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Posted on June 4, 2013, updated June 10, 2013
Placed our order, credit card was charged the next day for almost $400. Order confirmation said the card would be charged when the order is shipped... it also stated to allow 4 weeks for international delivery? We ship international all the time, it should only take 2 weeks....which raised a red flag with us to begin with. 4 weeks came and went, no order. We emailed, of course still NO reply 9 days later. So we hurried up and placed a dispute with paypal because we used our paypal debit/credit card. They only ALLOW 45 days to open a dispute and Rare Palm Seed knows this! Past 45 days, and they get to keep your money!
Word of Caution! IF you chance ordering from this company....use a credit card so you can dispute the charge or enter a chargeback (within the allowed time) to get your money back if you get no order or else this company can really take advantage of you and keep your money.
Advise to Rare Palm Seeds: REPLY to emails, especially to those that have already paid for an order! Leave the emails with general questions for last, if your 'so busy'.
*In one of the other negatives we read where you replied to someone saying you have/had 8 employees! We have seen busy restaurants preform a busy lunch & dinner with less employees, so what is your excuse, seriously? If you cannot handle the business load with 8 workers....sounds like you need to rethink or restructure your business. Just saying.
On June 10th, 2013, jayjaybuddy added the following:
1 week since we opened dispute to find out where our $400 order is, or receive a refund. STILL no reply from rarepalmseeds.com. Did they fall off the face of the earth? Seriously we cannot believe this is how they conduct business. Shame on this company, buyers stay away!
Buyer Beware I purchased $330 worth of seeds and they sent them out without my import permit attached KNOWING that they wouldn"t make it past customs.When I asked why they said import was MY responsibility. They were returned to RPS they said they would need another 73 euro to cover return shipping,reshipping, and another phyto.I complied with the understanding that ALL paperwork would be in place.It's now 7 weeks since reshipping (supposedly) and now I don't get any email communication returned. OUT total of $400 +
On Oct 11, 2012, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
"On Dec 10, 2012 6:10 PM, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
You had placed your order without mentioning your import permit and we did not receive a comment from you that you would send it. Many customers do not supply their import permit, despite explicit instructions on our website (shipping/phytosanitary certificate information, links are also presented during the ordering process) suggesting to do so. Despite that, it is a rare exception that shipments are returned and you will appreciate that it is not our job to enforce compliance with USDA's import regulations (although we are always happy to help if asked). You are a permit holder and should therefore know what to do, it says so on your permit.
From your most recent e-mail I take it that you finally received our shipment in the meantime. I apologize for the additional cost and trouble incurred. Please let me know if you have any trouble with the seeds received and I will be happy to throw in some replacements with a possible future order.
Best, TOBY "
I'm the guy in Massachusetts. I had actually completed an order, but then after repeated emails, heard nothing back. Maybe you are "flooded" with emails, but that's not our problem. And, if you are the VP of the IPS, then you may need to choose between the two. All these unhappy customers aren't helping you. Is it worth giving your business a bad name?
That said, I will leave the door open, if you want to make things right.
We had a few short exchanges by e-mail on how to order etc. before you placed an order via our website, to which we sent a confirmation with shipping options and a couple of additions you made by e-mail. As far as I can figure it out, this order was never shipped because your credit card did not work, not because you canceled it. I do indeed have a number of e-mails from you that were not replied to because I could not figure out what you actually wanted and I was assuming you were in contact with my office anyway about resolving the issue with the credit card. Perhaps there were a few misunderstandings involved, and I apologize if I missed anything. I would be happy if you decide to give us another try. To avoid any confusion, just try to keep it simple and straightforward, write any additions or requests in the "comments" field when checking out your order from the shopping cart and when you can't avoid to send an e-mail (sorry, we get far too many), please let us know the order number you are referring to and your actual request.
On Mar 25, 2011, coastpalms Te Puke New Zealand wrote:
Posted on November 23, 2010, updated March 25, 2011
My total order from this company was NZ$3382 (US$2578) of palm and strelitzia seed. A very substantial sum of money in anyone's language.
I run a small-medium scale palm and cycad nursery in New Zealand and after 6 years of operation decided to do my first ever seed import from this company.
I dearly wish I had found this forum prior to placing my order.
