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The scoop on 'The Tree Center'

  Company Profile  
The Tree Center


Riva, Maryland 21140
(United States)

Phone: 888-329-0140

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Recent reviews:
Past month Past 6 Months Past 12 Months
Positive 1 1 3
Neutral 0 0 1
Negative 1 1 8
This company specializes in:

  Feedback History and Summary  
5 positives
1 neutral
14 negatives

Comments:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive Renee2181
Vincentown, NJ
(1 review)
April 7, 2021
My lilac arrive in good condition with great directions on how to plant my new bush.
Negative Mountainbird3
Swanton, OH
(1 review)
March 25, 2021
Purchased trees for a total amount of $595.35 including a 1 year warranty of $85.05 last fall. The order included 9 junipers. Out of 9 plants 6 evergreens arrived in bad condition, dried out and scraggly looking.

I tried many times to get an exchange per email, but got rejected every time. First they told me this: "You did purchase the optional 1-year warranty, however being that this claim has been filed within the first 30 days we will process this as an Arrive & Thrive Guarantee claim and your warranty will remain intact and active to apply toward your replacement plants should replacements be necessary."

Then they flat out rejected exchanging them after requesting photos. You can clearly see that the plants were not up to par, dried out before they were sent out and scraggly in appearance upon arrival. But on top of that they lost lots of leaves because the dead leaves fell off after winter.
Customer services response last fall was that the trees would be just fine with a bit TLC.
I contacted them today again and sent more pictures of the trees in question. They look very sad and lost more foliage over winter, specifically in the area where they were already dried out upon arrival. This time I got offered a store coupon of $31.05. the smallest trees (1 gallon container) cost $34.50 without any tax or other charges. The two Skyrocket junipers in question cost $54.50 per piece (3 gallon container).

Customer service and their management don't take this request seriously. I filed another BBB complaint today.

If this is not their usual complaint then I'd like to see what other people's trees look like on arrival. All of my store bought nursery stock evergreens look fine and grew last season. Only theirs look worse now than last year after I unpacked them.

I'd like an exchange of at least three plants. I paid an extra $80 for warranty. And I don't care if you phrase it Arrive & Thrive or 1 year warranty, it is the results that matter. And for now I got 6 junipers in my yard that look very sad. Very disappointed with this online purchase! What are you going to do about it?




Negative ivyhill40
Roanoke, VA
(1 review)
October 2, 2020
I purchased 7 three-gallon Cherry Laurel scrubs which arrived severely infected with Shothole Fungus. After nearly a week of trying to get a response from The Tree Center, I was told that I should prune the damaged sections, plant them and hope for the best. The infected areas are extensive on the plants, and this will require removal of most of the foliage. In addition, I paid for healthy plants. From reviewing other customer comments, it appears that this has happened to many customers. It is very disappointing that The Tree Center would ship diseased plants, and even more that they are unresponsive to this concern.
Negative tposse
Houston,
United States
(1 review)
August 11, 2020
Both Green Giant trees died in less than two months. All they said was not enough water. Not true but will move on to other suppliers. BEWARE - On the receipt they write 1 Year Warranty on it. That doesn't mean there is a one year warranty only that you can buy it. Very misleading.
Positive arinazina
Kennebunkport, ME (Zone 5b)
(3 reviews)
July 13, 2020
I ordered a palmate "Osakazuki" Japanese maple from the Tree Center a couple of years ago and was kind of neutral about what arrived. It was packed well but the trunk was at an angle instead of straight. It, however, has been growing well, has straightened a bit, and may straighten more as it grows. This year I purchased 20 giant Thuja, 3-4', in two batches. They were shipped fast and I was amazed at how well they were packed. I put them in the days they came and they look very good although the roots were a little overgrown and circling in the pots. We'll see how they grow as we are having a severe drought and I have had to water several times. My experience with lots of online nurseries is that the materials are rarely as good as you can find locally. But sometimes, you just can't find the species locally.
Negative Amity629
Bethesda, MD
(1 review)
June 26, 2020
$900 for 8 red twig dogwood arctic fire
Plants arrived covered in fungus, sent pics to the tree center and filed a claim on their website. Spoke with three different people who assured customer service would reach out. Now, no one is even answering the phones.
In my account they have marked the issue as SOLVED.
Filed a complaint with BBB and have filed a dispute with my credit card company.
Negative Pinxter
Eminence, MO (Zone 6a)
(6 reviews)
June 4, 2020
Posted on June 4, 2020, updated June 4, 2020
Posted on October 5, 2019, updated June 4, 2020
I have placed 9 orders with the Tree Center over the past 3 years. Those 9 orders covered 5 shrubs and 12 trees.Twice they sent me the incorrect item, but they cheerfully corrected the problem and sent me the ordered item. All of the shrubs and trees I have ordered from The Tree Center have thrived and are still important components of my garden. As recently as 10/3/19 I received four Thuja 'Green Giant' from The Tree Center and they are healthy specimens. I usually communicate with The Tree Center via email, and have found them to be very prompt in responding.
On June 4th, 2020, Pinxter changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:

6/4/20 - I have placed multiple orders with The Tree Center over the past several years. In many instances, I was very pleased with what I received. On occasion, they shipped the incorrect item but replaced it with the correct item. The photos on their website are often misleading. For example, if you are ordering a 5-gallon Cherry Laurel and look at the photo on their website, you would think that those shrubs growing in the ground in rows in a nursery are what you would receive. They look like 5-gallon shrubs with nice branch structure. Not the case many times. My most recent order was for a 5-gallon Cherry Laurel. The least I would have expected was a nicely grown shrub that had been cared for with adequate pruning while it was growing. What I received was a fan-shaped shrub, with hardly any growth on the "front" and no growth on the "back." It was obvious that the shrub that was sent to me had been left to grow in the nursery with minimal pruning. It did not resemble in any way the photo on their website. When I exchanged multiple emails with "Customer Service" they told me that the shrub looked like it did because it had been packed in a carton, and that the flat areas would recover. Obviously this "Customer Service" person has no horticultural experience. If there are no branches on the "back" of the shrub, there is nothing there to recuperate after being out of the carton. Also, they offer TWO guarantees, as described on their website AND in the information packet that accompanied the shipment. One is the "Arrive & Thrive" guarantee which states that the plant will arrive "happy & healthy." They also have a "30-day Satisfaction Guarantee." The "Customer Service" person told me that those two guarantees are one and the same. That is not true. I presented my case politely and they stopped responding. What a way to deal with a faithful customer. I reported the problem to my credit card company and it has been resolved to my satisfaction. My advice would be to avoid this company. You may be lucky and receive what you expect, but chances are you will not.


On June 4th, 2020, Pinxter added the following:

From what I can determine based on reading reviews on other websites, something has drastically changed with The Tree Center's business practices since the end of 2019. Using Shopper Advantage reviews as an example, they used to get many 4 and 5 star reviews. Beginning in 2020 they are getting many unfavorable reviews.
Negative jm67
Havertown, PA
(1 review)
June 2, 2020
I purchased a nandina and 3 boxwoods from The Tree Center. The nandina is fine, but the boxwoods are yellow. I have submitted multiple tickets without response. I chatted with someone twice and emailed her about my issue. No response. I've emailed an additional 2 times without response. Customer Service is nonexistent and I'm stuck with plants I can't use.
Negative Nn24kt
Humble, TX
(1 review)
June 1, 2020
BUYER BEWARE! After receiving 5, nearly dead Anabelle Hydrangeas I immediately emailed the The Tree Center (since it was after 5pm est) and called at 9am the very next day to let them know that not only did I receive unhealthy plants, (I sent pictures too) they were also NOT the size I ordered or received (the hydrangeas were 1 gallon size plants sent in 3 gallon pots - clearly fraud) The first customer service person and the second (a few days later) both said they'd filter my call/complaint to a "manager" "supervisor" to call me. The week past, then 2 then 3 weeks - no one from The Tree Center called me. I paid $350 for plants and a worthless warranty for plants that were already dead and no one from the company was taking any accountability. So I filed a dispute with both my bank and PayPal, the BBB AND THE AG and the FTC. The is clearly a violation of my consumer rights by The Tree Center under the consumer protection laws for false advertisement and misleading statements that the plants are larger than they really are. They don't have a foot to stand on under their "Alive & Thrive" guarantee. Finally Paypal sent me an email saying they've refunded my money and then a Tree Center person emailed me to offer a store credit. I said no thank you I just wanted my money back and don't care to deal with their company. Please buy local and if they are local to you, good luck.
Negative lynnlie
Santa Fe, NM
(1 review)
May 25, 2020
HORRIBLE SERVICE
I ordered over $500 worth of Butterfly Bushes in their beautifully advertised 3 gallon size. When the plants arrived, many of the branches were broken, and they were pitifully small. One plant was so twisted and terribly trimmed they even agreed to replace it. However, when we put them in the ground, all but one of the plants had no root structure and the potting mix simply fell away leaving what pitful little roots there were exposed. It became obvious that they had taken barely one gallon plants and repotted them into 3 gallon containers then shipped. Once you purchase, you can no longer talk to a live agent. They merely send emails assuring you of how wonderfully the plants will thrive. This is fraud in advertising- stay away and only order from a reputable company because you will regret spending even a penny with these scam artists.
Neutral PL7711
Newton Center, MA
(2 reviews)
May 19, 2020
Posted on May 15, 2020, updated May 19, 2020
Ordered thousands of dollars worth of shrubs Some arrived healthy and some did not. Over $1000 worth of hydrangeas with intensely drooping leaves and black spots. Emailed company and provided them with many photos. Also purchased their extra cost one year warranty protection. They claimed the shrubs were in "shock" and to just give them water and sunlight. After several days of giving them much TLC, they only got worse. They refused to replace them or to issue a refund. I had to purchase another $1000 worth of shrubs elsewhere and these are going to the dump. They do not back up their merchandise. If you're lucky, you'll get healthy plants. But if you are not, you have just flushed your money down the hopper. I'm suing them.
On May 19th, 2020, PL7711 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:

Recent update. The Three Center has agreed to provide me with a full refund. They did make me work beyond reason for this, but at least it is now resolved. I cannot in all good conscience give me a positive rating, as it took all I had in me and too much work to finally receive what should have been offered from the outset. Moral of the story is do not give up. Good luck to all out there and please continue to stay safe and healthy.
Positive mrchambers0101
Lancaster, MA
(1 review)
April 29, 2020
I purchased a Coral Bark Japanese maple. The local garden center did not have it. The box arrived quickly and was well packaged. The tree was the size specified. Care had been taken to insure the tree was well pruned and shapely. Two years later the tree is healthy and thriving.

In short, my experience was positive and I would buy from the Tree Center again
Negative Estoe
Louisville, KY
(1 review)
April 18, 2020
I ordered 2 Hollywood Junipers, then realized (immediately after paying) that I could have purchased 3, received free shipping, & it would be cheaper than the price of 2 with shipping. I wrote an email explaining the situation & asking if I should cancel the order & re-purchase to resolve. I received an email stating no need to do that, a 3rd tree would be sent. Didn’t hear anything for a couple days & wrote asking if the financial difference had been taken care of at their end or do I need to do something. The rep responded saying it was too late to change order by the time they checked into it, implying I hadn’t confirmed in time (my reply to say “thanks, that’s great!” was sent less than 2 hours after receiving the first reply). No apology nor any compensation was offered. I pointed out I was disappointed in this due to the fact it could have been handled by cancelling (as I should have done) if I hadn’t been told with such confidence it would be taken of on their end. It took a few exchanges for the rep to understand my point that it was their fault & it seems customer service ethic would dictate they make it right. The end result was basically a shrug & a “I’m sorry I should have let you know sooner”. And a 15% discount on a future order, which I tried to use but it was only applicable for orders of $499 or more! Really poor treatment on principle, particularly on such a small thing to resolve easily. Won’t be ordering from them again.
Negative DocGunn
Orange Grove, TX
(1 review)
December 2, 2019
I ordered 6 cypress trees costing over $500.00 and The Tree Center decided to "top the trees" / cut off the tip of the center tree stalk in order to either remove dead growth or make them fit into the shipping boxes. They have no valid customer support email address to file a complaint or request an explanation why they would prune the tree stalk. Very upset and dissappointed and bascially robbed of well over $500.00. I will never order from these guys again.
Positive roczx
Marble Falls, TX
(1 review)
October 27, 2019
Site was easy to navigate, company was helpful and order was received sooner than expected. All in all, a very pleasant experience and I will be purchasing from this company in the future.
Negative naxosathina
Mc Lean, VA
(1 review)
April 17, 2019
False advertising using “pot size” to disguise selling smaller plants at higher prices. They also have NO live customer service for actual customers who placed an order. They’ll only speak to prospective buyers before purchase, so they can make the sale. Then, you have no live support to resolve a problem and must accept whatever they tell you in the email response as the resolution.

