I stopped ordering from Brecks because of poor bulb quality and orders cancelled after their planned delivery date.
After coming upon K.van Bourgondien's website, I figured they were worth a try as I needed many bulb for my planned garden. Immediately after ordering, they sent my email account a confirmation which included the SAME account number which Brecks had given me. I contacted them asking if they were affiliated and received no answer. So, six weeks later, I received a partial order in the mail. My many tulips were delayed a week. Then they were delayed again. I checked the site by chance and checked my order and realized the tulips were no longer listed in my order status. Consequently, I contacted them. Two days later, they wrote me and told me they were out of stock, the order would not be filled and they would refund the cost of these tulips to my account. This is the same kind of bad business practice that Brecks used. What would have happened if I hadn't contacted them? Would they have just kept the money?
Consequently, I have contacted them and cancelled my spring order as well. I cannot trust they will deliver these bulbs. My fall planting is now delayed another year and my spring plants if they didn't arrive would have left a bigger hole in my garden too. I already have holes in my garden due to the bulbs that were OUT OF STOCk at Brecks and holes from their bulbs that didn't germinate.
I will find somewhere else to purchase my spring bulbs and perhaps I still have time to find my parrot tulips this fall.
We'll see if they fight my refund.......
BetNC Hendersonville, NC (Zone 7a) (4 reviews) September 21, 2014
I ordered alot of different bulbs (for a spring layering garden) from the wholesale site. I couldn't be more pleased! They arrived when promised - and when I called customer service later that day about two items that hadn't been included: the lady was very nice and helpful, arranging to have them shipped immediately . . . well, here is a copy of the email thanks I sent
Today I received the missing items from my original order and can have my gardener plant my entire flower bed tomorrow as we had originally scheduled.
I had called customer service about the missing items and explained that my gardener was scheduled to come in 4 days since I couldn't plant my own bulbs. The lady was very nice and helpful. . . but I had no idea HOW helpful until the missing bulbs arrived! I had told her "things happen". . . . but this prompt (and TIMELY) correction of a mistake is really impressive!
I had expressed my amazement at how large, well-formed and CLEAN the bulbs I HAD received were and then this superlative experience with your customer service! I will continue to do business with your company whenever the need arises, without hesitation.
Although I initially had reservations about having bulbs shipped from overseas to the States, I have ruefully discovered that the particular company's committment to customer service determines the difference rather than the distance.
TheRectory Stanardsville, VA (2 reviews) May 20, 2014
I ordered 12 wine-colored peonies. After several false starts with shipping/delivery dates the plants arrived and most of the rhizomes were well sized with good eye development. A couple of them were very much on the puny side of things but that type of thing is par for the course. All of them had gray fungus issues which we treated.
We planted everything and were optimistic when things started to grow. The fungus treatment, unfortunately, does not appeared to have been as effective as we had hoped so we are likely going to lose 3 of the 12 plants. Another 2 suffered bloom blast. Again-as far as we are concerned, this is acceptable given the wet weather we have had in Virginia this winter. But the seven remaining peonies all pushed through and presented us with a perfectly formed single form bubble gum pink first year's flower that they could be proud of.
In case you did not catch that, the double form dark wine-colored petals we had waited for months to see had been swapped out/mislabeled for a cheaper single petal bubble gum pink flower that we had no use for in our gardens.
I called KvB and spoke with a couple of their phone support team members last Friday. I sent an email showing the difference in the flowers as well as the product number of the peony we thought that suspected had been substituted. The customer service agent first informed us that KvB only warranted their product for 10-days after the producted arrived. After discussing with this representative that it was impossible for us to know the color was incorrect until it bloomed, I was finally told that he could replace them but that the peonies were out of stock until next year. I requested my money back and was finally offered a check that would take 4-6 weeks to arrive.
I spoke with my wife about what had happened and we decided that we would see if they could pull stock from one of their sister catalogs who offers the same product but with a different name. Fortunately, it seems that in the six hours since my first call, the second rep was able to identify 12 available peonies and guaranteed arrival in two weeks.