•9/9/2010 Contacted and placed order with RPS (Rare Palm Seeds)
•9/9/2010 Received confirmation of order from RPS.
•9/9/2010 Credit card debited NZ $3382.80 for order when RPS website clearly states that client’s credit card will only be debited upon shipment of order.
•16/9/10 Receive email from RPS covering several concerns about shipment delivery and also offering a personal guarantee of “safe arrival” of seed. They also advise strongly of sending via express shipping (the most expensive form of freight).
•12/10/2010 Receive notification of order being shipped from RPS. 33 days after credit card was debited.
•13/10/2010 Receive notification from UPS (shipping company) that goods are in NZ and waiting to be cleared by Customs and MAF.
•19/10/2010 Receive notification that MAF (NZ’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries) have found substantial issues with pests in majority of shipment and require my assistance to make decisions to destroy, re-ship or fumigate problem seed.
They had found both live mites and beetles, and significant volumes of fras and borer holes in the seed.
•28/10/2010 I notify (via email) RPS of problems with shipment.
•29/10/2010 Receive email back from RPS which does not address MAF issues.
•2/10/2010 Sent further email to RPS outlining options MAF have tabled for dealing with problem seed.
•3/10/2010 Because there has been no response from RPS to do with decisions about infected seeds future, I notified MAF to destroy seed.
NOTE; I made the decision to have the seed destroyed as the information I had gathered at the time suggests strongly that if I decided to have the seed fumigated (at my own cost), then germination rates would be severely affected by the methyl-bromide fumigation process, thereby offering no guarantee of any germination of fumigated seed.
•5/10/2010 I contact RPS by phone and conduct 25 minute phone call with Director of company (Tobias Spanner) outlining issues with seed and making strong demands for compensation. Director blames MAF for all issues and alludes to MAF being excessively cautious in inspection of seed.
•9/11/2010 Receive email from RPS outlining compensation shipment of seed. This is not agreed on as satisfactory compensation by myself as there is substantially less seed offered (worth in excess of several hundred euro) as part of compensation package. Also since my original order was placed, 2 of the seed lines I had ordered had subsequently sold out so were being replaced with top ups of a far lesser valued species of the same genus.
•9/11/2010 Send email to RPS with revised compensation package which does still not adequately cover my additional costs to do with seed issues, Included is report of pest findings from MAF.
•9/11/2010 Receive email from RPS agreeing to my compensation package.
•12/11/2010 I finally receive cleared seed from MAF and NZ Customs to discover part of order is actually missing. 1000 Strelitzia Reginae ‘Mandelas Gold’ worth $320 euro ($NZ 562 or $US 428) Receive verbal assurances from MAF that missing items were not included in original package.
My original order which weighed 55kg is now down to the revised and cleared order which weighs a total of 2.3kg.
•13/11/2010 Send email to RPS asking for explanation as to why part of the order is actually missing.
•14/11/2010 Receive email back from RPS once again laying blame with MAF for this.
From then on I decided that the situation had become totally farcical and started to initiate a Credit card chargeback.
This whole sorry exercise could have been avoided if Mr Spanner had supplied a completed order which contained pest free seed in the first place. He had provided a phyto sanitation certificate stating that all the seed had been inspected and cleared for signs of pest.
Clearly this was not the case.
At no time throughout the almost 3 months of dealing with this horrendous situation have I received any apology for what this company has put me through.
The additional costs in an international phone call (conducted at 11.30pm at night here), costs in additional biosecurity checks, massive time wastage with emailing the RPS company, phone calls and emails with MAF and now dealing with credit card companies have left me feeling extremely stressed and overwrought.
I have been in tears several times over this.
I should have realised warning signs when I read through page after page of ‘glowing’ testimonials on the RPS website. As is suggested by a poster below who has also had a negative experience with this company they seem to treat customers who have serious issues as minor nuisances and happily take their cash…quickly.
I find it almost impossible to believe that a person can conduct a supposedly successful and internationally regarded business like this when there is such a huge degree of denial and blame laying.
During my phone conversation with Mr Spanner I repeatedly stated that if this matter was resolved amicably I would remain a worthwhile and repeat customer.
I did not want to intentionally rubbish the guy. It certainly was not in my best interests to do this.
Rare Palm Seeds is in the enviable situation of having a monopoly on supplying the most extensive range of Palm and Cycad seed available.
