Columbus – This year, the National Retail Federation predicts consumers will spend $23.6 billion for Mother’s Day, over $2 billion more than in 2016 and more than any other year since the survey began in 2003. With consumers projected to spend more than ever, BBB has advice for effective Mother’s Day spending.
Popular Mother’s Day gifts often include flowers, jewelry or restaurant outings. Here are some BBB tips for each:
Avoid Bouquet Blues:
BBB receives complaints from consumers about wrong arrangements, late deliveries and even no delivery at all. Many popular websites selling bouquets actually aren’t florists, but “order gathering services” or “wire services”. These sites act as middlemen, forwarding floral orders onto local florists for delivery. They take a cut of the money, and send the remainder to a local florist.
The great price you see for a bouquet may just be the base price, it does not include shipping charges, tax, and “handling fees”, which can more than double the price of actually having the flowers delivered. Online ordering gathering services may not show shipping charges until credit card information is entered or until the last second to show the final total in a tiny font.
Here are tips consumers should keep in mind when looking to purchase flowers:
Call your local florist and have them connect you with a florist they work with. You will pay a service charge, but the rest of your money will go toward the flowers.
Do your homework. Look for reviews on the company and research the florist at bbb.org.
Know what you’re buying. Be sure to get a true picture of what you or your recipient will be getting. Almost all florists have a substitution policy. Make sure you are comfortable with what the florist will do when a particular flower or arrangement is unavailable.
Look for hidden costs. Be sure to review your order and verify the total before confirming your purchase. Some florists may add on shipping, handling and other costs associated with delivery without your knowledge.
Pay with a credit card. The only thing worse than having the wrong flower arrangement delivered is not having them delivered at all. Using a credit card gives you the option of disputing the charges if necessary.
Be in the know. When ordering flowers, it’s often hard to tell when, and if, your recipient received them. Be sure to sign up for confirmation emails so you have proof the order was placed and will receive an alert when the order has been delivered. If available, ask for proof of delivery to make sure they made it to the correct destination and recipient.
Watch for phishy promotions. Keep in mind that cyber criminals will be ready to play on your emotions. Beware of “too good to be true” offers, which are aimed at installing malware or compromising your personally identifiable information.
Be Gift Card Savvy:
Although gift cards are convenient, consumers should still be careful when purchasing. Be mindful of these things when buying gift cards:
Check cards bought off the rack for damage, as scratches can affect their usage.
Be sure the protective stickers haven’t been removed (by comparing them with others on the rack) or that the PIN number hasn’t been exposed. Those could be indications that a thief has already used the card by gaining that information.
Remind your mother to use the gift card soon. While gift cards rarely have expiration dates, the longer you hold onto your gift card, the better chance that you will forget about it, lose it or the company may go out of business.
Consider giving Mom the original receipt in case of unforeseen issues when trying to redeem it.
If the card will probably be used for an online purchase, be sure that it has value online. Some cards may be redeemable only for in-store use.
The National Retail Federation survey indicates that over 35 percent of Mother’s Day gift givers will opt for jewelry. Keep these tips in mind if you’re considering a jewelry gift:
Get a receipt for the piece and consider giving the receipt to your mother.
Ask about return policies and be sure to leave enough time for shipping and delivery, if needed.
When shopping for jewelry, consider visiting the FTC’s website (ftc.gov) and look up their primer on terminology regarding gold, silver and pewter.
If you’re planning on taking your mom out for a Mother’s Day meal, keep these things in mind:
When deciding on a restaurant, call and see if they take reservations. Some restaurants may not, but they might take call ahead reservations where you can let them know that you will be there shortly. There is never a guarantee with these restaurants, so it is smart to have a backup plan.
Be wary of businesses that work as third party gift card providers for local restaurants. Check out BBB’s recent release on Restaurant.com issues.
Consumers can look for trustworthy businesses this Mother’s Day by visiting bbb.org.
For more information, follow BBB at follow BBB on Facebook, Twitter and at bbb.org.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central Ohio, which was founded in 1921 and serves 21 counties in Central Ohio.