Dirty deeds done ProFlowers cheap.

When you look for a company that seems to be wanting to put itself in the lead for any “Most Unethical” award you really don’t need to look any further than ProFlowers.

ProFlowers is part of a group of companies under the Provide Commerce parent company; some of the other companies are Shari’s Berries, Red Envelope and Cherry Moon Farms.

In the past we detailed some of their history:

  1. Advertising the health benefits of chocolate but dip their berries in fake swizzle.
  2. Class action lawsuit for their involvement in the “easy saver scam”.
  3. Class action lawsuit regarding a similar “free shipping “ deal that fooled the customers into signing up for a monthly recurring charge (a different flavor of the easy saver scam).
  4. A lawsuit by their liability carrier that no longer wanted to be tied to their activities.
  5. Referenced lawsuits from floral companies when ProFlowers advertised “Fresher than local florists” when ProFlowers actually used those same local florists to fill some of it’s orders.

This past Valentine’s Day they went even further, they ran ads using actual local florists names that said the local florist was sold out. Here is an example:

ProFlowers Fraud

Screenshot image used by permission and captured by Chez Bloom of Minneapolis

Imagine doing an online search for your favorite florist only to see a big notice that the florist was sold out. You click on the ad to find out more and are taken to the ProFlowers website. Of course the local florist was not sold out and the ProFlowers ad was completely false. The person who captured the above screenshot also ran a search on other local florists and the fraudulent ProFlowers ad ran with each of those companies names.

Only one outside party knows how many of these false ads were shown to customers, and it’s going to take a court order to pry that information from Google’s Adwords database. Chances are every floral and gift merchant in the US are potential members of a well deserved class action lawsuit.

As you would expect: the experts at ProFlowers are saying that this was an accident… but the “www.proflowers.com/local” url shows this was meant to target a local audience. That ProFlowers “/local” page is no longer available, are they covering their tracks? Just deleting a web page like that has SEO side effects that the ProFlowers experts were well aware of, so totally deleting the page may have been similar to shredding the documents when you know you have been caught.

So far we know two class action lawsuits are pending against this group of companies, this looks like it should be a third.

Do you know of other companies that were hit by these false ads?

Did they get screen shots?

We’d love to have a copy so we can post it here.

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