Tip Understanding Wire Service Statements

BOSSApr 3, 2011

  1. BOSS

    BOSS FlowerChat Administrator

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    There have been several topics lately dealing with wire service charges, and many members of the community wishing to reduce their expenses related to belonging and even completely getting out of the services. This thread will be dedicated to helping folks understand the various charges, as well as ways you may be able to reduce charges.

    Being the "chief ws blaster" myself, this thread is not a place for rants against the services, only a place to offer help, other posts may be removed. Also, I would like a senior community member that has had experience with Teleflora, that would like to assist chime in. I have not been a member there for 15 years or more.

    This is a place to understand charges, not reconciliation, for that you're on your own. Any advice given, is just that, advice. I'm not a lawyer. You're on your own to get things removed or reduced.

    I will post my fax number and direct email below for those wishing to send either, or your can message me here. Hopefully you can do scans or screen shots to post here (with identifying info blocked) for others to see. (Snag-it is a great program for this, but there are free ones out there too)

    Like Shannon found this past week, one service owes her shop $3600, that's a few lunches. So for you folks that are new to the industry, new to our community, or others that just want help understanding, ask away, there's a lot of experience here, and many folks willing to help out.

    [email protected]
    989-631-4418

    Best wishes~!
     
  2. sandytf

    sandytf Well-Known Member

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    This could be end up being the BEST THREAD EVER started on FC! Great idea, Mark. I'm sure many will find it extremely helpful. May I add....for all posters....please don't judge those who "bare their wire service soul" on this thread. We don't want anyone to be afraid to share the skeletons in the closet and get the help they need!
     
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  3. theRKF

    theRKF Administrator Staff Member

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    TF does have active representation on this board. I obviously can't make any guarantees or promises on their behalf, but perhaps they would be willing to speak up to directly address line items on the statements for the education of member florists.

    Also, FTD has expressed a desire to see accurate information presented about their company, so there is an opportunity for them as well.
     
  4. lori042499

    lori042499 Well-Known Member

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    My first note would be to anyone who has a TF website...They will refund the 3.50 per order fee if you don't end up with the order, for example, the person chose yellow roses for today and won't take a sub and you have to cancel..Make sure you call tf and get the amount taken off your bill and then follow up to make sure it is really taken off..
     
  5. Mikey the Flower Guy

    Mikey the Flower Guy It's a GREAT DAY to live, and love!

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    So, the MOST likely question IS, HOW many times am I going to HAVE TO CALL my wire service, before I get the "answers" I need??
    I have THOUSANDS of customers as well, how many of them would call me AGAIN, IF they HAD to contact me, MORE THAN ONCE, to resolve a "problem", or question??
    The "ANSWER IS", as many times as it takes to MAKE SURE they know, that I/you, WON'T let this "issue" slide, borderline harassment!
    IF I "notice" ten different problems, ten different times, DO I HAVE TO CALL YOU ten times to get these things done??
    Shannon's post is NOT "uncommon", but, shop owners MUST realize, the MORE we "automate", the MORE mistakes are made....PERIOD!!
    TF has a very "gentle" side to it....IF you live in Canada...the Canadian HQ is an outstanding team of problem solvers, and they KNOW the answers, sometimes, BEFORE you "ask" them, but, you GOTTA ask!
    FTD is NOT the "animal" it once was...not at all, I "think" they know that now, BUT, the experience and "knowledge base" just ISN'T there anymore.....maybe with good reason, maybe not, but, in the last few years, it's been tough slugging, why ANYONE in their right minds would agree to "pay" to belong to this organization!!
    I DON'T know THE ANSWER, but, when I was on the precipice of abandoning membership, much like hundreds, OR thousands of other shop owners have done, something "changed", I will wrap my head around it soon....I'm sure!
    I try to use "simple" analogies" of how wire services "operate"........and compete AGAINST you...it's sort of Buick trying to outmuscle cadillac for luxury supremacy, sometimes viciously bashing each other's brand, yet BOTH are owned by the same parent.
    "TIS TRUE, many shop owners "feel" like they are being held hostage, being a wire service member, but Kirsty Alley paid a HUGE chunk of change to be a "Jenny Craig" queen, and HAD TO PERFORM advertisement duties as part of the "deal" even though she gained a lot back!
    FTD and TF are like flower "banks" they offer you "services" YOU CHOOSE the ones that you "think" that would work in YOUR BUSINESS (key words).....florist shop owners are VERY CAREFUL when it comes to flower prices, and fuel prices, and labour prices, and car payments, and tax authority filings....how come they "think" that the wire services MUST become more gentle........baloney!
    Imagine setting up a system where YOU can send an order to Russia, and have YOUR dollars "converted to Russian currency, the Russian language, and deliver via the Russian "culture"....that is what ws's are there for!!
    IF you choose to "buy" more services, like extra "chequing" features (eg.extra listings) YOU pay for them......IF you DON'T want them, DON'T buy them!
    How's that for a start??......
     
