Posted on October 15, 2013, updated February 22, 2014
Consumer's Original Complaint :
Company sent the wrong tree in 2008. Replacement tree (s) had no roots. We complained, no response to our problems with their products.
We bought a dwarf red buckeye from Nature Hills in 2008. As the tree matured we started noticing white flowers on it so I looked it up online to see why our "red" buckeye had white flowers. I petty much surmised that they had sent the WRONG tree.
I called the company and a man named Brian asked for photos. I sent the photos and I waited & I waited. I had to call him back as no communication came back even though I emailed. When I called I talked to Brian again and he said he had identified it as an OHIO BUCKEYE which would eventually be a tree 75' tall & equal in width. I told him that was unacceptable and that we had 4 years invested in this tree. He turned me over to Customer Service (UGH) and their response was to send us a dwarf red buckeye at their expense. Meanwhile at OUR expense we had to have our Ohio Buckeye taken out and given to a home that could house such a tree.
EXTREMELY STRESSFUL to have to give up our tree but we were in hopes after many emails sent back and forth that the replacement tree from Nature Hills would be a nice size -- comparable to one that had been in the ground for several years.
And then here comes the first replacement dwarf red buckeye. It was a stick with one, just one, lateral hair root. My husband wrote and complained. No response. We planted the stick and like we knew it would do, it died before the end of summer. We called Nature Hills this year and told them we wanted a replacement for their ridiculous tree that they sent. They said, "Sure, NO problem but you'll have to pay half of the replacement costs." Had they not made the mistake in the first place by sending the wrong tree we wouldn't have had to have had another tree sent.
We finally decided to pay their rip-off price. That tree, too, arrived with 2 little buds at the top and ONE lateral root at the bottom. It was even smaller than the first replacement. My husband wrote, expressed our concerns and ALYSON's response to our email was that she was so glad that we had received our "healthy" tree and that roots should be developing shortly on it. She never once addressed the concerns we had over this second replacement.
That tree died even quicker than the first. My husband fired off another email to ALYSON demanding our $38.42 refunded. Of course she never responded to our demands.
While reading other reviews of Nature Hills I can plainly see that they are accustomed to sending our defective nursery stock. I plan to put a review everywhere I can to express the shoddy treatment consumers receive at this company. I have also filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
Consumer's Desired Resolution:
We want our $38.42 refunded. They actually owe us for the original "ohio" buckeye too but the rip-off charge for the replacement tree is what we want refunded.
On February 22nd, 2014, suz484 added the following:
I FELT THE NEED TO UPDATE MY REVIEW!
NatureHills remains a horrible, horrible, dishonest company -- customer service is rude (I.E. ALYSON) and totally unprofessional!
The update is we called our credit card company and we were given an advocate to try to work things out with NH so we could get our refund. Myself, our advocate had a 3-way conference call with goofy Alyson to hear her side of the story which the advocate quickly surmised as ridiculous excuses to cheat us out of what was rightfully our refund. Dear ol' goofy Alyson didn't budge an inch. When we hung up our advocate said, "What a piece of work!" We received the refund from our credit card company -- absolutely NOTHING from NatureHills.
On Feb 12, 2014, MareksGarden Simpsonville, SC wrote:
I put an order of $400 worth of trees in to this nursery in the fall of '12. All the specimens that came looked good except one. The Shagbark Hickory had one four inch root stem with no hairy roots at all. I am no expert, but it didn't look right, so I decided to photograph it and give it a shot. Indeed, in the spring of '13 the whole thing was brown dead. All the other trees are doing well. What ticks me off is, as others describe, is the run around. You need to provide evidence, which I had in the photo, then they need to wait for some 'foreman's' response, then they told me that it could still be alive, blah blah. Five emails later, the whammy is that NOW they will send you another for half price plus shipping. If people took that offer, it is a good business model for them. If they send me junk, then I simply buy another tree and give them even more profit, albeit less than the first. If they would have been nicer, I would have ordered another bunch of trees from them this year but they will get nothing but a poor review from me because of the treatment and policy. It is also notable that I had bought 2 Autumn Blaze Maples from them, and this spring '14 I just bought one at Home Depot even nicer than those, and it was half the price with a better return policy.
The order didn't begin auspiciously as I had to use their contact page after 3 days to determine if the order had been received. There was no other communication until I had to cancel the order because the ground was frozen where I lived. I had to call their phone # to cancel.
I called on Tuesday and told Sabrina N that I had to cancel because the ground was frozen and I would be unable to transfer/plant anything that arrived. She said to "Dig a hole before the tree arrives" as if she weren't listening. I got an email on Wednesday stating the the trees had shipped and would arrive Thursday (Thanksgiving). They did arrive Friday afternoon and what was I supposed to do with them now?
They shipped from Waterloo, WI which is 80 miles from Platteville, WI where I live, and they must have known that the ground was frozen here because it's frozen there but it was more important to keep the money and ship the trees to an area where they could not be planted than to cancel the order.
So now I have a box of trees that can be set curbside because there's no way they're going into the ground around here short of a back hoe. Heeling in isn't even an option as I could barely chip the soil with even a post hole digger.
Don't depend on their shipping to deliver it at the right time. They obviously are swamped or don't have a good system in place or can't even check the weather channel. Otherwise, it's a waste of money as in my case.
In short, Nature Hills Nursery sold me a dead plant, they were rude, and they did not replace the plant. I would NEVER buy anything from them. EVER.
I was given a dawn redwood as a moving present from my mother-in-law ordered from Nature Hills Nursery. It was "dormant" when shipped, but looked dead. I called to complain and was told to wait ninety days. I waited ninety days. The tree was still dead. I called and spoke to an extremely rude woman named Sabrina who said that she could replace the tree for half the original cost. I reminded her that she told me it was under warranty for a year. She told me that it was not a replacement warranty it was for half the value of the tree (a fact she did NOT tell me the first time I called). I still have a fifty dollar stick in my yard to look at, but I would rather pay a full fifty dollars to another nursery than give a penny to Nature Hills Nursery.
