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Posted on May 11, 2011, updated August 18, 2011
Hello, fellow gardeners,
I just wanted to warn everybody against buying from Frank Moro. Bellow is a shorter version of my story that I submitted to BBB of Canada, which, by the way, he completely ignores.
I inquired Frank Moro about particular kinds of lilacs in July 2007. Mr. Moro responded by saying that he doesn’t have them at the moment and also suggested that we would pay him in advance to guarantee the lilacs that we wanted 3100USD. Mr. Moro also said that we would get the lilacs in a year, i.e. Fall 2008.
I transferred the money after we agreed upon specific terms (variety, delivery date, and mail courier)
In August of 2008 Mr. Moro told me that he would not be able to provide all of the requested and PREPAID lilacs. We settled on the 545 lilacs that he said he’d have ready to ship promptly. It took Mr. Moro 2 weeks (beginning of October) before he finally shipped the plants. He decided to ship them with a different mail courier (not the one we’d agreed on) and this made a huge difference in customs handling the plants etc. The parcel didn’t make it to Russia and was returned to him from London in a week. We tried to cancel the order and get a partial refund since it was already obvious that nothing good will come out of it. Mr. Moro reinsured us that the plants are in excellent condition and threatened to breach the agreement. He finally shipped the order on October 24th of 2008. It arrived to Moscow on November 3rd. When I received the shipment all the lilacs had brown roots (a sign of rotting), some plant labels were missing, the packing slip w/the plant specification was absent as well. None of them survived.
I’ve lost clients and money due to Mr. Moro’s sabotaging business practices. Do not repeat my mistakes. On August 18th, 2011, Elena_Terekhova added the following:
I don't have the time for discussions since I work hard and it's a very busy time for me right now. One more fact that clearly portrays Frank attitude towards his clients and fellow International Lilac Society members: in 2007 Frank approached me about trading wood cuttings of my lilac collection. We both chose lilac species and agreed to mail each other lilac wood cuttings. In December 2007 I mailed Frank lilac wood cuttings (17 cultivars of lilacs – 2-3 pcs each) and was hoping to get his ones in return. Needless to say that they never came.
I also would like to add that I did too save all the email threads etc and my every word is backed up by this documentation.
It is really unfortunate that we could not settle this between us because you didn't respond to any of my emails and even banned my email address as far as I know.
Company representative comment on May 11, 2011: On May 11, 2011 8:57 AM, Select Plus International Lilac Nursery responded with:
It is a shame that messages like this can be posted.
I put plants in production for this customer 1 year in advance and then when the order is to be shipped once these plants were all washed and inspected she decides she wants a total refund and cancel the order.
Below is an excerpt from her own email asking for a full refund and not a partial refund as she mentions in her posting. Once an order is packed there is no more cancellation accepted.
As Her email below
"Again, please do not ship this order again, as we will no longer accept it. We expect that you will provide us with a full refund within 30-business days, as a reputable business would under these circumstances. "
The order was shipped by Fedex and was to be refused by Fedex policy and was returned to us 2 days later. Once it was received we got a new phytosanitary certificate for it at our cost and reshipped immediately. Plants were all labelled and not as mentioned.
She has kept on attempting to ruin our credibility and integrity however since nobody else has believed her she now is resorting to cheap public shots without giving the whole story.
We have sent lilacs to many other countries as far as China, Japan, and Australia with never any problems. She never mentioned prior to this post that any plants died and now she is saying all the plants died.
In a letter to the International Lilac Society in May 2010 as another complaint there was no mention to any plants having died.
If you wish to complain about us get the story straight and I have all our correspondence emails to back up my credibility.
PinetopPlanter Auburn Four Corners, PA (Zone 5a) (23 reviews) May 17, 2011
Posted on March 27, 2009, updated May 17, 2011
I've ordered Lilacs from Select Plus twice over the last 5 years for planting in my family's Northeastern Pennsylvania lawn and grounds. Their selection is superb, and the business a family one, with a true love of lilacs. Having many varieties on my wish list, I ordered the smallest sized plants they have (TPs, or 'Tree Pots,' I believe). The plants they sent were fine, well-rooted, and healthy, sans a few blackened leaves, which are to be expected when the new, tender growth is packed and jostled a bit. The plants from my first order of about 5 years ago are now first-rate specimen plants in the landscape. Last year's order of 6 plants has overwintered in the garden, are showing green buds, and I expect to plant them out into the landscape this fall or next spring. Of course, they do offer the option of larger plants, if you are impatient or have a larger gardening budget.
