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plant delights nursery - BEWARE

12 years ago

I'm not one to call out a company on a public forum regarding a customer dispute, and the majority of the time I give a retailer the benefit of the doubt. In this situation, however, I feel compelled to do so to warn other potential customers of my awful experience with the staff and poor business operations of Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, NC.

I placed a first time online order with this company on June 19, 2011, with explicit instructions that I will be unavailable for delivery after June 30th (Jun 30 - Jul 4).

I placed two online orders, one with this company on 6/19/2011, and the other with Hosta Patch on 6/20/2011. I had never ordered from either of these two companies before.

I read reviews, was it on gardenweb or on another website, after the fact, about Plant Delights Nursery, and the terrible customer service. I had kept my fingers crossed in spite of what I had heard/read.

I received an email from Fed Ex indicating that my order had shipped yesterday with an estimated delivery date of June 30th, though there is no guaranteed delivery date. Growing concerned as I will be unavailable if this order does not arrive by said date, I contacted them.

I spoke with Virginia and explained my concerns. Throughout the entire conversation, I got the 'passing the buck' attitude. First, Viriginia tells me that I should ask my neighbors to retrieve my package if it does not arrive by June 30th, and that I should have them open my package and tend to my plants while I am away. I explained that I am not interested in getting my neighbors involved, especially over a holiday weekend in which they will not be available to begin with, and I went on to explain that I gave PDN explicit instructions that they cannot ship for delivery after June 30th with my initial order. Virginia then goes on to pass the buck, explaining that they cannot be responsible for Fed Ex if they don't get the order here in time, if they have "problems with their truck", etc. So, she admits that there is no delivery guarantee with Fed Ex, and yet takes ZERO responsibility for the fact that they shipped it anyway, risking that the order may not be received in time, in spite of my explicit instructions.

This is a long distance phone call, at my expense, due to the fact that Plant Delights does not offer a toll free number to their customers.

Virginia then begins to chastise me, that it was my responsibility to contact them after I received their confirmation email. I explained to her that I didn't recall receiving an email (more on that later), and I went on to ask why I should have to contact them, to tell them yet again, my explicit delivery instructions, after I'd already done so with my initial online order. I'm supposed to take time out of my day to ensure they are doing their job with the instructions already given to them?

At that point, I explained to Virginia that I am contacting them about the email confirmation I received from Fed Ex. She tells me that they can't be responsible for Fed Ex shipping/delivery, and goes on to explain that they couldn't ship last week due to inventory. So instead they chose to ship close to the date I specifically indicated I would not be available for delivery, knowing there is no guarantee it will be delivered in time.

Obviously, I'm upset with this "passing the buck" attitude throughout the entire conversation, and that they don't want to take responsibility for their obvious error.

She then proceeds in a condescending tone and suggests that I'm getting ahead of myself. No, actually, I'm being proactive and looking for direction from the vendor on how we are going to resolve this matter, only to listen to customer service tell me they aren't responsible and this is all the customers fault.

If my order does not arrive by June 30th, I will have to make another long distance call, at my expense, in an attempt to resolve their shipping error.

After hanging up with her, I looked back on my records. I did speak with a nursery about an online order last week, but I wasn't sure which one I spoke with as they are both new to me, so I didn't want to misspeak in my conversation with her. I pulled the email confirmation I received from PDN. The email confirmation was received on June 20th, 2011, a day after I placed the online order. I recall retreiving the email notification via my iphone. The ship date showed June 27th, which alarmed me. I contacted them at the time I received the confirmation email, and pointed out to the customer service rep that I had indicated on my order that I will not be available for shipments after June 30th, so I was concerned why they would ship the order on June 27th - that's cutting it too close. The response I received was,

"well that's why we send you a confirmation email". I thought it was a rather snotty response, and at that point I had recalled this must have been the company I read the poor reviews about after placing my order online. I was nice, and asked them to ship after July 4th, and was told they would take care of it. They never did. I'm kicking myself for not calling her out on this in my phone conversation today when I was being chastised, but I wasn't sure if it was this or the other company I spoke with previously.

I looked back on my phone records. The call was made to Plant Delights Nursery on June 20th at 3:24 pm with my specific request to delay the shipment until after July 4th. As such, I forwarded this information to them, along with the original confirmation email today. I will post their response here upon receipt. There are other rude email responses posted on that "other" garden website that I read and was taken aback. But, I had already placed my order with them it was too late.

It would behoove anyone considering placing an order with this company to read the reviews on the other garden website, prior to doing so.

This is what I consider very poor business operations and outright nasty customer service. I would NEVER order from this company again.

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