On Sep 25, 2013, PhillyKarl Philadelphia, PA wrote:
I purchased a Maple tree from them in Spring. It arrived with virtually no roots. Really. I called- they said not to worry. A month later, no sign of life. Called again - they said not to worry. Could take up to 90 days (!). Another 2 months and I finally got a bit of growth. It is now Fall, and I have a 95% dead tree with a tuft of leaves on one little side branch. They offer no refunds. They will sell a replacement at half price, plus shipping. Never again. Never again.
On Sep 25, 2013, Nature Hills Nursery responded with:
Most Maple trees are very fast growers so they would not have a large root system as even at 5-6 feet they would be quite young.
It sounds like your Maple was particularly stubborn to break dormancy. There are many things that can cause this.
Although it sounds like it may be struggling the good news is that your tree is still alive. If it has put on growth and gotten leaves that means it arrived alive and the trunk is still alive.
I hope you will keep it planted to see what it does in the spring, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Your warranty is good for 1 year from delivery, however I don't think you will need to take advantage of it.
Please feel free to call us if we can be of further assistance.
i have had a terrible experience with Nature Hills. I placed an online order and they promptly charged my credit card. No tree, no tree. Called no one answers, called another day, no answer, leave a message, no return phone call. call again and again and again, finally get a person, can't ship my tree until late October, although the ship time said "fall" and we are in the season of fall now. whatever. cancel the order. takes them almost 10 days to credit my charge card, but the amount is not correct. call, no answer, call, call, call finally get a person and they will not give the full amount. $10.00 fee to cancel. I saw that NOWHERE on the website and the person who took the cancellation of course never mentioned it. Do NOT buy from this company if you want good customer service.
On Sep 25, 2013, Nature Hills Nursery responded with:
I'm sorry you had trouble contacting us. As this site is anonymous I cannot have our IT department check our phone reports for your calls.
I am also sorry if there was some confusion as to the shipping time of your tree. Yes, fall has officially started and will continue until December 20th. Our fall ship trees must be dormant before they can be safely dug, and unfortunately it's still a little early due to the unusually warm start to fall this year.
It does state in our Terms that your credit card will be charged at the time of the order. This is because we take your trees out of inventory to reserve them for you.
Our cancellation policy is also stated in our Terms. Cancellation fees are automatically assessed by our accounting department to cover the fees and cost to us to process a cancellation.
I would be happy to offer you a 10% discount on a future order as we would love another chance."
I wanted to experiment with planting an apple tree in the fall. Nature Hills website said in bold type that they had the tree I wanted "In Stock", so I ordered it.
I received no order confirmation from them and no correspondence of any kind (yes, I checked my spam boxes). Despite this, the money was immediately charged to my credit card, so I just assumed the tree would arrive. It never did.
I wrote an email to them asking about it, but they didn't write back. After reading the many negative reviews of Nature Hills, here and elsewhere, I wrote them a second email a couple of days later saying that I would escalate the problem with my credit card company and their local Better Business Bureau if they didn't either respond, immediately ship the "in-stock" tree or refund my money.
They responded with two voice mails saying that they would not cancel the order via email, that I would need to call, and that the tree wasn't actually in stock but would be shipped in seven or eight months when spring arrived. They said there was text on the website ordering page indicating a spring shipping date. After checking and searching the order page again, yes, the small type that I did not see was there, but so was the much more obvious bolded type next to the "Add to Cart" button saying the tree was actually "In Stock."
When I tried to return their call, they didn't answer the phone, so I called them the following week, and they still didn't answer the phone. I left a voice mail asking them to cancel the order and refund my money, but they never responded.
Over a week later, there's still been no refund on my credit card, so I have ended up escalating it to the credit card company. This has dragged on for over a month now, they have my money, and unlike their haste in charging my credit card they don't seem to be in any hurry to make a refund to it for their "In Stock" item that is actually not in stock until next spring.
I don't know what's happened to Nature Hills Nursery. At one time they were a reputable business that seemed to care about their customers, good communication and their reputation. Maybe my experience was an unfortunate exception, but judging how their usually favorable online reviews from just a few years ago have turned to highly negative, and based on my own experience, something seems seriously wrong at this nursery. My advice: stay away from it.
Well I wished I had read these reviews before making my purchase with Nature Hills.
THE GOOD: I ordered a bareroot Northern Red Oak back on April 21. Nature Hills had it ready for shipping around April 26, and actually shipped it on April 30th. It was delivered by FedEx on May 2. The box looked great and the tree was well packed in the box to minimize movement, shifting and damage.
THE BAD: Even though the box looked great, I thought the tree looked quite dry, including the packing material around the roots. I followed the directions in the box to prep the tree and then planted the tree later that same day that I received it. Western New York has received near ideal growing condition this Spring and Summer. Adequate rainfall, which I augmented when needed, lots of sunshine and not too hot temps. My garden has shown the results this year, except for this tree.
I first contacted the company on May 30th, as it was obvious to me that this tree was not going to break dormancy. It was dead. I contacted them again on May 31st and again on June 2nd. The finally replied on June 3rd. I received their boilerplate response "It can take up to 90 days for these items to break dormancy and the average amount of time is 5-6 weeks. The plants will establish their root systems before they will show physical signs of new growth above the surface (buds, leaves, etc.). Each plant is unique in the way that it will grow; even two plants of the same species could leaf out at different times (one tree could start to break dormancy two days after being planted while another of the same species can take up to 90 days to break dormancy). We have sent out thousands of plants this way over the years, and in most cases they will thrive if they are given enough time. Our nursery manager recommends a scratch test. Scrap away enough of the bark to actually see underneath. Scrap toward the top and bottom of the tree about 5-6 inches above the soil. If it is a yellow or green color, it is still alive."
I can't say that I've purchased 1000s or 100s of bareroot plants but I have purchased probably between 50 and 100 over the years and this is the first that didn't leaf out. EVER OTHER bareroot plant I've planted leafed out with 2 weeks once the appropriate growing season was reached. So I was befuddled by the need for 90 days. I also couldn't figure out the green scratch test. The wood of the tree will act like a wick and draw water up from the ground as long as it's in the ground. This could take a long time before the scratch test will show something other than green.
