On Jan 2, 2013, lesloths Letchworth Garden City United Kingdom wrote:
In February 2012 we bought 3 fruit trees - "espalier -selected trees for training" -2 pears and 1 greengage. These were more expensive than many of the other options advertised - curiously the website does not explain the ages of the trees on offer. Three rather small trees arrived in a reinforced paper sack with no obvious sign of how they were more suited for training than maiden trees. Then we waited 3 months before any leaves appeared - worse then waiting for the kettle to boil! We called the nursery three or four times and could never talk to anyone other than the office staff who presented a variety of rebuttals that felt like well practiced fob offs: "wait a bit longer" / "have you watered them enough" /"did you think about getting the right varieties for cross pollination?" - hardly the issue as no leaves had yet appeared! We did explain that we had a small orchard already and that we were experienced gardeners but this was not really listened to. Later in the summer the Old Greengage died. Having called so many times and been fobbed off we did not have the energy to complain. The two pear trees seem to have survived but we have little faith of a successful future for them as they do not appear to be very healthy and have hardly grown. It just goes to show - experienced gardeners or not - you can learn lessons. The HDRA's view was that the trees had not been over-wintered sufficiently. The RHS's view was that you should only buy trees from a reputable nursery and ideally see the trees first - Chris Bowers is not on the RHS's list. This company should be avoided.
Very rude and insulting to deal with. My order was not despatched, on enquiry it was claimed that part of my payment details were missing - even though I had received a full order acknowledgement and the card had been charged! The strawberries were out of stock - although there was no mention of this on the order page of the website, and they appeared as if in stock on the order acknowledgement. Finally the goods arrived (minus the strawberries), but broken, dry at the root, and not cordons as ordered - just bush forms. Every contact with the company has been difficult (no-one to answer the phone) and distressing (they are rude and say that you are the one at fault for not knowing how to grow soft fruit.) I can't say strongly enough that no-one should give money to this company. It is unbelievable that they can stay in business when they treat their customers so very badly. I have asked for a refund three times for the canes which were dead on arrival (and never revived) and I am now putting the matter in the hands of my solicitor. The whole experience has been awful.
On Nov 1, 2011, walsdos Milton Keynes United Kingdom wrote:
They are still at it. Chris Bowers' service can be stressful, unfriendly & plain rude.
My polite & apologetic request to cancel an order for a birthday gift due to it being accidentally replicated was met with an aggressive response - a rant about my not caring about their business and why not cancel the other order instead.
I was told I'd have to put my request in writing to the person I was speaking to, who sounded senior. The addressee's name I was given later turned out to be one that other employees had never heard of; I wonder if the person on the phone wanted to conceal his identity?
I had to pursue my request with several phone calls - often the phone was unanswered in trading hours, as others have found.
I was told I'd receive a refund within 28 days, according to the letter of the law.
My card had been debited immediately I placed the order despite plants not being despatched for at least another 6 weeks.
It took 16 days to have my money refunded; even then I had to mention the prospect of reporting the incident to Trading Standards.
On Aug 2, 2011, stuartznn3 Taunton United Kingdom wrote:
The problem with this company is not necessarily with their plants, some of which I have had and most of which have performed really well (e.g. Early Transparant Gage has been outstanding this year - our guests have stripped the tree!). The issues I have with them are (1) plant provenance and labelling, and (2) customer service.
To demonstrate the first point just visit their website now and have a look at their Cox's Emperor plum. Then go to the National Fruit Collection's site (or Google) and you'll find the fruit they describe (yellow and dessert) is at odds with everyone else (red and culinary). I mention this because I have a Chris Bowers Cox's Emperor which has just fruited and it is clearly either a Cambridge or old greengage!
My adventures with Chris Bowers started some time ago when I ordered, inter alia, some Karaka Black blackberries. The plants turned out to be unknown woody shrubs which, to be fair to Bowers, they replaced. (I'm not yet certain that the replacements are Karaka Black!)