Ultimately, there are a couple of take away messages here:
-The customer service agents were friendly though limited by a very tight script that did not seem to take common sense into account
-The order fulfillment division has some systemic issues with packaging
-The answer you will get to questions on inventory and delivery will change with the agent you speak with and, bless their hearts, I think that each just told me what I wanted to hear in order to get me off of the phone
The reason that I am giving this company a neutral and not a negative rating is because their customer service team did their best to correct the situation. Granted, they took no heroic measures to save the day (i.e., expedite ship/ship mature plants/etc.) and I am not holding my breath that they will keep their commitments. But if I take them at face value, they attempted to correct the issue in the best manner that they had available to them. Sadly, it will be another year before I know whether or not they succeeded. We will certainly not place another order though until they have.
I have ordered from this firm for at least 25 years, almost always with great results. However, my latest order makes me rethink that relationship. I placed a couple of orders in early March with the wholesale division. Most of the items were bulbs, some plants. When the first package arrived at the first of April, the live plants were fine, but the dahlias and begonias were unacceptable. Bishop of Llandaff roots were rotten, as were some of the Gallery Rembrandt tubers. The entire lot of Begonia Switzerland had rotted. This was not due to freezing (as the live plants and other begonias were fine). Strangely, a few days later another identical order arrived - with some of the same results. After calling KVB, I was assured that they would replace the order and give me a $10 credit. My second order arrived in good shape (different items). And then the replacement order showed up a week later. In it, the dahlia pot tubers were mostly fine. The begonias once again had some rotting, some dried. A Dahlia Karma Lagoon order was OK, but the Stuttgart canna roots need watching. This early in the season the poor condition of the order - not to mention the confusion over shipments - is simply unacceptable. I cannot recommend KVB at this time for soft tubers like dahlias and begonias. The quality control for these simply is inadequate or non-existent.
Experience so far is poor (and my order hasn't even arrived yet!!)
1. I placed an order on Apr 28th on the K. Van Bourgondien & Sons website and the email confirmation estimates delivery between May 1st and May 6th. Taking this literally (my first mistake) I initiate steps to arrange help with the planting over the weekend of the 10th/11th. On May 5th I check the order status on their website and it still estimates delivery between May 1st and May 6th.
2. On May 7th my order hasn't arrived so I check the order status on their website once again. It now estimates delivery between May 14th and May 14th. I immediately send an email asking for a status on the order and to understand WHY the delay has happened.
3. Today, May 8th, I conclude that I must have sent the email into a black hole (which is why no one is replying) so I call the 1-800 customer service phone number. The customer service representative:
a. Cannot tell me definitively WHY the order has been delayed but speculates that it could be because one of the items is on back order or because it’s the “busy” season
b. Informs me that the order “should definitely probably” ship in the next 2-3 business days and that it “should take 5-7 business days” (as you can see – there is not a permutation, assuming that these numbers are legitimate, that ends with delivery on May 14th)
c. Informs me, when asked, that K. Van Bourgondien & Sons do not send out email updates when an order is delayed (only when it has shipped). In the meantime I have received numerous emails from K. Van Bourgondien & Sons trying to stimulate me to buy more items from them
4. I read the reviews here and see that most of the negative ones relate to the quality of what was delivered (I didn't manage to make it that far yet) which doesn't bode well for what is coming next
If you do order from K. Van Bourgondien & Sons here is what you should know:
• Don’t assume that they are operating at the same level as other reputable online vendors (like Amazon for example)
• Take the delivery “estimate” with a huge pinch of salt (it’s more like a guess and one made by a blindfolded 2 year old) it doesn't mean the same as other vendors delivery estimates
• You will need to follow the status of your order carefully. Do not expect to be kept informed of any changes in order status or in delivery estimate or of items on back order
• If you email customer service - don’t expect to receive replies from them (phone them instead)
• If you phone customer service – don’t expect them to have many facts, but do expect them to speculate or theorize and generally be non-committal
• Do expect them to start peppering you with marketing emails
I purchased a ton of bulbs from the wholesale side of this business. The prices were too good not to purchase! All of the bulbs arrived last fall in good condition and I planted them shortly after. One of my selections was unavailable and it was no trouble getting a refund from them. This spring all of the bulbs have come up and are quite beautiful and I am pleased with my experience so far. It's too bad they have such a large amount of negative feedback but I will definitely look to be placing another order this fall. I'll stick with the wholesale side though, perhaps it's run by different people.
