Minneapolis, Minnesota florist Bud Dauphin from Schaaf Floral has revealed how deceptive advertising on the internet is costing the consumer not only money but embarrassment from under-value floral arrangements being sent out in their names. He explains that flower buyers can protect themselves from being cheated with their flower purchases.
“Right now many flower customers are being cheated by out of state companies pretending to be local in cities throughout the country,” says Bud Dauphin. The Order Gatherer takes the order, takes a large commission for himself and sends it on to a local florist to fill. By the time the recipient receives the order, it is way undervalued and many times draws a complaint from the sender if they find out what was received. “Times are tough enough and we all work hard. We don’t need to be cheated out of our hard earned money.”
Two lawmakers in the 2009-2010 Minnesota Legislature tried to ban this behavior by passing a law making this practice illegal. Rep. Steve Simon and Sen. Sandy Pappas worked hard to help the floral and locksmith industry.
These directory scams were banned, which means out of state companies can no longer pretend to be homegrown Minnesota businesses. They will be guilty of deceptive business practices under a new law sponsored by Rep. Steve Simon (DFL St. Louis Park) and Sen. Sandy Pappas (DFL St. Paul). The new law makes it illegal for companies to misrepresent their location in phone directories, print ads and the internet. The companies overcharge customers who place orders, transfer the orders to actual Minnesota companies and then keep the difference as profit. Scammers have targeted the floral and locksmith industries in particular. The law generally states that a business misrepresents its geographic location if: they represent themselves to be at a location where there is not at least one owner or employee regularly performing services, and they set up a local phone number that routinely routes calls to out-of-state call centers. The case number is HF3277*SF3102/CH235.
“The passing of this legislation has not stopped the directory scams, but there is an easy solution,” explains Dauphin. “Do not choose businesses buying Google ads as they are usually deceptive florists. Go to the businesses in the Google maps that show actual addresses and check their reviews to get an idea of their professionalism.”
When calling a florist, people are encouraged to ask for their local number, not the 800 or 888 number and call them back if they have one. They should also ask if the florist actually has a store in the location they are advertising in. People should also inquire about their local address and tell them they want to visit it. If they mention they have an affiliate, then that particular business is actually an Order Gatherer and must be avoided.