IlhadoPico Sao Roque do Pico, Portugal (Zone 11) (4 reviews) April 8, 2021
Posted on April 8, 2021, updated April 8, 2021
Posted on March 18, 2020, updated April 8, 2021
Posted on March 11, 2020, updated March 18, 2020
Posted on December 21, 2019, updated March 11, 2020
Posted on December 21, 2019, updated December 21, 2019
Posted on August 13, 2018, updated December 21, 2019
Posted on June 4, 2017, updated August 13, 2018
Posted on May 20, 2017, updated June 4, 2017
I am a hobbyist (plant collector), not a reseller or wholesaler. I live in the E.U. (Azores like Madeira is a climate to grow many tropical species) so I don't need any certificates. My order for 60 seeds (3 varieties of tropical palms x 20 seeds each for success of germination of at least 1 or 2 seeds, of course with much better germination rate expected, thus fresh seeds requested) was placed online on 21-APR-2017.
Our summers are not hot, so I need to have seeds by mid May as the least, so I can store them in a tiny greenhouse for up to 3 month germination, so I hoped that almost one month is enough to receive these regular, seemingly readily available seeds.
My last order with RPS was a year ago for Bismarckia nobilis (60 seeds) out of which 3 seeds germinated totalling in a 5% germination rate. Bismarckia usually germinated 50% to 75% from my past experiences, without any problems and grows very fast. That was an expensive experience as the seeds are expensive cost me about 1€ each or more. Yet I decided with no other source in sight I will take a chance and order more seeds from Tobias W. Spanner - Rarepalmseeds.com this year.
I waited patiently thinking my seeds are on the way.
On 8-MAY-2017 I emailed them, and on 9-MAY-2017 I received an email:
"thank you very much for your mail. Unfortunately there was a delay in processing your order. The seeds will be shipped this week so they should arrive in a few days time. Sorry for the delay ..."
On 16-MAY-2017, almost a MONTH after I placed an order I receive an email noting that they are unable to charge my card. OK, so I assume they took almost a month to get me FRESH seeds as I requested. And the seeds were not shipped "this week". Yet they did not comment on the freshness on the seeds. I checked my card and I think it is my fault, because the card may be only good for my country, and not for the entire EU or the world.
On 16-MAY-2017 (4 days ago) I immediately within an hour sent them a bank wire from my computer and emailed them confirmations and even a PDF with proof of my bank wire and asked them to mail my seeds ASAP as I don't want to be late for germination. The bank noted that the wired money will be received the next day.
I emailed them to all possible working email adresses and of course to [email protected]. My software confirmed delivery and receipt of those emails pon their end. NO RESPONSE so far or confirmation of my shipped order. I don't want to lose entire year because of this, I hope they already mailed my seeds.
Despite that their site FAQ or Q&A notes that for small packets they accept only credit cards, and despite I offered them to pay with a different credit card, with no response to that email, I read their email states:
"Alternatively you can pay for the order by transferring the total in the order confirmation below to our account"
Therefore I quickly sent them a bank wire transfer (€32) without hesitation as I need the seeds here ASAP.
Again, I am a repeat customer and I have purchased from them before with mixed results: one time wrong species germinated (Washingtonia robusta seeds germinated as W. filifera), in another case as per above a 5% germination of seeds that usually germinate for me at least with a 50% rate and another case, I think in 2015 some of the very tropical seeds arrived already germinating as noted, which was a pleasant surprise that year, although the seeds did not make to grow, probably because my climate is not tropical enough.
So, I hope that they already mailed my seeds and they just neglectful to their (repeat) customers. Yet a brief message "Your seeds have been mailed on ...." would suffice. No proper communication earns them NEGATIVE feedback, so far.
If they keep my money (as the other reviewer noted) and never ship my seeds I will have to post this information in many other locations on the internet. It is too painful to lose entire year for germination because of some LOUSY "service" that can't communicate fairly with their especially with repeat customers.
REMARK: I may update this to Neutral or even Positive depending on the outcome of my order.On June 4th, 2017, IlhadoPico changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
UPDATE: 3-JUN-2017: Seeds received, each packet containing about 5 extra bonus seeds. A short email with two words "SEEDS MAILED" or even an automated system message would have sufficed. Description of received seeds:
All 100% Hyophorbe seeds (both lagenicaulis and verschaffeltii) sank to the bottom in water. Good.
13 Pritchardia pacifica seeds sank to the bottom, while other 13 were clearly rattling and floating and looked different (with "noses"). I doubt the rattling-floating seeds are of any use, but I will try to germinate them separately.
On August 13th, 2018, IlhadoPico added the following:
From year 2018 I only order "fresh" seeds marked with "NEW". Bought a lot of seeds lately, several orders, all arrived fine. Some seeds were rattling and foating even that I ordered only "NEW" and added remarks to my orders "Fresh Seeds Only Please!" and I usually pay the retail and buy retail packs, resultin them in much higher profits. Unfortunately orders never are marked as shipped, so I always just patiently wait and it arrives. Unfortunately as to germination of RPS Fresh "New" seeds I can't say a nursery professional could ever make a profit since most seeds just do not germinate, no matter whether I buy them fresh "New". Germination rates 1% to 20% maximum. Many species did not germinate at all but I did not give up on them yet and will continue attempting to germinating them for years to come. From now on I will only buy seeds that ared BOTH marked as "NEW" and as "GERMINATED". Which means those will be micro seedlings actually. Regarding customer service, if you are lucky you will get a reply from them, but 99% of the time it's just silence, no matter how important is the inquiry. I hope there is another seed source on the market soon that is customer friendly and who's germination rates are not in the sewer.On December 21st, 2019, IlhadoPico changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
On December 21st, 2019, IlhadoPico added the following:
RPS has upgraded their website, which looks nice but is very slow to browse and more confusing to use. Can not find NEW ARRIVALS (seeds) anymore. My long time account with many past placed orders has been removed and they wrote I can just create a new one. All my orders history is gone. They could move their customer accounts to their new site yet they chose to simply delete and have us sign up all over again.
Now regarding public comments on palm species, for some reason only 4 and 5 star reviews and comments are published. Any criticism even if a constructive criticism and important notices to other gardeners if unacceptable to site owner (even if polite) are not published.
Regarding germination rate none of the seeds on the second and third year have germinated,m except two unimportant easy-to-germinate species, two seedlings, out of hundreds. Thus germination rate as mentioned before, is extremely low. (Part of the) fresh seeds marked as NEW arrive rattling and useless.
Since website has improved (except its speed) hopefully the quality of material and the service will improve but until then I withhold my orders for several years and purchase only seedlings and trees from other nurseries.
Also, I recommend only buy RPS seeds that are BOTH marked as "NEW" and as "GERMINATED". Which means those will be micro seedlings actually.
And expect at least 1 to 3 months for your seeds to arrive after you pay for them.On March 11th, 2020, IlhadoPico added the following:
Before last night I have logged into my new RPS account that was created a couple months ago, after losing the old account to their fresh upgrade, and now I have filled my shopping cart with many different seeds in quantity for a large amount and since it was a late hour I went to sleep without saving the contents nor remembering the contents well. It was an IMPULSE PURCHASE for me! Lucky for the RPS, but... last morning I returned to their store to find my shopping cart completely empty. Most stores online save cart contents for a lengthy period of time. Not this one. In the past when RPS updated their website (it is now nicer but much slower to browse) my account was deleted with all my past orders. They did not move any past orders or accounts to their new site. The seeds that take about 2 months to arrive since they wait a month to charge a card and then another month to deliver arrive continuously partly not viable, shattered or they germinate in very low percentage such as 3% or none. I did have some limited success with RPS seeds in the past, but a lot of misidentifying is going on, even now I realised the couple palms that germinated from the batch are different species than I purchased. Take your chances. If you have no other source for specific seeds, take a chance and good luck. I almost made another mistake, an impulse buy 2 nights ago, rewarding RPS with a large order which they do not deserve. I am now ordering seeds, germinated seedlings and palms directly from their suppliers and fellow hobbyists and will travel myself to get them on the site, even if it is harder to achieve that. On March 18th, 2020, IlhadoPico added the following:
Update: I apologise regarding the RPS shopping cart: it does save the cart contents, I had some technical issues with browsers and the PC and now seems resolved. The rest of my post remains solid.On April 8th, 2021, IlhadoPico added the following:
8 April 2021: First of all, before placing a new order this year I have emailed RPS asking to credit me for several palm seeds to my account that did not germinate at all that I have purchased from them last year. In fact, those were the cheapest seeds than others, so they can see I am not lying. The more expensive seeds had germination of about 30% (out of 100 seeds). My germination technique is described in the comments section under each palm tree on the RPS website.
