I placed an order by telephone in early October for fruit trees, Immediate delivery was offered but I asked for a 2 week delay as the holes were not even dug. Recently after over 3 weeks had passed and nothing received I started telephoning but no answer so I also sent an Email asking if they were on holiday or no longer in business, again no reply! Through searching the web i found several companies ascociated with the bower name and the same postcodes so I phoned one of the other numbers, wow an answer BUT very offish, claimed to know nothing about other companies but maybe he could do something for me. Later that same day I received this increadable Email :-
You it was that asked for your order to be delayed. If you had not done so it would have been received before now. Your order had entered despatch for delivery in the next few days but I disapprove strongly of your 'tone' comments and actions. As a result your order has been cancelled and a refund made to your account.
Needless to say I have reported them to trading standards and my credit card company, my advice to anybody reading this is do not deal with any company where any of the people concerned have the name bowers and is situated in Norfolk.
I am placing my order elsewhere and wish I had in the first place, a month lost and an extremely nasty experience.
On May 24, 2014, enead exeter United Kingdom wrote:
very poor customer service - rude and offhand response on phone, no paperwork for order. Order (strawberry plants) didn't arrive at stated time and had to be chased up and plants of very poor quality when received despite high price compared to other suppliers. Polite and constructive letter sent to them detailing problems with both service and plant quality - received dismissive and evasive email reply answering none of my points.
On Apr 12, 2014, antique1991 inverness United Kingdom wrote:
I ordered 6 fruit bushes which were very expensive (compared to other nurseries). They arrived in 3" pots and looked weedy to say the least. When I phoned up to voice my concerns the man was extremely rude and abusive and said 'you don't know what you are talking about'. One of the bluberry bushes in this delivery was £21.95, poor plants and appalling customer service.
I did manage to get my money back 6 days after they received the plants.
On Jan 27, 2014, Mayfly1961 Harrogate United Kingdom wrote:
I bought some trees and fruit bushes some years ago from this company- the so called fully trained fan plum was shocking- consisting of 4 branches only, two of them broken. Packing was poor just sent in a brown paper sack which had come adrift. Compared to others such as Deacons and the old Highfield Nurseries in Gloucestershire the packing was dreadful. A red currant meant to be trained on a leg was a stooled plant - poor.
On Jan 16, 2014, lurchy Derby United Kingdom wrote:
This is the second time we've been disatisfied with Chris Bowers, the first was when we ordered some strawberries off them and some were of very poor quality and didn't survive.We tried to complain but were fobbed off and not offered replacements.We vowed never to use them again but my husband wanted a particular variety of raspberry off them so we thought we'd give them another chance.We ordered some from Chris Bowers and some of a different variety from the RHS who's were far superior.I ordered a rhubarb crown which came in the tiniest of pots and should bear us fruit in about 5 years time if we're lucky, it cost £6.95 so not cheap and I was very disappointed.We decided not to quibble about it as the first time was bad enough, needless to say we have now learned our lesson and will not be buying off Chris Bowers again under any circumstances.
On Aug 28, 2013, SUTTY61 crewe United Kingdom wrote:
Posted on August 28, 2013, updated August 28, 2013
Posted on August 28, 2013, updated August 28, 2013
i ordered a cherry tree over the phone on the 14th August and was told that i would receive the tree early the following week. a week went by and no tree or card from anyone to say they had tried to deliver. Emailed them on the 23rd to let them know that i hadn't received the tree and was told on the 27th that the tree had been delivered on the 15th and had been left in my porch - i explained that i wasn't in on the 15th and i did not have a porch so driver must have left it on the front - my reply was that he wouldn't have left it without it being somewhere safe. Have sent photo of house and asked where this safe place is as i can't find it and i still have no tree - so far no response so i can only assume that as far as they're concerned its been delivered so tough i've lost £30.
Avoid using as very unhelpful
On August 28th, 2013, SUTTY61 added the following:
update on Chris Bowers
this is email received back when asked for refund as delivered to non existant porch and i jhadn't received my order -
"We only have to ask City Link for the signature Ė there will be one, whether itís yours, neighbour or the driver to say it was left on your premises, there will be one. That is why the online tracking [which presumably you have looked at] says it was delivered. That is the whole point of having a trackable service. There is no way we would receive recompense from City Link under these circumstances."
So basically what they're saying is the courier can leave your parcel anywhere, fake anyone's signature and as far as they're concerned you've received it!!!
Great customer service - NOT
DON'T BUY FROM THEM THEY LET DRIVERS LEAVE PARCELS WITHOUT YOU BEING AT HOME AND THEN WONT DO NOTHING ABOUT IT WHEN YOU DON'T RECEIVED ITOn August 28th, 2013, SUTTY61 added the following:
final email from chris bower after i sent this email:
so what you're saying is the driver can put anything - like leaving in a porch that doesn't exist and add a signature and as far as you're concerned its delivered.
I will be taking this matter further as thats not good enough the driver could have left it anywhere
chris bowers reply:
"So really then, if youíre attitude was shared by everyone there can never be actual proof of delivery then, can there. It displays a depressing lack of scruples on your part that you really donít care whether the parcel was left or stolen from your premises or not, you donít care who pays just so long as it isnít you.I can tell you there would not be another company on this earth that would recompense you under these circumstances. But I am going to because I think the level of correspondence generated here and the growing animosity doesnít justify the end.Your attitude that Ďthe firm can always afford ití stinks frankly.
On Aug 21, 2013, rovis99 mancgester Bolivia wrote:
Ordered a 7ft Tree from this company to have 2 twigs delivered scattered with a few leaves.....very disappointed so phoned them to complain. Surprisingly they answered but now I wished they hadn't, the very rude man on the phone tried to make out it was my fault the tree wasn't as I thought & i couldn't possible have bought a 7ft tree for the price I did. Strange how I've managed to buy the same tree at 6 1/2ft for less, the difference being the more reputable company has grown the tree from scratch and its got a lovely straight stem with a perfectly shaped top!!
AVOID THIS COMPANY AT ALL COSTS, EXTREMLY RUDE, UNHELPFUL AND DOWN RIGHT AGGRESIVE.........SPEACHLESS THEY ARE STILL TRADING!!!!!
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 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.