In 2020, shoppers set a new record for Valentine’s Day spending. More than $27.4 billion was spent on gifts for loved ones and friends, more than any year before. So, what should we expect for Valentine’s Day in 2021? COVID might keep many couples out of romantic restaurants, but online shopping is a new way of life for many families, and holiday gifts help to break up the tedium of quarantines.
There is always a risk when spending money online. With so much money being spent – even during the time of COVID – scammers are out in force during Valentine’s Day. Here at PissedConsumer.com, we want to be sure our customers know about the top Valentine’s Day scams so that they can be protected.
With thousands of online reviews available, we also have insight into plenty of tips and ideas unrelated to the latest Valentine’s Day scam. 2020 was a wild year. Let’s enjoy Valentine’s Day 2021.
Our Best Valentine’s Day Tips
As you prepare for Valentine’s Day 2021, make your goal to simply have a good time and bring joy to those you care about. There might not be the typical Valentine’s Day events to choose from, but you can still have a great time with a bit of creativity.
Choose a personalized gift.
The key for many to have a happy Valentine’s Day is to create a truly personalized gift. Consider your experiences together. Would a photo collage or special book be appropriate? Crafty? Make something your partner needs or wants to support a collection or interest.
A hard lesson for many last Christmas was how long shipping can take when we all order gifts online. For Valentine’s Day 2021, order your gifts with plenty of time for shipping.
Buy from a reliable vendor.
Online reviews can help you determine who is a reliable vendor. Many Valentine’s Day complaints occur when shoppers buy in a hurry without checking to be sure a vendor is reliable.
Check wish lists and boards.
If you want to be sure you get a loved one something they want, you can take a peek at their wish list on websites like Amazon or follow them on Pinterest. If they pin it or save it to a wish list, you can be sure it will be part of a happy Valentine’s Day.
Consider an experience.
Many of us are feeling stuck inside right now. The best Valentine’s Day gift this year might be an experience rather than items. Check reviews in your area for outside fun that is still COVID safe. Perhaps a romantic sleigh ride? A snowmobile ride? A hike with a picnic?
Ideas for a Fun Valentine’s Day
This year we have to think outside of the box a bit to be sure we are having a fun, but safe and happy Valentine’s Day. Dinner in a crowded restaurant might not be on your list, but we have several other fun Valentine’s Day ideas.
Create themed gifts.
Why buy one gift when you can buy many! Create a themed gift basket or box for your special someone. Valentine’s Day box ideas might include a movie night, a snow day, a cooking experience, or fun new cocktails.
Make your own treats.
If you have a household in need of fun this holiday, have a Valentine’s Day party for your closest friends or family. If it’s warm enough, you can gather outside for drinks and fun. Or have a special event inside where everyone in your home takes turns making their own Valentine’s Day candy or decorating special cookies.
Try an online experience.
If you can’t go out for Valentine’s Day, bring an experience in. Try one of the many specialized online experiences as a couple or as a family this year. Consider a special cooking class. Perhaps a personalized dance lesson. Or load up your sound system with a special online concert. Before you buy an online experience, however, check online reviews. It would be terrible to gift someone a Valentine’s Day scam.
How to Avoid Valentine’s Day Scams
With access to thousands of reviews, here at PissedConsumer, we can identify many common complaints among customers. Nobody wants to be the victim of a Valentine’s Day scam. Here are some of the best ways to stay safe.
Watch for suspect delivery offers.
Delivery of gifts is one of the biggest issues we see at PissedConsumer. Customers order items for loved ones that never arrive or arrive broken, too late, or with the wrong gifts.
Among the many 1800Flowers Valentine’s Day reviews from 2020, one frustrated customer explained that the rose bouquet he ordered two weeks in advance for his wife arrived with dead flowers.
According to the review, he received “a dreadful looking bunch of roses, six of which were already dead and turning black right out of the box.” He explains, “By the next day, six more were dead and I threw out the last six dead ones today, just three days after Valentines Day.”
It’s not just flowers that have issues with delivery. Edible Arrangement Valentine’s Day reviews have similar stories of failed or missing deliveries. In a review, one frustrated customer explains that he “purchased a 3 tier box and paid extra for my item to be shipped to my gf on Valentines Day and she never received it!” He explains that he tried “calling the store and customer service line for 4 hours and they wont pick up !”
Be wary of false advertising.
It’s hard to know that a company is using false advertising before you open a package, but reading online reviews ahead of time can help you avoid the experiences of others. One customer discovered how frustrating false advertising can be. She left her experience among the Queen of Roses Valentine’s Day complaints.
In this Valentine’s Day review, a customer explains that she received “junk” instead of an arrangement advertised through Instagram and their website. According to this reviewer, the company advertised special flowers but the delivery came up lacking.
Don’t pay for unexpected delivery charges.
One common Valentine’s Day scam is to scam recipients out of fake delivery fees. A messenger arrives with a package. He won’t deliver the package until the delivery is paid for with a small fee. Sometimes these scams accept cash, but often they ask for a credit card. Once you have paid for the fake delivery fee, the scammer has access to your credit card information.
The best solution is to never pay for a delivery you weren’t expecting. If someone has sent you a gift, shipping will be paid in advance. It is appropriate to tip a delivery person, of course. A tip is a gesture from you, however, not a fee the person is requesting to complete a delivery.
Don’t click through emails to buy gifts.
You might get an excellent offer in your inbox about a possible gift. As tempting as it might be, avoid clicking through the email to buy the special offer. If it is a true special offer, you should be able to access it through the store’s website using the coupon code or pin that is provided in the email.
Rather than clicking through the email, simply type in the URL of the website. This will keep you from clicking on fake links or going to sites that are designed to look like real stores. These scam sites are designed to look like real stores, but they won’t send you anything, but the scammers will certainly take your money and your personal information.
Watch out for catfishing.
Valentine’s Day can be a lonely day for some folks, so they head online looking for love. However, instead of finding love, they find scammers waiting to take their money after a whirlwind romance.
Catfishers prey on loneliness by offering romance and saying all of the right things. It’s flattering to feel like someone in the online world is interested in you romantically, and you feel a connection. Catfishers wait for that connection and then ask for a bit of cash or a gift card to help with an expected expense or other financial favor. Once you send them money, the romance is done and the catfisher is gone with your cash.
The weeks around Valentine’s Day is the most common time for catfishing. Even the FBI has warned those looking for a bit of romance and fun to be leery of online dating and relationships during this time. Enjoy the fun of a bit of flirting, but don’t send anyone money if you haven’t met them in person.
We are ready to bring a bit of fun back into our lives. Don’t let a scammers ruin the romance and enjoyment of the holiday. Avoid Valentine’s Day scams by carefully checking reviews before buying and practicing safe online shopping. Most importantly, bring joy to yourself and others this Valentine’s Day by showing those around you just how much you care.
If you've experienced issues with your Valentine's Day shopping, please share it with other consumers by leaving a review.
By Rebecca Garland
Business and Education Expert
Rebecca Garland, M.S. is a business and education writer. She holds secondary teaching certifications in six areas, has a degree in Business, and earned a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. As an expert, Rebecca has been working with international clients since 2005.
*The company ratings on the PissedConsumer website are calculated using a mathematical algorithm that evaluates the information in the company’s profile. The algorithm parameters are: users’ rating, the number of resolved issues, the number of company responses and more. The PissedConsumer algorithm is also subject to change in the future.
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