Posted on April 9, 2015, updated April 15, 2015
I was warned about this company but have ordered a few times in the last two years. Maybe I just got lucky but I\'ve always received pretty nice dahlia clumps and hyacinth bulbs. My most recent order has been a nightmare. I received two packages of dahlias on 3/23. One package was so-so the other contained four clumps instead of the five I ordered. One clump was nothing more than a rotted stem and all the others had nothing but broken, dangling tubers hanging from the stems. There\'s no way these could possibly grow. I sent an e-mail immediately. I got the instant message saying a customer care rep would be in touch. After waiting more than a week with no response, I sent another e-mail on 3/31. Still nothing but the instant B.S. message. On 4/7, I sent another message, this time through the Watchdog\'s site. Still haven\'t heard a word from them. Eighteen days with no response from what these jokers call their \"world class\" customer care service. This should have been a simple matter that could have and should have been handled the first day. I don\'t expect to hear from them and I don\'t really care. I have moved on. I threw away the pathetic dahlias and will buy more locally if I need them. If I can save one person from falling prey to these disrespectful crooks, I\'ll feel like I have accomplished something good. It\'s always possible to receive a bad plant or bulb from even a respected seller. But ignoring a customer for 18 days is totally unacceptable. Especially a company who says, \"We take great pride in our world class customer care service.\" Yeah, right!
On April 15th, 2015, psudan added the following:
Well it's been "only" 23 days since I first contacted these crooks and I still haven't heard from them. In case anyone is interested the following companies are affiliated with the umbrella company, Gardens Alive ; Van Bourgondien, Michigan Bulb, Spring Hill Nursery, Breck's, Gurney's Seeds and Henry Fields. There are others. If you want a good laugh, check out the "outstanding" positive vs. negative ratings of some of these stellar companies. What a bunch of losers!! If you wonder why they are still in business, the answer is simple. People, myself included, are sucked in by the cheap prices. I may have lost this round but you can rest assured that I will continue spreading the "Gospel" at every garden club and garden center in the area. All these companies need to go belly up.
On Apr 14, 2015, reeve1 Plano, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
I received the same as others. Broken, unviable plant material and wrong plant counts. These people should be put out of business. They are no friend to gardeners, just taking money through fraud and delivering complete junk! Stay away from any Gardens Alive company. I can assure you that nothing you receive will be even remotely Alive!
On Dec 17, 2014, GardeningisLife Tipp City, OH wrote:
This company went bankrupt and was bought out by the Gardens Alive umbrella company. I urge you fellow gardeners to stay far away from this and all other Gardens Alive companies, they are bad news. Having had a first hand look at how this company operates it was shocking. They will list products that they don't have in stock then due what's called a "silent substitute" in the biz, essentially sending you the customer a different but similar variety w/o you knowing. Usually these varieties are cheaper or overstocks that they are trying to move before they spoil. Ever wonder why your flowers don't look like the picture? It's not just you, you weren't sent the right variety to begin with. This is a common practice done across all Gardens Alive brands.
I stopped ordering from Brecks because of poor bulb quality and orders cancelled after their planned delivery date.
After coming upon K.van Bourgondien's website, I figured they were worth a try as I needed many bulb for my planned garden. Immediately after ordering, they sent my email account a confirmation which included the SAME account number which Brecks had given me. I contacted them asking if they were affiliated and received no answer. So, six weeks later, I received a partial order in the mail. My many tulips were delayed a week. Then they were delayed again. I checked the site by chance and checked my order and realized the tulips were no longer listed in my order status. Consequently, I contacted them. Two days later, they wrote me and told me they were out of stock, the order would not be filled and they would refund the cost of these tulips to my account. This is the same kind of bad business practice that Brecks used. What would have happened if I hadn't contacted them? Would they have just kept the money?
Consequently, I have contacted them and cancelled my spring order as well. I cannot trust they will deliver these bulbs. My fall planting is now delayed another year and my spring plants if they didn't arrive would have left a bigger hole in my garden too. I already have holes in my garden due to the bulbs that were OUT OF STOCk at Brecks and holes from their bulbs that didn't germinate.
I will find somewhere else to purchase my spring bulbs and perhaps I still have time to find my parrot tulips this fall.
I have ordered from this firm for at least 25 years, almost always with great results. However, my latest order makes me rethink that relationship. I placed a couple of orders in early March with the wholesale division. Most of the items were bulbs, some plants. When the first package arrived at the first of April, the live plants were fine, but the dahlias and begonias were unacceptable. Bishop of Llandaff roots were rotten, as were some of the Gallery Rembrandt tubers. The entire lot of Begonia Switzerland had rotted. This was not due to freezing (as the live plants and other begonias were fine). Strangely, a few days later another identical order arrived - with some of the same results. After calling KVB, I was assured that they would replace the order and give me a $10 credit. My second order arrived in good shape (different items). And then the replacement order showed up a week later. In it, the dahlia pot tubers were mostly fine. The begonias once again had some rotting, some dried. A Dahlia Karma Lagoon order was OK, but the Stuttgart canna roots need watching. This early in the season the poor condition of the order - not to mention the confusion over shipments - is simply unacceptable. I cannot recommend KVB at this time for soft tubers like dahlias and begonias. The quality control for these simply is inadequate or non-existent.