But my biggest disappointment was this spring when two named sweet chestnut cultivars turned out to be some unknown (as yet) prunus species (i.e. deep pink flowers) - well, they both have serrated leaves, don't they! And this brings me to my second complaint about this firm: I carefully photographed the prunus and posted them off: I have received no response and I'm not even going to bother complaining about my Cox's Emperor. I've scrubbed Bowers from my list of trusted suppliers.
What gets to me most is that we, as keen gardeners and plants(wo)men (whose time is running out), have to wait three or four years to discover that we've been sold a pup.
I won't bore you with the treatment my wife received over a botched order for strawberries from this company.
DO NOT DEAL WITH THIS COMPANY (AND THE MANY OTHER NAMES IT TRADES UNDER) - always check the address.
I purchased strawberries from them. They lifted the payment immediately. That was in November 2010. Come late spring 2011 - nothing arrived. Contacted the company by email and received several aggressive, rude and threating emails. The customer service is a disaster. I had to fight to get my money back and begin legal action to recover. I totally agree with the negative comments.
They even told be that another company was putting comments on this site (and other sites) to steal their business away. What total rubbish! I live in Northern Ireland - not - Norwich/Norfolk England. TAKE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM -YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!!!
PS Today (27th July 2011) a brother (another Bower) has sent me a glossy catalogue - selling flowers - from the same address - what me to buy? - DON'T THINK SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted on July 7, 2011, updated July 8, 2011
Posted on May 4, 2011, updated July 7, 2011
What a shocking company. I ordered soft fruit plants and paid over the odds, oh yes they have a glossy web site so I assumed that all would be well. The plants arrived yesterday and are all in a shocking condition, dead, very dry or slimy.
Ok mail delays happen so I contacted the company. I have never dealt with such appalling customer service. No apology but also rudeness and an implication that I had the plants and wanted my money back as well. I am so shocked.
I have been told by e mail that a refund has been processed. I hold my breath after reading the other negative comments but I have the e mail and will go through my very helpful credit card co if need be. This customer is like a terrier with a bone
Does anyone have the contact for the MD as I am sure Ihe/she would like to know how their customer service people deal with customers
On July 7th, 2011, snip1 added the following:
8th july now and I am STILL WAITING for strawberries ordered last november. They do not respond and they have my money for this item. They will not get away with this. AVOID this companyOn July 8th, 2011, snip1 added the following:
I have been looking things up and will now go to trading standards via consumer direct. I am sure they will take things up with this company, who advertise under a myriad of different names
On May 10, 2011, MalcyG Kettering United Kingdom wrote:
Very, very poor communications, didn't respond to emails, very difficult to contact by phone and when this was achieved couldn't or wouldn't answer questions, all faults were mine not theirs. Spent over £230 with them, eventually got all the plants (after 5 months) money out in 3 days!! Bought lot of soft fruit including Tayberry and 2 blackberry - all priced the same but varying tremendously in size of plant, one in 9cm sq pot, one in 9cm round and one in 2 litre pot - which is what I would have expected them all in. Original delivery of raspberries was 5 short of one variety when I finally got through to them it was my fault because all the rest that I had ordered were in 5's! Finally called at the nursey and what an eye opener that was! I've been in professional horticulture all my working life and have never seen such a run down, disorganised, tatty nursery in my life. DO NOT DEAL WITH THESE PEOPLE
On Jan 24, 2011, gattonero London United Kingdom wrote:
Posted on December 4, 2009, updated January 24, 2011
I received a small part of my order last spring. I waited and waited for my alpine strawberry plants to arrive - but they never did. Chris Bowers took the money from my credit card in May but never sent an invoice, a credit card receipt or even an acknowledgment of my order. Without this documentation, the credit card company can't help to get a refund. I have emailed and called often and only occasionally was able to speak to anyone. I asked for a refund in October and one person said yes - but I never received the refund. The last time I was able to get through by phone, I explained the situation and once I had stopped speaking, the person said they couldn't hear me! It is now December and I have not received my refund. I have now taken advice from Consumer Direct on 0845 404 0506.