Well I gave it 90 days. You know the result ... still no leaves, still green after scratch test, but still dead. Contacted Nature Hills again on Aug 12, 13 and 14 to ask for a refund since I already purchased a replacement tree from Spring Hills Nursery (which leafed out in 4 days after I planted it). Finally got a reply referencing their replacement policy and that they do not offer refunds. But they'll be happy to sell me another tree at a discount along with regular shipping fees applied.
What a wonderful deal. They ship out a dead twig, make you wait 90 days and then offer you a deal to buy another dead twig at 1/2 price.
But why 90 days ... I called my credit card company to ask about getting the charges reversed. I called just in time. Visa only gives you 120 days to request a refund. hmmm ... delay shipment a few days to a week, drag out replacement/refund requests and hope that the 120 days to dispute a charge with your credit card company lapse first. Now I understand their business model. Buyer beware!
We received tree from Nature Hills as a 2012 Christmas gift from my parents. I immediately checked this site and was not super encouraged. I called customer service and asked about several things - one of them being cashing in the gift certificate. That was not possible (we didn't really think it would be) so we switched trees to one more suited for our yard. Our Lacebark Elm tree came in April 2013. We planted the barerooted tree immediately even though it appeared dead, knowing it would take some time for it to break dormancy. It showed no life by June so we called customer service. They told me to be patient and that it would take 90+ days to leaf out. By the 2rd of August there was still no life so I emailed them asking what the next step for getting a replacement was. I was told I needed to call them. When I did I was told I would need to pay half of today's cost (which is double what it was at Christmas) for the replacement plus shipping. They claim the tree was viable when shipped but I'm not convinced. I will not pay them again. We have purchased many trees, shrubs and perennials over the years (we have close to 1000 at last count) and never had an issue with a return. Don't be fooled by their low prices. I am sure there are some lucky people who have had success with them, but don't take a chance. There are many reputable companies vying for your business who offer a real guarantee - go with one of them.
On Aug 7, 2013, mimosa9 MECHANICSBURG United States wrote:
I purchased a mimosa tree in April 2013. I planted the bareroot tree knowing it would be late May at the earliest for it to break dormancy. It showed no life by early June so I called customer service. They told me to be patient and that it would take 90+ days to leaf out. By the 3rd week of July there was still no life so I called them back. This customer service expert told me to cut the top half off the 5 ft tree to shock it to life. This sounded absurd but I did it. After 10 days I knew it was not coming to life. I called again to set up a fall replacement and was told I would need to pay half for the replacement plus shipping. They claim the tree was viable when shipped but I'm not convinced. I will not pay them again. I have purchased many trees over the years and never had an issue with a return. Most of my fruit trees come from Stark Bros and they are very good to deal with. I guess that is why they have been in business since 1814. The way Nature Hills does business they will be lucky to make 15 years of business. STAY AWAY. There are many reputable companies vying for your business.
On Jul 31, 2013, moochesmom Whitmore Lake, MI wrote:
If there was a stronger adjective to use than negative I would choose that! I placed an order with this company that was supposed to ship in 5-7 business days. After 6 weeks, I still have not received my order, nor has my account been credited with the amount billed. I have repeatedly tried to contact their customer service department via phone and email without response. I would NEVER use or recommend them!
Purchased two red oaks in November of 2012, we are in July of 2013 and trees have not leafed out. Contacted customer services and was told I would have to pay half price for the trees and shipping costs. Locally if you purchase trees and they do not leaf out in Spring you get trees replaced at no costs. This is a no lose situation for Nature Hills Nursery and a big lost for the customer. Will not be associating with this company in the future.
I purchased a tree from around a year ago, they charged my credit card immediately. Two weeks pass and no tree yet so I contact support who says the tree hasn't been shipped yet and that they should be shipped in a month. I stuck with it and month passes and yet no tree. I contacted Customer Support and ask to cancel and they respond saying tree is being shipped and I should have it in two weeks so I decide to wait it out. Yet again two weeks pass and no tree. I contact support and they say I can cancel but will get charged a fee for cancellation or the tree will be shipped right away and I can wait for tree to be shipped and get a $20 gift certificate. So not only did they lie that it was being shipped but they also try charging me to cancel on an order that took 3 months to even ship !!!
Stupid me decided to take the $20 gift certificate and wait on the tree. It finally arrived and looked like absolute $hit with bare roots and no leaves and practically dead. I planted anyways hoping to save the tree. No luck, the tree died. Contacted support and they stated they would give me a 50% discount for another tree. Like WTF is that bull$hit? You give me a George Burns tree and then want me to pay you to get another tree that would probably die right away too.
This company is an absolute joke and refuse to purchase anything from them again. I am also passing the word along to everyone I know and throughtout the internet so everyone knows how terrible this company is and prevent others from making the same mistake I did.
Marty, Forked River, NJ
On April 24,2013 I ordered some trees from nature hills nursery. They immediately charged my credit card. I was told I would receive a order number and a date when they would be shipped. I never received either. On may 1,2013 I cancelled the order through their cancellation web site. On may 15, 2013 I received a box from them, they shipped it after my cancelling the order anyway. I called and left a message asking them to pick up the box as I had cancelled it in due time. I called several more times and was sent to voice mail each time. I sent another email and still no response. The box sat here for two weeks and began to smell and I started seeing bugs in and around it . I had to discard it as I did not want them in my house. These people could care less about customer service as they received the money and just ignored my efforts to resolve this. I highly recommend people to stay away from this company as they are the most unreptable company I have ever dealt with.
In October we ordered a 6'-7' Maple. We waited weeks to have the order fulfilled because they said they had to wait fo it to go dormant. In November, we received a thin box containing a 6' long twig with exposed roots. We called concerned, because this is not what we expected. The Customer Service Rep said it was dormant and would take until spring to leaf out. Spring came, and it is obviously not alive. Customer Service states that we waited too long because we should have known the tree was dead when it arrived. They offered to allow us to purchase another one 50% of the cost. Why would I do that, when the first tree obviously did not survive transit and customer service is so poor. Christian Hill, the "Customer Service" Representative is wholly unhelpful. How is a customer supposed to know that a dormant tree did not survive shipment?
