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Mother’s Day Fiasco With FTD: A Review

This article was written by in Consumer, Featured, Reviews. 34 comments.


In my attempt to be a good son to my mother who lives about as far away from me as possible in the contiguous United States, I decided to send a bouquet of flowers for Mother’s Day. Sending flowers may be cliché, but I know she appreciates it, so I’m happy to send them.

I’ve used all the major flowers brokers in the past: 1-800-Flowers, ProFlowers, and FTD. When shopping around, I generally choose the company that offers the best deal at that particular time. For Valentine’s Day, I used ProFlowers to send bouquets to both my mother and my girlfriend, and did not have a problem with either delivery.

I decided to go with FTD this Mother’s Day because, when combined with cash back from my credit card and cash back from Ebates, I was going to get a good deal. In fact, I had some bonuses “pending” in Ebates, which means I would need to complete a purchase through their retail portal in order to receive some of my bonus cash. I placed the order with FTD last week for the “large” bouquet (eight to twelve stems) of my mom’s favorite flowers with a basic vase. I paid extra for the flowers to be delivered on Mother’s Day.

FTD, like the other major national flower retailers, doesn’t actually deliver the flowers. They work with local florists who handle all the details, including picking the flowers, designing the bouquet, arranging the delivery, and driving to the location. I understand that Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for flower delivery, but what followed was a disaster.

As I head to bed on Sunday night, my mother still had not received the flowers nor any communication from the local florist. I understood that delivery might be late on Mother’s Day, so I wasn’t that concerned. I visited the FTD website to inquire about my order. The automated system responded that FTD would contact the local florist to provide me with an update.

By Monday afternoon, I still had not heard from FTD, and my mother still had not received the flowers. I called FTD and provided my information. While I was on the phone, the customer service representative, who was very friendly and apologetic, put me on hold to contact the local florist to determine what happened. When she returned, she said the local florist had told her that they’re very busy and would be able to look into my order and call FTD back in a half an hour. The FTD representative said they would call me back once they heard from the local florist.

She offered to give me a 10% discount off of my shipping charge. This, of course, was unacceptable; the shipping and handling charge for Mother’s Day was $21, so I was not going to accept a $2.10 refund for the failure for the flowers to be delivered. I asked only for them to reduce the shipping charge from the inflated Mother’s Day price to the “normal” shipping charge, considering the flowers were not delivered on the holiday. She acquiesced without a challenge.

FTD never called back after that half hour. I didn’t hear from the company until Tuesday morning. Aaron, the new customer service representative handling the case, apologized for the inconvenience and confirmed a fresh, beautiful bouquet of flowers would be delivered that day. Aaron was able to get things done; he removed the shipping/service fee completely, took 40% off the cost of the bouquet, and sent me a $20 coupon to retain me as a future customer. My mother received the flowers that day and sent me a photograph from her phone when they arrived. The flowers hadn’t bloomed yet, but the bouquet did match the basic description of the item that I ordered, even if the arrangement looked a bit uninspired.

When I was first concerned that the shipment wouldn’t arrive, I mentioned my dissatisfaction on Twitter, and was met with compassionate responses from people who recognized I was not alone with my problems. In this month’s review at Consumer Reports, FTD was rated thusly:

In our small study, 1800Flowers.com was best at sending what was ordered, followed by ProFlowers.com and FTD.com. The flowers most likely to look the way they did on websites were tulips, roses, and orchids. Mixed bouquets had more substitutions than the rest. If you want to make sure your flowers prompt a smile, pick a color scheme that matches your Mom’s favorites, then steer away from mixed bouquets. If you’re unhappy with what gets delivered, call customer service.

The company’s customer service department also noticed my tweets; I was contacted almost immediately by a Twitter-based consumer support individual who was quite busy that day sending tweets to dissatisfied customers offering to help. It was this communication, not my initial phone conversation, that inspired the call from Aaron.

