With Easter and Mother's Day right around the corner, people usually look online to send some flowers. But you might not get what you paid for.
A Rockford flower shop warns buyers to beware when it comes to using the Internet to find a local florist.
Vicki Hubbard has been putting arrangements together for years. She loves her job except for this one thorn in her side.
"Order gathering services, they are kind of a blight on the flower industry," Hubbard says.
Hubbards' company, Pepper Creek, won't work with them.
"The unfortunate part is that these people charge a lot of high fees and often time because they aren't in flowers, they will promise certain flowers but they aren't giving the florist enough money to fill the order with those flowers," says Hubbard.
The companies who do this are paying for prime real estate on your Google search. They're listed at the top. If you type into the search 'Rockford, IL flowers,' the results that first appear are likely not local companies.
13 News reached out to a couple of order gathering sites. FlowerDeliveryExpress.com and WesleyBerry.com are two well-known ones. Flower shops pay a fee to use them. And they have what's called a substitution policy. If you order from them and the flower shop they contract with does not have the right flowers, they can substitute for a flower of the same value. Even if it's not what you paid for.
"They're hurting the industry. They're making a lot of money for themselves because they don't have the expense of buying the flowers, having a building employing designers," says Hubbard.
Which is why Hubbard says she's sticking to other ways of advertising, so the only surprise is when a person gets the flowers who didn't know they were coming. Hubbard says if you want to avoid an order gathering service, make sure the florist's website has a local address attached to it.