They use false claims about discounts and quality to lure customers, but these folks are hucksters. Anyone honest and reputable stands behind their business with direct access to live support and they don’t use deceptive marketing and advertising. The plants they ship are small in size planted in big pots. Everything about them is a scam.
Negative evans824
Pendleton, IN
(1 review)
September 19, 2018
On 6/17/18 I ordered (Ord#10125909) a Baby Blue Spruce (5 gal) and Emerald Green Arborvitae. I received them a few days later and planted both of them. Within a week or two the Baby Blue Spruce needles began dropping. The problem continued to worsen leaving no needles on the tree whatsoever. I reached out to the Tree Center on 8/27/2018 about this issue. 3 days later on August 30th I received a reply from a Tree Center Representative requesting pictures of the tree, which I immediately provided. The pictures provided showed several other nearby plants and bushes which were well watered and green. 6 days later on 9/5/18 I received a second response requesting me to remove the tree from the ground and send pictures of the root ball for inspection. I responded letting them know I would remove the tree over the weekend, weather permitting and take the photographs. On 9/11/2018 after several days of rain, the weather cleared up. I removed the tree, snapped the pictures of the root ball and emailed them as requested to the Tree Center. Since sending these pictures I have received ZERO response from the Tree Center. I have followed up multiple times with no response. I have also attempted to reach someone by opening a new service ticket. Still no response.
Negative kcoppola
Wilmette, IL
(1 review)
July 11, 2018
Do *NOT* order plants from them in the summer/fall.

When you order, you get their “Arrive Fresh” guarantee which gives you only FIVE days to determine if your plants are going to be healthy or not. Now, other than any OBVIOUS defects that you can SEE (which I assume they would never ship in the first place), IMHO there is no way to know if a tree is going “healthy,” even after the additional 45 days you have to report damage.

BE AWARE: That the Shopper Approved reviews you will see for this company on their website are only entered immediately upon ordering. You cannot – and I tried – enter feedback AFTER your purchase.

I bought two arborvitae from them in late June 2017. I rigorously followed the planting instructions. One of the two plants did not appear to be in the greatest shape and I did bring this to their attention. Yes, it was 14 days after their 45 day "grace period." However, at the time, I was told to wait until spring and if the tree did not “come back” they would “take care of it.”

As I suspected this spring (2018) the tree is now a pile of brown leaves. [I have photos of the two trees together if that would be useful to anyone.] When bringing this to their attention, sharing emails from the person who made the promises (who, of course, no longer worked there), I was told that the “best” they could do was offer a 50% discount on a replacement since I had not purchased their “1 year guarantee” (which BTW is very easy to miss on their order form).

So if you are considering ordering from them, my suggestions are:

(1) Order in the SPRING only so you are at the peak growing season and can reasonably determine health within their narrow 45-day window.
(2) File a complaint about the tree’s health – REGARDLESS of condition – within 5 days so you are on record in case the tree turns out to be defective.
(3) Always order their 1-year replacement guarantee. HOWEVER, note that when you do, their attractive prices are no longer so attractive when compared with others, including local nurseries who always warrant what you buy from them.
(4) Your local nursery will provide much better service and warranty because they want your repeat business, which the Tree Center clearly does not (at least based on the way I was treated).

Good luck!
Negative robeezee
Perrineville, NJ
(5 reviews)
June 11, 2018
I ordered a juniper from The Tree Center on June 3rd. On their website, they indicate that most orders go out the next day, and that once shipped, customers receive FedEx confirmation.

On June 11th, after not having any further communication from them, I attempted to use their on-line chat function to learn the status of my order. The on-line chat function gave a message that no one was available.