What beggars belief is that they are still operational.
My advice…avoid this company and take up travelling the world and collecting your very own seed. You’ll have more fun.
On March 25th, 2011, coastpalms added the following:
As of 26 March 2011, I received a NZ$3000 chargeback credit.
This should be ample evidence that the company Rare Palm Seeds has done wrong by my business with them.
Once again I will re-iterate that Tobias Spanner is in a situation of having a monopoly on supplying the widest variety of palm & cycad seed in the world. I suspect several of his customers will have had difficult dealings with him & continue to have difficult dealings with him, but have little choice but to continue to purchase through his company.
To quote Paul Simon in his famous song "You can call me Al", (a song about a man experiencing a mid life crisis) I refer to the line "spinning in infinity". This I direct at Mr Spanner, and strongly suggest he get his head out of the sand and deal with customer complaints in a much more timely, effective and mature manner, for the sake of his livelihood.On Mar 25, 2011, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
"On Mar 18, 2011 10:47 AM, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
I have only just been made aware of this post. Apparently Dave's Garden no longer sends out notifications?
I will try to address just the important points in Ms. Grays wild accusations and misstatements.
1) MAF's (actually Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, not Fisheries) Biosecurity Authority/Clearance Certificate states merely: "Live insects found". No mention is made of frass, holes or mites.
2) The above document is signed Oct. 15th by a MAF officer. Ms. Gray did not contact us until Oct. 28th.
3) I sent a reply the same day that DID address the issues, although further e-mail exchanges were delayed for a few days the following week. I also explained to Ms. Gray that is is occasionally possible in palm seeds that beetles can hatch from inside the seeds where no visible signs of their presence were detectable when inspecting and sending out the order.
4) Just ONE day after listing MAF's options (return to sender, fumigation, or destruction) to me, Ms. Gray authorizes the seeds to be destroyed. This does not look like she was actually waiting for a reply.
5) Despite all this, I did agreed to send a replacement shipment as demanded by Ms. Gray.
6) Two days before the replacement shipment was due to be mailed and only a few days after we received Ms. Grays OK for our replacement shipment, we received a chargeback for the amount of the original shipment. I sent several e-mails to Ms. Gray asking for an explanation but received no reply. We decided not to mail the replacement as we would have ended up shipping two orders with no payment.
7) Ms. Grays Garden Watchdog statement was posted only a few days after our agreement. I seems to me that a resolution of this problem was never intended.
Some of Ms. Grays remarks are highly slanderous and her behavior seems fraudulent. If her company was not located in New Zealand, this case would have been taken to court by us.
RPS has been in business for over 15 years and thousands of customers all around the world continue to put our trust in us, including several large and long-time customers in New Zealand. We would not be where we are today if we had not earned that trust."
For my first buy not one of the seeds sprouted ...The second time, I never received the seeds nor my money back...
Be very careful with this company!
On Aug 10, 2010, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
"On Mar 18, 2011 11:04 AM, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
Looking back as far as 2007 I have not been able to find any orders from Montreal that these comments could apply to. If this claim is honest, I would appreciate a few more details. Until then I will consider it not authentic and would request its removal. grbjbs's only activity on Dave's Garden seems to have been the posting of this negative entry."
On May 27, I made a purchase for $500+ . As of today,
and numerous emails requesting ship tracking numbers they have ignored all of my requests. My customer no. is 34808, invoice 0804761. They immediately charged my credit card in May and I have never heard from them again. It is impossible to resolve this situatiuon when they are ignoring the problem. I still don't have the seeds I ordered.
Make a really long story short, they owe me $840.00 (30,000 seeds) which they scammed me out of. My only email reply was that I will receive them soon.
On top of that, recently I get a phone call from my c/c company saying this company is trying to run my c/c #'s for $3,000, then $2,000 when I never purchased anymore from them.
BUYER BEWARE **** SCAMMERS****
NEVER BUY FROM RAREPALMSEED.COM
On Jun 20, 2008, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
On Jun 21, 2008 2:12 AM, rarepalmseeds.com added:
Dear Mr. Wang,
the way we see this problem is that we would be happy to deliver the remaining goods to you at any time, but you refuse to have them delivered directly to you for a reason unknown to us. We have tried to explain this problem to you over the phone, but you do not seem to want to understand.