RPS refused to credit for those never germinated seeds stating that they do not guarantee germination. OK, but last year as every year they make about 1 month's delay before seeds are shipped out. That makes the fresh seeds old and some seeds become too old to germinate. It is RPS's fault because their terms on their website and even on the invoice state:
"Your order will be shipped as soon as we received your payment."
This year (2021) as all the previous years they have already received my payment 2 weeks ago (by a bank (wire) transfer), but so far my order shows up as "processing" and not as "shipped". And when I emailed asking them for a tracking number since they did answer all or almost all of my emails BEFORE I placed an order and paid for it. Once I pay them usually they STOP responding and become silent.
This year I ordered all fresh seeds and some of the seeds are very time-sensitive, but RPS does not seem to care.On April 8th, 2021, IlhadoPico added the following:
P.S. My order for all fresh seeds marked as "NEW" only has PRIORITY SHIPPING at €14, but two weeks later none has been shipped yet. How old will the seeds become once I receive them?! And then RPS refuses to replace the seeds a year later when they don't germinate!
Same as the guys before me I am experiencing a large delay after I have completed a payment for my order of the seeds and absolutely no communication. I have ordered from them several years ago and none of the seeds have ever germinated under the perfect germination conditions and techniques, thus I have decided to never return to the RPS website. Yet this year I wanted to give them another chance and yet another disappointment. I see that nothing has changed at the RPS even if they now have got themselves a new website. I don't see any rebuttals posted by the RPS neither. This time I will keep my word and will never buy from RPS ever again.
palmmeupscotty South Kaipara Harbour, New Zealand (Zone 10b) (1 review) April 1, 2021
I never received my seeds and did not receive replies to my emails. This was in 2019. Maybe the situation has improved now.
(Last week I checked prices and see that if I were to order 50 euros worth of seeds I'd pay a minimum of 80 euros in shipping (why? other sellers charge around 10 euros) plus the phyto cert of 45 euros.)
Posted on February 5, 2021, updated February 5, 2021
Posted on February 1, 2021, updated February 5, 2021
Emailed them several times and after 90 days they responded that they had sent the seeds that day without tracking and had not included the phyto. cert. which I both paied for, they did not give a refund. still after 180 days the seeds have not arrived and no evidence have been given that seeds ever where sent. no notification from customs. Asked for a refund but only excusses from them came back, will talk to the bank.
I suspect rarepalmseeds.com are opperating a systematic fraud.On February 5th, 2021, fruitseeder added the following:
after 190 days seeds arrived. they look very old and dry, will do my best to help them germinate if they are alive.
have not been refunded for the phyto cert. that they said they credited me, the refund (credit) does not excist in the bank transactions so this is very strange and the original debit have not been corrected either.On February 5th, 2021, fruitseeder added the following:
no longer suspecting they are operating systematic fraud.
not crediting what has not been delived is still very bad practice though.
Amredden Saint Louis, MO (1 review) December 28, 2020
I ordered from rarepalmseeds.com on October 31, 2020. It is now December 28, 2020 and still nothing. My order was to have been received by December 1, 2020. I received an email with a tracking number that does not actually track anything and the only information provided is the package is in pre shipping (whatever that means). I ordered items from Australia, paid a lower shipping rate and received them in two weeks. Australia is substantially farther away from where I live. I sent numerous emails through all known email addresses and received no response. I waited until today to dispute the charge on my credit card and I only did so after sending an email and a message through the website stating that if I didn’t get a response and a tracking number that actually tracked something, I would dispute the charge today. I read a lot of reviews that said customer service was non-existent, I should have listened. There was no indication that rare palm seeds.com was a scam, only that it’s customer service skills were sketchy at best. Fortunately, my credit card company already refunded me the charges, but now I do not have my seeds. I truly wish there was a mail order house in North America that sold a variety of hard to find seeds.
See_Will Pattaya, Thailand (Zone 12a) (3 reviews) September 6, 2020
Posted on April 1, 2020, updated September 6, 2020
I have ordered 5 different Items from RPS destination Thailand.
Aware that it might take a long time, the parcel was arriving within 5 weeks standard mail.
Not longer than any other stuff I bought recently.
The germination rate was like I expected.
Some seeds didn't make it as they were too long on transit and others my wife and I screwed up by over-watering and wrong USDA Zone.
But if we order seeds we are looking up the needs of them and there are seeds that cannot be stored longer than a week outside cool storage,
others you have to eat the fruit and spit them seeds into the soil.
So people like to blame the supplier.
We simply took the risk and gambled our luck.
Sure is, the ones we have been aware that they can handle a long storage period were also germinating to 100%.
Too many hobbyists ordering with a half knowledge and blaming the supplier.
We just ordered again and we will order again at rarepalmseeds and we will gamble again.
Just one seed that succeeds even it is not supposed to can make you standing off the crowd within your collectors.
I travel worldwide and wherever I find some specimen I'll get seeds when traveling home.
Is the same situation 80 are dead when I am arriving home.
Its the nature not the service. On September 6th, 2020, See_Will changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
Meanwhile after I gave this comment I have made orders above 1500 EUR and the germination success is as above stated.
I am still keeping my word up that most not germinated seeds are our fault, the long transportation time of the courier...
But strange is that I have received 6 orders from an American supplier within 10 days by lower transportation fees.
Also the way customers mails are handled is a strong minus.
One order was blocked at the customs but they were so nice to send them back to RPS.
The order was above 400 EUR, hence I asked for another way to send.
2 Mails no reply at all is poor especially over an value of this order.
Also here was the American supplier way better.
3 Mails replied within 3 days after sending.
Mr Spanner: you really have to work on the customer's service!
I ordered seeds from Rarepalmseeds about two months ago. I received my order envelope in the mail only to open it and see there was a document from customs department that my seeds were confiscated and destroyed. I reached out to the owner of rare palm seeds several times however I do not get any replies. I guess it is a 50/50 chance you will get your seeds if you live in the USA. I will not be ordering from them again . 50.00 loss and lessoned learned
Niller1986 Ulfborg, Denmark (1 review) July 13, 2020
I was a bit nervous to buy from them because of the comments about infertile seeds etc.
But I did receive the seeds I ordered and I sowed them right away. (Thaumatococcus daniellii)
It took 3 months but then 1 of 5 seeds sprouted. So the seeds are ok, it's just a matter of patience.
In general, seeds can even take years to germinate if not stratified.
SONZAYED Umm al Quwain, United Arab Emirates (1 review) June 1, 2019
I bought wholesale seeds from them but I didn't get any seed they didn't reply on any email I have sent to them It is a fake website that's why they didn't have PayPal option to pay because they know that paybal can stop transfer money to them if the buyer complained
Posted on March 8, 2019, updated March 8, 2019
Posted on March 8, 2019, updated March 8, 2019
I (we) have contacted Rare Palm seeds several times, re: POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE, incorrect number of seeds, but been charged for them at full price, prices of seeds going up within seconds, incorrect quantity for example you put one in the box, and suddenly it was changed numerous times to higher quantities, supposed to receive a credit note/refund for £20.00, as the seeds we ordered were in stock then, they were out of stock, and I notified them straight away, and they have pretended to pay it back, but they haven't, they have continued to lie about this, they have paid it to someone else and not back to me, this is still going on, and trying to sort it out, they are being really awkward, they NEVER replied back to any correspondence, or people's emails. I have only just received responses recently.
We have ordered thousands of pounds from them for many years, from when they first started.
They don't care about their customers or communicating with them, all they want is money from people, and certainly themselves.
There has been many times when the seeds have arrived, they are very old seeds, and not very good germination.
Tobias W spanner reckons that they are a good company, and very positive, huh what a joke, they are not this at all, he also reckons that any comments or complaints that people make are hearsay, where it is isn't, and people have to suffer bad experience from this company RARE PALM SEEDS, instead of these people resolving the issues or problems, they just ignore people, and be rude to them, I have receive lots of rudeness, sarcasm, patronised, and disrespectful, disgusting and dispicable manners from TOBIAS W SPANNER from Rare Palm Seeds, and I have just read my email today, and he said I should medical help, because I have sent them numerous correspondence to try and sort out these problems because of them, this appalling for him to treat me this way, and he and Rare Palm Seeds employees have done this and upset alot of people, I don't think these people would like to be treated in this disrespectful way, he pretends that he is a nice person but he isn't, he is very RUDE, ILL MANNERED, IMPOLITE......
They should be closed down, cease trading, as they don't care about people or customers at all, like I mentioned before all they want is people's money, and themselves.
They should be named and shamed for the disgusting way that they treat people. I am already in the process of contacting the media, and I will make sure this gets mentioned local, national and international, social media, everyone I know and other organisations too, which would love to hear about this, especially in Horticulture Industry,as it's not nice what this company is doing to people, I care more about people of what they are going through and what they have suffered from RARE PALM SEEDS than they do.
