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Australia: Flower Association warns Mother's Day consumersThe Flower Association is warning consumers to be sure they know who is supplying the flowers for their Mother’s Day orders this year, following a litany of complaints after Valentine’s Day surrounding online flower ordering.
Online flower ordering is a large and rapidly expanding part of the commercial flower and floristry industry. It can allow the consumer to buy flowers easily and conveniently and is a legitimate business model, used by companies such as Amazon. Many order gatherers are upfront about their business model and state to their customers that they are an online sales portal, with the products arranged and delivered through a network of florist shops.
However, some online companies are employing unscrupulous and, in some cases, illegal business activities to increase their promotional reach and market share. Problems reported after Valentine’s Day included late and missing flowers, incorrect orders and poor value for money due to hidden commissions and fees.
The Flower Association has been working with industry members from across Australia to address some of these issues. Association Executive Officer Shane Holborn stated, “An order gatherer is a company that only has an online presence and essentially gathers orders and farms them out to florists to fill. We do not have any issues with this business model, but it is clear that some companies are not being upfront to the consumer about the value they can expect to receive, and in some cases, they are being downright deceptive.”
Feedback from a group of florist shop owners provided examples of misleading practices that they were aware of, or that their business had experienced. The allegations received fell into two main categories: activity that was misleading and likely to be illegal, and activity that was usually not disclosed to the consumer.
This included misleading advertising based on location searches which falsely claim that it is a florist business based in a particular suburb, and in some cases, there is no physical shop front at all. False address claims on websites suggest the business is a local, bricks-and-mortar establishment; however, a visit to the address reveals no florist or shop at all, or an empty block of land.
Other issues include multiple business names being used by the same call centre, or undisclosed commission rates of up to 65% which misleads consumers who expect to get full value from their order.
“The Association is warning consumers prior to Mother’s Day to ensure they can make their flower purchasing decisions from an informed position”, said Mr Holborn. “This will ensure their mums have a great day, because if they’re anything like my Mum, they deserve it!”
For more information:
Flower Association of Queensland
P.O. Box 327, Cleveland Qld 4163 Australia
T: +61 7 3821 3350
Publication date: 5/9/2017
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