The $3000 and $2000 charges we tried to run was for a recent order you placed (order ID: 919-124-6887, $5500, Jan 24th 2008), which you subsequently put on hold. I will happily give more details if you do not remember your order.
Both of these issues have nothing to do with scamming and I would ask you to refrain from such accusations or we will have to consider taking legal action against you.
Ordered my seeds in Late December. After waiting 2 weeks longer than the web site tells you to wait for order to arrive, still had nothing.
I e-mailed and asked them about the seeds I payed for and they told me that the order had not been sent out do to one of the seeds not being in stock. I responded and asked them to kindly e-mail me when they were shipped. They told me thay could not do that. When I asked why they couldn't at least have the kindness to e-mail me, they then told me they HAD been shipped out.
I did receive them about a week later.
I ordered the "Cold Hardy Packet".
None of the Butia Yatay have popped.
None of the Trithinax have popped.
One of the Hystrix has popped.
One of the Nannorhops has popped.
4 of the Sabal Minors have molded away and had to to be tossed.
3 of the Phoenix have molded away and had to be tossed.
I got three free Phoenix seeds from a guy and sowed in the exact same medium and exact same heat, all three popped in 3 weeks. So it is NOT the medium I am useing.
DO NOT BUY FORM THIS GUY!!!!!!!! He has junk!!!
On Mar 26, 2006, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
On Mar 27, 2006 3:22 AM, rarepalmseeds.com added:
Did it ever occur to you that some palm seeds may take a long time to sprout? Our instructions say up to 2 years, even if you do it right. Perhaps patience is needed here more than anything."
I have bought 6 times from rarepalmseeds various seeds with a total of 318,60$. My first order was in August 4, 2003 and my last one on Ocober 4, 2005.
All orders arrived with more than one month delay. One particulary was 2 months late.
I had mixed results from the seeds that i received: for more than 50% of species i had 0% germination.
In the begining, i thought it was my mistake, but later when i had in the same time, same species seeds from RPS and another source, stil RPS's seeds had zero germination although other sources's seeds were germinating ok.
I reached to the conclusion that you only have chances from them when you buy seeds signed "new" next to their catalog - the others are just not viable anymore. This explains why in some not "new" seeds they send more seeds than you order.
Don't buy seeds unless they are "new" signed!
About after sales support:
One of the few seeds that were really fresh , was Kerriodoxa elegans: they were already germinated when I got them. Only that most of the sprouts, radicle - tap roots, were broken. This happened of course because the large seeds were in just a plastic bag, hiting each other, causing this miserable result.
When i emailed them, reporting my problem and asking for help (but without asking a replacement), they replied "I'm sorry, the seeds with broken roots are dead, and they cannot continue sprouting anymore". These k.elegans seeds cost me 19$.
But i ordered seeds, not living plants without proper packaging! so that was their fault.
Also many of their seeds, are getting mould as soon as you try to start them, mainly because they are in plastic humid bags when they ship them and without good cleaning.
In my last order, i received DOA: dypsis baronii seeds that had already green mould in their bag, and p.silvestris that half of them were already rotted. I emailed them, but I never got a reply back.
I'm sorry to say, but I am very dissapointed from them, and it's a pitty because they really have very big selection of seeds.
They seem that they don't dare to put old seeds out of their list, and causing customers to loose their money among with their nerves!
I was about to write a negative report since my previous order but I gave them a last try, that now i regret.
On Nov 19, 2005, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
On Nov 21, 2005 5:29 PM, rarepalmseeds.com added:
You should have inquired or complained about your lack of success. We don't claim that all seeds work every time. It is in the nature of palm seeds that many of them are not easy to sprout. For this reason we are not shy sending replacements, but we need to hear about them.
On the Kerriodoxa seeds with broken radicles, why did you not ask for replacements? We surely would have offered them had you informed us that most of that item was damaged.
As for shipping seeds damp, in plastic bags, this is the only way to keep many palm seeds viable. Many palm seeds are tricky items. It can happen that one or more seeds in a bag get moldy in transit. When you receive seeds it is therefore a good idea to float the seeds in water and clean them gently if necessary. With some exceptions, good seeds will sink, bad seeds will float.
We were unable to find your e-mail complaining about this. We have a very large volume of e-mails to handle, and a spam mail problem like everyone. If you don't get a reply, please send your mail again."