I hope everyone is Ok, and please don't give up re: this company, fight them all the way to receive a positive outcome, it's not very nice that you have to suffer lots of stress and inconvenience because of them. On March 8th, 2019, Event01 added the following:
Also please be aware that the prices always go up and they are very expensive and extortionate, have to pay lots of money for VAT, since the website has changed, there is additional prices for example it used to be just pounds for the products and seeds, now lots of pence, weight has been added, not only this but you the postage and package changes, and goes up again to another expensive price, one minute we think we are paying one price, which shows in the basket, then it goes up, orders always change within seconds, when you ensure it is the right amount, it is changed back to another number, also not sure if you are aware, but we have to pay the foreign change fee too, again which is really high, I ended up paying more money on top of the seeds, wasn't informed this by anyone, I was shocked that this happened. The seeds are always LATE, no communication or apology at all....Instead of resolving all the problems and take the blame and responsibility and admitting their own mistakes, and not admitting their poor customer service, or behaviour, they just blame other people, and pass the buck on to someone else, and constantly ignore people again it's not nice. I don't appreciate being treated like this, they should treat people of how they wished to be treated themselves. :( :( :( :( :( :(On March 8th, 2019, Event01 added the following:
Lots of pounds plus additional pence, which makes the seeds even more expensive than they already are :( :( :( :(...........................
Never got around to rating this company the first 2 times I made an order there. And to rate the whole experience altogether, it would start off as positive, fall down to neutral and finally, this last order pushes it way into the negative zone.
It seems placing an order doesn't actually accomplish anything, seeing as nothing has been shipped for half a month now and nobody is answering the inquiries. Obviously the customer has to rely on wether somebody is just going turn up and perhaps ship your seeds sometime in the future, while also charging your card regardless of when you placed your order.
Regarding what was actually done on the previous orders, the seeds were generally fine, although a batch or two were clearly not viable, though were shipped nonetheless. The shipping company for regular shipping was just horrid. While specifically stated that temperatures might get low, they were bounced all across Europe, spent a night in Finland and after passing the destination country twice, finally found their way.
Overall, I had high hopes for this company and was looking to add it to my regulars list, but the bad service is a strong enough deterrent, I just hope I'm not going to be charged for the unfulfilled order after buying the needed seeds somewhere else.
skykik16 Bangkok, Thailand (3 reviews) November 12, 2017
I order small packet seeds on October 18. I wait to receive my order. I send Email ask my order status many many time because I didn't receive anything from this shop. My shipping address is in Germany. Reply Email told shipped my order on October 26 but I didn't receive my order as now. I can't check my order status. I try to send Email many time for ask about this problem but shop not respone anything.
Minime8484 Chandler, AZ (Zone 9b) (22 reviews) November 7, 2017
Found a much-wanted species of cactus on their website, but the photo was clearly not of the species indicated. Before ordering, I wanted to clarify if the seeds were the same as the NAME or the PHOTO.
They responded quickly that they put the wrong photo up from that collector, and they even sent me a photo of the species listed that I wanted, confirming that their seeds were indeed the correct species listed.
I ordered immediately, and received my seeds within a couple of weeks in great condition. I haven't sowed them yet but hope to soon.
Also, I notice they now have the CORRECT photo on their website for the species...but, they still have the INCORRECT photo also! Hopefully, they will remove the incorrect one soon.
whitewings Devizes, United Kingdom (2 reviews) August 3, 2016
I am very new to negative feedback, in the very rare case of a problem I prefer to solve it with the seller.
I have a business myself and I know well that problems may happen.
But after months I have wrote several emails with NO reply, I have had enough!
I buy from them from years now.
Not always the seeds were fresh, some times they were smelling mound, another time they had holes and bugs.
Did not say anything, apart from 1000 annona muricata with also, they sent the replace with the new order.
But this time 1000 seeds arrived crushed, destroyed, in 100000 pieces.
I sent them a email, explained that all was well packed. Arrived well apart from this bag that obviously left already crashed.
I have waited a long time, sent another: no reply.
I have then said that the situation was not acceptable, there are rules in commerce, also e-commerce and ignoring the problem was not acceptable.
I have added that I was going to share the experience on the forum and, guess what?
I had a reply, they never got my previous email ( just that one where I was talking about the feedback? Uh-Uh....) and maybe it was the leftover what they sent, I had to wait few days, till Monday, to get the answer, after the check.
Cool, we are going to solve that, I thought....
He did not tell me Monday which year, because possibly it is not any Monday in 2016 as I am waiting after few months, and again my emails appear like do not touch his email box...
What to think?
A good company IS also a good customer care, IS who can solve problem or is in touch with the customer.
My order was, if I remember well, around 300€, what if all the seeds were damaged?
No one can be that busy to ignore a customer, customers are what keep a business alive, together with the quality of a product.
I am very happy to read only positive feedback on their website but it is also possible that the negative ones simply, like my emails, disappear before arriving (!!!??)
Will keep you posted if something happens but they are too busy to read and, even more, to reply.
Stevea07 Florence, AL (6 reviews) February 24, 2015
I have ordered from them many, many times over nearly 10 years. I order the species listed as 'new' and get good germination rates. Other seeds not listed as 'new' can be months or years old. I have gotten 0% to 30% germination rate from them. Also, e-mail response has gotten much better over the years. A long time ago it would take 6 months, now I get a reply in one day.
paulobessa Porto, Portugal (Zone 9a) (6 reviews) January 22, 2015
Posted on December 5, 2014, updated January 23, 2015
Posted on December 5, 2014, updated December 5, 2014
Rarepalmseeds certainly has a huge variety of rarities. For that, I am pretty glad for them. You can find some really rare and critically endangered species.
Trouble is, they don't care about how long they stock up their seeds. So you will end up with half of your species not germinating, because they are probably too old.
If you email them, they will not reply. So again a problem.
But like I say, I always got their seeds, without any problems, within Europe, and always got some species that germinated, some of them pretty rare, so my review is mixed.On December 5th, 2014, paulobessa changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
Actually, from what I have ordered from them, it was just a fourth of the species that did not germinated. I appologize to have exagerated.
On a few species,there were no instructions available and also they never to me, in my multiple attempts to get that information from the.
Other than the communication problem, my review is mostly positive.On January 22nd, 2015, paulobessa added the following:
- My first order with them, several months down the road:
Moringa hildebrandtii, most seeds germinated
Odontocarya perforata, no seed germinated
Abies pinsapo: no seed germinated
Athrotaxis laxifolia: no seed germinated
Cupressus dupreziana var. atlantica: only two seeds germinated
Pinus maximartinezii: all seeds germinated
Pinus torreyana: all seeds germinated
From a total of 7 species ordered, 3 have failed to germinate.
- A second order, several months down the road:
Aloe flexilifolia: most seeds germinated
Aloe peglerae: most seeds germinated
Adansonia suarezensis: no germination so far
Dendroseris micrantha, only one seed germinated
Matelea orthoneura: all seeds germinated
So, from an overall total of 12 species, 4 failed to germinate.
- 2 orders: all within 1-2 weeks in Europe. Prompt shipping.
- 4 emails sent: never a reply.
Will place a third order from them, and i will let you know how it goes
Tropi_Cool Barcelona, Spain (1 review) September 22, 2014
Andean Walnut seeds:
I just received these seeds, and I am already regretting my decision to purchase them. The only reason I had the confidence to spend that amount of money, was the fact that in the listing they were marked "new".
I am sorry to say, this may well be my last purchase from Rare Palm Seeds. (And I have been a steady customer for more than ten years).
The seeds which have just arrived are decorated with colored glitter, and were obviously taken from some sort of Christmas decoration. It is now the end of September, some nine months beyond Christmas.
This follows on from several previous instances when seeds received were clearly well past their storage life. It seems Rare Palm Seeds keeps their inventory indefinitely, and have no transparency regarding age or storage conditions. They need to step beyond greed and back into dependability as a source.
My disappointment is profound.
I have searched out a number of studies on storage, germination techniques and cultivation for Juglans neotropica, and will of course, see what happens with these old seeds. Should I have success, I will share the info here.
silybear Praha, Czech Republic (1 review) October 2, 2013
More orders from this seller.
First, lets say 3 orders were OK, I ordered under "new" cycad seeds. Came nice fresh, heavy seeds, about 70-90 pct sprouting success. I was happy.
But last two orders were just bad, once I have got 12 cycad seeds, where 11 of them were for sure very old and light and floating on water - no way the person who was packaging seeds didnt notice it. These were not noted "new" on the website, so I guess they dont care about old seeds to get rid of and happily selling them on and on. Not only my impression.