They are not "computerized," and may take a little longer than a company that is automated to acknowledge an order, but they are on the up-and-up, and offer a great service to the lilac plant and those that love them. On May 17th, 2011, PinetopPlanter added the following:
I consider this company a superb source for lilacs. Visit a botanic garden when the lilacs are blooming, write down the varieites you love, and 9 times out of 10, SPI will have those cultivars! The first three lilacs I bought from them bloomed this year, and every one true to type -- 'Dark Night' 'Mt. Baker' and 'Maiden's Blush' -- just beautiful. THANK YOU! I bought a lilac from Home Depot marked 'Krasavitsa Moskvy' and waited a few years only to have single white old-fashioned lilac flowers. I bought a 'Glory' lilac from another source only to wait years for a small-flowered, possibly persian purple lilac. So I held my breath when these SPI lilacs bloomed. They were perfect. I don't think I would buy lilacs from anyone else -- in fact, I'm trying to find more room for some of their newer varieties. I highly recommend them.
Posted on July 28, 2006, updated May 2, 2010
I love the selection of plants that they have and after reading the rating I went ahead and ordered 3 plants. I had good email communication and I thought the plants that I had ordered...gallon size would be the size in the pictures on the web site. When the box arrive, I was disappointed...most of the leaves where black and falling off...I planted anyway hoping that they would make it...they did but growth has been slow..I hope that they make the winter here in NEPA..I have new growth..but nothing that makes me think that they will survive the winter...for this reason I am giving a neutral. I ordered early in the season and I have waited to see they lived the season and so far they have.On May 2nd, 2010, meoila changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
It now has been 4 years since I received my order. I have waited a long time to see the one liliac that I ordered. It was a triple pink..and yes, it was the smallest (the runt of the 3 that I ordered). This spring was the first of any blooms and I was sooo excited....well, now begins the disappointment...it is NOT pink, NOT a triple just plain jane blue...I am so disappointed...the white bloomed (this year)...triple...the blue bloomed (2 year) and a triple..but not the pink...I will be getting in touch with company to see what happens...I don't except miracles...but when you order a certain color...you really want that color...not something else..I will keep everyone informed. It has been since 2006...but i will send pictures to the company and let them judge for themselves..the bushes still have the orginal yellow labels on them...Company representative comment on May 8, 2010: On May 2, 2010 6:18 PM, Select Plus International Lilac Nursery responded with:
Well mistakes happen and unfortunately lilacs take time to flower opposed to roses or perennials that flower every year. We are not perfect and can admit that but you are not being fair to us either.
Instead of posting first why did you not contact us first and then update after. We do stand behind our product and do understand your disappointment. Hopefully you will be kind enough to mention how we will solve the problem for you also. I believe Dave's Garden is not the way to go first without contacting a company first. It is unfair to a company to not receive a call or email from a customer first. With 850 cultivars of lilacs in production as much care as possible is taken to do things right. Now I wait for your email with photos to help correct the situation.
On May 3, 2010 9:04 AM, Select Plus International Lilac Nursery added:
We also post on our site and catalog that we guarantee our cultivars. We've been around since 1989 so meoila just contact us and we will be pleased to correct the error.
On May 8, 2010 11:22 PM, Select Plus International Lilac Nursery added:
Hello to all who read the posts. It is now May 8th and I have not received any emails or even anything my mail. Still waiting!!!
I've been buying lilacs from Frank Moro for four years now. He has the best selection I've been able to find on the web. Several of the lilacs I've bought, I have been unable to find anywhere else online. I've been extremely pleased with the plants. They are healthy and come well rooted. I've only lost one of the two dozen varieties of lilacs I've purchased, and Frank replaced it, no questions asked. I'll continue to buy from Select Plus. His website is also very useful.
rktpcster Calgary Canada (1 review) February 5, 2009
I have had dealings with this fine company now for three years. I can,t say anything but positive things about this nursery. I haven.t placed any large orders due to my small garden size, but the plants which I have ordered and received have been of first rate quality. Even though I ordered the small sizes of lilacs, there were 4 bushes blooming well last spring. The descriptions were right on. I would highly recommend this nursery. I had been sent a refund cheque for sales tax or something 3 years back which I have not cashed because I thought their service and products were so good.
I have nothing but good things to say about Select Plus - I have been ordering from them since founder Frank Moro first posted his lilacs online, and find that routinely, the plants are nice sized and in good condition, the selection of lilacs is incomparable (hundreds of varieties) and of other plants imaginative, the prices are reasonable, the packing is good, and I really appreciate the extra effort this Canadian company makes for their US customers - they hand carry their plants over the border into New York before mailing them, so that they are never tied up in customs en route. This company is a star.
KalunaRaye Rochester United States (1 review) August 29, 2007
I have been dealing with Select Plus for the past 10 years. I've first met up with them at the Rochester Lilac Festival in NY and purchased 12 lilacs from them. There plants were thriving and extremely healthy with a great root system. Over the years, I have bought many rare and unusual plants from them through mail order , including many lilacs and perennials without any problems. I find it highly unlikely and peculiar about Len's experience. They've always had the motto of Customer Satisfaction is the most important and have always had superior customer's service. To hear such things from Len after MY 10-YEAR EXPERIENCE is not even possible. Did you even try contacting them in the last few months? E-mail,mail, or even telephone? There's many ways to communicate with them!!!
