We contacted Growquest Growers on the internet and submitted an order for 2 olive trees, one which is hard to acquire. Chris Gillcrest had the trees we wanted in stock, so we purchased them from him; He personally delivered the trees when he said he would and they arrived in very good condition. The olive tree expert in Napa Valley, whom we know personally, saw the trees and said they were of exceptional quality and size for the price we paid. We are so pleased that Chris could provide these large size olive trees for our eating enjoyement (after they're cured, of course).
On 7/27/08, I ordered a Passion Vine, Super Citrus Salad tree, Fruit Salad Combo tree, and #15 Hass avocado. Delivery was split into two and was late on both shipments. Little to no communication from the grower. The Hass avocado tree, which was supposed to be ready to flower and fruit eventually lost all of its' leaves and died within one year. The Passion fruit vine they brought me was the wrong one - red flowers instead of white and purple. They offered me a free plant as compensation for the late shipments (and the wrong passion vine), but never delivered the plant. Plants are not listed as "in stock" or "out of stock" on their web site, so you have no idea when or if you will receive your ordered items. They make you pay up front, then wait a month or two to receive your shipment. Terrible service. I'll never order from them again. A little communication and honesty goes a long way in satisfying your customers.
Posted on October 13, 2009, updated October 14, 2009
Posted on October 12, 2009, updated October 13, 2009
They seem to have new staff who are trying their hardest to make up for lost time. I ordered ladybugs and 2 Haas Avos. The bugs were all I hoped for and the trees are doing well in their new home.:) I have bought trees on-line many times and always seem dissapointed with the size and condition. These are good.
There is NO excuse for bad behavior and fraudulent practice!I didn't find out about this site until AFTER I made my order. However, I will take a chance and order more bugs and some citrus from them because I was impressed with what I got.
Maybe they have changed?
Peace and happy growing.
On September 24th, 2009, palomasmom changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
On October 13th, 2009, palomasmom added the following:
I was his employee and he asked me to write a positive review. ALL positive reviews you see on this board are BOGUS!!!!
He tortures his employees and then has the gall to stiff them out of a hard earned paycheck!
Karma is a bitch and so is the DAs office.
I want my money! I will not stop until I have exhausted all legal options. I have waited LONG enough and my patience is DONE!!! I suffered legit family problems but I am now ready to fight for my money.
I am sincerely sorry for being a part of this deception and fraud.
Chris, if you truly wish to make things right, send us our paychecks! Xochitl and Valerie.
Valerie C. GregsonOn October 13th, 2009, palomasmom added the following:
I got this from Chris Gilcrest.
Facts....Chris hired me. The company was called Surf and Sierra, The Olive Tree. Growquest, etc. Any number of names. He hired me specifically to fight against Dr Gary. Chris then "demoted" me to field hand. I needed the money. I have a baby to feed. Its true his mother Mimi is the person who holds the purse strings but Chris hired me and it is his operation. He has yet to pay many/most of the poor suckers who worked so hard for him. Personally I busted my butt for him. I am so sorry I did.
Chris, send any and all correspondence to the DA's office care of Investigator Russ Robinson. He will be sure to pass it along to me. Please put my paycheck in with the other paperwork you would like me to have. Or you can send it to my house or my attorneys office at The law Offices of Arthur Wilkof 100 North Westlake Blvd. Suite 201 Westalke vlg ca. (805)496-4676. Either way.
A true and factual statement is in no way defamatory.
Valerie C. Gregson
This is interesting and fascinating.
Let me get this right; you got pissed at me allowing Lori to bark at you, however Lori came with Mimi to the office, Mimi said Lori was in charge of the office adminstration and that Mimi was the boss and Lori was her right hand.
explain the fuzzy logic then that you work for me and that I am to pay you.
If you have a claim for money owed then file a claim with the State Dept of Industrial Relations. And you are a lier about my positives I have earned every one of them and more to come. You are just a very misguided person who clearly needs meds stronger then mine. Without dead wieght people around me I am moving forward on the service and product standards I was instructing people to do but were not willing to give.
I will mail serve your civil harrasment restraining order to your last known address at your mom's house if do not send me a different location to serve it. I would strongly suggest you ask daves garden too take down your defamatory and fraudulant post in order to aviod that civil harrasment hearing. On October 15th, 2009, palomasmom added the following:
Chris, you hired us. It is your responsibilty to pay us. When can we expect our money? I would GLADLY accept payment for my hardwork at a rate of $18.00 and hour.
Please let us know when you will be paying us.
On Oct 15, 2009, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) responded with:
"On Oct 12, 2009 9:03 PM, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) responded with:
Valierie worked for Olive Trees Nursery, which is an enterprise beyond my control and never was of my ownership. Just like Val I was working there. Valierie was never asked by anyone to post a positive comment did it on her own. Two weeks ago I instructed Daves Garden legal counsel to remove her comment from this site, positive or negative it is not a growquest issue.
On Oct 14, 2009 5:04 PM, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) added:
Now this is getting very rich. Her co-conspirators at the Garden Watchdog had Valerie living in Washington 24 hours ago, in that time she has relocated back to Ventura? Now again she has assumed her old location "Somis." Her co-conspirators at the Garden Watchdog keep moving her post to the top to further harass me and impune the positive posts I have earned.
It is this same sort of strange behavior that I oberserved when confronting Valerie about a letter she wrote to Ventura County Social Services insupport of the monthly welfare she was on. The problem was the letter explained that was an "Intern" i.e. unpaid help. Problem with that is she was getting about $18.00 per hour, as she says from "Mimi's purse strings." She explained that she need to keep the health insurance and benefits going for her daughter. How many people on $18.00 hour living at home are need of welfare? And should these people be out trying to call others liers and frauds?
