COLUMBIA - Scammers have found another way to target consumers, this time through online flower ordering.
An online website called flowerdeliveryexpress.com allows people to place orders through its site, but then often times fails to delivers the flowers, according to the Better Business Bureau.
Jana Crouch lives in Columbia and had that happen when she bought flowers for her boyfriend's mother in Jackson, Missouri. Crouch said when she tried contacting the Michigan-based company after the flowers weren't delivered, she didn't get a response.
"I tried calling them a bunch of times and had no answers. There was a message saying they'd be with me in one minute and then I would hear nothing," Crouch said.
Tina Bradley, with Allen's Flowers in Columbia, said she is familiar with this kind of activity from these types of online companies.
"They are just order gatherers, they aren't actual flower shops, they're just sitting there answering the phones. So when you order, you want to make sure they have an actual physical address in the town you're ordering for," Bradley said.
Such websites can appear as legitimate as any other floral shop or website. Crouch said the offer to have the shipping fee waived appeared on her initial checkout, but the site failed to display other hidden fees.
"In Jackson, Missouri, I don't know anything about the floral shops, so I thought I would go through somebody bigger. That wasn't smart, I will never do that again," Crouch said.
Bradley said, most of the time, the online companies never have businesses in the towns people are ordering for, which makes the local flower shops look just as bad.
"People don't realize that their flowers are coming from order gathers as opposed to an actual floral shop. I can name at least six websites that advertise in every town in America and yet they don't have any physical shops in those towns," Bradley said.
Crouch said she feels worse for people with much larger orders than hers.
"My situation wasn't so bad, it was just Mother's Day flowers. Not to say that day isn't important, but I was reading how people said they didn't get flowers for their weddings or a funeral, that has to be awful, I just can't imagine," Crouch said.
In order for Crouch to get the charges removed from her card, she has to cancel her card with the bank before starting the process of having the charge removed.
On May 1, Wesley Berry Florist, Inc., which owns flowerdeliveryexpress.com, lost its Better Business Bureau Accreditation for failing to comply with BBB requirements.