Note from the Garden Watchdog editors:
It is the policy of the Watchdog that companies may not pose as their own customer in order to leave feedback. The rating was submitted from the same IP address as the representative of this company. It was changed from positive to neutral so that it would not affect the overall rating given by customers.
Len123 Adrian, MO (Zone 6a) (5 reviews) August 29, 2007
ordered lilacs last jan-feb. difficult online order setup. called for confirm. of order. wife would see if order rec. and call back. no call. i call later. husband out of town and wife doesn't know husband's business. called when husband back in town. took order on phone. lilacs still under ice for ship date, understand.i'm over road driver so date is important. waited. called. lady tells me that shipments were made and doesn't know for sure if mine were sent.no lilacs. called. owner told me son messed up addresses in computer on some orders, mine one of them. so would sent the following week, so not being able to wait any longer cancelled order. informed me would charge-back cc. no charge-back. called.
daughter would leave dad the message. no call back.$385 gone out the window. nada.On August 29th, 2007, Len123 added the following:
received a d-mail from mr. moro immediately after post.
he is looking up my order. yes i do hope this can be resolved. On August 29th, 2007, Len123 added the following:
kaluna raye, i have a notice that your ip address is "the same as the representative of this company". who are you? and how you can say "this is not even possible"? are you a representative of select plus posing as a customer as my computer says? this is unreal! i'm certainly getting suspicious!On August 29th, 2007, Len123 added the following:
shameful? i replied to mr. moro's first d-mail with my info and a short note. my info included my name address and phone number. he then sent me another d-mail asking me to send my info to a yahoo email address which was after i saw your comments and the computer's comments about you which made me immediately suspicious. especially after all the "problems" trying to touch base with mr. Moro. I am a very reasonable person. I have obviously been very patient. Please read my other post about Rogue Valley Roses. That is the way a business should be run, and I hope Mr. Moro's "family" doesn't ruin it for him! On August 29th, 2007, Len123 added the following:
Mr. Moro, sorry to hear that you didn't receive my d-mail containing the info you requested. I replied and it is logged in my d-mail as a reply. I have resent it again, but in case you don't receive that here it is, robert l. sears 926 kendall rd. Peculiar, mo 64078. this is my parents home where i receive packages as i live in adrian and drive over the road. I am very sorry if you think i am "giving you the runaround", but i dont take it personally as i have seen your replies to others. On August 29th, 2007, Len123 added the following:
UPDATE received call from mr. moro. found my order, will be sending me a refund check. Mr. Moro is definitely more pleasant on the phone than appears in these postings. I understand that sometimes things can just take on a life of their own, and I still have confidence we can get through this.
I will post an update as events unfold.On September 9th, 2007, Len123 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I have received refund check. Mr. Moro has offered me 2 free lilacs. I am reserving my rating to neutral just because I haven't actually received any lilacs. But yes I will order from them in the future. On October 13th, 2007, Len123 changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
I have received the two free lilacs (my choice) from Select Plus. They are the gallon size. They are very nice looking. I definitely will be ordering lilacs this spring from them. I was hoping this all could be resolved as they have some very nice lilacs and a selection I have not found anywhere. Very well done Mr. Moro (Frank). Thank you very much!Company representative comment on August 29, 2007: On Aug 28, 2007 11:02 PM, Select Plus International Lilac Nursery added:
I happen to be staying with them at the moment. I happen to be the future mother in law of their daughter. It is shameful that Mr Moro has emailed you twice now asking for your name and you have yet not given him the info he needs to solve the post you have made.
On Aug 29, 2007 6:17 AM, Select Plus International Lilac Nursery added:
In order to give you service I need a name and address with a real email address also. Please stop this run around for it does not help me to find you. there was no identification of you in your email as you said.
Have sent numerous emails concerning daylily order placed over a year now still not resolved and did not hear back from company after sending a pic that they requested. Prices were very good but have not reordered from them due to customer service.On June 24th, 2007, sadona added the following:
Select Plus contacted me and I now have been shipped daylilies which arrived along with a free lily.