I then phoned them, and was cut off 3x. On the 4th attempt, I remained on line for 15 minutes and finally gave up. I sent them an email asking them if they could provide me an update to my order status.

In summary, they offer on-line chat that doesn't function, a call inquiry menu that either cuts off the customer or simply places them on hold for an extensive period of time and they do not remotely live up to their timeline of processing orders in a timely fashion. I would not do business with them again.

Bob Lamm
Positive CarynDalton
(11 reviews)
May 18, 2018
Posted on May 16, 2018, updated May 18, 2018
I design community garden and outdoor spaces for communities, businesses, and individual clients. As such, I am always on the lookout for companies that I can work with to obtain healthy, reasonably-sized and unique offerings at a reasonable price. I literally never know what I will need because every situation and client is different! My expectations of a company are simply that the company stand behind the statements given forth on their website, that they deliver on their promises as given on their website, that the order process, fulfillment and shipping go smoothly, and finally, that their customer service is excellent. If those things go well, I will add them to my list of vendors from whom I will seek out plant material from. For literally years now I have relied on the Garden Watchdog Community to alert, inform and educate me in regards to reputable companies and also, the nefarious ones. I had a very negative and uncomfortable experience with the owner of a company once after posting a negative review, so I haven't posted any since. However, I believe in supporting small businesses when they have earned a positive review from me. While I spread the word locally, I want to also post online so this company can "get started" here on Garden Watchdog. It's hard to feel comfortable buying from a vendor who has no reviews. I felt more confident placing my order because of the language on The Tree Center's site which indicated a passion for the environment and for trees. So, here is my experience and I will not cover every detail of their site or company, only my own personal experience:

THEIR OFFERINGS:
This order was for my personal yard. I wasn't working for a client, but I was looking for some specific trees. In my search online, I kept noticing The Tree Center popping up close to the top and was "sponsored" in a few of the upper links. Typically, I avoid those links, but I did finally click on one since they obviously had the material I was looking for. In particular, I was seeking out some Spanish Golden Firs and a few different Cryptomeria. I also ended up ordering some Star Magnolia, and a Smoke Tree, though those are easily locally obtained. I felt they had the unique offerings I was looking for, and I was happy to find they were in-stock. So in this area they get a green thumbs up from me.

THEIR PRICES:
In total, my order was around $630. I ordered a total of 11 trees and I felt their prices were reasonable and comparable to local garden centers and nurseries for what I received. In this area, they get a green thumbs up from me.

THEIR WARRANTY AND GUARANTEES:
I also purchased a one-year warranty as they did not offer an "extended warranty" included with the price though they do offer a "Arive Alive Guarantee" which states (in part) "We guarantee that every tree, shrub or bush that we ship will arrive to you in excellent health." I typically prefer to purchase from local nurseries/garden centers and the ones I frequent offer a 1-year guarantee which I do not pay extra for. I fully expected to not have to ever contact the company. It isn't often that a plant fails to thrive with my care, so the guarantee is a back-up and not a first line of defense for me. But, I swallowed hard and paid the optional 1-year guarantee which costs 15% of the order total and will not cover future shipping of any plants that the guarantee was used for. There are a few terms of the guarantee but they seem reasonable to me. Even with the price of the optional 1-year guarantee, I still feel the price is reasonable. To me, it would be an intelligent decision to focus on making consumers feel more comfortable ordering by offering a good warranty, even if it meant an increase in prices by 15% and reserving the right to charge customers the second shipping charge. Even if other so called "mail-order" companies have similar return policies, the company that any online company is competing with for plants is the LOCAL one. Plants invite being looked at and touched and experienced. It's hard enough to buy them online and having a nice padded guarantee makes a customer feel more comfortable making that purchase vs. driving to any one of numerous garden centers or nurseries nearby and purchasing comparable plant material. So, while I appreciate having the option to purchase a 1-year guarantee, I believe I would feel more comfortable being charged 15% more and receiving a good warranty for my peace of mind (and that of any clients I buy for). In this area I am a neutral rating, I feel this company can make some shifts in wording and help their customers feel a lot more comfortable. Even after an over-all positive customer service experience (which I will detail later in this review) I would still be a lot more comfortable placing repeat orders for myself and for clients if the company makes some minor changes in this area.