On January 24th, 2011, gattonero added the following:
I check back occasionally and am always shocked that this kind of thing is still going on. I can only recommend that you contact the Trading Standards Officer at Norfolk County Council on 08454 04 05 06. They will help you.
On Dec 11, 2010, Skippingsheep Folkestone United Kingdom wrote:
Don't be fooled by the glossy brochure into thinking this company will be helpful and efficient - it most certainly IS NOT! When my plants failed to arrive I telephoned the company a number of times over several weeks to try to resolve the problem. I experienced inefficiency and indifference at best to very unpleasant insults and false accusations at worst. I asked to speak to the person in charge and was told in no uncertain manner that I could not. I was accused a number of times of lying in an attempt to get extra plants free and of not bothering to respond to a courier's card - all totally untrue - and then told to take my business elsewhere and the phone was put down on me. The whole experience was very distressing and totally unbelievable - certainly not the apology that was called for! Surprisingly, my plants did eventually arrive several days later.
On Oct 19, 2010, Mrandmrsgood Buckinghamshire United Kingdom wrote:
Like a number of other customers it seems I have been taken advantage of. I ordered some fruit bushes but they did not arrive. I have rung and rung and emailed Chris Bowers but no response. Judging from other people's experiences this looks like incompetence or plain theft! I live too far away from the company to make driving over there worthwhile even if I had the time. £30 for nothing is easy money! Has anyone out there bothered taking legal action? Otherwise, someone else out there will be sending another £30 on its one-way trip...
On Sep 2, 2010, Captain2 London United Kingdom wrote:
PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY
I have never experienced such a rude and agressive service from any company. John Percy dealt with my simple complaint which was that I had ordered trees but the incorrect variety had been sent. I was accused of lying, of cheating and coning his company. I never asked for a cash refund just that the correct trees be sent as advertised but was accused of demanding money with menace. I only calmed down after reading the negative reviews on this site and realised that this is common practice for this company. Negative does not justify this service. Take this review as DOUBLE NEGATIVE
On May 1, 2010, sussexClaire Haywards Heath United Kingdom wrote:
First tree I ordered failed. I rang for a replacement but was curtly told I must have killed it. Being a first time gardener I didn't feel confident to argue. The other tree I ordered from them has grown but has turned out to be not what I asked for. (I ordered a flowering crab, the tree I've got is a cherry). I suppose that I should get on to them about it - but I can't face the aggro.
On Mar 16, 2010, zencey Stockport United Kingdom wrote:
I ordered two trees from this company. They were very late arriving and when I queried this they were most unhelpful. When the trees eventually arrived one of them turned out to be a different species from that ordered. This was verified by the RHS ( I am a member). I contacted the company about this and received an unhelpful, disbelieving and rude response. I shall certainly not order anything else from them and would not recommend them to anyone.
On Mar 2, 2010, cpi Gloucester United Kingdom wrote:
Ordered Espalier trees in October 2009. Money taken out of account but no trees. When phoning them they were very rude and abrupt. John Percy was a particulary beligerant contact. After many calls a package finally arrived but there was nothng inside. Contacted Bowers again and was accused of being a liar. Very unsatisfactory experience - when we asked to talk to the managing director to complain we were told the MD did not talk to customers. We are now left being £100 out f pocket and no trees. We would advise anyone to steer well clear of this company as they havent a clue when it comes to customer service.
On Nov 27, 2009, AtWaG Fordingbridge United Kingdom wrote:
Of three trees purchased in early 2009 two have failed.
On checking the company web site I see they offer no guarantee. These were expensive trees.
I certainly won't buy from Bowers again because if I had bought these at just about any Garden Centre in the UK I would have been able to get free replacements.
So, avoid at all costs - go to a good Garden Centre instead.
