The beautiful floral arrangement you buy online isn't always the one that arrives at the destination, as Steele on Your Side learned after an experiment using the FTD floral service.

Our investigation was launched after receiving a complaint from Richmond viewer Lynne Reuter, who receives a lavish floral centerpiece from relatives every holiday season.

But she contacted Lynda Steele after the modest $75 bouquet didn't meet her expectations.

"I was very shocked that this small arrangement came and there were eight carnations. I thought that was a $29 arrangement," said Reuter.

CTV Edmonton's consumer reporter, Laura Lowe, and Lynda Steele both went on the FTD website and ordered the same "Stunning Beauty" bouquet.

The $74.99 arrangement -- $100 after taxes and shipping – promised to have 16 stems, including a "stunning array of red roses, pink lilies, purple iris, purple aster and more."

The bouquet that arrived at CTV Edmonton was not as stunning as advertised. Lynda Steele's was a full day late, but a little lusher.

Steele on Your Side visited Vancouver floral expert Sam Solis to get his reaction to the FTD arrangement. Solis, who owns Buy the Bunch, has created bouquets for everyone from Elton John to Prince and Katy Perry.

Solis isn't impressed with the design and abundance of fillers, but says we got our money's worth, quantity wise.

He wasn't as impressed with the delivery in Edmonton – the bouquet that was supposed to be identical.

"Oh no. If that is what you showed me in person, I would say no -- that's a rip-off," he said after seeing a picture of the blooms.

If you're ordering flowers to be delivered to another city, Solis says to find a florist online yourself. Visit the websites of several flower shops and order from the one you feel most comfortable with, and the one you feel suits your personal style.

By cutting out the middle man you'll avoid the huge hidden fees, which often leads to disappointment.

"By the time the $100 reaches the other end you are probably looking at about less than 50-per-cent," he said, meaning that $100 arrangement suddenly becomes a $50 bouquet.

Solis used to be in the floral wire service business but quit after a year. He said there were numerous complaints about what arrived on the other end and he decided it wasn't worth it – and quit offering the service.

The Better Business Bureau received more than 40 complaints about floral deliveries last year from consumers alleging the flowers were either not delivered at all, or the arrangement was not what the customer paid for.

As for the FTD bouquet, the company apologized that the order did not meet expectations, and said its goal is to ensure its customers shop with confidence.

"While we make every effort to deliver each arrangement as shown on the website, there are times when substitutions of equal or greater value may be necessary due to seasonal/regional limitations," Scott Matulis told CTV News in a statement.

FTD said it personally guarantees fresh, beautiful floral arrangements and plants that will last for at least seven days. If a customer isn't satisfied they're urged to contact its customer service department for a redelivery or a refund.

Want to see the questionable bouquets? Watch CTV for a full report from Lynda Steele tonight…

Have your say: Have you had a bad experience with flower delivery?