The main problem is with the local florist who obviously couldn’t handle all the orders they received for Mother’s Day. Communication with FTD wasn’t perfect, but they did resolve the issue as best they could, and the final effort to provide the discount and a coupon for a future purchase did help improve my impression of the company. I didn’t feel they were trying to blame the local florist, and even though I’m sure that’s the issue, my business was with FTD, not the local florist, so in the end they are responsible for the level of service I receive.

I will likely use the coupon for a purchase as long as it doesn’t expire before the next time I decide to send flowers. I’ll continue to shop around for the best offers, though I might stay away from holiday delivery in the future.

Update: I received the coupon through the mail, and it does not apply to online orders! In order to use the coupon, I need to call the company to place an order, as if I am stuck in the twentieth century. Perhaps it’s my fault for not verifying the coupon could be used online — this I would have thought was a reasonable assumption. A coupon designed to be difficult to use is a coupon designed not to be used. How disappointing.

What has been your experience with holiday flower delivery with any company or with FTD in general?

Photo: apdk

Updated February 10, 2012 and originally published May 12, 2011. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Quest

I tried to send my mother flowers just yesterday. When I called 1-800Flowers, my call was routed to an indian call center whereupon I ended up having to end the call because the rep on the other end couldn’t make head nor tail of the european address I was trying to give her. FAIL.

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avatar Peter Anderson

I never seem to have great luck when buying flowers online.. This year I bought Mother’s Day flowers for my wife through one of the companies you mention above, and while the flowers were delivered on time, they looked nothing like they did in the picture on the site. I understand they have a disclaimer saying it may not look exactly like the picture, but this one looked nothing like the picture. The flowers were the wrong color, and my wife’s favorite color that was supposed to be in there, was not. At least the flowers arrived alive.

A couple of years back I bought flowers from another online seller. I got a great deal – or so i thought. The flowers were delivered in the dead of winter, and apparently the delivery guy – when no one answered, just dropped the flowers in a snowbank. The result? Dead flowers. When my wife opened the package 6 of heads of the 12 roses promptly fell off of the flowers. Apparently that didn’t warrant a refund.

I’m sticking to my local florist from now on.

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avatar Staycee

Five years ago I had tulips sent to my sister the day her husband shipped out. My mother, who went in on the arrangement with me and therefore had seen the picture online of what we (thought we) were ordering happened to fly in to be with my sister the day after the flowers arrived. What she received and what we ordered – and paid for – we two largely different things. We paid for the $60 flowers and she received the $30 downgraded flowers. And they looked horrible. I will probably never order flowers like this again – it was a disgusting experience and had my mother not seen them in person, we would have never known that we were, basically, robbed.

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avatar nimrodel ♦42 (Newbie)

I’ve never ordered flowers to be delivered on Mother’s Day. I try to get them for a day or two before. I actually do that sort of thing in general for holidays and things that I know generate a huge demand on time and resources. Usually, by doing things a day or two before, you often get a better quality product/experience. For example, my fiance and I never go out on Valentine’s day — we go out the day after, and the restaurants are *empty*, and we get great service, and most likely the food is better since the chef doesn’t have to be doing a huge number of dishes at once.

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avatar tbork84 ♦1,867 (Half-Dollar)

I actually used FTD this year for flowers for my mother to be delivered, “on either Saturday or Sunday”. I am very happy to report that they arrived on Saturday afternoon and were very comparable to the image that I chose from online. I was very happy with the service, but I suppose since they are depending on local florists to fill the orders the experience would vary greatly. It sounds like in the end they did take care of you for the problems you encountered with the service, which is exactly what they should have done.

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avatar Kristin

I never order flowers from one of those companies. I always find a local florist and call them directly. It is about half the price, you can talk to them about what you want and get something more custom, and the delivery charge is usually just $5 or so. The FTD arrangements are usually so generic and ugly anyway, that I just tell them to put something pretty together and they love being able to be creative.

The other place I order flowers Is Calyx and Corolla. These flowers are of the highest quality and my mom has had them last for a couple weeks. It requires a bit more pre-planning to order from here, but they really are beautiful.

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avatar Bryan

My mom lives 800 miles away. I just look up a florist in her city, give them a call, and tell them what I want. Easy, and no need to mess around with the middle man.