Usually order from another company but got an email from this group and after perusing their site decided to give them a try...ordered a selection of bulbs packed as a combination at a price I felt was reasonable for the number of bulbs...order arrived and I knew I had made a mistake...dried and shriveled up...planted them anyway hoping for the best...not one, nay not one, came up...emailed the company and guess what...no response...knew better...from now on I will follow this well worn advice - dance with the one who brung you...
This is the first order I've made from this company in many years. I ordered 9 live plants - coreposis and echinacea. I couldn't be happier with the quality I received and the price paid. I've also purchase tuberose bulbs and some toad lilies to plant. In the past, I never had a problem with their bulbs. Hopefully I won't again. I read the complaints. Not sure what happened to others but my order was well received - VERY good quality live plants!! I ordered them from their 50% off sale. Plants aren't cheap - if you find them cheap, they're either dead or on their way out. You know the places I'm talking about! :) I am pleased, and WILL do business with them again. Just wish I would have ordered more after seeing the quality I received. The packaging of the live plants was among the best I have ever seen. Completely protected and "crush" proof. Again, I'm very pleased.
Gene66 Norris City, IL (1 review) February 26, 2014
In the fall of 2013 I ordered a bag of mixed daffodils. I received them promptly and after planting half of the bag, I read the tag and discovered that they were a single variety, not the mixture I had ordered. I notified the company of the mixup ( I did not ask for a replacement), and they responded the next day that they were sending me a bag of mixed daffodils at no charge. The correct bulbs arrived very soon after. Both bags of bulbs were in good shape when they arrived. I will order from them again.
CyndeeT Maple Hill, NY (Zone 6b) (6 reviews) November 17, 2013
I will NEVER place another order with this company EVER AGAIN! they are manipulative and deceitful ..I placed a combined order for the following items ..Gladiator Aliums, Altruist Daffodils, Pinkvision Parrot Tulips,&Vanilla Peach Daffodils $128.23 well certainly not as large as some of the orders I see placed and messed up. well to keep this BRIEF. the out of STOCK notices started .. one order arrived .. Vanilla Daffodils and they are DRIED UP there is NOT ONE SINGLE BULB in the bag!! they must have been laying around for 3-4 years to have that happen
well I will be calling them MONDAY for a replacement of HEALTHY DAFFS my planting season is actually over the cold is setting in..but I NEED THEM NOW for my Planned flower garden. if I could purchase elsewhere I would. then the PINK VISION PARROT Tulips were cancelled so I called for the BLUE in substitution .. why not contact me abd ask rather than send a postcard letting me know they have ruined my plans for a flower garden color scheme? WHY? I 'll tell you why all the discounts free shipping or any bonus you may have gotten goes rigth ot the window when they pull a stunt likethis.. so what have I received out of my $128. order..you ask.. ALIUMs probably the only item I should have purchased from them.. so I will call and explain again my displeasure.. not that they actually care about ME.. but this is absurd.. lesson learned.. AVOID KVB..that's it's get this order fixed corrected refunded replaced and MOVE ON! ok stepping off my soapbox just wanted to get my story out there wondering how many horror stories we don't hear. YEP ZILLIONSCompany representative comment on November 19, 2013: On Nov 19, 2013 10:09 AM, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
Thank you for your feedback. I truly apologize for the problems you have had with your order. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and rectify the problems you have had with your order.