On Aug 23, 2005, gcmastiffs Jupiter, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:
I ordered $168 worth of palm seeds on June 29th. According to the website, it can take a month to get orders to the US.
Well, it is August 23rd and I am still waiting. My emails inquiring about my order were answered with one line each time - "You should get your order in a few days."
I've emailed a cancellation request and will get a refund from my CC company, since I never got the promised seeds.
On Aug 23, 2005, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
On Nov 21, 2005 5:42 PM, rarepalmseeds.com added:
We did have a problem with a particular batch of orders held up in the mail. Please be aware that many time consuming factors of mailing seeds from Europe to the US are not in our hands, such as phytosanitary certificate, US customs inspection, USDA inspection, delays in the postal system etc.
Please understand that we can't accept cancellation for seed already mailed.
We assume you eventually got your seeds and that they were ok since there was no chargeback to your credit card. We hope they will do well for you. "
On Aug 9, 2005, semillas El Paso / Canary Islands Spain (Zone 10b) wrote:
I ordered seeds two times from this company.
First time order:
Most of the seeds had heavy fungal contamination when arrived, because were packed in plastic bags at very high seed humidity.
Order was delayed for 2 months but shipment was done via a very costly speedmail - no info about the shipment costs at the time of order. You give away your cc-data and shipment costs are added without prior info.
My customer complaint first was ignored, then the owner of the company told me to send the seeds back. He told me that they do not perform germination tests on most of the seeds because of the costs.
I payed for certified shipment and neither heared anything from the company nor received a refund or replacement.
Second time order was done via my daughter
I received 1000 Musa velutina, 1000 Ensete ventricosum and
200 Woodyetia bifurcata.
All the seeds exhibited zero germination
I say hands away from this company
They have no custumer service and the seed quality is very low, reflecting the very low prices of standard varieties.
If you pay a few Dollars for 1000 seeds of Banana you will get shit because nobody can harvest, clean aseptically, package and ship high quality seeds for such low price. For sure they get most of the seeds from Asia. People there let the seed flesh rot in order to clean the seeds. Under this uncontrolled septic conditions heavy fungal contamination is a normal finding and prolonged high humidity and temps may start the germination process that is stopped upon drying, leading to dead seeds upon arrival.
I do not stand alone with my findings, there are some people more, experts in growing, like me, having had bad experiance. (Info on request)
It´s not the costs for the seeds alone, there are costs for the time you waste, costs for substrate, costs for your nerves.
But is there a really good alternative on the field of palm and banana seeds?
Please no advertice at DG
If somebody has one, please send me a personal note
On Aug 9, 2005, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
On Nov 21, 2005 6:27 PM, rarepalmseeds.com added:
About problems with the first order we had a lengthy exchange with "semillas". Seeds were shipped exactly 2 weeks from the date of order by regular airmail, for which we charged, at cost, $20 to the Canary Islands, certainly not outrageous in my perception (we do encourage our customers to ask for shipping costs on wholesale orders as they differ vastly between destinations all over the world). After a complaint about fungus, the seeds were eventually returned to us and it turned out they had never actually been sown. We could not find anything wrong with them, they fared well in a viability test, and we offered "semillas" to return them to him. Since we got no reply, the seeds were sown and we got reasonable results from them, good if taking into account the months that they had beed sitting around.
On the second order we never received a complaint.
That we do not perform germination tests is an outright lie. In fact we test every single batch of seeds for viability and sow sample batches of most in our own nursery, not many seed dealers can claim that. Our seeds come from all over the world, not just from Asia. In fact, in "semillas's" case they came from Chile, Brazil, Italy, Madagascar, Australia and South Africa. Apart from the fact that none of the seeds were actually from Asia, I would like to question "semillas's" expertise on how seeds are cleaned in Asia.
We rest content knowing that most people have good results with our seeds, otherwise they would hardly be coming back for more."
I ordered 100 Trachycarpus takil seeds from Rare Palm Seeds in 2001.I used various methods to start them but not one of the seeds sprouted. The seeds did come to me from some address in Texas. I dont know, maybe the seed packet was x-rayed or something in our country. Ive never had any trouble getting Trachycarpus seeds to sprout in the past.I did e-mail Rare Palm Seeds about this but never got a reply.