  6. Colonial Bouquet

    Colonial Bouquet New Member

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    I think it was Jenny Craig>
     
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  7. jamie

    jamie Well-Known Member

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    I have a few very reasonable tips for reducing some of your money for FTD. It may apply to other WS as well, I am not sure.

    Mercury Charges: At the present time FTD charges you $2.00 for every order that you recieve on the mercury system and $3.50 (i think) for every phone in FTD order. You will receive $0.75 credit for every order you give a delivery confirmation on IF you confirm delivery by 7pm local time the day of the delivery. I sit down when I do my closeout and confirm deliveries on every order. If I don't actually get the order delivered I still send a delivery confirmation stating the attempt details. The mercury system software only flags the confirmation message format. It doesn't matter what is actually in the message.

    If you reject an order or if an order gets canceled, you will still be charged the $2.00 mercury charge. However, you can get credit for the full amount if you call member services after the statement posts. The statements post on the 10th of every month, so I call on the 11th. Check your statement every month to make sure there is a credit because the customer service person sometimes does not actually do it when you ask them to. FTD will give you credit on ALL rejections and cancels for the past 90 days, so if you have never done this call today!! I am sure anyone who filled for FTD at valentines will have quite a bit of money due them.

    Delayed Response Program is a fee structure that will charge your shop $10.00 if you request a price increase or refuse an order more than 2 hours after you recieve the order. If you accept the order (even by default) and do not fill the order, FTD will charge you double the value of the order if the order gets refused after the delivery date. So if you accept a $50.00 order and do not deliver it FTD can charge you $100.00 off your statement. You should never ever have to pay these fees. If something happens and you do not reject or ask within the 2 hour timeframe call the sending shop (usually FTD.com), explain to them that you cannot fill it and ask them to send a CANCEL. When they send a cancel, you are not assessed DRP fees. If you call a sending shop and they refuse to send a cancel then simply call member services and they will handle it.

    FTD will charge you reciprocity if your incoming order to outgoing order ratio is more than 4:1. If you send FTD, but do not send very many orders a month then they will waive the reciprocity for 6 months at a time. If you are in more than one wire service then decide which one sends you the most orders and send your outgoing wires through them. As far as I know all wire services charge a reciproicity fee, so you might as well minimize that expense by knocking out the most expensive.

    If you list in more than one town/zipcode then you can contact directory services to find out how many orders you filled for each area in the last 12 months. That is a great tool for deciding which towns to list/advertise in. If you are only doing a few a year then drop it
     
  8. Mendongreenhouse

    Mendongreenhouse New Member

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    Quick Check on transmission Fee

    One note to make it easier to check to be sure you are not being charged the transmission fee ($2) per order, is to total your incoming orders in section B, For example, 32 Incoming, 1 Interflora, 1 Incoming FTD.Com equals 60.
    Now look at Section E under "Incoming FTO Transmission". I have 120 Divide that amount by $2, and it is 60. If this amount is higher, I would have been charged for an order I did not receive. Hope it helps - only taken me 16 years to be comfortable with Recon!
     
  9. jamie

    jamie Well-Known Member

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    Also, take a good look at your directory listings.

    Make sure that you are not listed in any funky little crossroads towns who never recieve orders. Municipalities are always annexing smaller towns, and if you have been in FTD for any number of years, there is a good chance you have a listing in a town that simply doesn't exist anymore. When I bought this shop, I looked at the directory and realized that the old owner never changed his listings from when he bought the shop 30 years earlier. He was paying for 11 towns that had disbanded years ago!! $99 a month for 30 years is alot of money.

    FTD charges you to have an 800 number in your listing. I think it is $4.00 each. Get rid of that because according to my sales rep a whopping 14% of shops exclusivly use the book when sending orders out of town. They can pay for their own phone call.

    If you are the only shop that lists in a town/area, DO NOT pay for advertising. You are going to get all the business anyway.