Again this an Olive Trees Nursery problem, not a Growquest or Chris Gilcrest problem."
We ordered two 60" tree roses (Renae and Flowwer Girl) as well as two Yves Piagets and one Ruffles. Chris personally delivered all roses the next day. Very pleased with the quality of the roses and thank Chris for his direct delivery. Will order more roses from Growquest in the future.
The Diana Fig Tree I ordered from Growquest in memory of my sister was delivered by Chris to my mother's home. The tree was exactly as I wanted, healthy, green and fruiting. The large pot and special herbs planted at the base of the tree are really nice and healthy.
My mother is delighted with the size of the large, round, soft figs and the excellent luscious, sweet flavor! I am enjoying the figs too. I especially liked the way Chris planted the herbs all around the base of the fig tree; I have never seen that done before...very creative and resourceful! Thank you Chris.
Chris was courteous to us. His service was good.
I will order from Growquest in the future.
On Oct 7, 2009, GrowUpGreen Mcminnville, OR wrote:
I ordered a variety of plants from Chris(Growquest). There was a minor mix-up at the beginning and he said he would make up for it. Once that was squared away I was anxiously awaiting their arrival. When they arrived I was pleased to find an extra 3 blueberry plants with my order! When I had ordered I needed the plants before I went on my summer vacation and Chris said he would get them up to me ASAP. He not only got them here in record time, he actually shipped them BEFORE I had paid for them. I was quite shocked to have a driver call with my delivery when I wasn't even expecting them yet! Which worked out really well, I got them a week before I thought I would. And like I said he threw in the blueberry plants because he said he was going to drive the order up himself, because he got swamped with orders. That's too bad because I wanted to meet him in person, maybe next time Chris?
Anyway, I live about 900 miles North of him. All of my plants, and trees arrived in great condition, especially the lime tree. It had more blossoms on it than you could imagine, and the local bees made a new friend, and the fragrance that came from it was wonderful. I will have to get another one just like it. The lemon tree was already full of fruit. So was the orange tree. I was also pleasantly surprised when I saw that he sent the next size up container of avocado trees. When I spoke to him about this I thought it was a mistake, but he said it didn't cost anymore to fill up the pallet, and wanted to make up for the glitch. Well, he more than made up for it, he stuffed the pallet to the maximum weight and sent it my way.
He went above and beyond what most people will do anymore. I was very pleased with my shipment, and I will be ordering from Chris again. It has been a very long time since I had service like this. Kudos to Chris and all his hard work. I truly thank you! And so does everybody that has sampled my tasty fruit. And I got a fantastic deal!
In July I ordered two citrus trees and two avacodo trees. The two citrus were shipped rapidly and arrived in perfect condition. The packing was extrememly well done and commendable. One of the trees already had fruit on it. the trees bore no idnetification as to which was which. Mr. Gilcrest had replied to my question about the avocado trees was they were not ready for shipping but would be sent soon. I contact Mr. Gilcrest several times. Some times he responded sometimes he did not. One time he did report that it was too hot to ship them and southern California was experiencing massive fires which make it a time which was not good for shipping. In the middle of September, he notiifed me that they would be shipped. The trees arrived sooner than expected. One was in perffect conditon the other had suffered and has lost most of its leaves but seems to be recovering.
I feel the trees shipped were of high quality and there were reasons to not ship earlier and all together in one shippment.
Mr. Gilcrest is very concerned about this feed back to Garden Watchdog. He has pressed me to write this. It is noted he has some bad feedback and good comments are needed. Over all my assocition with him has been good.
On Oct 1, 2009, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) responded with:
"On Sep 30, 2009 10:38 PM, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) responded with:
It is true that I requested Bill to post his comment. Bill once sent me an email from the GD so he was familar with the manure on here. He had given me a very nice compliment after each of the shipments
"Chris, I have to admit I was concerned because it had been a long time, but I do not know what the garden watchdog is. Please explain and I will be glad to comment."
"Chris, this morning two of the trees arrived. You must be complemented upon
how well they were packed. Currently we are experiencing what appears to be
a long steady rain. Both of the trees are out in the rain getting a
refreshing shower from nature. Since I am totally unfamiliar with both lemon
and lime trees, I can not identify which is which. One came in a larger
bucket than the other. The one in the larger bucket already had fruit on
it. The other was in a smaller bucket and was in bloom."
Nearly all of my shipped orders arrive like Bill's and then when good people are asked to come here and postings like the trash that is allowed here, they decide not to post a positive."
I had never heard of using ladybugs for Aphid control until I got in contact with Chris at Growquest. Although the first order was very confusing, I've since worked out a payment plan with Chris that works for me. For some reason, Chris has not integrated his shipping charge with his product charge, resulting in two separate transactions per order. One credit card charge for shipping, and for the second (product) fee, I sent a check.
This confused me at first, but then started to make sense as online commerce back end programming and maintenance is expensive and risky for a non IT professional. As a small business owner myself, I understand this decision perfectly.
I have used Chris for almost a year now every time I get a nasty Aphid attack... (I think my neighbor is somehow responsible). One bag of ladybugs and, wham the aphids are gone. And, I have no idea how the bugs stay alive in transit - but they do.
Bottom line - I love working with Chris. And in my mind, farmers are the last people I should be critiquing for their lack of computer skills. Because I simply wouldn't have the backyard I want without GrowQuest.
I have a feeling that some of the complaints may stem from the complicated billing, but I'll take the complicated billing any day for GrowQuest's extremely reasonable prices and insightful guidance.