OMG, WHY didnt I read these reviews before ordering with this company??? That is my fault. Also, I read the ridiculous Terms and Agreements and STILL ordered. I'm so mad at myself. The issue I have with them, however, is that I cancelled an order while my status read 'processing', according to their website. I found a hard-to-find tree at a local nursery selling a vital, healthy, 5 ft. tree for the same price as what I was paying (after S&H) at Nature Hills. I tried to call them but they close at 3pm (?!!) so I followed the cancellation instructions on their T&C and emailed. I did not hear anything from them until this morning when I saw a shipping notice for the tree. Wha??? I called them and spoke with a very rough customer service rep who kept repeating their Terms and Conditions. She cut me off so many times, I ended up raising my voice, which is always unfortunate. According to her, the status on their website may not always represent the true status, and my cancellation came a 'little too late' despite what the status said. According to their T&C, they accept no returns. So, I'm stuck. I really hope this tree is in good condition.
I highly question the integrity of this company and telling me that their website version of my order may not be accurate and that customers do not require knowledge of when a shipment is being prepared sounds shady to me at best. I feel I tried diligently to cancel and despite my efforts, they shipped anyway. Their T&C box people in, leaving no room to satisfy the customer in cases where things come up. I ordered from many other online nurseries and never found this to be the case anywhere else. DO NOT order from this company. They do not seem to care about their customers' satisfaction. Lesson learned.
On May 29, 2013, Nature Hills Nursery responded with:
We, of course, are very sorry this customer is so upset.
Ms.Lariza placed her order Friday afternoon. She had emailed us on Tuesday after business hours to cancel as according to her email "My husband already bought one of these trees for me, so I will not need this."
However, the packing slip for her order had already printed Tuesday and her order shipped Wednesday morning.
Normally customers are thrilled that their order has shipped so quickly.
However, I understand it is disappointing in this situation as a mistake has been made and they now have two trees.
Although the frustration caused by a simple mistake is understandable the review really is surprising.
I'm sorry that very fast processing and shipping did not work out in this case, but I do truly hope that she enjoys her tree for years to come. "
On May 18, 2013, Youknowwhat FRESH MEADOWS, NY wrote:
Last week, I placed an order for 1 ea. White Lady Peach tree. I placed the order on a Sat afternoon and by Sunday morning, after I learned that the tree would be too big for my aunt's garden, I promptly sent them a cancellation notification. Hoping to stop them from processing my order. During my entire ordering and cancellation process, Nature Hills was closed. Yet, when they opened on Monday, knowing full well that my order was cancelled, they still charged my credit card for the tree. When I called them on Tuesday, they agreed to refund my charge, however, they deducted $10 "cancellation" fee for the transaction. I have notified them before they could do any "work" on my order, they still insisted on charging me $10 (which is 17.8% of my order total) for performing no work. I just want to write this experience to warn any potential buyers out there about the hefty cancellation fee. I was not aware of the cancellation fee. Read their fine prints carefully before you placed any order with this store.
On May 18, 2013, Nature Hills Nursery responded with:
As I explained to Ms. Liu our cancellation fee which is 10% or a minimum of $10 is to cover our costs and fees.
As soon as an order is placed the items are removed from our inventory and reserved for a customer, that is why the credit card is charged immediately upon placing an order. These happen automatically within our system, not when we return from the weekend.
We do incur a fee from the credit card company, we also manually cancel and adjust inventory at the time of a cancellation.
Ms. Liu had stated that the tree she ordered was too large for her aunt. As I would have hoped that she still wanted to gift her aunt a tree that perhaps would work better for her I did offer her 10% off her next order to offset the cancellation fee.
We do hope that she will consider that as a tree is a lovely gift to give.
My husband ordered three hybrid poplars a few weeks ago and we've heard nothing. We've tried to call, left multiple messages, but no response at all. They have our money, but we can't even get the courtesy of a response. Extremely frustrating!
On May 15, 2013, Nature Hills Nursery responded with:
I emailed this customer twice through Dave's Garden with no response. We did however catch up to the customer on Facebook. We are sorry to hear that they had trouble getting through to us.
Their order has shipped and been delivered."
On May 13, 2013, LaneLandscape Flemington, NJ wrote:
Posted on May 13, 2013, updated May 13, 2013
I have purchased several plants, shrubs and trees online and always received what I expected. I ordered 5 Barberry Crimsons from Nature Hills. They were to be shipped in gallon containers, so I knew they would not be very big, but expected them to be visible and have some form. They arrived and I couldn't have been more disappointed. There was just a few little branches sticking out of each pot. I planted them because I was on a landscape deadline and needed them to finish job. From 20 yards away you cant even see them in the mulch beds, up close they look like a little piece of branch that broke of a tree and landed in the mulch bed.....HORRIBLE!!!..DO NOT ORDER FROM THEM. Im just glad they didn't have the other bush I wanted so I ordered them from another company and received exactly what I expected.
On May 13th, 2013, LaneLandscape added the following:
I also sent an email regarding my disappointment with my order. They never replied back to me.
On May 8, 2013, hankandellen Ellettsville, IN wrote:
Disaster!! We ordered buffalo grass plugs to plant- we made it clear we were planting them today, May 8, so they needed to arrive a day or two before. First problem - the website said 95 plugs/tray. The emailed invoice said 72 plugs/tray. Had to call Sabrina and straighten that out and order a bunch more trays to make up the shortfall. Then received no receipt for the new order. Had to call and get that straightened out. Then Sabrina calls me last week to say they can't get me the plugs in time - that if they leave NE early enough to get to IN, they will have to sit in the dark over the weekend, and we would have no guarantee on the survival of the plugs. I had a volunteer day all set with the help I needed to get >1,000 plugs planted - I asked them to find a way to make this right, as they had promised me I'd have them in time. Nope. Got a 10% price cut from Allison, which is ok but will barely cover the cost of the contractor we have to hire to plant the plugs since we couldn't set up another volunteer day in time. I never got a FedEx tracking number so had to call for that and I was told there were seven boxes and that they might be on different trucks and arrive on different days. Andrea was the one who told me that and was very rude - 'if you have a problem with that, call FedEx'. A really bad experience. Never, ever, again.
On May 8, 2013, Nature Hills Nursery responded with:
We are extremely sorry that this customer is so unhappy. We tried very hard to fix what was initially a representative's mistake.
