On May 21, 2012, AtlDave Atlanta United States wrote:
I have spent $323.54 on this order.
The plant that has subsequently died is one of two Hot Lava coneflowers. The other plant is beginning to flower.
They were planted the same with different results.
Now I have to pay for additional shipping for one defective plant: I'm not paying for any additional shipping.
On May 21, 2012, Sooner Plant Farm (Shop Smarter Shop Sooner) responded with:
Dave, I'm sorry you are so discouraged with our company and had to post this negative. We have ship several thousand orders this season, and we really hoping to not have any red. This is very discouraging for us also!
We post our 30 day guarantee and our 1 year guarantee throughout our site, so customers are completely aware of our policies. Even though you requested us to ship your order in February which is out of our posted recommended planting time, which voids all guarantees, and you notified us 2.5 months after receiving them we still replaced a Hibiscus totally at our expense. When you requested a second replacement on a coneflower that that is not dead but is not growing like the other. I explained our policy which is the email I sent you below.
I received your dvd requesting replacement a coneflower. I completely understand the expectation of having every plant flourish, and I stand behind our plants . However I also expect our customers to do their part. Our pricing structure is as follows.
We price our plants to be competitive with garden centers across the country.
We price our shipping to cover boxes, UPS costs and a small labor fee .
We give our customers a standard 30 day guarantee when purchasing plants. We know plants fail for various reasons. We also offer a 1 year guarantee for 10% of the plant price. This small insurance policy allows our company to collect some monies to provide replacement plants when needed. It is a win win for both the customer and us. However it is completely at the customers option to participate. It is not fair to not purchase the guarantee, but then also expect to get free replacements after 30 days. Even with the purchased guarantee the customer pays shipping costs. These shipping cost go entirely to shipping. The Box cost and UPS costs total up to a minimum of $14.00. We cannot ship anything less than $14.00. I ‘m sure you can see how sending replacement plants without collecting any monies from the customer is not profitable business.
We replaced the Hibiscus completely at our cost, even though you requested “Ship Now” when you placed your original order, and it was not within our recommended shipping time for your zone 8, which is March 15th – November 15th. I will be happy to replace a coneflower at our cost, to go over and above our policy, however I would request you pay shipping. This policy has worked well by all our customers and we have not had any dissatisfied customers because they knew our policies when they purchased from us.
Regarding the Hot Lava we do not have any more of those available at this time I can suggest Tomato Soup as an alternative.
I hope you understand we do all we can for our customers, and we also state policies on our site so our customers know them upfront.
Please let me know how to proceed.
***Once again, we strive very hard to give a customer a fair deal and we go above our stated policies to satisfy, but we still get a negative because of a customer says give me, or I will bash your company. Dave Garden has been tremendous blessing to us and we are very thankful for all the wonderful customers we have had the opportunity to serve. Unfortunately, this site can also put good companies in a defensive mode to protect what is right and fair.
When purchasing online or from a store please be aware of the company policies and if in doubt contact them for clarification if needed. We do not hide our policies and we will stand behind our plants and policies 100%
On Jul 10, 2011, enviroplanter Spring House, PA wrote:
I ordered a crabapple from Sooner last year. This year it didn't bloom (not necessarily a problem) but thus far has shown no new top growth. I finally decided to replace it and on digging it out discovered that there was also no evident root growth. It was planted and cared for the same way as all my others, from other vendors, which are doing great. Also had a problem last year with security on their website (which of course they denied) and they refused to delete my information from their records. Definitely will not order from them again.
I'm sorry your plant did not perform as expected. I wish you would have contact us regarding the problem before giving us a negative post. It is our #1 goal to fairly satisfy all our customers even if we are not to blame and it costs us. Plants fail for many reasons and many times for no identifiable reason or at the fault or blame of anyone. I have planted thousands of plants in landscapes and sometimes they just don't make it. If your plant does not perform I would first recommend contacting the supplier to see if they could help you. If they are unwilling to help, then a publicly viewed feedback may be in order, but please be fair in your reporting as I can bet most companies care very much about their reputation, just as do we. I would appreciate if this post could be changed to as it does bother me to see our reputation get smudged after all we sacrifice to keep our customers satisfied.
As for the security of our site we have a secure website and have never had a single issue since 2004 when our site was started, other than the one reported here. I do remember a customer calling us about a year ago, I suspect this is the same customer, but no further correspondence has been established. I tried to find who this is by searching our database, but with such limited data I was unable to locate this customer. If she/he is indeed still receiving any email correspondence form us I apologize and if contacted I will double check to see why the email address was not correctly opted out .
Sorry for any hassles we have caused you, it is not our intention.
I followed the planting instructions to the letter , but within weeks the bushes were showing signs of failing. I contacted Sooner Farms to find that after 48 hours, you're on your own--Too bad!! NO refund--NO replacements! You're stuck with dead bushes. I have been gardening for 30 years I am no neophite to planting so I would sooner( get it ) blame the growers than myself. Don't go near these people!!! Joyce Counsil
I'm very sorry the plants did not survive. We clearly state in our guarantee: We guarantee the plants received to be true to type, healthy, free of insects and diseases and in good condition. If anything is wrong with the plants when they are received, we will without question refund or replace the plants. As stated in our guarantee and on the planting instructions included with every order is the Warning notice to contact us within 48 hours if anything is wrong with the plants and we will note the problem in our file. We without doubt stand by our written guarantee 100%. Also any orders placed on our website require the customer to check I agree to the written guarantee, before the order can complete. We are very upfront and clear about this.
