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Consumer Alert


"Order gathering"

Order gathering is done by companies that advertise in the yellow pages of your local phone book under "Florist" or companies listed in the white pages under "Your Town Florist". These companies are almost never a local business. They take your order and wire it back to a local florist to fill. While there are some very reputable companies that provide this type of service, there are those that are not. You may be charged more than you would have been charged by the filling florist had you called them directly. In some instances the order gatherer will take your order at one dollar amount and give a lower dollar amount to the filling florist. This practice is called skimming. Skimming most often hurts you and the local filling florist. You are not getting what you paid for and it appears that the local filling florist has under filled your order which in turn creates a negative reputation for the florist.

This is a scenario that often takes place without either you, the sender, or the local florist's knowledge. Most local florists are hardworking, dedicated businesses. Many employees of order gatherers are not knowledgeable about flowers or the floral industry. Some order gatherers will have one small shop they fill orders from but most are "Send Only Shops" that do not fill orders.

How to spot an "order gatherer"

Check the listing in the telephone book carefully. Many of these companies will list only toll free numbers with no local number. Some will list the city and state they are located in. Others will list a local telephone number with no street address and the calls are forwarded to their telephone centers. If in doubt, call the listed number and ask where they are located, if they hesitate or donít answer, there is a good chance they are an order gatherer.

You can help stop order gatherers

By placing orders with your local florist you can help put a stop to order gathering. If you are sending orders out of state, your local florist places your order through a wire service or pays the delivering florist directly. Placing orders with your local florist keeps the money you spend in the local economy. For every $100 spent with an order gatherer, only $73 or less is returned to the local florist.

What the Federal Trade Commission says about order gathering:

Petal Pushers: Is your 'Local' Florist Really Long-Distance?