Florists Concerned About Deceptive Web Ads

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(Host) Business groups and local florists are concerned about deceptive web advertising, and they’ve introduced a bill to address the problem.

Tasha Wallis of the Vermont Retail Association says a growing number of internet companies are acting as intermediaries in web purchases of flowers. The internet companies are known as "order gatherers."

Wallis says when consumers use these companies, local florists only get 73 cents on the dollar for the order:

(Wallis) "Basically they take the order and they pass it on to the florist taking out a big chunk of change. But the florist is still the one to put the arrangements together, and provide the service and the product."

(Host) Wallis says when consumers use internet search engines to find a florist, many of these companies use local trade names in their ads, and then direct the browser to the order gatherer’s website.

A bill has been introduced in the legislature on behalf of two Vermont florists that Wallis says would prohibit abuses:

(Wallis) "This bill tries to do what was done in Minnesota and some other states, which clearly identifies what deceptive advertising is, and tells companies you can not use someone else’s trade name in your name on the internet, and provides for the Attorney General to enforce this."

(Host) In the meantime, business groups are urging people who want to shop locally to scrutinize websites before ordering, to ensure that the purchase is being made through the local company’s website.

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