    If you list in an area and want to advertise just be the biggest on the page. You don't have to pay for a full page ad if everyone else has a 4 inch listing. It can affect your FTD.com orders, but unless you are in a large city and fill 400+ a year the big ads are too @@@@ high
     
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  10. Simon Says

    Simon Says New Member

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    3 weeks on and I ponder whether TF or FTD or 1-800 are interested or, if not that level of involvement, do they care to represent their position? Maybe some constructive pointers from one or more along the lines of "If you did "x" instead of doing "y", it might initially cost you more but the level of return on your investment with us, your partner - insert applicable company name - will benefit you enormously based upon our records over so many years". See, it could actually be mutually beneficial. But, sadly, not a murmur or a discernable stirring from them. Now, does that not speak loud and clear - please, TF et cetera, correct me if I am wrong.
     
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  11. Simon Says

    Simon Says New Member

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    I think of the phrase, the silence is deafening. Causes, dear wire services, are only truly lost when you do not fight for them.
     
  12. Simon Says

    Simon Says New Member

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    In receipt of TF monthly statement for "May 2011". I am terminating TF and as part of that, moved the URL for my website away from their control at the end of April 2011 and just renewed myself.

    But, according to TF, on the 5th June, they renewed my URL, which they did not. Oh, sure, clerical type error and will, eventually, get resolved. It is, however, yet another reason to examine every aspect of your statement each time it is issued because, unless you do, they are not going to spot their errors for you and magically credit you back.
     
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  13. jordan

    jordan Member

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    We are a fairly large shop. We have been ft and ftd for 50+ years and considering dropping the services. Is there anyone out there in the 500k sales range who has dropped wire services altogether who would be willing to talk to me about how dropping g the wire services has affected their shops?
     
  14. bootcampguy

    bootcampguy Well-Known Member

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    Jordan, I was a full-fillment center for Fee'd to Death and I dropped them in 2010 losing over 15ok in those sales. We are now in the that range listed above. I'm not going to tell you it was easy, very hard to do. Family and employees all thought I was doing the wrong thing, but my gut was telling me different.

    Pitfalls in the short term:
    1) loss of sales volume
    2) reduced volume capability in buying power (hurt me bad)
    3) had to phase out 2 employees through attrition
    4) fear factor of the little birdie "telling me I was a dumbass"
    5) loss of the logo and brand stacking ability with them (which I liked)

    Positives:
    1) Profits have tripled
    2) 94% REDUCTION in complaints
    3) don't fell like a "prostitute" anymore
    4) started building my own brand levels and not being tied to what some else sells
    5) holidays are now "very manageable" have time to work on the customer triangle

    In the end, I did keep one service TF and also joined FSN. I raised minimums up to weed out the most of the DOGS and have now blocked them. I send 100 -150 orders out per. month so the clearing house fees are (with one service) is cheaper than what I would pay a "book-keeper" to manage that madness of putting orders on a CC. I do believe in the wire business of florist to florist. Being in the flower business is not a 9 - 5 job, bit you do have to have time set aside to build bases and work on what YOU sell. I know can do that. You will have days where that "birdie" will tell you've done wrong, be encouraged. Go for it.
     
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  15. jordan

    jordan Member

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    Hey thanks for replying to my question. Do you mind me asking why you chose tf as the keeper and what software do you use for your pos. We are catch 22. Have mercury software and tf website that does incredible for us.
     
  16. bootcampguy

    bootcampguy Well-Known Member

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    Certainly, we had the FTD system (Wings) and I was one of the those who helped design it back in the early 90's, so it killed me to loose it. I switched to Floristware and the reason I choose that was the marketing capabilities. Moving forward that is the most feature that I needed and wire service integration was the least (his doesn't do that) but will accept web order from FSN. FTD just put such a bad taste in my mouth, when my POS contract expired and I did not re-new I got an invoice for a non-compliant system that was greater than the price I had been paying for 5 years. Really?.......Really?
     
  17. jordan

    jordan Member

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    did you look into using the TF pos since you kept their service?
     
  18. bootcampguy

    bootcampguy Well-Known Member

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    I will not use any system that is tied into a wire service. The price they charge is "astronomical" to what all the others charge and you own your system from day one. No need for any form of contract moving forward. To me a contract means they don't trust there product enough to stand alone with competition. The people who want to see contracts are shareholders and venture capitalists. They have a good system, but not what a "average" retail florists to make a living. All expenditures for us are based on service it provides/for the profit it provides.
     
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  19. matthew

    matthew New Member

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    FTD increased there fee to 9% from 7% on August 2016 statement
     

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