Ms. Jacquart had initially wanted her grass delivered on a Monday. When we realized that her order would be in transit too long if we kept that delivery schedule we contacted her immediately so see how we could handle this for her.
We offered to hold the grass until a more suitable time we also offered Ms. Jacquart simple instructions so she could hold the grass and keep it healthy if she had to arrange for another install date.
Because Ms. Jacquart was a repeat customer we did offer a 10% discount as a courtesy and to help make up for any inconvenience this may have caused her. In this case that was a substantial amount.
I'm sorry we couldn't fix this to Ms. Jacquart's satisfaction. I really thought that we had as we did process the credit and she did accept delivery. Thank you."
Their prices were higher than just about every other online nursery. But in this case high price is not high quality.
I have been building up a small orchard on my property over the last 20 years and I have about 50 different fruit trees. I am not a beginner. I have dealt with several different businesses, buying both bare root and potted trees, so I know how these things should work.
I received a peach tree that was so severely root pruned that the leaves and buds dried out in 4 days, even though 2 of the days had rain. Since there were virtually no roots left, the tree could not get water to the leaves.
I thought that this was so obviously their fault that they would refund my money. All they kept repeating was that they shipped high quality trees and that the tree would recover. The answer is no on both points.
The issue is that the tree was root pruned too much and the entire tree will be shocked for a year or more - if it comes back at all.
Why should I pay a premium tree price for their mistake.
On May 7, 2013, Nature Hills Nursery responded with:
On Apr 29, 2013, Ilex1888 STATEN ISLAND, NY wrote:
I've ordered plant material from many different mail order nurseries companies, large and small, throughout the country and have had very good experiences with all of them. The plants were exactly as decribed in their catalogs. The quality of the plants was excellent and the packaging as well.
Not the case with Nature Hills. The American holly ordered was far from perfect. The leafs were desiccated and beginning to brown. The plant 'root ball' was tied down in an oversized box with NO other packaging material. Even as bare root, the plant had no fine root structure and barely a tap root. As a grower of holly trees (and have purchased many by mail), I'm quite aware of how the plant would (and should look). The plant was 'gangly' and weak looking with no early structural pruning or shaping. I notified the company upon reciept of plant. I was told to do the 'scratch' test, which i did, despite it still being slightly green, i knew once planted out, the plant would stress further and fail. i even sent photos of the plant as i found it when i opened the package. I inquired about my replacement options. Was told I needed to wait 30 days before requesting a replacement. I was also reminded about the 'half price plus shipping' policy. The plant was bad from the start and really didnt want to start with such a poor quality plant. Ridiculous.
Needless to say I will NOT be ordering any more plants from this company and i urge others to do the same! There are many others companies worth doing business with.
On Apr 29, 2013, Nature Hills Nursery responded with:
I may be new to website plant shopping but when I received my very expensive "trees" they were nothing but twigs. They secured the money from my credit card approximately one month before shipping my twigs to me. I ordered some springtime plants. The website states that the plants will ship according to my zone. They are now stating that they are in a cold area and the plants will not ship according to my zone but according to their weather conditions. Again the money from my credit card was taken 2 months before the projected shipping date. I am very apprehensive of the plants that I will receive. I have already purchased plants at my home town nursery for cheaper than I paid for these "sale" plants form Nature Hills. I have received very poor customer service from this company also. I called in and when a person answered she put me on hold and then transferred me to her voicemail. Needless to say she never returned my call. The email correspondence to my complaints was very brief and unhelpful. I have spent close to $1000.00 with this company with two orders and they have treated me with much disregard. I will not shop with them again and urge anyone who is smarter than me who researches the company to find someone else to buy the plants from. I could have bought much healthier trees from a local nursery for less money. I am ashamed of myself for trusting Nature Hills Nursery to be all that they claim to me on their website.
On Apr 20, 2013, Nature Hills Nursery responded with:
We are very sorry that there was any miscommunication or that you are unhappy with the products you received.
Our sales people do tell customers regularly that their credit card will be charged at the time of the order this information is also found on our website. We do this because we actually remove the items from inventory so the items can be reserved for you.
Our spring shipping does typically start with trees as most are shipped bare root and dormant, potted material ships a little later depending on the weather. You had mentioned that the items would ship according to your zone and this is correct.
However, the nursery manager does consider upcoming temperatures in your area as well as the temperatures the product will be subjected to in transit.
You had also mentioned finding some items locally at a lower price.
Please know that big box stores purchase large quantities of greenhouse grown product very inexpensively. Our items are grown especially for us at outdoor nurseries making them better quality and more hardy.
We are sorry you felt that our customer service was not up to par as we strive to offer great customer service to each one of our customers.
We do hope that you will be pleased with the rest of your order. If not please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you.
I am a beginning gardener. I have ordered a Weeping Cherry along with some other trees and bushes. I am personally not familiar with Flowering Cherries and I never knew they didnít produce cherries. I was looking for a fruit bearing tree, looked at the picture and read the description of "Weeping Cherry" on NH website and was under the assumption this was a real cherry tree as its title suggest. When the order was on its way I found out through a friend that "Weeping Cherry" might not be a fruit bearing cherry at all. I then contacted Nature Hills about it, and told them I would like to return it. Then Iíve got this strict email telling me that if I want to return that their "Terms and Policies" will apply. So to get a return on the "Weeping Cherry" that I bought for $59.98 plus shipping I would have to spend almost half of the price to send it back. What is the use? I contacted the customer service and said that I made a mistake buying this tree but also it didnít say anywhere in the description of the tree that it wasnít fruit bearing. Then I asked if they could be more lenient and if they maybe would pay for the return shipping. They refused and send me this reply:
"Thanks for your inquiry. It is a common practice for nurseries, botanical gardens, and gardening magazines when describing Flowering Cherry trees, to describe the flower color and size but will not list it as a non fruit producing tree. The reason for this is the catagory "Flowering Cherry" refers to deciduous flowering ornamental trees only. Fruit bearing cherry trees will be classified under "Fruit Trees-Cherry" just as you see on our website. Nature Hills Nursery realizes that our customers may not be able to locate the answer to their question(s) on our web site, and we provide a toll free telephone number for this purpose. If you are wanting to return the Weeping Cherry as indicated in your previous E-mails, our return policy will apply and can be found on our web site at the bottom of each page, under "Terms and Conditions". Best Regards, Sabrina"
I am not sure if this is a common practice, but as I said before I am a starter and I didnít know. I also didnít grow up with flowering cherries as my friend who lives in DC, did. I donít think you can expect from anybody to know this unless only nurseries and botanical gardens are buying plants from you?