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avatar skylog ♦368 (Nickel)

this has, and will continue to be my strategy. i have, to this point, never had an issue.

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avatar Ceecee ♦53 (Newbie)

We had flowers sent by Proflowers.com and had them delivered on the Thursday before Mother’s Day. Maybe it helps to have them delivered early. Haven’t had a problem with them.

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avatar Aliotsy

I’ve had flowers delivered to my wife’s workplace, both ProFlowers.com and 1800Flowers.com. Generally, I’ve been disappointed. Maybe I’m just a terrible judge of these things, but the bouquets at my local grocery chain (Nugget Markets) and even Costco look nicer than what those companies delivered, and at a fraction of the cost. I’m thinking of developing a relationship with a local florist instead.

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avatar Georgiana

NEVER order flowers from cubicles! The problem was not with the local florist, it is with the fact that you’re using a middleman. Wake up, you get what you pay for. If you’d dealt directly with a local florist, not only would you have gotten *much* more for your money (Order Gatherers keep nearly 30% of your $) but you would have known immediately if they could handle your order. FTD, 1800 etc farm out these orders to local florists without even a phone call 99% of the time, on Mother’s Day the problem with that is ten-fold!

Find a florist that lives near your mom and call them, ie. make sure they have a local phone number and address. Call them up, ask them how far they are from your Mom, they will even be able to give you a delivery price FAR lower than $21 (jeez!), even on Mother’s Day.

Support your (or your mother’s) local economy, save yourself money and headaches.

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avatar qixx ♦1,890 (Half-Dollar)

I have had nothing but bad experiences (3 times) with FTD and will not return. I’ve never used the other sites though.

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avatar melane

Maybe we had the same florist? Because I too ordered through ftd.com and had them scheduled for delivery on Thursday. We got busy and forgot until Sunday when they still had not been delivered. When calling the ftd.com customer service at 9 PM on Sunday, where he proceeded to call the florist to see what had happened. lol! He then came back and told me the florist wasn’t answering, lol! FTD won’t be on my list again. I actually prefer Teleflora…beautiful arrangements at great prices.

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avatar uscroger

I gotta laugh! Just to save a few bucks you got what you paid for. I mean, please teach readers to be frugal but c’mon, people–don’t be a tight wad–It’s frigging mother’s day for heaven’s sake. I hope you did send her a huge arrangement and not just some lousy 12 roses or so. The moral here is: Next time, do your research and go with a company that delivers on time–even if you have to spend a few more bucks. What is so cliche about sending your mom flowers–I think it is a great thing for a son to do; not send the flowers, but remembering mom. Nothing cliche about that.

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avatar lynn ♦155 (Cent)

My flowers came from 1800flowers. They were delivered by them and were in great condition, but unopened. i was OK with that because I knew they would open in a day or 2. My daughters had a fit and 188flowers refunded a large portion of the cost. They wouldn’t say how much, but they were satisfied.

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avatar Meredith

If you look at their Twitter feed @ftdflowers it seems they are having a bit of a customer service meltdown

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avatar shellye ♦107 (Cent)

I have had similar experiences with online florists in the past, including FTD. My own kid sent me flowers this year she had ordered online with no problems at all; they arrived a couple of days early and in perfect condition. She has never done that before so I was quite surprised.

On the other hand, I had luck with my online floral order to my own mom this year. I ordered from FTD in plenty of time, but typed in the wrong address somehow for my mom’s house. Even though they had her information on file with the correct address, the one I typed in took precedence over any that were in the files. So someone else got my mom’s flowers this year. :-( Thankfully mom has a sense of humor and was very understanding. I still need to get her something, though. LOL

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avatar shellye ♦107 (Cent)

That sentence should read, “On the other hand, I had BAD luck with my online floral order…” oops.

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avatar qixx ♦1,890 (Half-Dollar)

Based on other’s experience you may want to verify that the wrong address actually got the flowers. Or the wrong address might still be waiting for their flowers to arrive.