I have been ripped off also - sent a certified letter with copies of order/cancelled check and of course it was not accepted so it was returned to me - more monies I spent to resolve this. I purchased ladybugs plus overnite delivery. What goes around comes around becuase this company is just cashing check and living the good life I am sure. Stay away from these guys - now I know why they do not accept credit cards - they like that FAST CASH.
I didn't do my homework this time (usually I look up company reviews BEFORE I engage with them online), and I now join the ranks of those who got royally ripped off. I wish I knew how to report this to the DA in this guy's jurisdiction, because I'd do it. I just checked, after three weeks of waiting for my ladybugs, and saw that he cashed my check a few weeks ago already (I should have known there was a problem when he demanded a check payment!). No replies to numerous emails, except when he thought I hadn't already sent in an order (this was weeks after I had), and he wanted to sell me some ladybugs!! I'm disgusted. If anyone figures out a way to get their money back, please post up on here. Thanks.
On September 28th, 2009, aweinland added the following:
I now wish there were degrees of negative for ratings. I did, FINALLY, receive my shipment of ladybugs. Many were dead, but lots were still alive.
I can't in good conscience change my rating to Positive, since there was never ANY communication from this company despite numerous questions on my end.
And Neutral just wouldn't be true. So I would still rate them as negative, and I'll never do business with them again, but perhaps I would no longer rate them CRIMINALLY negative.
I placed an order for a citrus tree and was charged $78.29 on June 21, 2008 (yes...1 year and almost 2 months ago). The order number is E_01028885. I still don't have the tree. When I asked several months ago in an e-mail they said I would receive it after the temperature at night is above freezing. Well it won't be long before the temp is again BELOW freezing. Who do I call? I'd like the tree but if I can't get it I'd really like my money back.
On Aug 15, 2009, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) responded with:
"On Oct 11, 2009 6:39 PM, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) responded with:
Shipping in progress and customer notified 3 weeks ago that it would ship with cooler weather."
On Aug 12, 2009, D_L_Frommherz Eugene, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:
This review of Growquest Gardens of Santa Paula is extremely negative DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THIS ENTERPRISE. Here is my story, I searched for Sixteen Candles Floribunda Roses to complete my garden. Google specifically found what I was looking for at GROWQUEST GARDENS in Santa Paula, California. I first emailed then telephoned to Chris Gilchrist who answered the phone as Growquest Gardens. I requested information via an email then by voice. Chris seemed very knowledgeable and had many well blooming roses of the variety I wanted. His price quoted was $25.00 plus shipping in #5 containers. I ordered 15 that I needed then he offered to reduce the price to $22.00 each for so many roses he said that he had them and would ship on Monday 20 July or Tuesday 21 July. I never gave it a thought that such a professionally done Website did not have a shopping cart attached to it. He couldn't or didn't accept credit cards so I mailed him a check on my company business to 134 David Street, Santa Paula CA. The check for $330.00 was cashed on 21 July. I assumed that with the check the shipping would occur as he said on those two days. I waited until Friday 24 July and then called to find out where my roses were and how soon they would be delivered via a commercial trucking company. He told me that there was a change of plans he had to drive up to Oregon to make a delivery north of my location so he would leave Santa Paula or the Bay area on Monday or Tuesday 27 or 28 July and arrive at and in Eugene OR by Thursday or Friday at the latest 30 or 31 July 2009 make the stop and then continue on to Monmouth Oregon to complete his deliveries and save me some shipping charges. With his driving up I took an inventory of the actual roses that I needed and added to the order 13 Weeks Legend roses and 7 J&P Whisper roses and 1 J&P Brandy all of which I could wait until February for bare root but Chris assured me that he had them and many more in his nursery. I told him that I had the cash waiting for their arrival based on his reduced price. I felt a bit compromised since he had not sent the pictures of my initial order as promised. Near the end of the day on 31 July I called his office then his cell phone (805) 921-3900 and cell at (805) 665-8342. Chris answered directly and said there was a change of plans he was to busy to drive up to Oregon so he would put my roses back on a commercial truck to cost about $120.00 for the shipping at least of the first part of the order. He said nothing further about the added roses that I had expected would come when he delivered in Oregon. I told him that I had the cash sitting here waiting for him. So thinking that my roses were on the way via a commercial truck I phoned again on 7 August (Friday) to inquire on the tracking number so that I could be at my place of business to receive my roses. He did not answer the phone and has not answered the phone and his cell phone is not accepting calls to leave messages (says not set up at this time). On Wednesday 12 August I emailed Growquest (email@example.com) at 7:15 AM the message that I left was to have the roses on the truck by 9 AM or I would file a complaint with the city of Santa Paula, the County of Santa Barbara the police of Santa Paula and the Better Business Bureau with interests in his location in Santa Barbara. At 9:15 AM today 12 August I telephoned the City of Santa Paula Clerks office spoke with Peggy who said that she knew that Growquest had at least one out of state customer who experienced similar delivery problems as does the Santa Paula Police department and the City Detective is aware of lots of problems with Growquest Gardens specifically Chris Gilchrist and his inability to deliver as promised or even deliver at all. I filed with the Better Business Bureau today and found that Growquest has an "F" rating with them for unresolved delivery problems specifically out of state orders. The final call to Growquest Gardens office stated that the roses if not on the truck at 9 AM sharp must have the purchase money refunded by cashiers check or that the roses would be delivered at his expense but I would not wait any longer it is an either or immediately. I have canceled the added number of Legend, Whisper, and Brandy Hybrid Tea roses from this business as I don't believe that Mr. Gilchrist even has the roses in question. You can contact me for a personal attitude check at (541) 688-1223. Mr. Gilchrist doing business as Growquest Gardens is almost on the top of my list of shit heads and is on the top of my list for the period 1992 through 2009. again DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THIS ENTERPRISE.