Now I was stuck with the tree I had no use and place for. Sending it back was even worse, what was the use of losing half the money to return it? Also I had 2 more orders pending (over $200) (that would ship in 2-4 weeks) and I decided to cancel them all and never buy from Nature Hills again. Obviously to cancel my orders was a pain in the *** too. I first wrote them an email and never got a response, then I called and some vague person told me she needs to redirect my request somewhere and then they will cancel it. I waited a day and I, of course, didnít hear anything from them on phone or email. On the website my orders were still processing and not cancelled. I had to call them again. The person on the phone said that the 2 orders will be canceled. Afterward I called my bank and they said that I have already been charged by Nature Hills for those 2 orders.
AVOID NATURE HILLS, THEY ARE NOT IN BUSINESS OF HELPING PEOPLE AND MAKING HAPPY CUSTOMERS.
THEY ARE OUT FOR THEMSELVES AND THE NASTY PROFITS BY SETTING UP THEIR CUSTOMERS.
On Mar 5, 2013, Nature Hills Nursery responded with:
I am very sorry this customer feels that we were not supportive or helpful.
We were very sorry to hear that Ms. Orr had ordered the Weeping Cherry by mistake and we truly did try to help by assisting her with a return.
We do understand that she was disappointed as a new gardener to have made such a mistake.
As noted above the the fruiting cherry trees and flowering cherry trees are listed separate on our site. We also have Plant Care Specialists available for our customers that may have any questions.
Nature Hills values each and every one of our customers so we were sorry that she felt her mistake warranted cancelling her other items with us.
We would like to assure her that her orders were cancelled and her credit card credited within 24 hours of her cancellation call. I'm not certain how she felt there was any misunderstanding regarding her cancellation.
In reference to Nature Hills charging her card for her other items, that is done at the time of the order as we had reserved those items for her.
Finally, if Ms. Orr would like to reconsider purchasing the other items we would like to offer her 10% off her next order as a courtesy.
We do hope Ms. Orr can find a place for the Weeping Cherry as it is a beautiful tree that we are sure will bring joy to her family for years to come.
Purchased 5 peach trees from Nature Hills. Planted them all in the same general location and put them all on the same watering schedule. 3 out of the 5 survived. When I contacted the company about getting a replacement for the 2, I was told I would be charged 50% of the retail value plus shipping. Every REPUTABLE nursery in the country offers a 1 year warranty on their plants with proof of purchase. This was the first and LAST time I will ship at Nature Hills!
On Oct 23, 2012, Nature Hills Nursery responded with:
We are sorry that two of your trees didn't survive. We do guarantee that all orders for plant material arrive safely, and viable. Even so, when working with live material, there is a chance that a tree will not survive the transplant process. We try to offset that risk of loss by offering a no questions asked replacement policy. Any failed item can be replaced for half the current selling price, plus shipping and handling. We do explain this policy in our terms and conditions, listed on every page on our site and again in the checkout process.
I ordered a tree one month ago. They charged my visa immediately but I have yet to see the tree. When I asked for a refund they said the tree could not be shipped until the fall and that if I wanted to cancel my order they would charge a 10% cancellation fee. They also told me that I should have entered my zip code to get a delivery date. I did that and it still does not give a ship date. Be very careful when doing business with this company and read the "fine Print; I still can't find a reference to a cancellation fee!
On Sep 20, 2012, Nature Hills Nursery responded with:
We apologize if there was any miscommunication with your order. We take care to ship all material at the appropriate time for planting. Some material that we send it shipped bareroot, and weather dictates when the material can be harvested and safely shipped. We like to try and make sure that all material has the best chance for a successful transplant when it is sent.
We do explain the time frame of shipping bareroot material, as well as the cancellation fee in our terms and conditions. These terms are linked to at the bottom of every page on our website, and in the checkout process. An order will not go through until the customer checks that they have read and agree to our terms and conditions for the sale. The shipping time is also listed on the confirmation page once the order is submitted online.
I received ALL ordered 4 peach trees dead without the root system at all. Customer service rep lied about her name (she is Sabrina), was very rude, all the time talked over me and even did not lesten the problems. I suspect there are many upset customers that she is just sending out... They rised prices more than twice this Fall; therefore, if you reordering half price replacement products, you are ending up paying 1.5 times more than originally was paid. Looks like a tipical scam to me. Upset customers, do you want to file class action lawsuit on this NatureHills? I am a lawyer, please contact me if you want to do that
On Sep 7, 2012, Nature Hills Nursery responded with:
We are certainly sorry to hear that your trees did not survive. Every tree that we send out goes through rigorous inspection before it is shipped. Our nurserymen and women inspect each tree as it is dug, and when it is checked into our holding facilities. Trees are also inspected again when they are packaged. We check for height, weight, coloration, root structure, and pliability to ensure that every tree is viable when it is shipped.
We guarantee safe delivery of all material, and in the cases where a tree or plant was damaged during transit, we just ask to be notified of any issues within 48 hours. We apologize if you felt your case was mishandled, if we need to revisit the issues, we would be happy to look into the issues again.
If the issue was that the tree didn't survive a transplant, then we do offer a one year replacement for half the current selling price plus shipping and handling. Prices are determined by the type of material and the size of the tree. For many species of trees that we are carrying this fall, the sizes are significantly larger than the ones that we carried last spring. That could be the reason for the price increase. This is also something that we can look at again to be sure. Please e-mail us at email@example.com is you would like us to review your order.
On Aug 20, 2012, gardener1124 Aquia Harbour, VA wrote:
Simple. They sent me a dead plant. I reported it within the allotted 48 hours. They told me it was "dormant". I said "No, it is dead", but they would not listen. So, I planted it. Four months later..still dead. The "customer service" lady who always answers the phone is very rude and condescending. She actually told me that I did not report that I had scracthed the bark in April, so I had not reported it as dead. Of course I would have done that had she asked me to. I have ordered from them multiple times, but they refuse to do the right thing regarding this one plant. Unscrupulous.
