Online Roses

With Valentine's Day coming, no doubt you'll see plenty of ads for beautiful flowers.

But what's better a cyber bouquet or the tried and true florist?

Consumer Reports orders lots of online bouquets to find out.

Flower shops do a booming business on roses around Valentine's Day.

But with more and more people buying flowers online, Consumer Reports money adviser's Mari McQueen decided to check out roses at five of the leading web sites, FTD.com, 1-800 flowers.com, proflowers, teleflora, and hallmark.com.

Consumer Reports ordered three, $30 bouquets from each of the web sites. There was quite a difference in how many roses you got and at what price point, as well as what they looked like when they were delivered.

And it turns out, what you see on the web site is not necessarily what you get.

Take the bouquet ordered from Teleflora. The web site showed four pale pink roses in a vase, but the three bouquets that came didn't match the web site or one another.

In contrast, the bouquets from Hallmark all looked the same. The fact is many web sites work with local florists so what you get depends on which florist they use.

So Consumer Reports money adviser says if you know a dependable florist, you're probably better off calling the shop directly.

The society of American florists says the average price for an arrangement of 12 long stem roses should be about $70, about the same as it was last year.


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