On August 21st, 2009, D_L_Frommherz added the following:
Folks you have read my blow by blow account of the nightmare on Elm Street that Growquest and specifically Chris Gilchrist the apparent owner has put me through. As I see it being a small business person who values honesty above all else. I have not changed my assumption of Growquest Nursery. IT IS STILL SO NEGATIVE THAT IT WOULD TAKE A STEPLADDER TO REACH THE BELLY OF ONE OF HIS PET COCK ROACHES. ALL I CAN SAY IS "DO NOT DO BUSINESS OF ANY KIND WITH CHRIS GILCHRIST AT ANY BUSINESS NAME OR FOR ANY PRODUCT THAT HE MAY CLAIM TO HAVE IN STOCK. I AM SURE THAT HE WILL BE CHANGING HIS BUSINESS NAME THAT HE USES NOW OR CHANGES TO IN THE FUTURE TRYING TO STAY ONE STEP AHEAD OF JAIL OR PRISON FOR FRAUD. This man comes across on the phone as pleasant, hard working, and knowledgeable in his demeanor in customer care and service. HE IS NOT A GOOD PERSON. DO NOT SEND THIS MAN MONEY IN ANY FORM. YOU CAN BE ASSURED THAT HE WILL CASH YOUR CHECK AND YOU WILL NEVER EVER SEE ANYTHING SO JUST KISS YOUR MONEY AND YOUR ORDER GOODBYE. I have my doubts that this man even has the plants that he claims to have in his nursery. HOW DARE THIS MAN CONTINUE TO FINESS MY ONCE TRUSTING SOUL WITH ONCE AGAIN AN EMAIL ME LAST WEEK ON WEDNESDAY (12 August 2009) with the heading CHILL-OUT …CHILL OUT BE DAMNED. He then went on to write the following verbatim, "sorry I went away for a ladybug harvest and told Jose to cut all the roses back, I had pulled yours aside but that little fact seem to escape him. I just got some really nice roses from another grower and will have them sent out on Friday to arrive Monday". So as I shake my head in wonderment and disbelief, they were to leave Santa Paula on 8/14/09 and arrive in Oregon on 8/17/09. Well Mr. Gilchrist it is now 8/20/09 and like I knew from all the changes that you have used for an excuse that it would be a cold day in hell before I ever see my roses from the likes of you. So dear readers I repeat DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THIS PERSON OR HIS BUSINESS. I don't give a "RATS ASS ABOUT YOUR LADY BUG PROBLEM” YOU CHANGE YOUR STORY SO OFTEN THAT I DON'T SEE HOW YOU CAN SLEEP AT NIGHT OR EVEN KEEP UP WITH YOUR LIES. I want my money refunded you have committed INTERSTATE FRAUD A FELONY BY ENGAGING THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE IN YOUR FINEGELING. Anyone wishing to pursue this man please note that the City Clerk of Santa Paula is on to him, Peggy is the business licensing section for the city, the Better Business Bureau of Santa Barbara County which oversees Ventura County has issued this business an “F” rating. Please please please be aware that even Dave’s Gardens devotes now 179 negative reports. The District Attorney for Ventura County is now involved you can contact him on their website. The Police Detective for Business Fraud has been notified and can be reached by phone through the website for Santa Paula - City of. Any person doing business across state lines should file with their own local District Attorney advising them that a complaint has been filed on this person and this business. ONCE AGAIN….DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH GROWQUEST OR CHRIS GILCRIST.
. In his email he claimed that his worker had trimmed the roses that I had ordered so he would be going out to buy the roses that I wanted from another and that he would ship them on On September 1st, 2009, D_L_Frommherz added the following:
Folks, If it is possible to even imagine a lower rating of Chris Gilcrest and any name that he may be using as a dba please note that the Ventura County District Attorney and the desk of Russ Robinson is now involved with Growquest Nursery. If and when you have found that you have been suckered by this business and by the owner who has no scruples or morals I might add because if you haven't been ripped off you will be as soon as you part with your money. Growquest is now being evaluated for Interstate Fraud, Use of the United States Postal Service for Interstate Fraud. When you finally conclude that this man has no intentions of living up to his contractual agreements with customers please contact Russ Robinson at (805) 662-1719 this is his office main phone line. Now let me briefly if it is possibler update you on conversations with Growquest Nursery (email) firstname.lastname@example.org. Gilcrest started to email me last week apparently this man has no idea of any morals. He first wrote "Chill Out" making it seem that not getting my roses was my fault. A second email said that the reason I had not received my roses was because I had not replied to his "Chill Out" email. A third email also sent within minutes of the other 2 claimed that he now had to purchase a permit for shipping my roses to Oregon. Several minutes later he wrote "ENJOY YOUR ROSES". Now it is Monday 31 August and the shipper Conway Trucking has been contacted they have no record of anything being shipped from Growquest Nursery or from Mr. Gilchrest out ot Santa Paula, Ventura County, California. Once again Growquest has come up with another excuse after excuse after excuse as to why he is not at fault for 180 negative comments posted at this time with Dave's Gardens. Russ Robinson has been made very aware of the negative comments and the website to visit to add to his investigation. The City of Santa Paula and the Santa Paula Police Detective who has been investigating Growquest have now referred me to the District Attorney named above. Once again DO NOT DO BUSINESS OF ANY KIND WITH GROWQUEST NURSERY OR ANYTHING WITH THE NAME CHRIS GILCREST ATTACHED TO IT AS APPARENTLY THIS PERSON IS IN THE PROCESS OF CHANGING HIS NAME OF THE BUSINESS.On Aug 12, 2009, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) responded with:
"On Oct 11, 2009 6:44 PM, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) responded with:
It is said that liers give as many details as possible in attemp to make the lie more convincing. Elements of truth here are mixed the rantings of some one deluding himself of the truth. After waffling more on his order than an IHOP breakfast cook the Leather Master his received order. Huge 4 year old roses nearly 3 feet tall ready to bloom. Please note he lacked the brass pair to post that info himself.