Once a noted problem is on file we take care of the customer if the plant does not survive.
Again I'm sorry for this customers experience, it seems this forum is almost a blackmail tool for the customer.
Please be aware of the guarantee from any vendor, before you agree to the purchase. Going back later only leads to a bad experience for both parties.
If you have purchased from us in the past and had a positive experience, please take time to post it, we appreciate your comments and support.
Posted on May 20, 2010, updated June 22, 2010
Posted on May 18, 2010, updated May 20, 2010
The shipping was expedient , packaging was ok, and price excellent.
Unfortunately the Maple tree was infected with Leaf symptoms of anthracnose. Most or all the leaves have brown spots and upon further research found it was diseased.
Now in an effort to save the tree additional money will need to be spent for chemicals.
Now they seem to be good with plants, shrubs, and flowers. But just an FYI, it does seem they may have an infection problem with their maple trees.
On May 20th, 2010, Zercon changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Due to the excellent customer support and willingness to come to arrangement that works best for both the customer and the company I'm changing to Neutral.
1st: Contact was made prior to posting the comment. Possibly blocked thinking it was spam? We were able to resolve that issue.
2nd: Like the shipping instructions, keeping the customer informed and aware would limit confusion on plants that could develop symptoms of infections. Informing them in the order of issues as stated in the reply would have lowered my surprise and lead to a positive feedback because I would have been better prepared. Also providing cures or steps to correct issues with plants or trees which may occur after received would limit the customer having to research the issue and provide a better experience for the customer.
I hope this helps, and thank you for the support. On June 22nd, 2010, Zercon changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
As per our agreement on the phone they stated they would update their website to inform customers of the issue with the maples they were sending out being infected. They failed to add any notification to keep the customer updated to this issue.
Changing back to my previous rating as the tree has died and no update was found on their site as per phone discussion.On Jun 22, 2010, Sooner Plant Farm (Shop Smarter Shop Sooner) responded with:
"On May 19, 2010 7:41 AM, Sooner Plant Farm (home of Imagine Backyard Trees®) responded with:
Although this tree was inspected by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture before being shipped , we cannot dispute the tree now has leaf spot. Leaf spot is a bacterial disease and the spores of this disease are present everywhere, on every nursery and in every garden. When conditions are favorable like cool /moist and rainy the spots will develop on plant leaves. Although this seldom results into a serious health problem the spots are unsightly and should be treated. We spray the nursery with fungicides to help control the disease, although in spring with continual cool wet rainy conditions, it is almost impossible for a nursery, landscape or garden to avoid any leaf spot. Unfortunately when we ship the plants in dark boxes this can cause the leaf spot to develop rapidly. The cure is a fungicide spray, avoid wet conditions especially at night and improving air circulation. We send a care sheet in each order and ask our customers to contact us immediately of any problems with the plants they receive. Unfortunately for us this forum, is the only correspondence we have had with this customer at this time. I will attempt to contact them by phone, in hopes to resolve this problem. We appreciate our customer comments both positive and negative as they both help us provide better products and services.
We have put the tree variety that is in question on shipping hold until a release from our Department of Agriculture has been obtained.
If you have any questions regarding this or any other matter, please feel free to contact us.
Posted on June 4, 2010, updated June 4, 2010
Placed an order for a rose bush on March 12, 2010. Received an email saying the item was scheduled ship on May 10th, 2010. It was a gift, so the shipping address and phone number were provided. Item never shipped, I was never contacted or informed the order had been canceled. I contacted the company after business hours, who, to their credit, responded immediately. They were not able to find my order in their database at that time, but apparently found it today, June 4, 2010. They said they called the number provided, which was the recipient's number, who has no idea who they are because it is a gift. Sooner's response to me was "we do end up with quite a few orders cancelled due to not being able to contact the customer". They have my email address, I ordered online, they emailed the confirmation, they responded to my emailed inquiry, why wouldn't they email a cancellation???? I emailed them asking this question and have not received a response.
On June 4th, 2010, flowerpower66 added the following:
Just received a response admitting there are some problems with record keeping of canceled orders. On Jun 4, 2010, Sooner Plant Farm (Shop Smarter Shop Sooner) responded with:
"On Jun 4, 2010 8:31 AM, Sooner Plant Farm (home of Imagine Backyard Trees®) responded with:
We are truly sorry this has happened, we are reviewing our canceled order procedures and making corrections to ensure this does not happen again.
In Fall 2008 I placed and received an order for several grasses and Sedum. The Sedum are doing well but the majority of the grasses did not survive. When I contacted Sooner Plant Farms to discuss replacement, adjustment, I was told that they were not willing to do anything since they felt there was something with the conditions of my site. Since they were not even willing to provide some kind of an alternate solution, I will not be ordering from them in the future.
On May 28, 2009, Sooner Plant Farm (Shop Smarter Shop Sooner) responded with:
"On May 28, 2009 5:26 PM, Sooner Plant Farm (home of Imagine Backyard Trees®) responded with:
I reviewed this order carefully and came to the conclusion that nothing on our side could have caused all of 3 different varieties of grasses to die, other than being planted in late September in Iowa, at the shipping request of the customer as stated on their order. We do replace plants if there is any possibility that we could be responsible, and we are always fair and give the customer the benefit of doubt. In this case the customer never reported any problems with the plants until now 8 months later, in my opinion I believe the plants never had time to become establish before winter set in. Even though these plants are hardy in the customer’s zone, planting too late in the season can be a winter survival problem for any plants in any location.
We completely stand behind our products but cannot be responsible for every type of plant loss no matter what the cause.