When I sent 3 emails about this order, no response at all. Funny was, altough no response to my complaint, few days after I sent new order email to them and right away they sent me email with payment instruction. So no response to problem, but imediate response to another order request.
And last order 20 seeds of cycas, even under "new", they were very light and floating in water - I have suspection they just sell the old seeds as new ones, OK I can be wrong, but since the very same species I ordered year before was very fresh and heavy seeds, year later, same seeds under "new" were light and till yet, none of them germinated yet (still keeping in process).
So, I had strong need to add my comment. Earlier orders were fine, latest bad.Company representative comment on December 3, 2013: On Dec 3, 2013 3:57 PM, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
I am sorry about your problem with this batch of Cycas. Next time you place an order, please make sure to mention this in the "comments" field and we will be happy to replace them.
NorthSC North, SC (Zone 8a) (10 reviews) June 30, 2013
Posted on June 30, 2013, updated June 30, 2013
3 years ago I ordered several different palm seeds, a very small order and it took some time, but I received it all in good order. Three years later, now, I found out when the palms grew up a little bit that one of the seeds turned out to be something else. Not a big deal as I still have the palm, but I needed this particular seeds for a research to compare to the others, how they germinate, how they grow etc. I do not leave negative feedback, because seeds were received and no problem except the above problem.
Also, a totally different issue: recently I went to their website to leave a feedback about Bismarckia nobilis which is being sold by RealPalmTrees.com as zone 8B palm and it is impossible to grow that particular palm tree in zone 8B nor in 9A and it probably is impossible to grow anywhere else as it dies no matter how perfect conditions are. An extremely hard to transplant palm. So I left appropriate 3 star feedback on germination page at RaePalmSeeds.com about this Bismarckia Palm (sold by another company), but the feedback was not posted at RPS. Only 5 and some 4 star feedbacks are there. Now I question as well whether some of those seed germination comments are honest. So it's not a big deal, but a word of caution.On June 30th, 2013, NorthSC added the following:
P.S. I meant not "one of the seeds" but "one packet of the seeds, all 10 seeds in that particular packet of that particular palm genus germinated and grew up as something else. Not the right one. I was doing all that research in 3 years on the wrong batch of palms.Company representative comment on December 3, 2013: On Dec 3, 2013 3:45 PM, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
Thanks for your comments. I think it would be fair if you elaborated a bit on what you ordered and what came out of the seeds you received and how you determined that is was something else. Palms often look very different when young, compared to a mature plant.
A comment about transplanting success with Bismarckia is obviously misplaced in our germination comments. If you bought the palm at realpalmtrees.com, advertised with incorrect information, perhaps you should comment there?! I would also like to mention that we are in no way affiliated with realpalmtrees.com.
Posted on June 4, 2013, updated June 10, 2013
Placed our order, credit card was charged the next day for almost $400. Order confirmation said the card would be charged when the order is shipped... it also stated to allow 4 weeks for international delivery? We ship international all the time, it should only take 2 weeks....which raised a red flag with us to begin with. 4 weeks came and went, no order. We emailed, of course still NO reply 9 days later. So we hurried up and placed a dispute with paypal because we used our paypal debit/credit card. They only ALLOW 45 days to open a dispute and Rare Palm Seed knows this! Past 45 days, and they get to keep your money!
Word of Caution! IF you chance ordering from this company....use a credit card so you can dispute the charge or enter a chargeback (within the allowed time) to get your money back if you get no order or else this company can really take advantage of you and keep your money.
Advise to Rare Palm Seeds: REPLY to emails, especially to those that have already paid for an order! Leave the emails with general questions for last, if your 'so busy'.
*In one of the other negatives we read where you replied to someone saying you have/had 8 employees! We have seen busy restaurants preform a busy lunch & dinner with less employees, so what is your excuse, seriously? If you cannot handle the business load with 8 workers....sounds like you need to rethink or restructure your business. Just saying.On June 10th, 2013, jayjaybuddy added the following:
1 week since we opened dispute to find out where our $400 order is, or receive a refund. STILL no reply from rarepalmseeds.com. Did they fall off the face of the earth? Seriously we cannot believe this is how they conduct business. Shame on this company, buyers stay away!
arizonaboy Gilbert, AZ (1 review) October 11, 2012
Buyer Beware I purchased $330 worth of seeds and they sent them out without my import permit attached KNOWING that they wouldn"t make it past customs.When I asked why they said import was MY responsibility. They were returned to RPS they said they would need another 73 euro to cover return shipping,reshipping, and another phyto.I complied with the understanding that ALL paperwork would be in place.It's now 7 weeks since reshipping (supposedly) and now I don't get any email communication returned. OUT total of $400 +Company representative comment on December 10, 2012: On Dec 10, 2012 6:10 PM, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
You had placed your order without mentioning your import permit and we did not receive a comment from you that you would send it. Many customers do not supply their import permit, despite explicit instructions on our website (shipping/phytosanitary certificate information, links are also presented during the ordering process) suggesting to do so. Despite that, it is a rare exception that shipments are returned and you will appreciate that it is not our job to enforce compliance with USDA's import regulations (although we are always happy to help if asked). You are a permit holder and should therefore know what to do, it says so on your permit.
From your most recent e-mail I take it that you finally received our shipment in the meantime. I apologize for the additional cost and trouble incurred. Please let me know if you have any trouble with the seeds received and I will be happy to throw in some replacements with a possible future order.
Posted on March 30, 2012, updated July 9, 2012
Posted on March 9, 2012, updated March 30, 2012
I am a beginner as a Palm grower from Indonesia. I have an american friend from Massachussett who will also find some palm seeds. So I asked him to find seeds for me too.. then he placed order the seed to RPS and ask some questions and instruction, but never had any respond, 10 emails had been sent, but no respond at all, so he decided to cancel the order before he gave CC data... BUT then I my self have placed order seeds and gave my CC data. It was Feb 21 - 2012. once I completely fulfill my data , I got an automatic good confirmation regarding my order... 5 days ahead I emailed again RPS about how the process is going , and he said will send in 4 envelopes , it was feb 27... but until now , there is no more respond from RPS even I had emailed RPS for many time....while on feb 27, RPS has debited my CC.... in my last email I informed Him that he GOT a bad feedback from anywhere . I ask HIM , are you a scammer ? fake and cheater ?? if so then HAIL HITLER !!
in this point , I want to spread out this fake business from RPS.. so that no more people get problems from RPS.. I hope Dave's Garden could be the frontier and spread out this horrified scammer to any palm societies... Thank you On March 30th, 2012, arissoekarno added the following:
Herr Tobias Spanner
I would not placed my posting without prior hearing experience from my friend in Massachussett- USA whose emails to you never been responded properly, without prior having experienced by my self from your respond, as well having read some negative feedback from this lovely forum. there are 3 fatal points which is from your side as stated #1 web site seeds trader. 1. your description is clear ; CC will be charged when seeds are shipped. 2. it is your message to me stated that the package would be sent within this week ( it was Feb 28 ) . 3. You have debited my CC more than the amount of order. It is just a small amount of $171 as a trial transaction , but really disappointed to the way you handle transaction properly as a leader of seed trader . Now about the end of march, none of message or seeds are arriving. I am long enough as member of Ebay and Alibaba on line marketing, none of my partner/seller ignored any message more than 3 days .. so How about you...?? how you will teach me a good manner while you never respond my message and the way you debited my CC more than it supposed to be , without seeds come up, or at least message accordingly..
well Herr Spanner, every civilized people want only to deal with civilized people also . so, I hope from this message you can realize how many people out there need your service, and hope you can also maintain your business get better a head... last but not least , I won't change my rating before I get what I want and my Right . Thank you On July 9th, 2012, arissoekarno changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
dear Herr Tobias Spanner. continuing my article in this site, I would like to make clarification regarding my order. Once a time after 4 months no news from you , I tried to contact you and surprisingly you said have sent the seeds with the track numbers. it was July the 6th. then I trashed the track number on our postal service... It was indeed you have sent those 4 packages !! , So , why we had a problem here ?? the reason are : 1. You never informed me when shipping the packages. 2.no tracking number given and 3 . unfortunetly , I got no notification letter from our post office... ( this is rather weird ) .Shortly, I will make apologize to what happened here. and will give you then my positive rating... with a notes : please treat the customers with :
1.notification of shipping time . Meaning, the same time you
debited our CC
2. notification of tracking number
3. always be able to response incoming email from customers asap... it's your responsibility to reply customer asap to generate your professionality...maybe you need more administrators to handle the email and cases...