In July of 2013, I placed a $321.75 internet order with K. van Bourgondien for a variety of spring flowering bulbs using my name, my email, my address, and my credit card. In the subsequent order status email I received from K. van Bourgondien, the billing address name had been changed to my father, who has been dead for over seven years. The email was even addressed to him. In a reply email to K. van Bourgondien, I asked them to change the account to my name. K. van Bourgondien replied they wanted “proof of charge such as copy of cashed check and we will update it” (the account).
I replied to K. van Bourgondien that I didn’t understand what proof they needed or why. I suggested they delete my father’s account and establish one under my name. A few days later I received an unsigned letter from Breck’s Bulbs Payment Services asking for my father’s death certificate so they could change the name on the account. I sent a letter in return stating that my father had no need of an account with Breck’s, K. Van Bourgondein, or any other affiliate associated with Garden’s Alive. I also told them I would not send a death certificate, that I wanted my own account, and if that was not possible, to refund all charged amounts and remove me from any and all mailing or email lists associated with any affiliate of Garden’s Alive.
Ordering flower bulbs over the Internet shouldn’t be this hard. The request for a death certificate so I could order flower bulbs with my name, address, and credit card is quite possibly the most ridiculous request I have ever received, especially since my father never lived at my address. The apparent inability of K. van Bourgondein or Breck’s to establish a correct account for a paying customer leads me to conclude they really don’t want my business. As further proof, upon querying my credit card account, I find K. van Bourgondien refunded the original charge amount. At least they followed one instruction.
Last summer 2012 I ordered several Peonies from this Company.
I did not realize nor was I told that the order would not ship until fall. After waiting for my order for what I considered reasonable time and after noticing my credit card had been charged I tried to check on my order through their website. I was never able to locate my order. I finally contacted them and was told they would notify me when the order shipped. I did finally receive the order.
My biggest complaint is that they charged me several months before my order shipped, no notification of an estimated ship date, and not being able to find my order on their website. I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to see my order.
I'm giving them a neutral because I did receive the Peonies but would like to give a negative because of the worry they caused.Company representative comment on April 17, 2013: On Apr 17, 2013 2:31 PM, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
Thank you for taking the time to let us know about the problems you had with your order. I truly apologize for the worry we caused you. We took over ownership of the company in late June and this is probably why there was confusion about your order.
Positive: the 25 astilbe were nice big multi-eye roots! Very pleased.
Negative: they shipped them to me in February. I live in CT and was luckily at home to bring them indoors immediately.
Overall: you can't beat 25 good astilbe for less than $2 each!Company representative comment on April 5, 2013: On Apr 5, 2013 12:21 PM, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
Thank you for sharing. If you have any problems just let us know. Beautiful garden to you!
ordered bulbs-sent check-they cashed check-sent me a letter saying i needed a physical address and they had cashed my check-i sent physical address-they responded and said they couldnt send bulbs without money, even though they had already cashed my check and sent me a letter saying they did. they informed me to go to my bank and get copy of the check-i did. now im still waiting. customer service is a joke, nobody knows what is going on. will not purchase bulbs from them anymore. i placed order 2/8/13, they cashed check 2/20/13 and i am still waiting 3/5/13. having a hard time getting them to assist me. glad i didnt spend a lot of money with them!!!! wish i would have checked this site first. i order a lot of bulbs from different companies, so far no problems!!Company representative comment on March 14, 2013: On Mar 14, 2013 11:09 AM, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
Thank you for letting us know about the problem with your order. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and check on your order for you.
Today 2/15 I can't get onto the van Bourgondien website by computer or iPad; it defaults to the GoDaddy.com site, saying that their domain name expired 2/14. Is anyone else having trouble? I can't get through by the email address on their catalog, either -- it bounces back. Are they going out of business?