HEALTH/CONDITION OF PLANT MATERIAL:
I expected the plant material to be what The Tree Center claims I will get on their site: "We ship amazingly beautiful and healthy trees directly to your door!" The Tree Center gets a green partial thumbs up from me in this area because my own order had some issues, but I see that the plants themselves had a good pedigree and were grown with care. Aside from the sun-scald on the Spanish Firs, they are otherwise beautiful plants with a good shape (and juvenile Golden Spanish Firs do not generally have a nice shape and must be trained to have one as they grow). All other plant material seems healthy too, assuming the smaller issues my plant material had/has will be able to be dealt with easily enough with my care. So, I will expect any future order I place to be satisfactory to me or my clients. As I will detail later, the issues I had with my plant material WERE DEALT WITH SATISFACTORILY by the company owner.

THE ORDERING EXPERIENCE ONLINE / WEBSITE:
The website is intuitive, beautiful, engaging and easy to navigate. Whoever is doing their website design and management is doing a great job. They walk a fine line of providing enough plant info but not too much. I would like to see more photos of the actual size of different plant offerings they have. They provide a large photo of a mature specimen, a different angle of a smaller mature specimen and an up-close for foliage/bark/bloom. It's so difficult to sell a client on a garden that will look great in 5-10 years. My clients always want to know their garden spaces will look great as they evolve. It's always up to me to find photos of juvenile plant material and it would be so great if companies that are growing the juvenile plant material would simply post photos! The reason is that some clients prefer ordering the material themselves in order to save money and it saves me a lot of time to just send them the link to the site where they will see all they need to see in order to feel comfortable making the purchase.

The ordering process was simple. I had no issues adding/adjusting/deleting cart contents. The cart held my content for a reasonable period of time as I was interrupted a few times during my shopping experience for hours at a time and once, overnight. I really appreciate that. Businesses have lost my business permanently over my cart being dumped overnight! I was able to use Paypal to pay, also important to me. They accepted other forms of payment and I could have placed my order over the phone, though I never reached anyone to be able to do that ( I will address this later in the review). The ordering process and website area gets a big green thumbs up from me. Great job, guys.

SHIPPING/PACKING:

The shipping was speedy. I received my order within three days of ordering. They were only in a box 1.5 days, as I recall (maybe less?) Two of my boxes arrived crushed on one side (they used Fedex and Fedex outsources their shipping so an unmarked truck delivered my items. I was home when they delivered so I opened two boxes while the Fedex guys waited. It was clear upon opening the top of the boxes that the packaging kept the trees from being harmed even though the length of the boxes were crushed. The boxes my trees were shipped in were very sturdy and long, and clearly marked that they held plant material. The boxes were on their side on the truck, as they should be. However, if the boxes were tossed around or dropped by Fedex, they were packed so well, the plant material should be fine. In my case, each box held two trees, packaged firmly at each end. The tops of the trees were not wrapped, but had been thoughtfully packaged. Yes, some trimming had occurred, but the trimming was thoughtfully done and whoever trimmed knew what they were doing. They weren't just lopped off which could result in a misshapen specimen. Each tree had a root system inside a plastic container which was held in a plastic bag and tied firmly around the base of the plant with a zip-tie. This was to keep the dirt from escaping, though on three of my trees, the dirt did escape into the bag, but not the box. They use a stiff piece of cardboard attached by heavy duty shipping staples to keep the pots from moving out of place during shipping. You will need something to remove these staples. I used a flat-head screwdriver. I was impressed with the packing and the shipping. Another big green thumbs up from me in this area.

REACHING SOMEONE ON THE PHONE OR ON THE WEBSITE:
This company needs to improve in this area. I called before I attempted to place an order and I also attempted to reach a person via their live chat feature online. Both times I was unable to connect due to someone not being available online (I get that) and unreasonably long hold times. I held for more than 10 minutes the first time I called. The second time I called, I was on hold for 14 minutes before I hung up. The third time I called, I held until I reached someone at about 9 minutes and 30 seconds. Seriously, this feels like forever in this instant age. I know its hard, but someone needs to answer the phone if there is a phone number for people to call. And, every company should have a phone number. I won't even shop from a company who doesn't. I give the company a thumbs down in this area but I am assuming it's the busy season and it's just hard to man the phones during such a crazy time. As a business person, I understand..but as a client, that isn't an excuse to make a customer wait that long to speak to someone.