Finally, I thank you very much for your lovely packages.. and this will make customers feel peace of mind dealing again with you - RPS... regards - aris from JakartaCompany representative comment on April 11, 2012: On Mar 12, 2012 6:06 PM, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
First of all, I really think I can demand a more civilized tone in a conversation, did nobody teach you any manners? Let me tell you, this is NOT how you write to people! Elsewhere, your message would probably have been deleted.
As for your order, I apologize for not replying to two of your messages. As I have pointed out here and elsewhere, we receive a flood of e-mails every day on all sorts of subjects which at times is difficult to handle with the limited resources of a small company. For delivery times, please refer to our terms of trade. You order is still well within the limit given there, so please be patient, I am sure you will receive the seeds in due course and in good shape.
PS: I have been serving as vice president of the International Palm Society for the last few years, just for your information.
On Apr 11, 2012 6:08 PM, rarepalmseeds.com added:
Dear Mr. Aris Soekarno,
In reply to your message of March 30th: The additional charge you are wondering about is of course the shipping cost. I have re-sent the invoice for your information. Other than that, I am not quite sure where you are going with this, I believe I have addressed all the other points and hope your seeds have arrived in the meantime in good condition.
duncanju Newburyport, MA (14 reviews) April 3, 2012
I'm the guy in Massachusetts. I had actually completed an order, but then after repeated emails, heard nothing back. Maybe you are "flooded" with emails, but that's not our problem. And, if you are the VP of the IPS, then you may need to choose between the two. All these unhappy customers aren't helping you. Is it worth giving your business a bad name?
That said, I will leave the door open, if you want to make things right. Company representative comment on April 11, 2012: On Apr 11, 2012 5:51 PM, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
We had a few short exchanges by e-mail on how to order etc. before you placed an order via our website, to which we sent a confirmation with shipping options and a couple of additions you made by e-mail. As far as I can figure it out, this order was never shipped because your credit card did not work, not because you canceled it. I do indeed have a number of e-mails from you that were not replied to because I could not figure out what you actually wanted and I was assuming you were in contact with my office anyway about resolving the issue with the credit card. Perhaps there were a few misunderstandings involved, and I apologize if I missed anything. I would be happy if you decide to give us another try. To avoid any confusion, just try to keep it simple and straightforward, write any additions or requests in the "comments" field when checking out your order from the shopping cart and when you can't avoid to send an e-mail (sorry, we get far too many), please let us know the order number you are referring to and your actual request.
egneto RIBEIRAO PRETO, Brazil (1 review) February 9, 2012
Posted on May 18, 2011, updated February 9, 2012
I have ordered some bismarckia nobilis seeds around november/2010, it took a few weeks but all the seeds were delivered just fine. As I got good germination results, I decided to order some more, and on March 11th/2011 I ordered 1.000 seeds. The only e-mail I got this time was from mr. Spanner saying that the seeds would be sent as before. It's been over 2 months and I havent received any of the seeds and mr. Spanner does not answer my e-mails for over a month... I am very upset because I really believed in this website, and had a great first experience...the second one was horrible! I feel like I lost my money...plus, I can't seem to get in touch with them by phone.
Sure hope you'll read this mr. Spanner, I would really like to work this out.On February 9th, 2012, egneto changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
After a couple of weeks I was contacted by Heidi, who explained me about the delay and told me when the seeds were actually shipped.
I received all the seeds OK, and would like to change my rating do POSITIVE.
I do understand that some delays may happen, and we cannot control everything. I am also a very reasonable person, and the only reason I gave this negative review was because I have had no response from the company at the time.
I believe RAREPALMSEEDS.COM is a serious and trustworthy company. I will buy from them again.
Elio Galli Neto
franmor puebla, Mexico (3 reviews) January 10, 2012
Posted on October 30, 2008, updated January 10, 2012
Very bad service, MORE than a year and I have not received nor the seeds I paid, neither a refund of my money, they prefer to ignore the many emails (about 30) I've sent them.
Mr. S. Möller aswered me one time 5 five months ago, he offered a refund and told me "we will keep you informed" and since then nothing more has happened, and they still ignore the many mails I send them asking about my order. Be very careful if you buy them.
Total US$: 203.00
On January 10th, 2012, franmor changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
On february 2009 I finally received a compensation, new seeds in good condition, and an apologise of Mr. Spanner. That is why I'm changing my comment from negative to Neutral.
AGoldberg hong kong, Hong Kong (1 review) October 17, 2011
I ordered palm seeds from rarepalmseeds in Germany two years ago and had a very good experience.
All the seeds arrived in excellent shape, fresh, clean and well packed, some had started to send out radicles and none were damaged.
I phoned rarepalms from Hong Kong a few times to make my order clear and establish the freshness of the seed and transport company I wanted to use. They were very polite efficient and accommodating which gave a personal touch that is much appreciated .
I spent a good amount on the courier company as I wanted the seed here as fast and safe as possible. The seed arrived three days later from order and was planted on the fourth.
I can recommend them.
I have used other companies before with limited success especially from North America, very few do international shipping and those that do are not very good. It seems the actually postal or clearance procedure there holds up the process considerably leading to damaged products. This is also due to airline routes as none are direct.
I will certainly use rarepalms again.
Very importantly you get the assurance the seed is indeed what you order and the general quality is good to excelent, the selection is also unrivaled wolrdwide.
For me a starting point.
coastpalms Te Puke, New Zealand (1 review) March 25, 2011
Posted on November 23, 2010, updated March 25, 2011
My total order from this company was NZ$3382 (US$2578) of palm and strelitzia seed. A very substantial sum of money in anyone's language.
I run a small-medium scale palm and cycad nursery in New Zealand and after 6 years of operation decided to do my first ever seed import from this company.
I dearly wish I had found this forum prior to placing my order.
•9/9/2010 Contacted and placed order with RPS (Rare Palm Seeds)
•9/9/2010 Received confirmation of order from RPS.
•9/9/2010 Credit card debited NZ $3382.80 for order when RPS website clearly states that client’s credit card will only be debited upon shipment of order.
•16/9/10 Receive email from RPS covering several concerns about shipment delivery and also offering a personal guarantee of “safe arrival” of seed. They also advise strongly of sending via express shipping (the most expensive form of freight).
•12/10/2010 Receive notification of order being shipped from RPS. 33 days after credit card was debited.
•13/10/2010 Receive notification from UPS (shipping company) that goods are in NZ and waiting to be cleared by Customs and MAF.
•19/10/2010 Receive notification that MAF (NZ’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries) have found substantial issues with pests in majority of shipment and require my assistance to make decisions to destroy, re-ship or fumigate problem seed.
They had found both live mites and beetles, and significant volumes of fras and borer holes in the seed.
•28/10/2010 I notify (via email) RPS of problems with shipment.
•29/10/2010 Receive email back from RPS which does not address MAF issues.
•2/10/2010 Sent further email to RPS outlining options MAF have tabled for dealing with problem seed.
•3/10/2010 Because there has been no response from RPS to do with decisions about infected seeds future, I notified MAF to destroy seed.
NOTE; I made the decision to have the seed destroyed as the information I had gathered at the time suggests strongly that if I decided to have the seed fumigated (at my own cost), then germination rates would be severely affected by the methyl-bromide fumigation process, thereby offering no guarantee of any germination of fumigated seed.
•5/10/2010 I contact RPS by phone and conduct 25 minute phone call with Director of company (Tobias Spanner) outlining issues with seed and making strong demands for compensation. Director blames MAF for all issues and alludes to MAF being excessively cautious in inspection of seed.
•9/11/2010 Receive email from RPS outlining compensation shipment of seed. This is not agreed on as satisfactory compensation by myself as there is substantially less seed offered (worth in excess of several hundred euro) as part of compensation package. Also since my original order was placed, 2 of the seed lines I had ordered had subsequently sold out so were being replaced with top ups of a far lesser valued species of the same genus.
•9/11/2010 Send email to RPS with revised compensation package which does still not adequately cover my additional costs to do with seed issues, Included is report of pest findings from MAF.
•9/11/2010 Receive email from RPS agreeing to my compensation package.
•12/11/2010 I finally receive cleared seed from MAF and NZ Customs to discover part of order is actually missing. 1000 Strelitzia Reginae ‘Mandelas Gold’ worth $320 euro ($NZ 562 or $US 428) Receive verbal assurances from MAF that missing items were not included in original package.
My original order which weighed 55kg is now down to the revised and cleared order which weighs a total of 2.3kg.
•13/11/2010 Send email to RPS asking for explanation as to why part of the order is actually missing.
•14/11/2010 Receive email back from RPS once again laying blame with MAF for this.
From then on I decided that the situation had become totally farcical and started to initiate a Credit card chargeback.