On Nov 9, 2009, stephanie16 swanage, dorset United Kingdom wrote:
I wondered where my order was and was told it had been sent. Over a week later after many phone calls which were ignored, I was told that I should ring DHL! The nursery could not track down my order and although they promised to call back, they didn't. I rang again and told them that it was their responsibility to track down my order and Brenda (there are 2 of them there with the same name), put the phone down on me and kept doing so when I rang back! I then received an e mail saying that my order had been sent to the billing address (not the delivery address specified), and that DHL had a signature.The billing address is for sale and nobody lives there - so, their mistake for delivering to the wrong address. They did send a repeat order to the correct address but the package contained an old kettle!!!
DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY, THEY ARE DOWNRIGHT RUDE AND EXTREMELY UNPROFESSIONAL AND DO NOT DESERVE TO BE GIVEN BUSINESS.
YOU REALLY HAVE BEEN WARNED. IT IS MORE AGGRAVATION THAN YOU NEED.
On Jul 27, 2009, Australia4 Waterlooville United Kingdom wrote:
From my experiance I would certainly not recommend them. I ordered plants from this company in March 09 and the money was taken from my a/c 5days later.The order did not start arriving until the middle of June.There was a problem over the way I completed the on line instruction but I beleive this should have been obvious to anyone who took the trouble to check it.They would not accept any responsibility at all and my subsequent dealings with them to try and get them to complete the transaction were fraught and indicated that they have absolutely no concern for customer relations. .It is not possible to speak to anyone on the telephone who can make decisions,communication being by email.They did reply and it does have the advantage of providing awritten record of the matter.
On Jun 10, 2009, ClareD Rickmansworth United Kingdom wrote:
This is the worst customer experience I have ever had.
This company are rude, unhelpful and in my opinion fraudulent.
I ordered 5 fruit trees, and I received an order confirmation.
I then received my trees....... then I recieved them again..... They charged me for them twice. With most companies this would have been resolved with a phone call - not this one.
They told me this was my fault, I ordered them twice and I could send them back at my own expense.
I know this wasn't the case and consulted their web hosting site who confirmed that I had only ordered them once and the company should not have charged me twice.
Despite sending this company the evidence and asking them many time just to refund my money they have been downright nasty and rude, refused to give me the name of the person sending me anonymous emails, never returned a phone call and told me to put it in writing (which I had already done).
I order online and deal with suppliers regularly - some are better than others at dealing with customers but this company has surpassed anything I have ever dealt with before. I feel like they have stolen £103 from me and are relying on the fact that I am powerless to get it back
I can only recommend that you steer well clear of them and order from one of their competitors instead - I certainly will next time.
On Jun 4, 2009, supertrooper london United Kingdom wrote:
Very rude on phone, I asked when my plants would be delivered (after emailing-no response). I was told there was no email confirmation of the order, I asked politely for them to check they even received the order and they said very abruptly that there was no point and that they were too busy, I asked them to cancel the order if they were going to be so rude. He said "name?" "address?" then "order is cancelled" and hung up on me. The order turned up 2 days later and of course the money was taken straight out of my account. What horrible rude people
On May 15, 2009, Katharine49 Winchester United Kingdom wrote:
Chris Bowers has a great selection of unusual varieties of strawberries and I ordered some online in mid-February 2009. The money was taken from my account immediately. It is now mid May and there's no sign of them. I have emailed the company and received no response. I have phoned but there isn't even a voicemail message. Have they gone into receivership? Is the company still trading? I'd be grateful if anyone knows. If they are still in business they don't deserve to be by this performance.
On Mar 24, 2009, Cambridgepod Cambridge United Kingdom wrote:
Drove 60 miles and visited this nursery - they prefer not to be visited and let you know it. I returned home and I placed telephone order. Received incomplete order via mail, no invoice or credit card receipt. Phoned nursery and they cannot find my order and claim never to send out invoices or credit card receipts or cultivation instructions so I don't know what I paid in the end!!! Nursery undertook to phone me back, nearly an hour ago, oh boy they must be busy.
It is very difficult to be a customer of this nursery and its a shame because they grow good trees with guaranteed root stock.