Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Help Me Howard: Roses
He is in the rose business, selling them from his farm all across the United States. But now his business is being hurt because customers who think they are buying his product online are getting a competitors and with Valentines Day approaching, losing sales is crushing, which is why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser
WSVN -- If you have any questions about roses, it's safe to say Sergio Cadena can answer them.
Sergio Cadena: "My first job out of college was at a flower company here in Miami."
Today he sells roses all over the United States, grown on his farm in Colombia.
Sergio Cadena: "I used to live here. I moved to Colombia to make sure everything was perfect for my customers."
But Sergio flew from Colombia to Miami to talk to Help Me Howard about what's being done to his company called Spring in the Air, which has become a top internet rose seller for a simple reason.
Sergio Cadena: "We have people saying they last up to three weeks in the vase and they never die until after three weeks."
Sergio sells 25 long stemmed roses for $49 and ships them directly to the customer in the US. He says roses you buy in stores go through a middle man.
Sergio Cadena: "They ship mainly into Miami importers, then the Miami importer will ship to the wholesaler, then to the retailers, and then to the end consumer and that whole process can take up to 12 days."
Shipping directly to the customers has put Spring in the Air at the top of Amazon's list.
Sergio Cadena: "The only way to climb the list on Amazon is through good reviews and good customer service."
Now of course, you know what happens when you are at the top.
Sergio Cadena: "So recently we had other companies placing a link on our product pages saying that they sell our roses without."
So if you want to buy from Spring in the Air and click add to cart, in many cases you are getting cheaper roses from a company in Maine.
Sergio Cadena: "There is no way they are delivering our product because we don't sell through any middle man."
Sergio says customers think they are getting roses directly to them from Colombia. Instead, they are getting roses that may be a week or two old.
Sergio Cadena: "So this other seller on Amazon is really hurting our image and our business and our image and our business because their taking our sales."
Sergio tracked down the seller but couldn't stop him. He complained to Amazon, but nothing got done.
Sergio Cadena: "No way somebody can just cling on to it and Amazon doesn't do anything about it. There has to be something done. You can't do that."
Now Valentine's Day is approaching. A great time in the floral business, but instead of excitement, Sergio is worried about his company.
Sergio Cadena: "So for us, it was really upsetting. Yes, very upsetting. You shouldn't do that. We worked so hard to get our product to the top of the list."
Well Howard, they say all is fair in love and war. But is this legal in the rose business?
Howard Finkelstein: "No, this is not legal. Sergio has trademark rights in his brand name, Spring in the Air. Therefore, the law will not allow someone else to profit by selling roses under Sergio's trademark without his permission. And since he has not given permission, they have to stop."
We first spoke to the owner of the rose company in Maine. His attorney sent us an email saying any claims that they infringed on the trademark of Spring in the Air were false. That Sergio was trying to disparage his client's company. He also threatened to sue us. Amazon told us they could not discuss clients, but later Sergio told us that they notified him they were now monitoring his account to insure problems like these didn't occur again. Then the owner of the Maine rose business called and told us his rose company is no longer listed on Amazon.
Sergio Cadena: "Their store deactivated and their link taken out of my product."
Sergio is happy. Everything got cleared up in the nick of time, actually Valentine.
Sergio Cadena: "My main concern now with Valentine's Day coming up, we didn't have a risk of losing our sales like we did before. So you really helped a lot and I really do appreciate it."
Now you may be wondering how a company in Colombia can have a trademark in the US. Easy. Because they are selling in America, they follow American laws and are protected by American laws.
A budding problem turned into a stinking mess. Wanna come out smelling like a rose? Contact us. We don't have a trademark or a copyright, but we do right for you.
Roses from Spring in the Air
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org (Please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)
REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at email@example.com