This whole sorry exercise could have been avoided if Mr Spanner had supplied a completed order which contained pest free seed in the first place. He had provided a phyto sanitation certificate stating that all the seed had been inspected and cleared for signs of pest.
Clearly this was not the case.
At no time throughout the almost 3 months of dealing with this horrendous situation have I received any apology for what this company has put me through.
The additional costs in an international phone call (conducted at 11.30pm at night here), costs in additional biosecurity checks, massive time wastage with emailing the RPS company, phone calls and emails with MAF and now dealing with credit card companies have left me feeling extremely stressed and overwrought.
I have been in tears several times over this.
I should have realised warning signs when I read through page after page of ‘glowing’ testimonials on the RPS website. As is suggested by a poster below who has also had a negative experience with this company they seem to treat customers who have serious issues as minor nuisances and happily take their cash…quickly.
I find it almost impossible to believe that a person can conduct a supposedly successful and internationally regarded business like this when there is such a huge degree of denial and blame laying.
During my phone conversation with Mr Spanner I repeatedly stated that if this matter was resolved amicably I would remain a worthwhile and repeat customer.
I did not want to intentionally rubbish the guy. It certainly was not in my best interests to do this.
Rare Palm Seeds is in the enviable situation of having a monopoly on supplying the most extensive range of Palm and Cycad seed available.
What beggars belief is that they are still operational.
My advice…avoid this company and take up travelling the world and collecting your very own seed. You’ll have more fun. On March 25th, 2011, coastpalms added the following:
As of 26 March 2011, I received a NZ$3000 chargeback credit.
This should be ample evidence that the company Rare Palm Seeds has done wrong by my business with them.
Once again I will re-iterate that Tobias Spanner is in a situation of having a monopoly on supplying the widest variety of palm & cycad seed in the world. I suspect several of his customers will have had difficult dealings with him & continue to have difficult dealings with him, but have little choice but to continue to purchase through his company.
To quote Paul Simon in his famous song "You can call me Al", (a song about a man experiencing a mid life crisis) I refer to the line "spinning in infinity". This I direct at Mr Spanner, and strongly suggest he get his head out of the sand and deal with customer complaints in a much more timely, effective and mature manner, for the sake of his livelihood.Company representative comment on March 18, 2011: On Mar 18, 2011 10:47 AM, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
I have only just been made aware of this post. Apparently Dave's Garden no longer sends out notifications?
I will try to address just the important points in Ms. Grays wild accusations and misstatements.
1) MAF's (actually Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, not Fisheries) Biosecurity Authority/Clearance Certificate states merely: "Live insects found". No mention is made of frass, holes or mites.
2) The above document is signed Oct. 15th by a MAF officer. Ms. Gray did not contact us until Oct. 28th.
3) I sent a reply the same day that DID address the issues, although further e-mail exchanges were delayed for a few days the following week. I also explained to Ms. Gray that is is occasionally possible in palm seeds that beetles can hatch from inside the seeds where no visible signs of their presence were detectable when inspecting and sending out the order.
4) Just ONE day after listing MAF's options (return to sender, fumigation, or destruction) to me, Ms. Gray authorizes the seeds to be destroyed. This does not look like she was actually waiting for a reply.
5) Despite all this, I did agreed to send a replacement shipment as demanded by Ms. Gray.
6) Two days before the replacement shipment was due to be mailed and only a few days after we received Ms. Grays OK for our replacement shipment, we received a chargeback for the amount of the original shipment. I sent several e-mails to Ms. Gray asking for an explanation but received no reply. We decided not to mail the replacement as we would have ended up shipping two orders with no payment.
7) Ms. Grays Garden Watchdog statement was posted only a few days after our agreement. I seems to me that a resolution of this problem was never intended.
Some of Ms. Grays remarks are highly slanderous and her behavior seems fraudulent. If her company was not located in New Zealand, this case would have been taken to court by us.
RPS has been in business for over 15 years and thousands of customers all around the world continue to put our trust in us, including several large and long-time customers in New Zealand. We would not be where we are today if we had not earned that trust.
DannyH Fort Pierce, FL (7 reviews) January 24, 2011
I am only a small order kind of guy but I have had no problems with them. Since I am no germinating expert I can't say anything about the quality of the seeds . I only know I had a good number of them sprout and since I do not sell plants I guess that is good enough for me.
My small order came fast in 2 weeks. All the palm seeds were in great condition and smelled fresh/healthy were not moldy. Palm seeds do not have a 100% germination rate as they are attacked by molds/mildews/bacteria/viruses during their long germination. Use Mr. Spanners baggie method with a high quality peat moss. Soak seeds in a disinfectant for 5/10 minutes before soaking in a 1 tsp liquid kelp per 32 oz for 24-72 hours. Disinfect/fungicide again 5/10 minutes then immediately plant and seal baggies/containers. I will report my success but can say any good seed given optimal conditions and time/care will grow wonderfully given this method.
grbjbs Montreal, Canada (1 review) August 10, 2010
For my first buy not one of the seeds sprouted ...The second time, I never received the seeds nor my money back...
Be very careful with this company!Company representative comment on March 18, 2011: On Mar 18, 2011 11:04 AM, rarepalmseeds.com responded with:
Looking back as far as 2007 I have not been able to find any orders from Montreal that these comments could apply to. If this claim is honest, I would appreciate a few more details. Until then I will consider it not authentic and would request its removal. grbjbs's only activity on Dave's Garden seems to have been the posting of this negative entry.
The validity of my comments here about rarepalmseeds.com is that I have had ample opportunity to see them in action. I have worked in collaboration with many very large horticultural producers, some of the largest in the world and government agricultural/environmental projects in dealing with obtaining palm seeds from Mr. Spanner. Many of these clients are extremely demanding and they have the clout to be so because they have the economic resources and connections to get what they want. I have acted as an intermediary for these interests many times and have spoken with Mr. Spanner innumerable times regarding quality and service. To date I have been incredibly pleased by what I call his German stubborness for quality. It is very true that palm seeds are diverse in their natures, far too often I believe that people lack the expertise to even know what they are getting. Some seeds can sit bone dry for years and be resurrected from death just like any of the most resilient conventional seeds, others from wet tropical forests
may die if dried for even a day! I have paid interested attention to the comments of the " negative: experiences posted and many of the statements leave me skeptical of the writers own expertise. To see that many of them state that they received "mouldy moist seeds in plastic bags" suggesting that said seeds were bad is also telltale of ignorance. Mr. Spanner impresses me greatly with his knowledge of Palms, his favorite tool for examining palm seeds is prunning shears which he uses to cut the seeds and show the embryo. He is the pioneer in this field of supplying seeds, and has the expeditions behind him to amaze one. He is also presently the Vice-president of the International Palm society, to say this is only to cast doubt on those who second guess his knowledge or dedication. As for rarepalmseeds spokesman's comments about shipping problems, they are real, one day while I was visiting his office, the German Post brought in 4 cases of returned packages from Mexico and certain South American countries ( many had all their certificates, they were returned perhaps by whim) . It(shipping internationally) is a sporadic danger for the shipper and buyer, Mr. Spanner explained that approximately one out of a hundred packages is held up in customs, and these are the one percent that cause all of the headaches, some of which are commented on here. As for another interesting note, there was recently published in of all places an article on Mr. Spanner in a U.A.E. Horticultural magazine, where he was nominated " King of the Palms" I think that doing the business that he does is inherently difficult, he is renowned for introducing species that have never ever been available. For my experiences with him and the big guys, my hats off to rarepalms.com
On May 27, I made a purchase for $500+ . As of today,
and numerous emails requesting ship tracking numbers they have ignored all of my requests. My customer no. is 34808, invoice 0804761. They immediately charged my credit card in May and I have never heard from them again. It is impossible to resolve this situatiuon when they are ignoring the problem. I still don't have the seeds I ordered.
Make a really long story short, they owe me $840.00 (30,000 seeds) which they scammed me out of. My only email reply was that I will receive them soon.
On top of that, recently I get a phone call from my c/c company saying this company is trying to run my c/c #'s for $3,000, then $2,000 when I never purchased anymore from them.
BUYER BEWARE **** SCAMMERS****
NEVER BUY FROM RAREPALMSEED.COMCompany representative comment on June 21, 2008: On Jun 21, 2008 2:12 AM, rarepalmseeds.com added:
Dear Mr. Wang,
the way we see this problem is that we would be happy to deliver the remaining goods to you at any time, but you refuse to have them delivered directly to you for a reason unknown to us. We have tried to explain this problem to you over the phone, but you do not seem to want to understand.
The $3000 and $2000 charges we tried to run was for a recent order you placed (order ID: 919-124-6887, $5500, Jan 24th 2008), which you subsequently put on hold. I will happily give more details if you do not remember your order.