On Oct 11, 2009 6:45 PM, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) added:
On Aug 12, 2009, kumaaz Capistrano Beach, CA wrote:
Suppose I should have known that when someone wants a check instead of a card somethings wrong. Check's been cashed, order is over a month late - no answer on phone - no messages returned - no email answers.
So I've also been robbed and here's what I got from Chris about 2 weeks ago:
"Your invoice is attached.
Your order is being packed and ready for USPS Priority mail shipment, the best method for most ladybugs to travel. If you don't need or want the order please E-mail back the cancellation. I will be putting extra bugs in older orders, delayed by a lot heat out here.
Ladybug buyers, PLEASE MAIL IN YOUR PAYMENT as soon as you can. It takes a lot of money to ship all these orders out. You may notice that your invoice is smaller than at check out on the web site, if that is the case, then the shipping charges were lowered.
Please REMEMBER AS STATED AT THE CHECK OUT I CAN NOT CHARGE YOUR CARD. http://www.growquest.com/free_ladybugs.htm
Thank you for your business - I appreciate it very much.
Sincerely, Chris Gilcrest, Growquest Growers "
On Aug 12, 2009, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) responded with:
"On Oct 11, 2009 6:46 PM, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) responded with:
The order has long since shipped, and yes I blew by not getting it done sooner with the other aboved mentioned bug order. Chris"
On Jul 23, 2009, BambooPanda13 Tolleson, AZ wrote:
I am in the same boat with all of you. Except I cannot get my credit back due to the type of card I have =( I placed my ordered and about two weeks after waiting and emailing I got the same notice you all did. He wouldn't fill my order, nor would he give a refund. If I'm ever in California I'm going to kick his door down and get my ladybugs. We should be able to sue him. Everyone who has every been scammed by them. Wasting people's time and stealing their money.
I ordered the 72,000 ladybugs for some pecan orchards in NM. I did the first of the ordering over the Web, but later the Web page went down for a day or so. I e-mailed Chris, told him about the Web site, got great responses, got his phone number and talked to him, and we worked things out. He updated his Web site and it is back up now as Growquest. I got my order when he said I would, and he is sending extra ladybugs because the person who wanted them and would share, hasn't-not Chris' problem-I have some "interesting" neighbors. I have had a great experience with him!
Ordered ladybuggies May 31 with priority shipping. Order not received several days later... and I could not get a confirmation of shipping from the vendor at all (tried phone, left messages (when the mailbox wasn't 'full'), tried email, (no response). Started researching, found this website.
Sent email to vendor asking for response, delivery date, or refund. No answer.
Sent request to credit card company to begin process of canceling transaction.
Got bulk email from vendor 6/12/09:
"I have been instructed by my family and their advisors to close down the web site, Olive Trees Nursery or olive-trees.net and instruct all customers to get a refund from their credit company.
This decision was not mine. If you got your order, thank you. If you did not or your order is incomplete please contact [edited to remove unrelated email addresses and phone numbers] as they are now handling all of these matters. Calling 805 921 3900 will as you have noticed not get any information about your order.
If you still want or need your order and don't really care about the BS going on here send me an E-mail to email@example.com. I am happy to ship it. I want and need the business even if they do not know what they are doing. Chris Gilcrest"
Still moving forward with canceling the transaction... If the vendor was capable/competant, they would be filling the order, not requring further action from a client to communicate with them that they still 'want or need the order'.
Since placing the order I've been able to find another vendor to fill Two seperate orders of the same items.
Shame on vendors that can't fulfill simple and easy orders!
On 5-19-09 I ordered the "Black Magic bush Jackson & Perkins, bare root #1" which didn't arrive. I emailed them only to get a deceiving email telling me to contact [name removed] and gave an address and phone #. I called that number only to find there was NO AUTHORIZATION for them and that they had received "hundreds" of calls. [Name removed] is not affiliated with Olive_Trees.net in ANY way. I went to the website and saw a message to contact their attourney [name removed] and even gave a phone # which again was false. The attourney quoted has NO client with them and is filing legal action against the site due to false advertisement. My account was debeted the cost of the rose, and yet I have not seen any package dispite Chris Gilcrest'S letter stating he would send it. DONT TRUST ANYTHING FROM THIS SITE!!!!
On Jun 16, 2009, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) responded with:
"On Oct 14, 2009 9:04 AM, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) responded with:
This was not a Growquest Order
I did not say I would send it, I said I could send it. Further lack of cooperation by owner of Olive Trees Nursery, her attorney and her book keeper (that information Terry has deleted) prevented that from happening. Chris Gilcrest"
I purchased a Triple Citrus Treat from Growquest, now Olivetree.net and formerly ABP Wholesale and several others on Jan 14,2009 but had to wait for delivery due to weather. When I was finally able to talk to someone they said that it would be shipped that week. Well needless to say, 16 weeks and about 16 broken promises later I have accepted the fact that Chris Gilcrest has claimed yet another victim of his lies. How someone can be so deceitful for so long is beyond my comprehension. I just saw that his website was taken down this morning with instructions about how to get your money back. Well that didn't last long because it's back up I filed a complaint with the California Attorney General and they are investigating the matter and I just filed a complaint with ec3. It's a government website that investigates internet fraud. You ripped off the wrong person Chris. You know who I am and I won't stop untill you are done stealing honest peoples money.
