FTD Group, Inc. announced last week that its subsidiary, Florists' Transworld Delivery Inc., has filed a complaint in Federal District Court in Chicago asserting false advertising claims against Provide Commerce, Inc. (ProFlowers).
The lawsuit states that ProFlowers' claims that "flowers are picked the day before — or sometimes the day of — the order and are then shipped direct to the customer with no middlemen involved" are false and misleading. The lawsuit also asserts that ProFlowers misleads consumers by stating that its flowers are "shipped direct (or fresh, or straight) from the fields, bypassing middlemen, extended stays in refrigerators or warehouses before they reach your doorstep."
Michael J. Soenen, president and CEO of FTD, said, "FTD has nearly 100 years of experience serving consumers' most important floral needs. We welcome competition, but it should be fair competition that does not mislead consumers through deceptive claims."
The lawsuit explains ProFlowers does not, contrary to its advertised claims, ship its flowers "direct from the fields" or "cut flowers from a field on Day One and have them in consumers' hands on Day Two or Three."
According to FTD, in documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, ProFlowers discloses that:
“It owns a refrigerated warehouse in Miami, where it often stores many of its flowers before they are sent to consumers; that it uses at least five other refrigerated warehouses around the country, owned by third-parties, where flowers are often stored before they are sent to consumers; and that it actually keeps flowers in inventory, especially at busy holiday times, meaning they are not cut to order as said in many of ProFlowers' advertisements.”
"After a thorough investigation of the facts, we decided that FTD must take action against ProFlowers' practices, which we believe are deceptive and misleading, and defend the many high-quality florists, who for generations, have delivered beautiful flowers and a wonderful experience for their customers," Soenen said.
FTD's lawsuit asks the Court to make ProFlowers stop generating further false or misleading statements regarding the freshness of their or their agents' products and services; engage in an effective corrective advertisement campaign; and compensate FTD for ProFlowers' acts of unfair competition.