On Aug 20, 2012, Nature Hills Nursery responded with:
We are sorry to hear that you had an issue with your order, and that you felt your experience with our customer service representative was not up to our standards. We pride ourselves on offering excellent customer service.
Our trees are shipped dormant, but if there was an issue with your order when it arrived and you notified us, then we should have a record of that. Perhaps there was a misunderstanding on our end. We would like to review your order, and see if there was something that we missed. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will see if we can't satisfy the situation. You mentioned that you have ordered multiple times, and we would like to think that is due to our service and our quality plants. We would hate to loose a valued customer because of a shortcoming on our end in this one case. Please let us know.
The tree I recieved was obviously dead upon arrival. I planted and cared for it anyway hoping for the best. After 2 months I gave up all hope. I called Nature Hills Nursery and they instructed me to scrape some of the trunk off to verify if it was dead and it was. They said they don't offer refunds but would send another tree at 50 percent off the going price. Guess what... the price for the same tree is now three times what it was when I bought this one. So in order to get the same tree I would now pay more than I did in the first place. Sounds like a big scam to me. I'm reporting this company to the Attorney General's office an the Better Business Bureau.
On Jul 17, 2012, chuckcanuck27 Vancouver Canada wrote:
In April of 2012 I ordered a Pluot tree (Flavor Grenade) that I had read about - it sounds like a terrific cultivar. It arrived and when I opened the box I was immediately dismayed. I planted it right away as instructed but it appeared to my eyes (Master Gardener) to be dead. I immediately e-mailed the company and they opened a ticket. I was assured the tree was alive but could take up to 90 days to break into leaf. I waited a while and contacted them again. I received the same info and was told about their pathetic replacement policy. My bad! I should have made sure ahead of time that they stand behind their products. I finally gave up in early July when it was still 'dormant' and pulled the tree out of the ground. It was beginning to rot and had never formed a single root. We have beautiful soil, and I gave it lots of TLC. The plant was just dead from the start - I'm convinced of it. I would never order again from Nature Hills.
On Jul 17, 2012, Nature Hills Nursery responded with:
We are certainly sorry to hear that you had an issue with your order. In some cases, trees can take several weeks to break dormancy. We do guarantee the safe delivery of all of our plants and trees. If there was an issue with the tree upon arrival, and you notified us right away, then we would certainly want to review the case. If you are within the recommended planting zones for the tree, then there might be reason to review this order. There is a bit of concern, as it looks like you are signed in from Canada. Pluots are warm climate trees, and we don't ship internationally. Perhaps it was sent somewhere within the states? Please contact our customer service department and we can have another look.
On Jul 10, 2012, ReallyTickedOff Valencia, CA wrote:
Ordered a Scarlet Oak back in February (2012), which they said would ship within a week. After almost a month with no shipment or contact from them, I tried via e-mail and phone to finally get hold of someone, who said the tree was "scheduled" to ship in April, seven months after I bought it. They had already charged my card back in Feb, and were now giving me attitude over the phone as I was requesting the status of my merchandise that they had previously stated would be in my hands long ago.
Tree finally arrived, but was poorly packed and was ALREADY NEARLY DEAD! I planted it anyway to try to save it (about 25 feet away from an existing Scarlet Oak in my yard), but it promptly died and dried up no matter how much I watered and nurtured it.
Sabrina at Nursery Hills told me they didn't guarantee their plants (the first time I've ever encountered a nursery that operates under this policy), and said not only would they charge me for a new replacement tree, but I'd have to wait until July (now) before they could process the order. Well, now it's July, and they won't have any replacements until 2013! Huh??
This is easily in the top five worst online purchasing experiences I've ever had, from a company that operates with rude customer service on the phone and horrible product policy. I lost money dealing with them, and possibly an entire year in the planting spot in my yard since now I'll have to search out a new source for a Scarlet Oak.
STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY! THEY WILL TAKE YOUR MONEY UP FRONT AND THEN LEAVE YOU BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD.
On Jul 7, 2012, lbsaltzman Mission Canyon, CA wrote:
I join the long list of individuals with serious complaints about this company. I received a near dead Mars grape this spring. It was very small for the price and the leaves had yellow veins. I was ignored by the company though I sent numerous emails and phoned them.
A disreputable nursery/company that does not stand behind its products. I recently ordered a white oak tree from Nature Hills. The tree was in-transit for 7 days. When opened, the box contained a "brittle to touch" tree, possessing shriveled brown leaves and bare, dry (to the extreme) roots. I immediately planted the tree, as instructed.and contacted Nature Hills about the condition of the tree - the company representative stated that the tree was shipped in elite, pristine condition and that it would respond favorably within 6 weeks, as it was dormant (are shriveled brown leaves, brittleness and dry roots indicative of a dormant state, I wondered).
Nine weeks later the tree remains completely inert and is obviously dead, just as when it arrived. When I again contacted Nature Hills, I was informed that their unbending replacement policy requires that the customer pay for a second tree, plus shipping and handling, in order to have the defective product replaced with another "guaranteed "shipment. Apparently, while the "shipment" is guaranteed, the purchased product isn't. Avoid doing business with Nature Hills unless you feel that a 50% negative rating (per the recent comments on this website) presents a good and viable service-oriented company.worthy of your trust and business.
Recommended course of action for any potential customer of Nature Hills Nursery: Find a company with better than a B- BBB rating; one that has a reasonable and fair replacement guarantee and whose customer service canít be defined as ďthick as manure and about half as usefulĒ.
I placed a late season order for seven roses totaling just over $300, including shipping. Unfortunately, they were dormant upon receipt with dried buds and branched falling off. I couldnít judge if these were going to be healthy plants and of course two of the seven didnít come back. I spoke w/ Bill in customer service who told me I could have two replacements at half price plus shipping. What a rip off. They wanted to charge me $50 to fix their inability to ship healthy plants. Oh, it is June and I was told they also wouldnít ship until ďmid-fallĒ.
