Is what you order from an online florist really what you get?
Valentine’s Day is coming up and that means flower shops will be busy, but for those who order their bouquets online, is what you see, really what you get?
The McLaughlin on Your Side team decided to investigate, ordering flowers from four online national florist services; FTD, 1-800-Flowers, Bloomex and Teleflora.
We shopped the websites and ordered four arrangements around $40 each, not including service fees and taxes. You have to be careful though, because some of the prices are in U.S. dollars. We saved the images of what the bouquets were supposed to look like, and then waited for their delivery to event planner Aly Armstrong, who knows flowers.
The first to arrive was the Teleflora arrangement called Jumping for Joy. But Armstrong wasn’t.
“I’m just unimpressed,” she said, “The condition on the flowers is poor. There’s some wilting on the rose.”
And the bouquet itself did not resemble its online photo. With services and taxes the arrangement cost $55.94 USD, or $76.37 CAD.
“At first glance, I’d say this is probably worth about $20,” said Armstrong.
The Bloomex bouquet arrived next, wrapped in paper and without a vase.
“That’s a bit disappointing considering the image showed a vase,” she said.
You had to read the entire description to see that the vase is not included. It was the Love and Laughter arrangement, didn’t leave Armstrong smiling.
It’s total cost was $61.58.
The 1-800-Flowers Fun and Flirty bouquet then showed up. Its flowers were fun and colourful and looked fresh according to Armstrong, but it didn’t quite look like the picture. With fees and tax it cost $69.42.
“It’s still very light for the cost,” said Armstrong.
And finally, FTD’s Beyond Blue arrived on the scene and it appeared to have all the flowers in the picture, with a total cost of $64.94 USD. That converts to $88.66 CAD.
“It looks similar,” said Armstrong, “I think this one as far as the aesthetic goes is closer to the photo. I pick FTD, although I’m still disappointed in the size.”
When we put them all together for a final assessment, Armstrong chose FTD first, followed by 1-800-Flowers, Bloomex and Teleflora.
Most online companies use local florists to fill their orders and arrangements vary depending on flower availability. But we learned they can do better.
When the McLaughlin on Your Side team contacted Teleflora, it delivered another Jumping for Joy arrangement to CTV and it was a perfect match.
1-800-Flowers offered a replacement or refund. Bloomex never responded to emails and FTD was pleased we got what we ordered.
But the best advice when it comes to ordering flowers? Skip the middleman.
"When you go to straight a local florist you're going to get more for your money," advised Armstrong.
*Note - Our orders were placed Jan. 19. Prices are subject to change and as Valentine's Day approaches you may see an increase in prices because of increased demand.
What was ordered vs. delivered
Instructions: On desktop, hover over the images to toggle between what was ordered online and what was delivered. On mobile, tap an image to reveal the delivered bouquet.
Bloomex Love and Laughter bouquet: $39.99
Description online: "Bouquet contains flowers such as lavender roses, daisy chrysanthemums, purple carnations, miniature carnations, asters and pink waxflower. Send love and laughter today! Approximately 15 1/2" W x 17 1/4" H. Vase not included."
1-800-Flowers Fun and Flirty bouquet: $44.99
Service charges: $16.99
Delivery charge: Free
Description online: "This hand-designed bouquet of roses, carnations, and more arrive in playful, exciting colours sure to put a smile on any recipient's face! Our florists hand-design each arrangement, so colours, varieties, and containers may vary due to local availability."
FTD Canada Beyond Blue bouquet: $39.99 (USD)
Service charges: $17.99
Total: $64.94 USD or $88.66 CAD
Description online: "Bringing together gorgeous white Asiatic Lilies, white roses (in Deluxe and Premium versions), and white mini carnations accented with blue statice, cream spray roses, and lush greens, this stunning bouquet captivates at every turn... Bouquet includes 9 stems with vase. Approx. 14"H x 12"W."
Teleflora Jumping For Joy bouquet: $39.95
Service charges: $15.99
Subtotal: $55.94 USD or $76.37
Description online: "Pink spray roses, light pink alstroemeria, hot pink miniature carnations, lavender stock and salal are delivered in a charming vase that comes with its own pink satin ribbon"
After the issue was raised with Teleflora, they sent CTV News a replacement bouquet. Here's how the second bouquet compared: