I have been a member of Teleflora for over 15 years. About 7 years back, the field rep approached me and asked if Teleflora could build me a website. I was quite "web-illiterate," and recognizing the value of a good website, I agreed. I specifically asked at the time: If I pay you to build my site, would I still own my domain name?" The response was an unequivocal "Yes." I signed on.
Membership in Teleflora has always been expensive, but about 8 months ago they raised my rates without notice. When I realized that had happened, I contacted Teleflora and requested they remove the additional charges retroactive to the "raise." I was told my rep would contact me ... again ... and again ... and again. No rep called, and I stopped paying.
Understand, the "Late Charge," no matter how small the monthly bill, is $75.00. Over the course of time, the charges racked up. When they finally refunded the overcharge on my monthly membership fee, they refused to refund the late charges. Shortly after the adjustment of the monthly overcharges were made, they cancelled my membership and sent me to collections.
I expected they would discontinue administering my website, and began to build my own site to replace the Teleflora "generic" template. It was just a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, and I needed to get the site up to reap the rewards of the holiday. Much to my surprise, when I contacted the web host, I was told Teleflora had registered themselves as not only the administrator of the site, the the owner of my domain name as well.
The host has requested Teleflora relinquish their right to my name and allow it to be transferred to me, but Teleflora has refused to do so. Instead, they have posted a statement that the site is "no longer available," and if you need flowers, you can "Find a Florist" by clicking, which directs them to a competing shop in my town. That's right ... if you search My Name, you will be directed to My Competition. I was shocked!
I have paid what they demanded in full. I am so happy to know this "gorilla" is off my back, but would like to get my website back. I have lost Thanksgiving. Christmas is just around the corner, and it's not looking good. Times for a very, very small shop in a very, very difficult economic recession are desparate anyhow, and this "gorilla" is about to break this camel's back. Way to go, Teleflora ... I'm sure you are proud of yourself.
And a note to the general public: If you choose to send flowers, call the shop directly. The florist who works their heart out filling your order and providing excellent service to your recipient may not be getting anything at all. First, there is the "Cost of Goods," and you can figure it takes about half of what you paid just to buy the flowers and vase for your order.
Then, the filling florist will forfeit 20% of the order for a fee paid to the person who takes your internet or phone order; an additional 10% or so is then scarfed up by Teleflora for their "clearinghouse" fee.
Then, there is a charge of $99 -$149 per month for the "Membership Fee." If you only get 10 incoming wire orders a month, that's about $10 - $15 per order.
If you send it directly to me through the Teleflora-hosted website, I pay an additional $9.95 per order (no matter how small) for their "eFlorist" transaction fee.
In Addition, on one of my last statements, they charged me: $2.75 on each order for an "Order processing fee; $1.00 as a "Non-Dove Order Surcharge,"; a fee for the "Marketing Kit;" a fee for their "Network Quality Program," a "Paper Statement Fee" if you don't agree to receive e-bills; then there is a "Directory Info Fee" somewhere in there ... and top it off with a late fee of $79 if you can't scrape up the money to pay the bill by their due date.
Needless to say ... this relationship was not working out. I knew I had to get a divorce, but I never dreamed that when I struck out on my own I not only lost my shirt, but I lost my name as well.