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I have not posted on the forum for a while and am doing so to see if other forum members have felt the same about the shoddy "customer service " I have received this year from online retailers. They range from small specialists, large G/C's and specialist nurseries. Orders have taken ages to arrive and are in poor conditions. Others don't communicate or respond to E-mails. Phone calls result in fob offs and  rude replies.

I have waited weeks for refunds and some have not arrived at all. I buy online as I am 70 and do not drive. I do go to local GC's whenever I am offered a lift. What gives these retailers the right to entice us with GLOWING testimonials and take our money and not deliver?

Sadly ,most of them advertise in GW and include T&M;; Crocus; Brookside Nurseries; Carreglefn Nurseries and Jersey Plants.

Am the only one who feels cheated and robbed?


Look at Mob rants thread,similar problems covered there.

hiya jatnikapyar

touch wood I dont currently have any difficulties with bad customer service...I think Ive got to know who is good and who is bad.  surprised you mention Brookside and Crocus though.  Havent used them much...just once for Brookside..but plants have been delivered on time and in excellent condition.  Maybe if I had to complain I would have had a different story to tell.

I am like a dog with a bone though...ultimately I get good recompense for bad service.  have to be stubborn and persistent and speak to the manager.  Jatnikapyar, just hang in there and say you have this forum watching developments

I agree with you, Verdun. I have had very few causes for complaint - but if I have a problem, I am very persistent! I use T&M and Crocus every year and find them excellent. Maybe I'm just lucky?


Hello jatnikapyar.

Your reference to late delivery and poor condition rang a bell for me due to my first ever delivery from a particular mail order firm. But I'm with Berkley here. Politely complain if you aren't happy and stay firm.

My experience was with The Canny Gardener which is, I think, a smallish firm, with an excellent website and a monthly catalogue. They sell seasonal plant plugs and bulbs.

When I politely drew their attention to the quality control issue of my first order with them, I received what I feel was excellent customer service. It is true I sent photos with a nice but firm email but I received an apology, a refund and replacement plants.

Also they go the extra mile on the phone.

It is in the interests of any firm to maintain excellent service with their customers and I believe if we, the customers,  always convey to them that we would like to believe the best of them - eg that their latest  shortcomings are 'not the norm' - most sensible firms should be falling over themselves to prove they agree with you. That then becomes good publicity (like this posting). 

Any firm that doesn't respond positively, or worse is rude on the phone, is still back in the dark ages and deserves everything they get in bad publicity and lost custom.

Here endeth my rant. Hope it helps.




Thank you Verdun, Berkley and Bird13 for your response.


The potty gardener

Birdy- you must have been lucky... there is a thread the canny gardener and most people have not had such good service


Thanks Bev, I will look at that Canny Gardener thread.

I suppose it could be argued that, although 'lucky' with my complaint, for my first order to go wrong was either unlucky or, by other customers' experience, just typical of what they experienced with that firm. I can only go by my own single experience which admittedly is by no means a reliable 'yardstick'. 

I think my point still applies, however: that if customers courteously but firmly direct justified complaints straight back at the company responsible for poor goods, the company will either rise to the challenge of putting things right (as in my case) or reveal its unreliability -  thereby losing customers.

Now I come to consider it, I believe customers have almost have a duty to each other to complain (where there is justification) in order to keep standards of customer service high. In the end it's about honesty - companies have a duty to supply at the advertised quality and the customer has a right to receive what they paid for.


Sara 4: I had exactly the same problem with late plugs for baskets etc but I put this down to everyone being caught out by the severe winter, including the plant firms.

Like you, one of my orders was badly delayed by the weather holding back plant growth it but came eventually. 

I totally agree, however, with your frustration with the inordinate amount of time spent nowadays on 'telephone options'.


Hi Jatnikapyar, I've used Crocus and had really good customer service when a parcel turned up bashed, they resent the order the next day.  I have complained to Westland about grass seed recently, after 2 phone calls and 2 emails I had no joy - they just ignored me or fobbed me off.  So, I complained about Westland to Costco (where I bought the seed).  A week later and handwritten envelope arrived with a compliments slip from Westland with £100 in National Garden centre vouchers, no apology or written reply at all.  

Have found it pays to be persistent but its so annoying that we have to keep on and on at these companies to get anywhere.


Hi Bev and Sarah, thank you for taking the trouble to respond as I felt as if i was the only one complaining. Apart from my post, I too had the problems that you highlighted and we tend to assume that GW magazine endorse these retailers as they offer % off in the magazine.

As for Crocus, Paula, when my plant that cost £15/= had two withered leaves out of 4 3 days after delivery. It was implied by a PLANT DOCTOR called Helen (what is she when she is alive, is it a new agricultural qualification?) that I had killed it as I had not put it in a BIGGER pot as soon as it arrived. It was delivered in a2L pot, for Christs' sake!


 This is what the plant looked like 3 days after delivery.

The potty gardener

I must say that I have found T&M very good.

I ordered a set of 6 fuchsia plugs from them. When they arrived they were very dry so I gave them a soak and potted them up. A few days later one was not doing as well as the rest. I sent an e mail explaining how dry they were when they arrived and giving a photo showing the other plants and unhealthy one. I got an autimated reply saying they were very busy so expected the worse. However about a week later I got another e mail to say they would replace it and next day I got another set of 6 fuchsia.

I couldn't really have asked for better customer service.




Jatnikapyar, I am the queen of complaining. Do not give up. My local GC carries a 5 year guarantee on all plants and they are true to their word.  I know this is on-line buying but they can't just opt out of their commitment to you to supply plants 'fit for purpose' as would apply to goods. If you can find a director to write to, then do so.  If I get no satisfaction from customer services, I go to the top dog.  Have you sent copies of the photos to the suppliers? 

Paul Hansord is the current Managing Director. Why not drop him a line at the address given on their website setting out your complaint and sending photos. Mark 'Private and Confidential' and send by recorded delivery so you can track they receive it.  Sorry if you think I'm being a bossy boots.

I wish you luck.

gardenning granny

Hello  Jatnikapya - I'm with TT here - I've had excellent service from Wyevale both online and at the GC.  Being a pensioner I rarely buy anything at full price, so I accept the odd failure with things picked up in the chucky-out bin.  When two camellias were given to me, and I had had to buy big pots and special compost for them, and then they died I took them back to my nearest Wyevale GC.  Despite having no receipt they refunded the price that had been paid for them (it was the wrong season by then for replacements to be available) and I was able to get a very nice garden arch with the refund - absolutely no quibble.  First rate service.  I also bought reduced-price bulbs online - all excellent condition and fantastic value.

If I get poor service I complain like mad until I get satisfaction - and then I don't use that company again.  It's the only way they will get the message.


Hi Tina Turner and Gardening Granny, thank you for taking the trouble to respond. It is very encouraging and I will start E-mailing and telephoning again. The manager at the local nursery that I have used for 30 years saw the photos and has offered to speak to the retailers in question about the issue.

By the way GG, I had a problem with Wyvale last year. I ordered £60/= worth of bedding plants and after fobbing me off for 3 weeks I received an E-mail to say the order was ready for collection. When I arrived there with my friend (she offered to bring them home in her car) the GC denied all knowledge of it and were most unhelpful. They offered me 10% off plants in the GC(none of the plants I wanted) I wrote to head office with copies of E-mails etc.

I was sent a voucher for £10/=  and it was too late for beddings.

I gave the voucher away and NEVER used them again.

I think that they don't care as they have lots of customers and my contribution is a drop in the ocean.


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