Experience so far is poor (and my order hasn't even arrived yet!!)
1. I placed an order on Apr 28th on the K. Van Bourgondien & Sons website and the email confirmation estimates delivery between May 1st and May 6th. Taking this literally (my first mistake) I initiate steps to arrange help with the planting over the weekend of the 10th/11th. On May 5th I check the order status on their website and it still estimates delivery between May 1st and May 6th.
2. On May 7th my order hasn't arrived so I check the order status on their website once again. It now estimates delivery between May 14th and May 14th. I immediately send an email asking for a status on the order and to understand WHY the delay has happened.
3. Today, May 8th, I conclude that I must have sent the email into a black hole (which is why no one is replying) so I call the 1-800 customer service phone number. The customer service representative:
a. Cannot tell me definitively WHY the order has been delayed but speculates that it could be because one of the items is on back order or because it’s the “busy” season
b. Informs me that the order “should definitely probably” ship in the next 2-3 business days and that it “should take 5-7 business days” (as you can see – there is not a permutation, assuming that these numbers are legitimate, that ends with delivery on May 14th)
c. Informs me, when asked, that K. Van Bourgondien & Sons do not send out email updates when an order is delayed (only when it has shipped). In the meantime I have received numerous emails from K. Van Bourgondien & Sons trying to stimulate me to buy more items from them
4. I read the reviews here and see that most of the negative ones relate to the quality of what was delivered (I didn't manage to make it that far yet) which doesn't bode well for what is coming next
If you do order from K. Van Bourgondien & Sons here is what you should know:
• Don’t assume that they are operating at the same level as other reputable online vendors (like Amazon for example)
• Take the delivery “estimate” with a huge pinch of salt (it’s more like a guess and one made by a blindfolded 2 year old) it doesn't mean the same as other vendors delivery estimates
• You will need to follow the status of your order carefully. Do not expect to be kept informed of any changes in order status or in delivery estimate or of items on back order
• If you email customer service - don’t expect to receive replies from them (phone them instead)
• If you phone customer service – don’t expect them to have many facts, but do expect them to speculate or theorize and generally be non-committal
• Do expect them to start peppering you with marketing emails
Usually order from another company but got an email from this group and after perusing their site decided to give them a try...ordered a selection of bulbs packed as a combination at a price I felt was reasonable for the number of bulbs...order arrived and I knew I had made a mistake...dried and shriveled up...planted them anyway hoping for the best...not one, nay not one, came up...emailed the company and guess what...no response...knew better...from now on I will follow this well worn advice - dance with the one who brung you...
On Nov 17, 2013, CyndeeT Maple Hill, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:
I will NEVER place another order with this company EVER AGAIN! they are manipulative and deceitful ..I placed a combined order for the following items ..Gladiator Aliums, Altruist Daffodils, Pinkvision Parrot Tulips,&Vanilla Peach Daffodils $128.23 well certainly not as large as some of the orders I see placed and messed up. well to keep this BRIEF. the out of STOCK notices started .. one order arrived .. Vanilla Daffodils and they are DRIED UP there is NOT ONE SINGLE BULB in the bag!! they must have been laying around for 3-4 years to have that happen
well I will be calling them MONDAY for a replacement of HEALTHY DAFFS my planting season is actually over the cold is setting in..but I NEED THEM NOW for my Planned flower garden. if I could purchase elsewhere I would. then the PINK VISION PARROT Tulips were cancelled so I called for the BLUE in substitution .. why not contact me abd ask rather than send a postcard letting me know they have ruined my plans for a flower garden color scheme? WHY? I 'll tell you why all the discounts free shipping or any bonus you may have gotten goes rigth ot the window when they pull a stunt likethis.. so what have I received out of my $128. order..you ask.. ALIUMs probably the only item I should have purchased from them.. so I will call and explain again my displeasure.. not that they actually care about ME.. but this is absurd.. lesson learned.. AVOID KVB..that's it's get this order fixed corrected refunded replaced and MOVE ON! ok stepping off my soapbox just wanted to get my story out there wondering how many horror stories we don't hear. YEP ZILLIONS
On Nov 17, 2013, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
"On Nov 19, 2013 10:09 AM, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
Thank you for your feedback. I truly apologize for the problems you have had with your order. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and rectify the problems you have had with your order."
In July of 2013, I placed a $321.75 internet order with K. van Bourgondien for a variety of spring flowering bulbs using my name, my email, my address, and my credit card. In the subsequent order status email I received from K. van Bourgondien, the billing address name had been changed to my father, who has been dead for over seven years. The email was even addressed to him. In a reply email to K. van Bourgondien, I asked them to change the account to my name. K. van Bourgondien replied they wanted “proof of charge such as copy of cashed check and we will update it” (the account).
