Title: Finding A Local Florist - Sorting O ut the Weeds of Deceptive Flower Sh op Phone Listings Word Count: 971 Summary: You want to send flowers to Aunt Sa lly in Newark or your sister Susan in San Antonio. You decide to look up a local florist there, hoping t o get more personal service or even save a few bucks by avoiding the " middleman." Normally, a simple cal l to directory information or an on line search would be all it takes, but in the case of florists, the re sults could be deceiving. Keywords: flowers,flowers delivery,flower del ivery,local florist,florist,floral, online florist,flowers online,flori st delivery,florist scam,good flori st,direct ship flowers,roses,roses online Article Body: You want to send flowers to Aunt Sa lly in Newark or your sister Susan in San Antonio. You decide to look up a local florist there, hoping t o get more personal service or even save a few bucks by avoiding the " middleman." Normally, a simple cal l to directory information or an on line search would be all it takes, but in the case of florists, the re sults could be deceiving. Many of the online resources are ov ercrowded with national marketers a nd wire services rather than the re al local florists you're seeking. Some companies have built hundreds or even thousands of web pages refe rencing various cities across the c ountry just to show up in so-called "local" searches across the countr y. Others are simply paying to be on top. This makes life difficult, as it is very hard to tell the dif ference between a genuine family fl ower shop and a national fictitious "florist" with local phone numbers which are actually forwarded out o f state. While these deceptive phone listing s have officially been banned in ma ny states as intentionally misleadi ng, the laws are all too often not enforced. As a result, fictitious florist phone listings have become commonplace, especially with the gr owth of online yellow pages. Flowe rs With Gifted Elegance of Randolph , NJ and All American Flowers of Mo unt Laurel, NJ are two of several t elemarketing companies employing th is tactic to make money while provi ding a disservice to unsuspecting c onsumers. By purchasing local phon e listings under many different nam es, they hope to lead customers int o using their services. The strategy first surfaced in the mid-nineties. States such as Virgi nia and Delaware recognized the thr eat and took action. Other states h ave followed, but the practice cont inues today relatively unhindered. Companies in New Jersey, Wisconsin, and the state of Washington purcha se phone numbers all over the count ry, and place those numbers in loca l white and yellow pages. The listi ngs usually have the name 'Flowers Of (Town or City)' or 'Flowers in ( Town/City)', with a local area code and phone number but either no add ress or a bogus address. Consumer groups agree it's misleading at bes t and usually a ploy to con people into ordering. In the end, custome rs may face unnecessary extra charg es, poor quality, or both. Here's how it works and what you can do to avoid it. <b>The Phone Listing Scam</b> Take a quick trip over to whitepage s.com. Do a search for business typ e "florist springfield," and don't even both entering any city or stat e. You'll see that about five of t he first listings are for "Florist in Springfield" or "Florist of Spri ngfield" in Massachusetts, Illinois , Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Missouri. They all display local phone numb ers, but none of them list an addre ss, a common indication of a decept ive listing. To find out more, we called each of the numbers. Four w ere answered by a recording referri ng to "Our Flowers with Gifted Eleg ance." The fifth was answered by a similar operation which refused to provide a physical address and cla imed it didn't allow 'walk-in' cust omers. In short, all five were bog us. The problem isn't limited to S pringfield. One florist we intervi ewed knew of at least seventeen mis leading florist listings in its loc al yellow pages. According to customers, the real di sservice isn't the false listing; i t's the poor service. These compan ies often charge between $8.99 and $14.99 for taking each order and re directing it to a real local floris t. The service fee is on top of th e flowers and local delivery, or wo rse yet is deducted from them witho ut the customer's knowledge. The B etter Business Bureau report on Flo wers with Gifted Elegance, at bbb.o rg, notes an unsatisfactory record due to unanswered complaints. A se arch at RipOffReport.com reveals th e number of complaints, including r eports by people who's flowers were never delivered. <b>Avoid Being a Victim</b> There may be no easy way to recover from being a victim of this kind o f advertising deception, but avoidi ng it is fairly easy. - Trust your hometown florist. Mo st are seasoned professionals who c an deliver your gift almost anywher e, know the better flower shops in other areas, stand behind their ser vice, and guarantee your satisfacti on. In the unlikely event any prob lem does arise, you'll be glad you' re working with a reputable local b usiness that wants your continued p atronage. - If you shop online, choose a nat ionwide florist that proudly displa ys a toll-free phone number, contac t address, customer satisfaction po licy, and industry credentials. Ch eck for a secure order form with "h ttps" in the address, and consider placing your first order by phone t o ensure customer service people ar e easy to reach. - Get advice from friends, neighbo rs, or business associates. They'r e often the best source for choosin g the right florist. - If you do search for local flori sts online or in phone books, be su re to avoid those with generic name s that include the town or that can 't give you the address and directi ons to their local store. The vast majority of florists are h ard-working, family-owned businesse s dedicated to serving you. So, yo u can send flowers with confidence when you turn to the local florists you know and nationwide florists y ou trust. Most can deliver your bo uquet around the corner or across t he country, within 24 hours or less . No wonder, flower delivery is st ill one of the most reliable and po pular ways to show you care. Still , like any industry, the flower bus iness has its share of 'bad apples. ' So, think twice before you play Russian Roulette with the phone boo k. Count on your local hometown fl orist and the established nationwid e florists online. Courtesy of <a href="http://www.fl owers-delivery-florists.com/">Flowe rs Delivery Florists</a>, an online guide for fresh flowers, florists online, and floral information reso urces. Permission is granted to republish this article in its entirety on the Internet, as long as the link and credit above are included.