August 25, 2005, 12:00 AM

FTD files a false advertising suit against Provide Commerce

FTD alleges that Provide Commerce’s claim that its flowers are picked the day before or on the day of shipping without going through middlemen is false and misleading. Provide Commerce says the lawsuit is without merit.



FTD Group Inc. has filed a formal complaint against Provide Commerce Inc. charging Provide Commerce, which operates, with false advertising.

The complaint, filed in Federal District Court in Chicago, states that ProFlowers` claims that its "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.

“We welcome competition, but it should be fair competition that does not mislead consumers through deceptive claims,” says FTD CEO Michael J. Soenen.

Provide Commerce says the lawsuit is without merit. “We remain focused on our customers and will vigorously defend our direct business model. Our unique model is supported by our 7-day freshness guarantee-and it is this model that has greatly contributed to our ability to effectively balance growth and profitability,” says Provide Commerce CEO Bill Strauss. “Furthermore, we believe that the ProFlowers’ model provides the best value and experience for customers as evidenced by our industry-leading customer satisfaction scores.”

The complaint asks the court to stop Provide Commerce and from making further false or misleading statements regarding the freshness of their and their agents` products and services, conduct a corrective advertising campaign and compensate FTD for acts of unfair competition.

“FTD must take action against ProFlowers` practices, which we believe are deceptive and misleading,” Soenen says.

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