FTD, Kay's Flowers and a Consumer Rip-Off
"I can't tell you how awful I feel that I trusted a floral delivery to help me express how sorry I was for my good friend's loss and now to know, not only was my message never received but I trusted the most despicable people to send my deepest sympathies."
A recent letter from a ripped-off consumer sums up the pattern of deceit and the dysfunctional partnership between an order gatherer - Kay's Flowers - and FTD.
"I contacted Kay's Flowers at the beginning of March for delivery to a friend's father's (out of town) funeral the next day. They told me the were located in the same area as the funeral home and the delivery would be on time.
"One month latter, I was speaking with my friend and discovered the flowers I sent had never been delivered. I looked up my American Express statement and noted that KAY'S FLOWERS in BELLAIRE, TX did bill me and had listed their contact number with American Express. I called the number listed on my credit-card statement to notify them of the FAILED delivery and heard this "thank you for calling Kay's flowers, your call is very important to us.... a floral representative will be with you in a moment) then the call just automatically disconnects. After trying to call most of the day I began to be concerned. I called their published 800 number and and spoke with one of the ruddiest individuals I have ever encountered on the phone and she told me that she can't look up my order or use my confirmation number. I asked to speak with a supervisor and she simply hung up on me. I called back and got another representative that was even ruder.. upon asking to speak to customer service or a manager she told me "you're not speaking with a manager".. I then asked "Is this a single location or do you have a headquarters?" She pushed some button on the phone and then yelled. "YOU SCARED?" I then started to repeat my previous request and she pushed more buttons; laughed hysterically and disconnecting me.
I then located the business address listed with American Express for trying to contact someone within "Kay's Florist." I googled the address and discovered that it was FTD headquarters. Now being concerned that I'm a victim of fraud I started digging for more information. I discovered that the physical address used by Kay's Florist is just a 1,669 Sq ft office location with phone representatives. I pulled Harris County tax Appraisal Recorders and discovered they also operate under KAYA ENTERPRISES. Both companies have online records of shady business practices. I then discovered that the numbers used as a business line was actually residential lines. So I called FTD and asked what was going on with my order and what kind of businesses are they using to fulfill orders? I was put in contact with a senior manger (Michael Dorian) within FTD who appeared concerned and wanted to help me resolve this issue.
"I was told by FTD that they use a answering/order service who sometimes takes calls for Kay's and they may know more. He would do some research and contact me latter in the afternoon. I then called AMEX and disputed the charges as service was not rendered and the vendor may not even be a legitimate florist. I then called Kay's again (800 number) and made contact with someone who was very polite and professional.. I asked for her name (she gave it) I asked her location and she gave it. Since the address given was not a Texas address I asked if she worked for Kay's florist and she said she worked for their answering service - also known as FTD.com. I asked if she had a direct number I could use to contact Kay's and she gave me a different one from what I already had. It turned out to be a residential line in a Houston apartment complex. I called it and the person answering became very rattled when i called and stated that they where not here. I asked when will they return and she stated they don't use my location anymore. I asked, they operate a floral shop from your apartment and she hung up.
"I then called Kay's again and asked about the confirmation number I was given and quickly realized I have another rude one. I asked if she was with Kay's Flowers or the answering service. She replied Kay's! I then asked, are you affiliated with FTD or actually an employee of Kay's flower shop :) She became agitated and stated that she worked in the "flower shop" and how can she help me. Gave her my confirmation number and she said "what do you want me to do with that! I asked her to please locate my order as it was not delivered. She said I'll have someone call you back. I called the direct Houston line number again and asked where is Kay's flowers located. The response was that "we are national company with shops in every state" I said where is your headquarters and she replied why? I said i want to contact your corporate office and she said this is it! I asked how can this be a national line since i called a privately listed local number and she yelled FU! while hanging up on me!
"Thirty minutes following my last call I was contacted by "the manager in charge" at Kay's and told she would have returned my money but apparently I have already disputed charges with Amex. I said yes, the flowers were not delivered and it has been more that a month.. I also asked for the location of their Bellaire shop and she said.." I DON"T HAVE TO GIVE YOU ANYTHING!!! " and went on to say they do hundreds of orders with FTD and sometime deliveries fail! I said I was afraid this was a case of fraud and I just wanted to ensure this was a real business and that my credit-card information would be secure and she said " I DON"T CARE WHAT YOU THINK!" and hung up.
"I did not hear back from FTD or Michael Dorian. I suspect this is the usual when dealing with FTD or its affiliates. Obviously Kay's flowers in not reputable and lacks any resemblance of professionalism. They will take your money, fail to deliver and treat you with complete disrespect. But I now suspect the bigger problem is with FTD and what caliber of business or fake business they choose to align themselves with.
"FTD should not hide behind their call center as if they are just helping out mom and pop shops or legitimate florist. FTD knowingly supports these fraudulent call centers and should be accountable. Besides, Kay's listed their payment address as 3113 Woodcreek Drive - Downers Grove IL 60515.. Funny how that is the FTD Headquarters address as well?
"The saddest part is I may never have know I was being scammed.. How many other do you think are out there? How may other Kay's-like questionable florists is FTD using? Most people aren't willing to report this or join a class action suite? I'm sure thousands have been ripped off by these people! This letter or one like it will be distributed to numerous websites, executive levels withing FTD, all FTD business affiliates, partner corporations and ALL major news agencies with special attention to the investigative reports. They need to be exposed and the fraud should be stopped.
KAYA Enterprises 6750 West Loop S, Suite 700 Bellaire, TX 77401
Kay's Florist 6750 West Loop S, STE 455, Bellaire, TX 77401
"Take extreme care when dealing with FTD or anyone associated to FTD.com."
The Florist Detectives respond:
We can't begin to tell you how sorry we are that you we scammed by Kay's. We at the Florist Detectives been trying to warn consumers about Kay's Florist (and others) and have been attempting to get their deceptive marketing practices stopped since 2005.
FTD is well aware of Kay's marketing tactics, allegations of skimming and rude customer service and we completely agree with you that FTD is ultimately responsible because without their commissions, performance rebates, credit card clearing services, cloaking of order origins and sending network (Mercury), companies like Kay's would not have the ad dollars and income to keep fooling consumers.
We find it disgusting that a publicly traded company like FTD continues to reward affiliates that use false location information, both in advertising and by phone, to defraud flower buyers.
FTD described the growth of order gatherers ('direct marketers') in a recent SEC filing:
"Key trends in the floral retail market include: the increasing role of floral direct marketers, particularly those marketing floral products over the Internet, which has resulted in increased orders for delivery placed through floral direct marketers versus traditional retail florists"
We continue to assert that many consumers purchasing through FTD affiliate 'direct marketers' believe, like you, that they are actually buying from the real local florists that will fill their orders. Rather than preventing consumers from being deceived, FTD aids, encourages and rewards these deceptive advertising practices.
We urge you to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Thank you for your detailed letter and your thorough investigation and documentation. We trust AMEX will issue you a full refund.
Kay's Flowers/Kay's Florist operates the following websites:
We also hope other flower buyers heed your advice. Read other complaint letters about Kay's Flowers here.