1800flowers Dupes You Into Signing Up For "LiveWell" For $11.99 Per Month

After reader Vikram ordered flowers online from 1800flowers.com, he realized he was receiving a monthly charge from an obscure company called “LiveWell” for $11.99 per month. He did some quick research and found out that many others were being duped into this program. Yet nobody, not even 1800flowers seemed to know what it actually is. What should he do? His letter and our advice, inside…

This recently has happened or been happening to me and after researching it online it seems to been happening to many customers that shop at 1800flowers.com. I purchased flowers from them one day to send to a friend and everything went fine. Well apparently somewhere after the transaction there is a tick box that if clicked on signs you up to a membership program with a company called LiveWell. Well I must have overlooked this and signed up for it. Regardless I did not say that I want my credit card information provided to this company but I did get charged by them on my credit card.

While I am not surprised of this underhanded tactic I felt it was important others know about this. In addition, I was wondering what procedures would be recommended to make sure I get all my money back from this.

With some quick research we tried to determine if “LiveWell” actually has a function besides leeching from your credit card but we found none. We also asked 1800flowers by phone, but all we received was a confused CSR followed by a transfer/disconnect. Some quick Googling revealed some more information. From 800notes.com Dean says,

I just called the number and spoke to a livewell representative. Apparently when I purchased flowers on line at 1800Flowers, there is a tick box for a $20 rebate and if you click on it, they sign you up to their membership program and steal $11.99 from your account each month. Very sneaky.
Apparently it’s in the fine print somewhere that they’ll do this. Regardless – it is an unethical way to rip people off.

Just call them at 800-793-2318 and cancel your subscription.

In addition to the method above, our research indicates that some victims have called their credit card companies and have easily had the charges removed. They have also called 1800flowers and were transferred to “LiveWell” and had their “membership” canceled that way. Of course, there is our good friend the chargeback which can usually remove fraudulent charges. These parasitic companies are infamous for putting small charges on your card with the hope that you won’t notice, which is yet another good reason to carefully check your monthly statement.

(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. mdkiff says:

    Moral: Never accept those “click here for $20 off your next purchase” buttons on any site – including MovieTickets.com, etc…

  2. timmus says:

    I guess I’ll be the first one to say it… if you have to buy flowers, use Google Maps to find a flower shop in the area where you’re sending them and call them direct. I can appreciate the service the 1-800 brokers are providing, but they’re obviously becoming slimeballs and my experiences with them have been erratic as opposed to talking directly with flower shops.

  3. mike says:

    What exactly is “LifeWell”? What is this a membership to?

    A quick google search pulled up some sort of health web site.

  4. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    This is the kind of stupid thing that will kill e-commerce companies. Think about all the reasons many of us have to send flowers. If 1-800 Flowers provides a good experience, they could get 10-12 orders a year from many of us. Instead, this type of stupid tactic will just turn people off.

  5. bonzombiekitty says:

    LiveWell seems to be a program that if you join will give you various discounts at certain websites.

    [livewell.net]

  6. weakdome says:

    They could get 10-12 orders a year from me if their cheapest stuff didn’t end up being $60 by the time you want to send it.

    For the people who I’d just like to send something SMALL too (like a co-worker on a bad day), I don’t need to spend girlfriend-worthy prices.

    I second the google-maps-for-local-shop idea.

  7. tinders says:

    proflowers does this kind of thing too, only under the guise of providing a “shipping rebate.” this is via [freeshipping.com], a decidedly sketchy site where i can’t even seem to find the monthly fee they will charge you if you sign up. at least you seem to get something from the program (maybe).

    why do flower companies in particular feel the need to escalate the weasel arms race? like stanfrombrooklyn says, all it does is irritate customers and hurt their brand.

  8. chrisjames says:

    This is pretty common it seems. I ended signed up for 10$/mo WLI* Reservations, a part of the WebLoyalty scam, which actually advertises discounts and services through its website, but I never agreed to any such thing. I notified USAA via online dispute that I’d never heard of this business and they dropped the latest month’s charge and it never appeared again.