On Jun 16, 2009, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) responded with:
"On Oct 14, 2009 9:11 AM, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) responded with:
If the date is correct, the transaction was through Google Checkout from the account of Surf and Sierra Wholesale Nurseies. No where at anytime did the name ABP Wholesale appear in this transaction. Customer had the ability to get a refund in full from Google or their credit card company.
And no I don't know "Who I am" is but I will ask.
On Jun 14, 2009, Paremiologist New York, NY wrote:
I bought the small ladybug package a month ago and had my credit card charged. No reply to phone messages and email. Now my address is about to change, and still no reply to request to update the order (like it will ever come now).
QUESTION - can anyone who has officially complained to CA authorities post the contact info they used to log their complaint?
On Jun 12, 2009, pkneisley Nicholasville, KY wrote:
I ordered Ladybugs and Praying Mantis eggs form this company. I sent numerus emails asking when they would ship they did not answer any of them. I called the 800 number no answer left messages with no response and on more then four of the time I called the voice mail box was full. So I ordered my ladybugs form another place and recived them before olive-trees.net would evern respond to my questions. I have now sent 3 request to just cancel the order and they can't respond to them ether. DO NOT ORDER FROM OLIVE-TREES.NET THEY WILL JUST TAKE YOUR MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is funny that they post on the bad feed back to call the 800 number that is just a nonmaned line.
On June 12th, 2009, pkneisley added the following:
I just got this email It will speek for its self.
I have been instructed by my family and their advisors to close down the web site, Olive Trees Nursery or olive-trees.net and instruct all customers to get a refund from their credit company.
This decision was not mine. If you got your order, thank you. If you did not or your order is incomplete please contact [edited to remove unrelated email addresses and phone numbers] as they are now handling all of these matters. Calling 805 921 3900 will as you have noticed not get any information about your order.
If you still want or need your order and don't really care about the BS going on here send me an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to ship it. I want and need the business even if they do not know what they are doing. Chris GilcrestOn June 13th, 2009, pkneisley added the following:
I am adding to this to say that Chris Gilcrest is trying to put blame on other people no one else is responsable but him PLEASE DO NOT EMAIL anyone else but him the other emails and names that he is sending to people are in way connected to him or his company!!!!!!! The only email that is connected is email@example.com the other phone number and fax is not to be used. Until my june 12th post is removed please do not call or email anyone but him.
I ordered 2 small containers of 1500 ladybugs on May 26th 2009. There was a promotion- buy 2 get one free, and the free container was never added during ordering. I printed the ad page and e-mail it to them with my account info looking for verification that I would be receiving all 3 containers. After 3 requests, I received an e-mail that my order was shipped- no mention of the free ladybugs. In the end, I'd be happy if ANY ladybugs arrived. I never got a tracking number and my order was supposed to be shipped May 29th. Upon reading other testimonials i realized my mistake. if anyone is trying to make this right, my order number is OnlineOrder_10001175. If I do not have ladybugs by Monday, June 15th i will be contested the charges as fraud. Luckily, my bank, Wells Fargo, seems to know who the company is and can process my return quickly.
Do not purchase from this company. We placed our order on June 2 and nobody has contacted us back, regarding this purchase. Its truly sad, as we were going, to place a large order, somewhere in the $5,000 range but, we'll have to look for a new seller. We've e-mailed them and contacted by phone numerous times, with no contact back. Normally, we always read reviews on websites and yet, this is the one time, we didn't follow through with research. They will not getting my money, as we wil contact our CC fraud department. We've purchased from fast-growing-trees.com and willis orchards, with success both times but, this company is another sttory. Again, do not buy from them. I would love to have our order but, will only give them one more day, to give me a tracking number, with proof of a shipped package.
On Jun 10, 2009, Almostagardener Wiggins, CO wrote:
I ordered ladybugs from this company the 1st of May, still no ladybugs. I actually talked with a female 2 weeks ago and was told basically that there is a shortage of ladybugs as everyone is going to the Sierra's to get them. She stated she would put this order at the top and pester Chris to get them, but I really should have not ordered the larger order. I have not been charged and actually cancelled the card so they could not charge me in the future. She advised that they have 1000's of email's and cannot respond to them. I have left messages since and no return calls.
I ordered 1500 ladybugs with 2 day shipping May 30th. The order has been in a processing state since that day and my credit card has already been charged. All attempts to contact the company via e-mail and phone have failed. Currently contesting the charges on my CC.
On June 10th, 2009, trebligb added the following:
I don't care what they do now, I was able to successfully contest the CC charges and I have my refund as well as there is a stop payment against their merchant account to my account in case they get cute.
Normally it takes 10 days to do this but apparently these guys are in a database at Wells Fargo as known scammers and they handled me right then and there.
I placed an order with Olivetrees.net, and, sadly, my story is the same as so many others on this board – dozens of calls to the nursery, with never a message returned, no replies to any of my emails, and on the rare occasions that I reached someone at the nursery, I was promised that the items would ship “by the end of the week” or “in the next couple of days” or “we will call you back to let you know the status.” Nothing, although thank goodness our credit card has not yet been charged. However, I did a little research, and this is one of the shadiest internet retailers I have ever heard of. The issues that customers are currently experiencing have been constant (albeit at his various companies) since early 2004.