I replied to K. van Bourgondien that I didn’t understand what proof they needed or why. I suggested they delete my father’s account and establish one under my name. A few days later I received an unsigned letter from Breck’s Bulbs Payment Services asking for my father’s death certificate so they could change the name on the account. I sent a letter in return stating that my father had no need of an account with Breck’s, K. Van Bourgondein, or any other affiliate associated with Garden’s Alive. I also told them I would not send a death certificate, that I wanted my own account, and if that was not possible, to refund all charged amounts and remove me from any and all mailing or email lists associated with any affiliate of Garden’s Alive.
Ordering flower bulbs over the Internet shouldn’t be this hard. The request for a death certificate so I could order flower bulbs with my name, address, and credit card is quite possibly the most ridiculous request I have ever received, especially since my father never lived at my address. The apparent inability of K. van Bourgondein or Breck’s to establish a correct account for a paying customer leads me to conclude they really don’t want my business. As further proof, upon querying my credit card account, I find K. van Bourgondien refunded the original charge amount. At least they followed one instruction.
ordered bulbs-sent check-they cashed check-sent me a letter saying i needed a physical address and they had cashed my check-i sent physical address-they responded and said they couldnt send bulbs without money, even though they had already cashed my check and sent me a letter saying they did. they informed me to go to my bank and get copy of the check-i did. now im still waiting. customer service is a joke, nobody knows what is going on. will not purchase bulbs from them anymore. i placed order 2/8/13, they cashed check 2/20/13 and i am still waiting 3/5/13. having a hard time getting them to assist me. glad i didnt spend a lot of money with them!!!! wish i would have checked this site first. i order a lot of bulbs from different companies, so far no problems!!
On Mar 5, 2013, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
"On Mar 14, 2013 11:09 AM, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
Thank you for letting us know about the problem with your order. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and check on your order for you."
On Jan 2, 2013, ParkCottage Minneapolis, MN wrote:
Your know, I just have to take issue with the responses by K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. to the negative comments over the last year:
"Thank you for your posting and we apologize for any inconvenience. We are now under new ownership and a customer service representative will contact you for more information. Or if you prefer you can call us at 800-552-9916 and of our of customer service representatives will be happy to help."
I had number of negative experiences and very poor customer service that caused me to stop doing business with this company, the last of which was in 2011. Now the response to negative comments is that they are under new ownership, a fact that is undisclosed on their website. Really? If that is true, why not disclose it. However, if it is simply a continuation of the family business, then I - for one - am not willing to invest any more time and money into the family values and customer service that more than likely has been passed down to the "new ownership." Seriously folks, if you make a claim of new ownership, stand behind it and post it on your website.
On Jan 2, 2013, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
"On Jan 3, 2013 2:23 PM, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
We appreciate your comments. We are under new ownership as of April, 2012. I will send along your suggestion to post it on our website."
I twice ordered what looked to be a very attractive mixture of "bronze blend" irises. At least it looked very attractive in the picture. Unfortunately there was not a single "bronze" flower each time I ordered. When I asked customer service if they could be sure the 2nd time that I actually received at least one "bronze" iris, they said they could not and indeed they were good to their word at least with that. Waiting two years to grow the same ordinary irises instead of the ones i wanted was very disappointing. I simply gave up.
On Dec 8, 2012, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
"On Dec 8, 2012 12:44 PM, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
We appreciate you posting and letting us know about the problem with your Iris. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for you account information and see if we can get this taken care of for you."
On Jul 11, 2012, carolmo Olathe, KS (Zone 5a) wrote:
Ordered 5 bulbs of asiatic lily landini (black). Got bright orange flowers that looked like tiger lilies. Called and got new owner - lady said they just took over and could not see the orders yet. Gave plants to neighbor.
On Jul 11, 2012, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
"On Jul 19, 2012 11:06 AM, K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. responded with:
Thank you for your posting and we apologize for any inconvenience. We are now under new ownership and a customer service representative will contact you for more information. Or if you prefer you can call us at 800-552-9916 and of our of customer service representatives will be happy to help.
Posted on February 23, 2012, updated February 23, 2012
Unfortunate. This season I turned in a $450 order for spring planted summer bulbs but was troubled when I didn't receive an e-mail confirmation. I called them on 2/13/12 to inquire & was told that my order was still in the system but that I would receive a confirmation soon.
Today I just checked their website & attempted to process an order to see if it would go through. A notice came up stating "Unfortunately, we are unable to accept any orders at this time". I attempted to check the status of my order by logging in on their website and received a message reading "There is no account with this e-mail address". When I called "800" numbers both from their Watchdog profile & from their website, I received a recording stating: "Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are unable to take your call at this time. Please try your call again later".
After all of this, I had to notify my credit card company to contest the charges K. Van Bourgondien & Sons, Inc. had applied to my account on 2/8/12. What a nuisance, and it's the end of an era with Van Bourgondien.
On February 23rd, 2012, seagardener added the following:
Ugh. After doing some further research online, it appears that they had filed bankruptcy proceedings January 26, 2012 yet debited customers credit card accounts up to at least February 8, 2012 & confirmed orders as late as 2/13/12. Pretty rotten thing to do.