I usually buy a lot from them, and a girl answered the phone willing to take my order, but if their sites are down that is worrying, so I am holding off till I hear what is going on.Company representative comment on February 19, 2013: On Feb 19, 2013 11:49 AM, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
Thank you for letting us know. We were having site problems but everything is back up and running fine. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Your know, I just have to take issue with the responses by K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. to the negative comments over the last year:
"Thank you for your posting and we apologize for any inconvenience. We are now under new ownership and a customer service representative will contact you for more information. Or if you prefer you can call us at 800-552-9916 and of our of customer service representatives will be happy to help."
I had number of negative experiences and very poor customer service that caused me to stop doing business with this company, the last of which was in 2011. Now the response to negative comments is that they are under new ownership, a fact that is undisclosed on their website. Really? If that is true, why not disclose it. However, if it is simply a continuation of the family business, then I - for one - am not willing to invest any more time and money into the family values and customer service that more than likely has been passed down to the "new ownership." Seriously folks, if you make a claim of new ownership, stand behind it and post it on your website.Company representative comment on January 3, 2013: On Jan 3, 2013 2:23 PM, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
We appreciate your comments. We are under new ownership as of April, 2012. I will send along your suggestion to post it on our website.
artaud927 West Orange, NJ (1 review) December 8, 2012
I twice ordered what looked to be a very attractive mixture of "bronze blend" irises. At least it looked very attractive in the picture. Unfortunately there was not a single "bronze" flower each time I ordered. When I asked customer service if they could be sure the 2nd time that I actually received at least one "bronze" iris, they said they could not and indeed they were good to their word at least with that. Waiting two years to grow the same ordinary irises instead of the ones i wanted was very disappointing. I simply gave up.Company representative comment on December 8, 2012: On Dec 8, 2012 12:44 PM, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
We appreciate you posting and letting us know about the problem with your Iris. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for you account information and see if we can get this taken care of for you.
I am crazy about the wonderful KVB team, though I'll be brutally honest and say it has been a long road to get there. Since the company was acquired and the integration of all the databases, systems etc. was completed, I can say with 100% conviction that this is THE BEST team for OUTSTANDING customer service and support and GREAT products.
From lost orders, to orders re-routed to different call centers, to products that arrived looking like the nasty stuff you get in your refrigerator if you leave the beansprouts too long untouched (yeah, white slime - eyuck!) the company has well and truly redeemed itself.
The customer service team is - in my opinion - the main reason that I am a totally dedicated customer. I've called and emailed and written many times about product and shipping issues, and EACH and EVERY time I've been treated like a friend of the family. Most recently, the amazing Peter in customer service helped me with a very tricky credit memo problem and never once lost patience with me.
I can't wait to get my new fall orders to see if the issues with packing have been resolved, but GUESS WHAT - even if they haven't, I know the incredible KVB team will make it right no matter what it takes.
I LOVE KVB and am going to be a customer for life!
mc003 Crown Point, IN (Zone 5a) (7 reviews) July 11, 2012
Posted on July 11, 2012, updated July 11, 2012
Not suprised they are having difficulty sending the correct items to customers....look at their website right now 7-11-12 @ 11:40pm, They have tulips labeled daylilies, daylilies labeled muscari, dutch iris labeled as Hyacinths,daffodils as astilbe!! And that's on their home page! No wonder they can't find my account information to issue me a credit or replacement! It's probably under pizza delivery!!!On July 11th, 2012, mc003 added the following:
Dang, wish there was a way to upload a photo on here. I took a screen shot it gave me such a giggle, wanted to share it with all!!Company representative comment on July 19, 2012: On Jul 19, 2012 11:05 AM, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
Thank you for your posting and we apologize for any inconvenience. We are now under new ownership and a customer service representative will contact you for more information. Or if you prefer you can call us at 800-552-9916 and of our of customer service representatives will be happy to help.