ACTUAL CUSTOMER SERVICE:
I'm not going to detail it all, but I had an initial negative experience that was changed to a positive when the owner stepped in to handle my issue. Initially, an employee who could really use some customer service coaching mishandled my call about the concerns I had with the issues my plant material had. I called knowing I would not be able to use the Golden Firs in the landscape due to the sun-scald they had and I had concerns over the brown tipping in the Cryptomeria. I simply wanted to discuss the options as it wasn't (and still isn't) clear as of right now on their website what happens when a plant has issues right out of the shipping box that isn't the fault of the customer. I was assuming that the burden wasn't on me, the customer, to deal with an issue that the plants have that were not caused by me and especially as I had paid for the optional guarantee. To be clear, I knew what I had ordered and had zero buyer's remorse. I simply had a problem with my plant material that I would not be able to fix with a little care. The employee I spoke with clearly didn't know the policies as stated on the website and was defensive and argumentative with me, even rude. Honestly, I was really irritated after finally connecting with someone. Detailing every incorrect statement this person made won't help this company any, so I won't. Let me just say that when I was asked to send photos of the plant material (I always video and take photos right out of the shipping box as soon as I have natural outdoor light to do so), I copied another email for sales that I found on the site in addition to sending my emails to the employee for my claim. I didn't hear back from that employee, but I DID hear from the owner (there may be more than one owner), Clint, who ultimately delivered an EXCELLENT customer service experience as I had expected based upon the statements on the website. He responded quickly to my initial emails by asking me what I wanted the resolution to be (I wanted replacement Firs and a guarantee that if the Cryptomeria do not flush out new growth on those brown tips that they will replace them or refund my money). When I responded, and provided more details of my beliefs that that the plant material was suffering from sun-scald, he agreed with my diagnosis without being defensive. He explained that there was a misunderstanding between a return claim initiated by a customer when there is a problem with the plant material and a claim made when a customer simply changes their mind. Because I was not simply changing my mind, I do not know how that claim would be handled. In my case, I had a problem with the order, and Clint refunded my money promptly on the two Golden Firs since they were out of stock on the items and personally guaranteed replacement or refund on the Cryptomeria if they do not flush out..and he gave me advice on helping them to do so. Though I already know how to encourage new flushing on evergreens, I do appreciate the tips as it shows he truly cares about the plant material thriving. He also send me a 20% off coupon for a future order, which is intelligent, and shows a desire to have another change to prove that their company is worthy to be one of my vendors for future orders. Again, though my experience was initially negative because of the lack of knowledge and attitude of an employee, I believe that can and in my opinion should be resolved with more training and coaching. The bottom line is that Clint, the owner, stood behind the claims the company makes on their website and provided the customer service I expected to get based upon the claims that sold me to begin with. A big big thumbs up.

Overall, I think you will be pleased with your order if you do place one with The Tree Center. Remember to always take a quick video and photos of your plant material upon receipt or as soon as you can. Be certain you know what you are buying. Do your research! Be patient in holding on the phone so you can speak with someone and get all your questions answered before you order, if you think that you will need more information in order to be truly comfortable. I'd like to see some improvements in the warranty and in the verbiage online so it doesn't seem like The Tree Center will place the burden entirely on the customer's shoulders if there is a problem. Clint proved by his actions that this isn't the case so some tweaks to their current written statements and policies online can help. I'd like to know that I can reach someone quickly when I call and that person will be patient, aiming to turn that first-time customer into a repeat customer and armed with the knowledge of their own company policies. I would like to know that even when it's super busy, that whoever is packing the orders will slow down a little bit during the inspection and that there might even be someone who will pull plant material that isn't up to snuff so that it never gets sent out to begin with. That takes a trained eye and staff may not be available. I have no idea.... These are all tweaks to my overall positive experience that would serve to take this company from a good vendor in my arsenal that gets used when I can't find something locally to a truly outstanding one that I will prefer to use instead of local companies.

On May 18th, 2018, CarynDalton added the following:

I forgot to mention in the shipping section that I received FREE shipping on my order which is fantastic and helps tremendously.

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