I have to take some of the blame for the problem above. They have an awful replacement policy and I should have gone to one of the many competing operations that will make it right. Based on the poor plants I received, their lousy customer service and self stacked service policies, each order is a potential disaster and I canít advise anyone wait around for the train to jump the tracks.
I ordered two trees from this company in April. They sent two 3-foot trees that had clearly been in cold storage since late in the fall. They had very little signs of life. When I opened the package, twigs actually snapped off they were that dry. I immediately contacted the company, something you have to do in order to get a refund, and began "sweating" the trees as they instructed. After a month with no sign of life they finally refunded by money. It appears that they keep their stock bare root in storage far too long. I will probably never order from them again, but if I were to order from them I would order only in winter or early spring.
MY order was placed on May 23 (W) for four Dante Gold's and processed immediately. My charge card reflected an immediate charge on Wednesday, yet, I had to contact the selling business on May 25th to even get a receipt-confirmation of my order, even though my charge card had been charged two-days earlier on the 23rd. Using the internet for years for purchases the standard practice is an immediate e-mail response-confirmation of the buyers order to their e-mail account and in a rare instance there's a delay of fifteen minutes. But this was not the case with Nature Hills and I had to mail a request for it two days later on the 25th.
Nowhere on the receipt-statement does it disclose any details of a 7-day wait on shipping or 10% penalty if the order is canceled. The information on the website indicates that the product was available on 5/23 (W) and there was absolutely no shipping of the product over a period of 6 business days: 5/24 (TH), 5/25 (F), 5/26 (SA), 5/29 (TU), 5/30 (W) or 5/31 (TH). The order was canceled the evening of 5/31 (TH) as it's evident that I was being strung along by a business that didn't have the product I ordered on 5/23 (W) as advertised on their website.
Now there comes a HIDDEN 10% charge for order cancellation from out of the woodwork, which is not disclosed on the company's receipt/statement or during the internet purchasing process that I went through. Nothing more than a 'Den of Thieves' and an inept business with no concept of business civility to customers.
On May 29, 2012, ericlhyman Silver Spring, MD wrote:
I ordered a Salix Flamingo this spring. The plant arrived with upper leaves and stems that were blackened from some disease. I buy all of my plants mail order and this was not the usual minor distress in shipping. In 1-2 week's time, this blackening of the stems and leaves spread all the way down the plant and it was dead.
I brought this attention to the company and their only offer to resolve the problem was to suggest I buy another at 50% with full shipping cost. While that may be a fair policy if a plant arrives healthy and dies over the course of a year due to the gardener's fault or nature's, it is not fair when a diseased plant is received.
My experience has been that the company does NOT live up to their statement in response to a previous customer's complaint -- , "We do guarantee that our products arrive to you safely and in viable condition.... Other than that, we do offer a one year replacement for half price plus shipping and handling if the plant dies after it is transplanted." If I had seen the volume of complaints about diseased plant shipments from this company on this website, I would never have ordered from them.
We are certainly sorry to hear that you experienced a loss with your order. We do guarantee that our products arrive to you safely and in viable condition. If there was an issue with the shipment, we would certainly be happy to look into the matter. Other than that, we do offer a one year replacement for half price plus shipping and handling if the plant dies after it is transplanted.
Posted on March 13, 2012, updated April 9, 2012
Posted on March 4, 2012, updated March 13, 2012
I ordered a Northern Red Oak from this company, was sent a 4.5 foot twig with no branches. I read the return policy before ordering, but was really hoping I would get what was described. Considering I paid almost 40 bucks for this twig all told, I did not.
I did not contact this company, they know what they sent me. I just cut my losses, I didn't not want another tree at half price, I should never have been sent this stick to begin with.
On March 13th, 2012, Citro added the following:
I wish I could take a picture of the BENT twig you sent as a 40 dollar Oak. The branches were not pruned, they were completely dead and just snapped off. I have left it in the ground for almost 2 years now, with only a few very small leaves jutting out of the top. I am now pulling it up and replacing it with a real Oak. Shame on me for ordering it knowing of your ridicules return policy.On April 9th, 2012, Citro added the following:
The two stunted leaves jutting out of the top of the "tree" were not enough to keep the oak alive. I waited, after reading your response, to pull it up. It is dead. I've wasted two growing seasons trying to get this twig with no branches to live. And yes, you keep talking about how all of us knew the return policy, but buying online is a leap of faith, ordering from your company is a leap off a cliff. Shame on you.On Apr 9, 2012, Nature Hills Nursery responded with:
We are certainly sorry to hear that you were disappointed with your tree. When planting bareroot trees, it is not uncommon to have a 4 to 5 foot tree that has minimal to no branching. In fact, branching is often pruned on younger trees in order to keep the branches higher on the trunk. This promotes a more upright tree at maturity, which is typically desired when planting what will become large shade trees like an oak. We do send out 4 to 5 foot Red Oak trees, and that is the measurement of the leader above the root system. Typically, it only takes a season or two for significant branching to take place.
Nature Hills Nursery
On Mar 14, 2012 10:01 AM, Nature Hills Nursery added:
We apologize if your order was damaged when it arrived to you. If we are notified within 48 hours of the item arriving damaged, we can submit a damage claim with the shipper and reship the item for you. If you have had the tree for 2 years now, unfortunately, we are unable to start a claim with the shipper at this point as we are past the deadline. Did you notify us of the damage / bend in the tree within the 48 hour time frame? If there was something we missed on this end, we apologize, and we can certainly investigate further (please call customer service at 1-888-864-7663 option 2).
Unfortunately, we don't all returns on live material. Plants can only endure so much time in shipping, too often, they don't survive the trip back when they are returned. That is why all sales are final with plant material. We do state this on the website, and it was part of the terms and conditions that are agreed upon when the order is placed.
As far as the tree goes, if there are leaves jutting out of the top, then the tree certainly sounds like it is alive. Oak trees, by nature, are slow growers. It does take some time for them to get established. Slight bends can be corrected with staking, and we would be happy to offer advise on that if that is an option. We would hate to see a tree be tossed aside if it can be saved. If you decide that you want to replace it with a larger tree, then that is your decision.
Please let us know if we can offer any further assistance.