Both of these issues have nothing to do with scamming and I would ask you to refrain from such accusations or we will have to consider taking legal action against you.
porky007 Brookhaven, MS (1 review) August 11, 2007
My company is a small growing, retail, mail order and wholesale operation. We also are expanding into bananas and palms and have dealt with a number of seed companies in the EU and the US.
On Jan 31, 2007 I placed a order for a large number of palm seed from this company (order # 2226-131-21107) which totaled over $1000 worth of seed.
After placing the order a confirmation email was sent including a summary of my order. So far, so good.
On Feb 08 - they requested my USDA import cert, which I supplied.
On Feb 13 - My credit card was billed. When my card was billed it was charged in Euros. Every reference to funds on this web site is given in US Dollars, including the total on my order confirmation that was emailed to me. The total amount in US dollars on my card was much higher than the amount on the order. I wrote it off due to the phyto cert and shipping and insurance costs, but it was still significantly higher. They did not send me an invoice reflecting the total order costs. This obfuscation can lead to a lot of abuse and I couldn't understand why a German company would want to list costs in US $ instead of Euros.
On Mar 08 - I requested a status update along with a tracking number if the order had been shipped.
On Mar 12 - I recieved a one line reply stating that it had shipped on Feb 20 via USPS and a tracking number. I thought this was odd - USPS instead of German Post, it didn't make much sense. The tracking number was not recognized by USPS.
On May 03 - After still not recieving the shipment - I requested an update and also stating the tracking number was useless.
On May 10 - I recieved a reply that it looks like the order was lost and they would trace it from there.
On Jun 16 - After not hearing anything back from the company - I requested a credit be applied to my credit card - this was beyond ridiculous.
On Jul 09 - after getting no response from the company, I wrote a long email requesting more information, my money back or my seed - which I still would have preferred. I actually ended up sending several of the same email by mistake in a shotgun effect after my email account had gone haywire.
On Jul 12 - I recieved a generic email that had my actual invoice attached to it. The email included no other information addressing my order status or resolution. It took 5 months just to send the invoice.
On Jul 14 - I replied requesting a status.
Today Aug 11 - No reply or response. They have ran the time limit out on my credit card so I could not charge back the charges and quit communicating with me at about the time that the limit ran out.
I had done some basic research on the company plus they were recommended in such reference manuals as Betrock's 'Cold Hardy Palms'. Since I had dealt with numerous other seed companies, I figured this company would be a good one to build a working relationship with.
Scouring the website there were a few red flags that I should have recognized. There are quick to point out on their site that they are shipping experts world wide, the biggest, best, etc. Under a paragraph titled 'Customer Satisfaction' which is on their front page, they link in testimonials with people who are just bubbling and giddy to be priviledged enough to do business with this company. But when you dig deeper into their site, the disclaimers basically state that they are not responsible for anything other than taking your money. No guarantee of delivery is ever implicitly stated nor how customer resolution issues would be addressed or resolved.
Normally when a company goes out of their way to pat themselves on the back yet backs away from responsibility I shy away from them.
I normally don't like to complain publicly about a mail order company since I am one myself and know how quickly problems can be compounded. Since the shipper is the only one who can turn in a claim, I have little recourse. Especially since they won't provide any details at all including shipping details. Since my experience with this company, other palm books that I have read have alluded to hints about the integrity of the owner of this company. At a minimum they have some of the sorriest customer service that I have experienced. They appear to treat their customers as a minor nusiance other than to market a good game to and walk away with your cash (read the other feedbacks on this page, I wish I had). When a company points fingers and blames everybody else and refuses to take responsibility then that should be a strong indication of how they operate.
Other than this feedback mechanism then my last resort will be to file an International Wire Fraud complaint with the postal services, so I have little hope of ever seeing my $1088.72 again.
My strong advice is to steer clear of this company if you are in the US. There are much better and more reputable palm seed dealers to deal with here.
Caveat Emptor - Let The Buyer Beware
On September 14th, 2007, porky007 changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
After the orginal comments were posted I was quickly contacted by the company and things rapidly improved.
My intent is not to publicly criticize a company, but to simply have my order satisfactorily filled. In the end the results were accomplished.
On Aug 11, my order was received, the large box of seeds was very well packed. They appeared to be very clean and fresh. Also to the companies credit, they threw in a hundred additional seeds of a rare cold hardy palm that I did not request plus shipped the rather heavy box express mail which would have cut into their profit margin.
It appears that the original shipment was lost so that a replacement was necessary. Although all of the previous comments are accurate, most of the issues stated above are addressable and hopefully will help the company improve their future processes.
Although I was not happy with the way this order played out in the beginning, in the end my requirements were met so I therefore changed the rating to a positive rating (I don't believe in using a neutral rating just to sling mud at a company).
A lot of patience appears necessary with this company, but I will probably try to order from them again in the future due to the very diverse selction that they do offer. Although it will probably be in smaller bites.On September 14th, 2007, porky007 added the following:
Date correction the additional comment above should have read Sep 11 and not Aug 11.
itllbeokay Mexia, TX (2 reviews) September 8, 2006
Have ordered seeds twice from this company. Both times the seeds have looked wonderfully fresh. Had great success with the washingtonias; limited with most others. But I am a beginner and was expecting it to be difficult.
Have just put my newest seeds into their baggies after soaking them (only two floaters out of eighty) so I will report on germination later.On November 10th, 2006, itllbeokay added the following:
Here are my results after two months:
Sprouted - Cycas panzihuaensis (10 out of 10); Caryota maxima (9 out of 10); Sabal uresana (4 out of 10); Livistona nitida (3 out of 10); Nannorrhops silver (2 out of 10); Ceroxylon quindiuensis (2 out of 10); Ensete glaucum (2 out of 10); Trachycarpus latisectus (0 out of 10).
Total sprouted - 32 out of 80 or 40%. Am still hoping for more.
B1ZZYL1ZZY Javea, Spain (Zone 10a) (2 reviews) August 18, 2006
My Order :
Thank you for your order dated 02-07-2006 at 00:57. We hereby confirm receipt of your order as detailed below. (Please keep this e-mail for your records, as you will not receive a written invoice with your delivery):
My first message to Rare Palm Seeds:
I have not recieved my order yet. It has been 10 days. Please could you let me know the status of it. Order details below.
Response from Rare Palm Seeds:
Thank you very much for your mail. Unfortunately there will be a delay in processing your order as Mr. Spanner is abroad travelling at the moment. The seeds will be shipped at the end of July.
All goods deliverable from the warehouse are generally dispatched within seven working days. Once dispatched, delivery within the E. U. takes 3 – 5 working days, and for products delivered to other countries up to 4 weeks. Please do not submit delivery status queries before the expiry of these periods. With inquiries about your order, please be sure to include the order number and the purchaser's name.
DAMAGE TO PACKAGING:
If your parcel is damaged on arrival, we recommend that you make an immediate claim for damages to the delivery agent and have this claim confirmed in writing. This is the simplest way of making a claim.
Second message to Rare Palm Seeds at the end of July:
I am writing with regards to the order I place for some palm seed. My concern is that the viability will be affected now as they should be very fresh when sown. Please let me know what you will be doing about this. I am paying quite a ot of money for these seeds and I want them to be in top condition. Can you let me know when these seeds were harvested?
I hope you understand my concerns.
Last message from me 06-Aug
Please can you let me know the status of my order placed on 2nd July. You did not reply to my last e-mail and I am left wondering if I am ever to received my seeds. Please can you tell me what is happening.
No reply to this as I assume the order had been despatched and I recieved the seeds a couple of days later.
They should learn to communicate with the customer not leave them hanging wondering if they have just kissed goodbye to their money. I am not giving a negative because I think that what Tobias is doing is very good but the problem is one of communication........Please, Rare Palm Seeds take note and listen to your customers without whom you do not have a business.Company representative comment on August 19, 2006: On Aug 19, 2006 9:06 AM, rarepalmseeds.com added:
Our apologies, we are aware that our communication is not always 100% efficient. We are trying to reply to every message, but sometimes we are simply overwhelmed with the amount of e-mails we receive (and that already excludes all the spam messages). We try to concentrate on getting out your orders. Please take into account that we are shipping out hundreds of orders a week, to nearly 150 countries around the world, all with different import regulations that require attention. We handle large quantities of perishable, difficult-to-handle and even more difficult to obtain palm seeds in a large variety that is second to none for good reason. Our website is the most popular palm site on the internet and naturally requires a lot of maintenance as we would like to keep it there and have the best information on palms available for everyone.
Rarepalmseeds is just a small company with 8 employees. Our communication is not outsourced to some call center in a far away place and hiring and training more people to answer all the e-mails we receive is a serious cost factor that will reflect on the cost of seeds you buy.
