RED BANK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Valentine’s Day is Sunday, but buyer beware if you plan on ordering flowers online.
It’s a prime day for florists. But instead of creating happy memories, some customers say a business with ties to New Jersey is breaking hearts all over the country, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported.READ MORE: Campaign 2021: Early Voting Begins In New Jersey And New York City
“I work, like, maybe 2,000 roses for Valentine’s,” said Red Bank Florists owner Oksana Levina.
Days before Valentine’s, it’s crunch time for Levina. But recently she says some angry customers have called confusing her with TerrysFlorist.com, which lists a Red Bank, New Jersey zip code on credit card bills.
Nationwide, when CBS2 searched online for a “local florist,” Terry’s pops up, claiming it has been “serving our community for over 20 years.”
Mike Havens thought Terry’s was located near his mother-in-law in Colorado. He said he ordered a bouquet, but that it arrived as “basically three flowers and a bud vase.”
Hundreds of online reviews of TerrysFlorist.com include comments like “We ordered Daisy Delight Deluxe, we received no daisies” and “I got a phone call 1 hour AFTER funeral that they (flowers) couldn’t be delivered.”
“So I ordered flowers from the funeral home to be sent to his gravesite,” said Georgia resident Crystal Briggs.
“They said that, ‘No, they tried to deliver it, and no one was there,'” said Minnesota resident Lauren Kriz. “Of course I didn’t get any refund.”
The Better Business Bureau gives Terry’s an F rating.
An attorney for Terry’s says “unsatisfied customers represent a small fraction of one percent of all its transactions.”
One unsatisfied customer compares Terry’s to a florist we first told you about last year, TroysFlorist.com. It turned out not to be a flower shop at all, but an office space in East Brunswick.
Troy’s business registration certificate included Kadri Erturk, also known as Atil Erturk, as a principal. Erturk created TerrysFlorist.com in 2019, according to his lawyer.
Rozner tried to speak with him at his home in Colts Neck, New Jersey. His wife Yasemin Erturk, who’s listed as a registered agent on Terry’s business certificate, came to the door.
“Hi, I’m looking for Atil,” Rozner said.READ MORE: Many New Yorkers Canceling, Scaling Back Halloween Festivities Due To COVID Concerns
“Uh, he’s not here. Who’s this?” Yasemin Erturk said.
“I’m Lisa Rozner with CBS2 News and I was told he’s behind Terry’s Florist,” Rozner said.
“No he’s not,” Yasemin Erturk said, and shut the door.
Terry’s lawyer says the Erturks sold the Terry’s domain and website to Anthony Picco before it began operations in 2019. Picco’s LinkedIn page says he is CEO of ArcoMediaGroup in Asbury Park.
Terry’s is a registered business with a mail drop address in Nevada. Still, when Rozner called customer service, Rozner was told it was located at 75 West Front Street in Red Bank.
When Rozner asked what suite number it would be, she was put on hold, and then hung up on.
The building owner said there was no Terry’s ever there, and so did the management office at 1 Harding Road in Red Bank, where Google maps pins the company.
Rozner also contacted officials in Red Bank, and they did not have any records of the company.
Now receiving dozens of complaints weekly is Terry McPherson who owns similar-sounding Terry’s Florals in Lake Butler, Florida.
“It’s very time-consuming and it’s very hurtful to a small business,” McPherson said. “You’re like, ‘What did I do?’ And then it’s not even my shop.”
Consumer credit expert Paul Oster points out Terry’s doesn’t list a physical address under its “Contact Us” link – a common red flag.
“SEO optimization has made it very easy for companies to appear that they’re local,” said Paul Oster, president of Better Qualified. “Call the business and tell them you want to stop by.”
And when ordering flowers, he says make sure the vendor guarantees no substitutions. He says get orders in writing because emails are admissible in the court of law.
Terry’s says it’s “committed to perfecting the customer experience” and “has hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers.”MORE NEWS: Alec Baldwin Was Told Gun Was 'Cold' Before Fatal Movie Set Shooting, Court Records Show
The New Jersey Attorney General’s office says it has received eight complaints against Terry’s. Mastercard says it has raised concerns with the merchant’s bank.