    I only shop at Amazon.com and some airlines (directly, no third-parties), and I’ve honestly never checked any discount or rebate boxes, ever. I’ve never seen any. I always go straight from adding to cart to checking out and paying. Even though it’s technically not a scam how it’s set up, I don’t understand how my card got signed up, nor why Amazon seems to allow this, if they are aware of it.

  9. bravo369 says:

    Would a chargeback even work in this case? It’s not really fraudulant because he had the box checked on the website. Obviously the site should have had that box UNCHECKED by default but the guy also did not read what it was.

  10. Corydon says:

    @timmus: @weakdome: Good advice on the google-for-local-shops idea.

    I have an HR rep in our corporate office that really went above and beyond for me, and I’d like to send her something nice. I was considering 1-800-FLOWERS, but after ready this article and the comments, I think I’ll avoid them in future.

  11. sagis9 says:

    Had the same expereince with those guys
    after my wife ordered some flowers from them.
    I find this a highly misleading practice, and i recommended to all my friends/colleagues to avoid 1800 flowers for this reason. Dial a local flower shop.

  12. SacraBos says:

    @chrisjames: Yes, I was going to mention WLi Reservations. Same scam thing as this. While at movietickets.com, my son supposedly “opt-ed in” since he saw a “click here for a $10 discount” – that you can’t opt back out of. For this reason, we will not ever use movietickets.com again. Did I mention it was movietickets.com that passed WLi our credit card information with our authorization?

  13. zentec says:

    And when you’re done getting that scam removed from your credit card, take a moment to notify 1800 Flowers why you’re no longer doing business with them.

    I have come across a handful of e-comm sites on the internet that sent me off to a third-party site for other offers, some of which were quite dubious. I do not, nor will I ever, complete an order when they do that. And I will call and cancel if it’s post order.

  14. Gorky says:

    They could have also payed attention when they bought the flowers and made sure to READ what they are checking when they see a rebate instead of just saying oooh a $20 rebate now its time to check out. Anyone with even a minimal amount of common sense would ask themselves why would I have to check a box to get a rebate, there has to be a string attached

  15. krom says:

    Not duped, but a dupe. This nonsense about “i didn’t say I wanted my CC info sent” is pathetic. The box was checked, so you agreed to what submitting the form with the box checked meant, and that obviously meant “send CC info to LiveWell”.

    Don’t check boxes you don’t want to agree to, and don’t leave any boxes checked that you don’t want. This is what we call smart.

    Lately the Consumerist complaints have been really dumb. Customer idiocy is not a valid complaint against companies.

    (sure, web sites probably should not provide forms with pre-checked opt-in boxes, but it takes only a few brains to uncheck such boxes.)

    • Anonymous says:

      @krom: I appreciate your point, but I was charged this and I am 100% certain I had no extraneous boxes checked. Of course it’s silly to leave those checked or to just check a $20 rebate!

      I am not sure, but I suspect that I picked a bouquet or something that said $20 off! and that $20 was the hook for this program. How often to sites advertise something as $$ off?

  16. mgy says:

    So, did we ever find out what this company does?

  17. mgy says:

    @bonzombiekitty: I wish I would have saw that earlier :X

  18. kbarrett says:

    That’s nice … didn’t take long for the blame the victim ‘tards to come out.

    Here is a free clue:

    If scammers would be up front about what these checkboxes did, instead of LYING and then hiding a retraction behind a link or in small text, then they would not be accused of fraud via credit card chargebacks and would not get blasted on this website.

    But they are scammers. So the won’t. And guess what … most of us aren’t going to blame the victim either.

  19. balthisar says:

    @krom: I don’t know — I am usually one of the “blame the consumer” people here when they’re stupid (as they often are), and while strictly speaking this person clearly didn’t read every single detail on the screen, I’m assuming that he also didn’t actively check and option without reading it (if so, shame on him). The thing is, there are certain expectations for retail transactions. I don’t read every single word on the screen when all I want to do is buy the latest Alton Brown book. It’s just a quick add-to-cart, cart, checkout, and done. Spending the time reading every single detail isn’t going to be faster than just running to Borders.