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avatar t10

used teleflora this year with no complaints – delivered on mothers day

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avatar Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager

I had a similar issue with trying to get gift card delivered from 1800 Flowers on Mother’s Day. Definitely a hassle. I plan on using local florist directly from now on.

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avatar Cejay ♦1,521 (Half-Dollar)

I have never had any luck with FTD. ProFlowers have came the closest to doing an acceptable job. I sent flowers to my sister after she had a baby one year with FTD and the flowers were already wilting when they arrived. My sister, never one to shortchange a situation, told me that the flowers were not very pretty. FTD actually said that they were not responsible. They got my money but not responsible? I had to argue the charge on my credit card. SO now I will only use a long distance service for funeral flowers.

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avatar South County Girl

I’d be really annoyed if I sent my mom flowers and they didn’t arrive when they said they would. I’m glad they credited your account, but they should have refunded your entire purchase and then sent the flowers to your mom anyways…

I think Twitter is actually helping customer service for businesses… I was listening to the radio the other day on a talk station and they were talking about how a woman tweeted that her cocktail she ordered was weak and not worth what she paid for it at the Roxy… The manager saw the tweet from the office, asked the bar tender who had recently ordered one, and found the woman in the club and brought her a fresh one and apologized… she re-tweeted about getting it fixed and had a great night.

Twitter is really giving businesses an opportunity to make amends and help fix their customer service relations… I bet no one saw that coming when it first came out.

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avatar Laure ♦198 (Cent)

Ordering flowers has proven to be hit or miss. 1-800-FLOWERS has often sent (had local florists send) flowers that were already starting to wilt and barely lasted a day or two. FTD is often cheapest, but I have had many bad experiences – arrive outside of the planned delivery time, etc. ProFlowers has been so much better than the other two – consistent quality and excellent service – that I now just go straight to them. They do participate in various cash back rewards websites, so you can get some relief that way, but it’s the service that sets them apart. As a recipient, i received a broken vase, and they sent me another whole bouquet the very next day, not just a replacement vase. As a sender, I once ordered and realized my friend was going to be unreachable to receive them. They had already tried to deliver, realized they couldn’t get a signature and send ANOTHER bouquet so that it would arrive fresh. Really stellar. I believe they ship directly from the grower so there isn’t the same problems you mentioned with local florists being overwhelmed with orders. You also get fresher flowers this way.

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avatar Quest

After years of substandard flower deliveries, I took to the internet. My mother does not live in the USA but it didn’t take me long to find a local florist in her town who was able to process my VISA card immediately, exchange rate and all. I was able to order a really nice floral arrangement over Skype that arrived at her door the next morning without any hassle. In one fell swoop, I have finally eliminated 1-800-flowers and their difficult-to-deal-with indian call center.

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avatar Laure

I have also had various difficulties (lack of communication) when directed to a call center overseas. I recently have heard that if you reach the call center in India, you can request to be transferred to a call center in the U.S. Haven’t tried it myself, though!

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avatar Linda

FTD was late in delivering my grandmother’s flowers last mother’s day and gave me a $20 coupon towards a purchase before the end of the year. The problem they charge a $16-30 shipping/service fee on items that are already overpriced. So even with the coupon, I’d be spending more than I would elsewhere with no discount.

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avatar Chantal

ProFlowers – gorgeous, fragrant and alive every time I’ve used them. And if you order once, they send you coupons for future orders and reminders for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. *Love* (PS I have no affiliation to them I just like to tout good service)

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avatar Kristyn

Absolutely horrible…they delivered them to a stranger’s house 5 minutes away in a shady apartment complex expecting me to pick them up after paying an additional $22 for them to be delivered and then made me drive 45 minutes across town one way to get the replacement because of course this “neighbor” didn’t have them. After then spending over an hour on the phone explaining all this and that the order was wrong, which they wouldn’t concede, they weren’t even willing to send a replacement order. It’s bad enough this is the third Valentine’s I’ve spent married and alone thanks to deployment schedules, but now I’m furious and my poor husband was only trying to do something nice.