carolmo Olathe, KS (Zone 5a) (10 reviews) July 11, 2012
Ordered 5 bulbs of asiatic lily landini (black). Got bright orange flowers that looked like tiger lilies. Called and got new owner - lady said they just took over and could not see the orders yet. Gave plants to neighbor. Company representative comment on July 19, 2012: On Jul 19, 2012 11:06 AM, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
Thank you for your posting and we apologize for any inconvenience. We are now under new ownership and a customer service representative will contact you for more information. Or if you prefer you can call us at 800-552-9916 and of our of customer service representatives will be happy to help.
vweavers Simonton Lake, IN (2 reviews) June 9, 2012
Ordered early April (never knew of any financial troubles). They were the only place I could find online that had the Double Oriental Lily Lodewijk in stock still. The order took a little longer than expected to arrive (packing list showed 3 weeks from order to pack date) Of the 3 kinds of lilys ordered, 5 for 5 on one, 4 of 5 on the other, and the Lodewijk only has 3 of 5 so far, but they were the last to sprout- the other two may come up yet. The bulbs were not as large as advertised, and may not grow as large as desired in this first season. Otherwise satisfied. If I order next year- I will use a recommended company from this site, but if k.van Bourgondien is the only place to get a particular item, I would order again.
lizherrera WILLOW SPRING, NC (1 review) May 15, 2012
I cancelled my order and asked for credit. They said they would, but didn't. I finally had to request a charge back through the credit card company to get my money back.
crazykaos Austin, TX (Zone 8b) (3 reviews) April 20, 2012
I ordered some cannas, peruvian daffs, and ginger lilies back in February. I have been a nervous wreck about my order wondering if I would get it or not as the shipping date kept getting pushed back(bankrupcy case).
Well the Peruvian daffs and ginger lilies arrived in excellent condition, and exceeded my expectations big time. I don't think I have been happier with an online order ever. Bulbs were huge. Definitely ordering from them again.
Wish the items shipped faster, but if I am going to wait, this was so worth it.
I entered a neutral rating as historically I have been very pleased with the business transactions I have had with K Van B, however; I too recently placed orders totally $350 that I fear I may never receive. I heard they are back on line and taking new orders but am skeptical. It's a shame as they have great prices, selection and fantastic Dahlia bulbs. I wish they would issue a statement of their status but I suppose that would be not advised by their attorney.
seagardener Southport, ME (32 reviews) February 23, 2012
Posted on February 23, 2012, updated February 23, 2012
Unfortunate. This season I turned in a $450 order for spring planted summer bulbs but was troubled when I didn't receive an e-mail confirmation. I called them on 2/13/12 to inquire & was told that my order was still in the system but that I would receive a confirmation soon.
Today I just checked their website & attempted to process an order to see if it would go through. A notice came up stating "Unfortunately, we are unable to accept any orders at this time". I attempted to check the status of my order by logging in on their website and received a message reading "There is no account with this e-mail address". When I called "800" numbers both from their Watchdog profile & from their website, I received a recording stating: "Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are unable to take your call at this time. Please try your call again later".
After all of this, I had to notify my credit card company to contest the charges K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. had applied to my account on 2/8/12. What a nuisance, and it's the end of an era with Van Bourgondien. On February 23rd, 2012, seagardener added the following:
Ugh. After doing some further research online, it appears that they had filed bankruptcy proceedings January 26, 2012 yet debited customers credit card accounts up to at least February 8, 2012 & confirmed orders as late as 2/13/12. Pretty rotten thing to do.
cathrn67 louisburg United States (4 reviews) February 18, 2012
That's too bad-I wondered what was going on,I had a nice big order now I have to find someone else:(
Vickie301 Rocky Mount, NC (1 review) February 17, 2012
I am sorry to hear of the financial trouble; however, as it is garden planning time more should be posted as to if they will be able to fulfill orders this year. I have been trying to place an order for summer bulbs, with no success. Now I will have to order from another company as one can not keep waiting due to limited supplies. Previous orders have been great, it would be sad to no longer have this plant source as I have had great success with my previous plant orders from them.