We think we can offer a good compromise between cost and service and hope you will be easy on us even if you are not getting a reply to every e-mail as you should. Its not because we are rude or lazy, just very busy.
basilio Athens, Greece (Zone 9b) (4 reviews) July 24, 2006
I ordered about seven different seed small packs from this company. My order arrived after 17-18 days, which I consider logical. I must say that ALL the packs contained more than 10 seeds, which is the quantity of the normal pack, and one even contained about 18 seeds (great). Now, after 2 months that I've placed my seeds in containers and with constant ambient heat between 22 - 35C, the results are the following :
Sabal causiarum : 11 germinated out of 14.
Bangalow Palms : 4 germinated out of 14
Arenga Engleri : 4 germinated out of 12
Roystonea Regia : 3 germinated out of 16
Roystonea Borinquena : none out of 18
Euterpe Edulis : none out of 15
Musa Sikkimensis banana : 2 out of 14
I can't say that the germination results are too great, but seem more or less ok, although I expecting roystonea borinquenas to have germinated (at least some) by now. The rest of the seeds appear in good condition though, so I'll keep waiting.
One thing I have to say is that just minutes after I placed my order in their site, I emailed them asking if I could add another seed pack in my order. They replied that I could and I replied right back asking to add a phoenix rupicola. But my addition never arrived.
Overall, though, I'm fairly satisfied from my first purchase and I will definitely buy again from them in the future. On March 2nd, 2007, basilio changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
My second attempt to purchase seeds from this company was not as a pleasant experience as the first one. I placed my order on 7th of January and after about 45 days it had not arrived yet. I emailed them asking for information on my order, but they never replied. I emailed them again a week later, but zero response. So I called them on the phone and the lady that answered told me that my order had been shipped but she wasn't sure when. She also said that the delay was probable due to Christmas' busy period, to which I replied that my order was placed AFTER Christmas and New Year's Day, so this could not be an excuse. When I told her that it was almost 2 months since I placed the order, she said that it must had been lost (!) and she added that they are going to replace it. So, after having spent two whole months waiting for the original order, I'm now waiting for the replacement, hoping that it won't take another two months to arrive FROM GERMANY TO GREECE (a mere two and a half hours flight!). They sure have a great collection of seeds, but if my order doesn't arrive within the next couple of weeks, I won't buy from them again and I'll have to reconsider my rating even more. On March 21st, 2007, basilio added the following:
This is an update to my previous comment : Seeds finally arrived today, that is 2 and a half months after my original order. On the package, the postage date is 16 of March, so it left Germany just 5 days ago, although rarepalmseeds' claims to have shipped it on 21st of February...can it be? Well, whatever. Seeds came as ordered, they look ok and I must add that a pack of chambeyronia macrocarpa includes 15 seeds, all of them already germinated, which I find a welcome suprise, either they were sent to me germinated by purpose or they popped on the way to Greece (size of roots, though, indicates that they were probably sent germinated).
I won't change my rating for now (neutral) and, given their great catalogue, maybe I'll give them another try in the future. But I really hope their service improves (as well as their habit of never answering to customers, unless their comments are public). Company representative comment on March 3, 2007: On Mar 3, 2007 7:12 AM, rarepalmseeds.com added:
Your original order was shipped mid January, not an unfair delay. After your call, a replacement was shipped on Feb. 21st, which should arrive any day. Please blame any shortcomings beyond this on the Greek postal system.
banananut Eureka, CA (Zone 9b) (7 reviews) April 2, 2006
Last year I ordered small packets. 3 packets of Ensete perrieri, and 1 packet of Musa cheesemanii. I had 100% of my Musa cheesemanii germinate, and none of my E.perrieri germinate. Since this is the first introduction of the new Ensete from Madigasgar it may need special germination temps, who the heck knows, but if takes 2 years to germinate then I'll still be happy. I've had R.hystrix take up to three years to germinate, and some can take longer! I never give up on seeds, although some of them have shorter viability than others, and I reccomend people research what ones those are and buy them fresh. Some palm and banana seeds are very tough to germinate.
Pretty much every company I have ordered palm seeds has sent some crap seeds, so when I get some I either complain if they are expensive, forget about it, or just pout.On May 19th, 2007, banananut added the following:
I again ordered Ensete perrieri, but this time ordered 200 for 20 bucks. I received about 300+ seeds, most fresh looking, but they all looked viable inside. Still waiting for them to germinate, and I'll probally be one of the first in the world to get them to because no one I know of has got any to sprout yet.
I also ordered some Ensete superbum which seemed pretty easy as usuall to sprout.
I just wish they would get some more high elevation palm seeds from Bogata, Columbia- Ceryxlon, Gemonia weber, G.undata, C.linearis, and the other high elevation Genus'.
Ordered my seeds in Late December. After waiting 2 weeks longer than the web site tells you to wait for order to arrive, still had nothing.
I e-mailed and asked them about the seeds I payed for and they told me that the order had not been sent out do to one of the seeds not being in stock. I responded and asked them to kindly e-mail me when they were shipped. They told me thay could not do that. When I asked why they couldn't at least have the kindness to e-mail me, they then told me they HAD been shipped out.
I did receive them about a week later.
I ordered the "Cold Hardy Packet".
None of the Butia Yatay have popped.
None of the Trithinax have popped.
One of the Hystrix has popped.
One of the Nannorhops has popped.
4 of the Sabal Minors have molded away and had to to be tossed.
3 of the Phoenix have molded away and had to be tossed.
I got three free Phoenix seeds from a guy and sowed in the exact same medium and exact same heat, all three popped in 3 weeks. So it is NOT the medium I am useing.
DO NOT BUY FORM THIS GUY!!!!!!!! He has junk!!!Company representative comment on March 27, 2006: On Mar 27, 2006 3:22 AM, rarepalmseeds.com added:
Did it ever occur to you that some palm seeds may take a long time to sprout? Our instructions say up to 2 years, even if you do it right. Perhaps patience is needed here more than anything.
ngiann Aegina, Greece (4 reviews) November 19, 2005
I have bought 6 times from rarepalmseeds various seeds with a total of 318,60$. My first order was in August 4, 2003 and my last one on Ocober 4, 2005.
All orders arrived with more than one month delay. One particulary was 2 months late.
I had mixed results from the seeds that i received: for more than 50% of species i had 0% germination.
In the begining, i thought it was my mistake, but later when i had in the same time, same species seeds from RPS and another source, stil RPS's seeds had zero germination although other sources's seeds were germinating ok.
I reached to the conclusion that you only have chances from them when you buy seeds signed "new" next to their catalog - the others are just not viable anymore. This explains why in some not "new" seeds they send more seeds than you order.
Don't buy seeds unless they are "new" signed!
About after sales support:
One of the few seeds that were really fresh , was Kerriodoxa elegans: they were already germinated when I got them. Only that most of the sprouts, radicle - tap roots, were broken. This happened of course because the large seeds were in just a plastic bag, hiting each other, causing this miserable result.
When i emailed them, reporting my problem and asking for help (but without asking a replacement), they replied "I'm sorry, the seeds with broken roots are dead, and they cannot continue sprouting anymore". These k.elegans seeds cost me 19$.
But i ordered seeds, not living plants without proper packaging! so that was their fault.
Also many of their seeds, are getting mould as soon as you try to start them, mainly because they are in plastic humid bags when they ship them and without good cleaning.
In my last order, i received DOA: dypsis baronii seeds that had already green mould in their bag, and p.silvestris that half of them were already rotted. I emailed them, but I never got a reply back.
I'm sorry to say, but I am very dissapointed from them, and it's a pitty because they really have very big selection of seeds.
They seem that they don't dare to put old seeds out of their list, and causing customers to loose their money among with their nerves!
I was about to write a negative report since my previous order but I gave them a last try, that now i regret. Company representative comment on November 21, 2005: On Nov 21, 2005 5:29 PM, rarepalmseeds.com added:
You should have inquired or complained about your lack of success. We don't claim that all seeds work every time. It is in the nature of palm seeds that many of them are not easy to sprout. For this reason we are not shy sending replacements, but we need to hear about them.
On the Kerriodoxa seeds with broken radicles, why did you not ask for replacements? We surely would have offered them had you informed us that most of that item was damaged.
As for shipping seeds damp, in plastic bags, this is the only way to keep many palm seeds viable. Many palm seeds are tricky items. It can happen that one or more seeds in a bag get moldy in transit. When you receive seeds it is therefore a good idea to float the seeds in water and clean them gently if necessary. With some exceptions, good seeds will sink, bad seeds will float.
We were unable to find your e-mail complaining about this. We have a very large volume of e-mails to handle, and a spam mail problem like everyone. If you don't get a reply, please send your mail again.