In the years between 2004 and now (as near as I can tell from the internet history, but quite possibly longer), Chris Gilcrest has been associated with, or opened and then shut down or renamed at least six garden retail businesses with complaints lodged against them in Tulare County and Ventura County, CA:
1. A Better Plant Grower
2. biopest.com/Applied Bio Pest
3. SurfandSierra.com/ Surf And Sierra Wholesale Nurseries LLC
4. APB Wholesale/ABP Nursery
5. Growquest.com (closed, then re-opened)
In January of 2006, while operating the previous incarnation of Growquest in Visalia CA Chris Gilcrest was arrested because he (a) charging customer credit cards, and then not sending them the plants they ordered, (b) ordered plant material from suppliers and did not pay them, and (c) was not paying workers compensation insurance or tax withholdings for his employees. The D.A. allowed the vendors to go to the nursery to view and recover their property, but the story wasn’t clear on whether the customers or employees ever recovered the money he took from them. (County of Tulare D.A. Office press release, 1.26.2006).
According to some of the posts, he has also apparently been known to send threatening and/or rude emails to people who are angry with him about taking their money and not sending them their plants, for example, according to one posting dated February 10th, 2006 “After posting this and sending my complaint to the MD Attorney General, I also sent an email to Chris telling him he'd been reported, and that is the first time he replied. He denied having received any other emails or calls from me and was very angry that this posting was negative…He then proceeded to threaten me and "put me on notice" that I had 30 days to remove my negative posting...” There were a couple of other reports of a similar nature. There have also been a couple of comments (although I cannot vouch for their veracity) that representatives of the various companies he has operated have been caught posting fraudulent positive experiences.
The posting from Chris Gilchrest saying he has sold the Growquest business to Olivetrees.net seems to not be true – every time I was able to reach someone at the nursery, their response was that they needed to wait for Chris to get any answers. It seems to me that he is still running Olivetrees.net.
I know he lists a number of rare and hard-to-find items on his website (that’s what sucked me in!), but at the end of the day, the chances that he actually has the item and will actually ship it seem to be very low, judging from all the complaints I’ve seen about the series of businesses he has owned. Given all this, I am shocked that this man has not been barred by the state of California from obtaining a business license.
In summary, anyone who has these types of problems with Olivetrees.net should report it to the Ventura County Better Business Bureau (http://www.santabarbara.bbb.org), and the DA (http://da.countyofventura.org/) – it seems like he is heading down the same path as he has with previous businesses, which resulted in a number of innocent people (both customers and vendors) losing their money. I think that as a gardening community, we all have a responsibility help prevent that from happening again if all it takes is a simple email or phone call.
On Jun 9, 2009, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) responded with:
"On Oct 14, 2009 9:47 AM, Growquest Growers (also dba Olive-Trees.net and Surf & Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC) responded with:
First off the user name should TwiggsandBerries because that is what their brain is full of.
First topic names; Biopest.com was my first web site, short for Applied Bio Pest. I had all the luck in world of coming up with the same name as Biopest of Santa Rosa Ca. after two years of bickering in the legal process we made a compromise I would give up my web name of biopest to him and change my business and web name to ABP, which morphed into abpwholesale.com.
ABP Wholesale sold ladybugs to garden centers in the USA. I decided to go back to my horticultral roots so to speak, so it was proper to use ABP Nursery (A Better Plant) at the time. That lacked any creative character to it, and the name Growquest came to mind, don't know how or where it came from at this point.
I was looking to grow and expand my business in the Spring of 2007 so I formed an LLC, Surf and Sierra Wholesale Nurseries, LLC. I made a http://www.surfandsierra.com web site for wholesale or large landscape transactions and kept my http://www.growquest.com site and went to work on building a more modern site http://www.growquest.net site.
Yes one grower came to my site to reclaim and then further steal another 160 trees roses, that was Tom Lucas at Perfomance Nursery, Inc. And he could only do that because I allowed it, otherwise he would not be able to come to the property as it required my agreement at that time.
There were no convictions on any criminal charges, because none existed. A huge waste of time and a destruction of my personal life that cost me custody my children, whom several judges in two counties had ruled were best left to me to raise.
Olive-trees.net domain was and is mine as a result of buying out another nursery. Olive Trees Nursery was not and is not mine and I have ZERO control over it s orders!
Surf and Sierra closed due to my being hustled in large olive transaction by angry petty chubby old man.
I have repeatbly asked for this figsandapples to contact me. I will now is the court system for this defamatory posting.
I will have a pending lawsuit against this company. I have placed an order and they have been paid for. I have not received any product and they will not answer calls or email. Be aware that any orders coming after they get sued probably will not be filled. This lawsuit is going to be expensive for them.
On June 9th, 2009, Fishalaska added the following:
Word of advice.......these people are not too smart. Call and leave a message that you want to purchase a large order and wish to speak to a rep. They WILL call you back, and you can let them have it. You all will have to sue them. They have no intentions on filling orders.
June 6, 2009: I made my order on May, 16 2009 and a payment was made on May, 20 2009. I have not received my order yet or any other notice. I have left messages and sent multiple emails to no avail and now their phone "mailbox" is full. I will not stop until I either get my money back or my order. I wanted to buy more from them, but I don’t think they really want the business...
My order number is: 10000744
On June 9th, 2009, Shannon2 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
June 8, 2009:
I am changing this to neutral because Chris called me tonight. He stated that he was not the owner and Margaret Gilcrest is the one I need to file my complaint with. He gave me her number, so I will be calling it in the next few days. He stated that a simple order like mine should have been filled within a couple days and that he had to he would ensure that I either got my order or my money back...
