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Floral Industry Issues

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Schwarzenneger Vetoes Phony Local Florist Bill

Just before October 15 midnight deadline, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 1282, a bill that would have prevented out-of-area order gatherers from deceiving consumers about their locations by purchasing local phone numbers under local-sounding names, forwarding the calls to distant call centers, flipping the orders after extracting fees and commissions and sending them back to real California flower shops. Twenty-three states have passed similar legislation at the urging of ripped off consumers and frustrated florists.

With the veto, Schwarzenegger said:

"This bill would make it illegal for a floral business to list or
advertise a local telephone number if the phone calls are routinely
routed to a location that is different than the geographical location
of the number advertised.  It would also make it illegal to list or
advertise a business name if the name misrepresents the business'
geographical location.

In today's global economy, it is unreasonable to limit out-of-area
businesses from using local names and telephone numbers.  In
virtually every aspect of the economy, consumers are accustomed to
purchasing products from around the world via many methods."

I can only shake my head and wonder how any customer calling a local number for 'Los Angeles Florist', 'Sacramento Florist' or 'San Francisco Florist' would be 'accustomed' to purchasing from a third-party agent in New Jersey, Wisconsin or Washington state or anywhere other than the city stated in the name, pay hidden service charges and have more than 30% of their value removed as the order is flipped back to a real local flower shop.

Out-of-state order gatherers do not collect or remit California sales tax, pay California property taxes or pay wages to Californians. They add nothing to a consumer's value and only skim the profits through the ruse of appearing local. 

Ironic that the governor signed a bill outlawing deceptive and misleading practices of phony live musical performers which makes it "unlawful for any person in California to advertise or conduct a live musical performance through the use of “false, deceptive, or misleading affiliation, connection, or association” between a live performance group and the actual recording group."

So you can't impersonate a singing group but it's open season on impersonating hard working local California businesses.

Who makes money off these phony local florist listings?

  • Phone companies that sell local numbers and collect fees for call forwarding services
  • Advertisers (Yellow Pages, Online Publishers like Google and Yahoo) who publish the ads of these phony locals
  • National florist wire services who earn a piece of nearly every order relayed back to California and pay rebates (performance incentives) of up to $9 per order for each fooled consumer.

There's no way this practice benefits consumers - so with this veto, it's clear that efforts of flower shops and the California State Floral Association couldn't overcome the opposition of large national corporations who profit from the deception.  

It's a sad day for California florists.

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Posted: Monday, October 15, 2007 1:30 AM by avantegardens


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