Company representative comment on May 26, 2007
Well Sadona. The order was placed 2 years ago and it was for $47 including shipping. we refunded part of the order for $10.71. Why don't you try contacting us directly instead of leaving negative feedbacks. I can show you hundreds of satisfied customers and if you are not capable to follow up a little more. I can assure you no emails have been sent in over 14 months at least. Pick up a phone and call. I will look into your order this week myself
chillout Mid Vancouver Island Canada (17 reviews) May 2, 2005
This was my first time ordering Daylilies from this company and I must say I am very pleased with the plants that I recieved They sent them expedia post to the B.C. coast took three days. I can not understand how Ms wongs plant could be in such bad shape because expidia post would only take two days to Edmonton. I will deal with this company again Chillout
LolaBaby Toronto Canada (1 review) January 14, 2005
I have dealt with Select Plus about ten years. I found their advertisement in a Canadian Gardening Magazine. At first I ordered lilacs, and they have an impressive selection. Later on, as they expanded, I ordered many more plants. The quality of plants was excellent. If some plants didn't do as well as expected Mr, Moro would replace it. In the beginning I used to phone him and later on I started e-mailing questions. Throught this period of time I have always received good service.
I would like to add that, I became a member after reading a negative comment by Ms Wong, and wanted to be able to respond. While it is most unfortunate that she had a bad experience dealing with them, I believe this was an exception, My nine lilacs are thriving and bringing joy to us and everyone who goes by.
bonniewong edmonton Canada (2 reviews) July 26, 2004
I ordered about $150 worth of lilacs, irises, daylilies and hostas in early March. This was my first time dealing with this company so I kept my order small and my expectation low, the prices were too good to be true. I have dealt with dozens of mail order nurseries,and have had only really good experiences, with the exception of one other nursery. I am well aware of the difference between dormant and dead. I had emailed them several times in April and early May to find out when my order would be shipped as I would be away from May 22 - June 2. I told them to NOT ship between these dates.I heard nothing. I advised if I did not hear from this regarding this issue I would have to cancel my order, got no answer yet again. I chequed with my credit card company, it was charged immediatley after I had ordered online. So, I hear nothing, and of course, I come home from vacation to a box on my doorstep. My sister had told me it had just arrived, she was looking after my garden and house while we were gone. I was disgusted when I opened the box, the irises were totally rotten, mushy and very smelly. The dayliles were one slimy mess. One lilac was in really good condition, the other two wear dead sticks. Hosta's were the wrong variety, no growth, rotten roots, not individualy labeled, I had no idea what it was. I emailed them immediatly, and no answer. I ordered everything on my husbands crerdit card so I will get him to dispute the charges, the customer service with this nursery is non existent. They did not answer any of my emails. I did check them out on this website before I ordered, and it looks like my expereience is isolated.
I watched, nurtered and waited to see how the plants would grow. The dayliles, which are a virtually indestructible perennial, were easily killed by the rotten crown, leaves and roots. None of the iries grew, plus they substituted 'Immortality', a reblooming for regular tall bearded 'Coral Chalice'. I would think they would sub a rebloomer for a rebloomer, or else at least a similiar color, neither was done, and their choice was unacceptable to me. Anyway, didn't matter, all five of them never grew a single leaf. One hosta was okay, the other hosta were totally dead, never grew, the roots didn't even have eyes and I didn't get the order till June 1! Some hostas substituted again, but it didn't matter, they were dead!
One lilac lived the other two never grew at all, they had virtually no roots to speak of. Unless they solve this issue to my satisfaction I will never order from them again.
I am truly not a picky person, I have made huge orders online for years, without one problem. Until I ordered from Select Plus International, I couldn't believe what was written about some disreputable companies. I will not order from this company unless this issue is dealt with to my satisfaction. Why can't they answer an email? Hopefully this will get them to acknowledge me! Company representative comment on July 29, 2004: Mrs. Wong probably did send us an email to explain her problems. We had a computer crash due to a virus around June 10th 2004. Since that time the customer never tried to call, email or write us. This was unfortunate for the day we received the negative comment July 26th we fully refunded the customers credit card. We deal with a major US mail order company for their mail order plants and actually direct ship their plants also I am Executive VP for the International Lilac Society. We are also opening at our nursery a handicap park for special needs children. Our intentions are to have sastisfied customers and I believe Mrs. Wong did not give us the proper chance to fix the problem.
My first order (lilacs) was so great, I immediately ordered twice as many. Top-notch plants, good service and excellent packing. The order arrived in superb condition and is growing on very well!
thekathyil Lottah Australia (2 reviews) June 21, 2003
I have been purchasing lilacs from SPI from 1997. Given the complexities of sending live plant material through Australian quarantine, SPI is to be commended on doing an excellent job. This will remain my source for rare lilacs for a long way into the future.
uroboros Montreal, QC (Zone 5b) (18 reviews) June 14, 2002
I don't believe anyone in North America has such a wide selection of lilacs. I've ordered 3-4 times from them (big yard). Twice some plants turned out to have been mislabelled, something I found out over a year after purchase (I had to see the blooms).
The Maiden's Blush lilac is at least 10x more fragrant than other cultivars, the color is outstanding and unique, the shape of the florets is perfect. Highly recommended!