Thanks Chris I expect to see some results soon...On June 12th, 2009, Shannon2 changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
June 12th 2009:
Changed back to negative
Margaret called my wife this afternoon and politely informed us that she could not refund us the money and that Chris would have to do that. Per Chris (as noted on my last update) said he didn’t have any control over the company no more. I don’t know or care who runs the company, I just want my hard earned money back. I have left additional messages and emails that of course do not get returned. I do expect to get my money back, and as per the web site I have also requested it in writing via email. Chris you said (when you spoke with me) that if you had too you would issue a refund personally if you had to; well I am expecting at least that. I don’t know the issues at hand there but I do expect you to honor your word you gave me... You have my phone number if you want to discuss this privately and politely.
My husband ordered lady bugs online from this company on 5/24/2009. He received an e-mail from them that they were SHIPPED on 5/26/2009 FedEx priority 2 day. It is now 6/6/2009 and we have no lady bugs. They had no problems taking our money quickly but apparently, from all the other postings, have a huge problem with every other part of running a legitimate business. My husband and I both have called and e-mailed the company many times with no response back from them. We have never once been able to get in contact with a representative. We just keep leaving voice messages, when the voice mailbox is not filled. Find a better company to get your gardening supplies from! In these hard times, spend you hard earned money on a company that deserves your business!
Order number# 10001095
On Jun 6, 2009, JustWantMyOrder Los Angeles, CA wrote:
This is the absolute worst online buying experience that I have ever had. Originally, I made the order with the expectation of giving the plant to my mother for mother's day (early May 2009). The description of shipping stated 2 days for processing and up to 7 days for shipping. It has now been a month since the order and still no product. A dozen phone calls and e-mails have gone to them and absolutely no reply has been given. Who is in charge of this operation? I'm extremely disappointed with this company and strongly recommend against anyone buying from them.
I had the same issue that most on this post had. They wouldn't return phone calls or emails. After leaving a second message on their answering machine, they responded to my email and said they would ship out my olive trees next week. I am happy to say they did in fact ship the trees and they were healthy. So, this company is in business, and trying apparently.
We just received two three gallon ground covering Rose plants and two five gallon orange Day Lily plants. All the plants were covered with blooms and buds and arrived in healthy condition and in a timely manner from the date of order. Hopefully this company has finshed their reorganization and is on firm footing now. We were happy with our dealings with them.
I ordered a lemon tree and ladybugs, Order #01033737 back on April 14th. I have sent 12 emails and left probably 10 messages. That doesn't count all the times the message box was already full. About 3 weeks ago I got a call back and the person promised my order would be shipped the next day. It has now been over 6 weeks since the order was placed and STILL NOTHING. I can't even get a return phone call or email. They are thieves. Do not buy from them.
I too have gotten ripped off by this fraud of a company. I ordered merchandise and have never received them even though I was told they had shipped. I suggest to all of you to do the following things in addition to filing a dispute with your credit card company:
1. File a complaint with the Ventura CA county district attorney's office.
2. Complain to the web hoster. I believe Growquest.com (or OliveTree-net) is hosted with IS West. Chris Gilcrest probably just keeps moving his web site around to different web hosters just long enough to use their credit card processing services until they find out that he is fraudulently processing credit card transactions and they catch on to what he is doing.
No one can keep pulling this kind of activity if enough people do the right things and get him shut down.
Been very patient trying to get them to send me my Holiday Avocado tree for about a year now. I have sent only very positve e-mails and phone messages to them and had what seemed as caring answers in reply.
Chris's post said to include an order number here and he would resolve it, so I am trying it out to see if this works.
My order # is: E01028031
Giving you one last try to have this matter resolved.
All I ordered from the jokers was an order of ladybugs. I placed the order on 5/1/09 and here it is 5/20/09 and nothing! I have called numerous times and no one answers the phone nor do they call you back. I have e-mailed I don't know how many times and not one has been answered. What I have done is reported them to the BBB in their area. Then I have reported them to the Federal Trade Comission and I have been in contact with the local police fraud division and my next step is to contact the local sheriffs. I fully intend to nail these people to the wall!
DO NOT BUY FROM GROWQUEST or OLIVE-TREE.NET THEY ARE 100% SCAM ARTISTS (and that is nice)!!!!!
Cannot begin to decide where to start rather than to say other than taking my money absolutely nothing these people say or write is true.
Everything went smoothly on the website, making the purchase, and then the disaster began with weeks of "unknown status", never a returned phone call, no response to repeated e.mails and finally spent an afternoon calling them. After 12 attempts found a human being (trying to be nice) who, with screaming employees in the background, said order was boxed and ready for FedEx pick-up.
Never got tracking number or status update so went on another calling binge: this time when I finally got through to a staff person (12+ attempts) was told plants were in nursery and shipping by Friday.
Needless to say days came and went and no product.
Bored, this almost became a game as I used auto dialer to finally find another non-automated response:
More promises, needless to say not fulfilled, and now have asked credit card company to refund sale amount. Called Sheriff, BBB and filed Internet Fraud report but suspect there are so many complaints about these fraudulent rip-off artists that nothing will happen.
Have been buying off the web for years and never have I seen worse customer service, heard so many lies and played so many games to try to get a straight answer.
Can hardly wait to get the "please call so we can fix your problem, see below negative review responses - what good would that do since they are almost impossible to reach, lie, cheat, steal and pretend they are a "new company".
NOTE: All this has happened since the supposed change in ownership - right!