection laws. Virginia's settlement agreement, announced on November 18, 2005, requires publication of the company's location as Randoph, NJ with each of the more than 80 fictitious trade names being used in the state.

Additional consumer complaints can be found at and the New Jersey Better Business Bureau where Meola's company holds a rating of 'unsatisfactory'.

One of the business' addresses, 3 Sylvia Place, Randolph, NJ, is seen all over the web - with the city names changed to make his phony 'florists' appear to be legitimate local businesses. These fake location listings even appear on some seemingly trustworthy sites include Yahoo!Local and Superpages.com. Others phony local addresses for fictitious florists listed by Flowers With Gifted Elegance include 92 Morristown Rd and 92 Morristown Road.

Unfortuntately, Flowers With Gifted Elegance isn't the only company using the practice of fictitious local listings. A report from Oregon's KTPV mentioned other non-local Portland area faux florists' phone numbers forwarded to "All American Flowers" of Mount Laurel, New Jersey, "Cascade Florists" of Bellevue, WA and "Best Floral" of Waukesha, Wisconsin with the AJC article mentioning "Who Sent Flowers" and "Town and Country's Best" of Philadelphia, PA.

To avoid these scams and help assure that your special flower purchase will be from a real local florist, the Florist Detectives recommend you follow the ordering tips provided on our home page.

Faux Implied Locations

How about this not-in-Washington, DC and not-a-florist ? Would you be confused with the text "Welcome to the GiftTree Washington DC Flower Shop," especially since you have little way of knowing they're in Vancouver, WA?

And here they are not-in-New-Orleans saying "We deliver to downtown New Orleans as well as Metairie, River Ridge, Marrero, Chalmette, Kenner, St. Rose, and surrounding areas." Nope. They 'transfer orders to' or 'broker arrangements to' but they don't actually deliver any flower arrangements there since they're not florists and are not located in New Orleans.

The use of licensed wire service-owned images might seem to indicate that one of our trusted national companies believes it's a good idea for consumers to pay an extra $11.95 'handling fee' (not to be confused with a delivery fee that has been padded into each arrangement price) instead of ordering direct from one of their local florist members.

And then there are the Yellow Pages....

Sick of hearing about these ruses? Find real local flower shops here.

If you see these types of examples (or have been deceived by one of them) please contact us and we'll do our best to expose those flower weeds for what they are.