    Note: for new websites that I choose to do business with (rarely), I do scour every single word. Oh, and for Go Daddy, who I’m slowly leaving for all their post-sales garbage they force me to read lest I make a mistake. But for normal transactions? Fine print? Yeah, the consumer can be legally wrong, but those web sites are pricks.

  20. snoop-blog says:

    anytime you buy flowers you didn’t get to see first, your taking a risk. i know when i pick out flowers, i’m pretty picky. i don’t think i would be as picky if i was just slapping them together all day for other people though.

  21. Nytmare says:

    @balthisar: Actually it’s not at all clear, unless someone has a screenshot of the screen that signs you up for LiveWell so we can see for ourselves.

  22. cybercjh says:

    TransUnion does this too. Order a credit report and it tries to get you to sign up for this garbage unless you scroll all the way down and click ‘NO THANKS – JUST TAKE ME TO MY CREDIT REPORT.’ It’s sad.

  23. kitf0x says:

    I am very familiar with these club memberships and the box is not pre-checked and unless things have drastically changed it is more then a check box as well. It is actively clicking the rebate link, filling in a username/password and a personal identifier such as city of birth as an electronic signature and then hitting submit for your rebate you get by joining livewell. If it was a checkbox they have changed how they do the marketing and I seriously am skeptical it was already checked vs. opting in.

    Also this product is a collection of health and entertainment discounts built for 800flowers by livewell with discounts on all sorts of things. The breakage is the people who actually use the benefits vs. those who dont and just get billed. You can milk significant savings out of these programs but it takes active use and drive to do it, not often worth it over all especially if your the type to see “free” money and just submit to things.

  24. chrisjames says:

    @kitf0x: The “scam” here is that there isn’t a rebate link or any extra forms to fill in for membership. Purchasing an item on one site and opting-in to a seemingly innocent rebate or discount signs you up for a third-party membership. The agreement is hidden somewhere, either on another page, through a link, or “hidden in plain sight.”

    In my situation, there was no check box. I’m very careful about how I use credit cards online, thanks to my paranoid parents. I did some research and some sources claimed that WebLoyalty (the ones who got me) automatically sign some people up simply by them purchasing from a participating online retailer, no opt-in required. I don’t wholly believe that, but for the last seven months I’ve been slowly digging backwards through credit card transactions trying to find when, where, and how WebLoyalty got me, because I know I didn’t opt-in or un-opt-out for anything.

  25. I’m sorry but the, “I clicked on a box to save money/get something free, but didn’t realize I was getting signed up for something else” excuse is getting old. You had to know! I’ve used 1800flowers before, and never ended up with any mystery charges on my card.
    Sorry for the vent.
    @kbarrett: Yeah , I’m that guy. Last time I didn’t blame the victim when I wanted too, it turns out he WAS a soda thief.

  26. marsneedsrabbits says:

    After the huge mess they made at Valentine’s Day (flowers not delivered or dead) and the bad customer service I received from one of their affiliates, I stopped doing business with their subsidiaries as well. Here is the Consumerist link: [consumerist.com]

    Here is their review page on Yahoo Shopping: [shopping.yahoo.com]
    1-800-Flowers gets a 1& 1/2 out of 5 stars, a poor service rating.

    Here are their subsidiaries, via Wikipedia: [en.wikipedia.org]

    Fannie May Confections, Inc.
    Harry London Candies
    Fannie Farmer Chocolate
    Cheryl&Co. – gourmet cookies
    Plow and Hearth – home decor
    WineTasting Network – a distributor for California wineries
    Ambrosia Wine – the WineTasting Network’s direct-to-consumer wine club
    Hearthsong – a children’s toy company
    Magic Cabin – a children’s toy company
    The Popcorn Factory
    Wind and Weather
    Problem Solvers
    Bloomnet

    Call a local florist, like several people suggested. You’ll get better service.