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avatar Naya

I would like to make a formal complaint about the company FTD. I have bought two vouchers from this company via Groupon and am very unsatisfied with both experiences.
In the first instance they delivered only have the bouquet that I ordered (and with spelling and grammatical errors–order taken via telephone call); I eventually got them to send out another bouquet to the recipient.
In the second most recent incident I was duped into paying more for the bouquet than I wanted to…false advertisement at best. Whilst filling out my order sheet there was a pop-up that offered a $10.00 discount if I completed my order right then–as opposed to coming back later–an action I was going to complete regardless of their offer. However, it is not until I received my credit card statement that I found that my groupon voucher was not accepted; FTD’s excuse is that they do not accept double “coupons”/discounts on a single item. I would normally understand and accept that reasoning as it is customary with many businesses; however, in this situation I was not given an opportunity to decline their $10.00 offer and only receive my Groupon discount. If I were given that option then I may very well have chosen a different bouquet at a different price.
I do understand that this is really an issue/problem with FTD, but I also believe that Groupon should not be supporting companies that engage in sketchy practices. In my first unsatisfied instance, I may never have found out that they sent only half of what I ordered–their quickness to offer a solution was combated, in my opinion, by a notion of guilt for a potentially common practice. In the second instance, although they have offered to rectify the situation by giving me the groupon discount and charging me the additional $10, I am still dissatisfied by the fact that they are still obtaining $10 more from me than I was willing to spend…possibly their intention all along.

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avatar Linda

PSA: Do NOT order from FTD Flowers. I ordered my mom flowers for Mother’s day, and she did not receive it by the time she left work (she stayed half an hour past her scheduled work time to wait)! In addition to not receiving the flowers, I had one of the worst customer experiences when I called FTD. I was put on hold by the CSR for 20 minutes while he was on hold with the florist. I could not understand his slurred speech, and I had to repeat myself 1000 times. If you want to order flowers, use Proflowers.com! I have never had any problems with them in the past.

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avatar elle

received a bouquet of flowers for valentines day from my boyfriend.
i’m assuming they were supposed to be delivered tomorrow, on valentines’ day.

1. pink roses were browned with holes in the leaves.
2. looked on the website to leave a complaint, says my complaint cannot be processed.
3. called to complain, after being on hold for 40 minutes, i gave up.

browsed the website and was appalled at what i saw.

how the flowers should have looked:
http://www.ftdimg.com/pics/products/FW73_330x370.jpg

how my flowers looked:
http://25.media.tumblr.com/81fb744eaa1b023e5c9c6eec72c39f08/tumblr_mi6f7k3Ien1qhotwqo1_500.jpg

will not recommend this to anyone.
i don’t even have the heart to tell my boyfriend.

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avatar Cari Carlenius

I was recently disappointed with FTD services. I was in fact, disgusted and irritated with FTD…I ordered and purchased flowers for my Grandmother and Aunt to be delivered on Friday May 10th…(2 different bouquets). Because of the lack of flowers, I had to upgrade and change what I ordered 3 times. I received a phone call on Mother’s Day telling me that the flowers would not be delivered until May 16th but they would phone and apologize to my Grandmother and Aunt for the inconvenience. I refused their gesture ( if I had known sooner, I would have ordered elsewhere). So, I asked if I could order what I previously wanted since they had to wait until the 16th. She said “sure”…so we changed the order. Well, needless to say, it was wrong. My Aunt called and described what she received and it was NOT what I ordered…. They were not accommodating to any neglect on their part and I will never order from FTD NEVER, EVER AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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avatar Wendy Ruth

I have to say, I just got off the phone with FTD and am a very upset. Their lack of customer service is a story all by itself, but, my son ordered flowers for me for mothers day and I received a small bouquet of “weeds”. Yes, that’s right, maybe one flower in the arrangement and all were basically dead. Luckily my son was here to see what his money got him and he was furious. Anyway, he called and FTD sent another bouquet (this time roses), which never opened and died within 3-4 days. I just called and was basically told that they couldn’t help me because I was one day late (7 day rule) in calling them. I WILL NEVER, EVER use them again!!!!! So disappointed.

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