Full Bloom: Online Flower Purchases

What to know before buying flowers online, expert tips and more.
6:12 | 07/17/13

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Transcript for Full Bloom: Online Flower Purchases
Now it's time to stop and smell the roses. It's a lookout special delivery. Ever ordered flowers online and got a feeling that what you ordered wouldn't be what was sent? You're not alone. If I'm a consumer and I see that photo is it going to be delivered as pictured? Unfortunately, probably not. What you see isn't always what you get. To find out more we went to clerk's house of flowers on staten island, one of the many local florist that partner with online companies to fill your orders. We asked their designer, debbie, to create two bouquets. Both are priced at $110. The first is the version she says she would create if you ordered online and this -- this is what I would get if i were to walk in and order it directly from you. This is what I get from an online retailer. How many roses did you use in this one? Five. How many in this? This is 12. So five versus 12. Right? I think I might order from you. Sure, they're both nice but the online arrangement was clearly not the winner. It's a real consumer quan dri because unlike a lot of other things you buy, you may never see the actual flowers. And the person you're sending them to has no idea what you ordered. So we decided to do a little comparison shopping. Can I place an order? To see if the flora matched the photo. We ordered bouquets from three online services that use local florists, teleflora, ftd and for you flowers. We ordered them and sent them to four producers in four cities ss the country. Let's look at ftd. Here's the bouquet we ordered online. It was the first arrangement that robin in atlanta received. Seems to be a little smaller than pictured on the website. It sure was. The bouquet we ordered pictured star gazer lillys and roses but we only got lillys. All the websites do disclose that substitutions can be made but subtraction? When we asked about all the missing roses they said we work with florists. The over all look do not capture the pictures on our website. In new york we had quite a few roses but a different problem. We explicitly gave them directions to deliver today. These were delivered yesterday and I wasn't even here to deliver them. They actually when roses and lillys but in atlanta it missed the mark. We love the frosted vase in the picture but no one got it. The vase is different than the one what is pictured. Am I going to be a popular husband. Comes in a large vase. It looks appreciablyrent from the one website but still it's a large vase. When we asked why we never received the frosted pink vase, from you flowers told us at times the florist will make a substitution with what's in stock. Overall the flowers did not compactsly match the bouquet in the online photo but they were pretty. Last up teleflora. We ordered the pink bouquet with pink lillys and roses that the website promised would be an all around design. So what did we get in atlanta? The front side was really full, lots of pretty pink flowers. When you turn it around the back is green and flat and bare. Still half a bouquet is better than no bouquet at all. In los angeles the pink bouquet never showed up. Teleflora offered to resend but we opted for a refund. They added that your orders were placed shortly after valentine's day, the busiest in the floral industry. The chicago and new york arrangements did arrive and though nice, none of the bouquets we received were quite what we ordered. All three companies pointed out that they would be happy to refund or replace a bouquet is a customer is dissatisfied. What is going on here? Florists say the website takes a cut leaving less money for the actual flowers. If I'm getting this and i order online I'm going to be upset. Remember the two bouquets the florist on staten island gave us. If you were to make it comparable to this one, how much would you lose on it? A lot. They told us if they made it exactly to the specifications they would lose $43 so they often make an attractive but different arrangement so why even partner with websites? We get a lot of orders but we want to gain a customer because they're happy with what they got. They do sometimes have ppy customers. Other florists told us they can make a profit when working with these websites but not as much as they would make if the customer ordered directly through them. I have no idea what I'm doing. The online companies told us they keep many local flower shops alive by sending them extra business and providing additional marketing. So what's our take away? If you do buy online, keep it simple, choose a bouquet that's all the same flower like all roses or tu lips to avoid substitutions. If you can find a local florist in the area, call them directly. You might get a better deal. You would get the full value as opposed to everybody taking a piece of the pie.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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