  27. Brie says:

    @chrisjames: WLI* hit my neighbor too via classmates.com, which was easy to discover because classmates.com was her very first internet purchase, ever. :(

  28. trilegiant says:

    Anything with “TLG” or “WLI” generally comes from the trilegiant loyalty group. Basically this type of jig is this companies bread and butter, googling trilegiant you get their homepage at #1, then the next 15 entries are negative press, various scams they’ve run, and consumerist type websites warning people of this.

    What’s most interesting or disappointing depending on how you look at it is this little factoid I’ve obtained from people that work there: People that actually use their services lose this company money. If you actually use their discount programs, they actually lose money on you. What they’re hoping is you sign up, and either don’t notice or forget, and they keep pinging your credit card every month or every year.

  29. AMetamorphosis says:

    Don’t forget http://www.BLOOMSTODAY.com

    They do the EXACT same thing so you can “save” 50% off your first order … from there on out your gonna get nailed from some other company.

    If you hAve to prepay for a discount, its generally a scam.

  30. gamaliel says:

    @krom: Buran? Is that you?

    It’s good advice to check what you’re clicking on, but who would reasonably expect that this would even be a part of the process of ordering flowers?

    It’s perfectly legal*, but that doesn’t make it right.

    (*Probably. Not a lawyer here.)

  31. dontclick says:

    Everyone whos receiving this charge clicked on some blue text that said “GET $15 BACK ON YOUR ORDER” on their order confirmation page. They didn’t read the next page but simpley clicked on the big button that said YES. This was the equivalent of them signing a paper saying they want to be charged $11.99 a month!

    My word of advice to everyone–next time READ EVERYTHING CAREFULLY. Sleazy companies like Trilegiant and Affinion make money by people who don’t read, like you! They then turn around and convince executives at big companies that they’ll bring in lots of free money. The executives are COMPLETELY CLUELESS and just see dollar signs, not realizing that they are PISSING off customers and destroying their companies. You see more and more of this at banks, car rental places, retailers. They live off of PT Barnum’s adage–there’s a sucker born every minute. Think about it–if a guy on the street came up to you and said they’d give you $15 if you sign a piece of paper, would you do it? If not, then why are you clicking on a big button that says YES when you don’t have any idea what it does??

    Do them and us all a big favor–be a SMART consumer and put these sleazy companies out of business!!!!

  32. Knight616 says:

    I know this is old, but I just got charged from then for something I did on 1800flowers.com 2 months ago. I was charged 40$…. even though 1800flowers told me it was free, so I said “whats the harm”, never used it then all of a sudden 2 months later, charged…I called them and yelled at them and they are giving me back the money they took out, or so they say…

  33. bungloe says:

    I was about to register to get $15 back from my 800flowers purchase until I read the information(see below) that was on the same page in visible letters(not small fonts). Next time read before complaining and remember that nothing is ever free.

    ——————————–
    Get 15% off all future 1-800-FLOWERS.COM purchase. Plus, get $15 Cash Back.

    Simple and Secure Enrollment with Continuous Savings and Easy Billing. Through this special offer, I can try the service with the first month, Free. My membership will automatically be extended for three more months at the $38.99 fee, and automatically renewed every three months at the then-current fee, billed to the credit or debit card entered and used today for my 1-800-FLOWERS.COM purchase unless I call toll free during my one-month trial to cancel. I can call or email at any time to cancel and get a refund of the unused portion of my then-current three-month term’s membership fee. The $15 Cash Back is mine to keep.

  34. vkeiko says:

    I just got a check in the mail from flowers.com, even though I haven’t ordered anything from them in probably a year. It’s for $8.95, but cashing it signs you up for livewell, which is now $12.99/month.

    It says you can get 2% cash back up to $5000 of new purchases. Thus receiving up to $100 per year…the only catch being that membership costs $12.99/month or $168 per year.

    What a terrible company.