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Comments regarding Southmeadow Fruit Gardens (Grootendorst Nurseries)

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  Feedback History and Summary  
28 positives
6 neutrals
63 negatives


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Negative GuyGimson
(1 review)
On Apr 4, 2003, GuyGimson wrote:

I ordered 3 fruit trees in late October 2002 - the check was cashed in early December. No acknowledgement nor shipping date was sent. By mid March the snows were melting in northern NJ; in the space of 3 weeks I left (probably) 10 voice mails, 5 emails and 2 faxes. No response to any of them. It seems that customers are an annoyance and irritant to this company. The trees finally arrived today without any planting instructions - now I'll see how they grow.

Negative OldGrove
(2 reviews)
On Apr 2, 2003, OldGrove wrote:

Much the same as previous complaints-- Ordered a tree, they cashed my check, said it was in the mail every week for a month, then did not respond at all to emails, faxes, phone calls. They are thieves.

On November 3rd, 2003, OldGrove added the following:

Got the email offering to refund my money. Dutifully sent the requested information. Months pass. Nothing. OldGrove
Negative Fraiser
(1 review)
On Feb 25, 2003, Fraiser wrote:

On April 2002, I ordered 6 comice pear trees. I was told by the company that they would be shipped in the Fall. I NEVER received my trees. My check was cashed immediately - $98.55 - I telephoned and emailed this company at least 20 times and never received an answer. BEWARE OF COMPANIES THAT REQUEST CHECKS ONLY!!!!! I will contact the BBB.

Negative skiggy
(1 review)
On Feb 10, 2003, skiggy wrote:

I ordered 6 gooseberry bushes from them in the winter of 2001 & was told they would be shipped in the spring. I didn't receive them & called. I kept getting the run around that they would be shipped the next planting season. They quickly had my check cashed but I have never received my gooseberries. I have written & called numeras times. Please don't order from them.

Negative metalrabbit
(1 review)
On Jan 28, 2003, metalrabbit wrote:

I sent for 3 apple trees in the winter of 2000. They cashed my check immediately, and sent me confirmation of my order. By March of 2001, I had not received my trees. I called, and faxed every 3 months or so, and never did receive my trees. I believe this was the period of time when the nursery changed hands.

Negative carolanne
(1 review)
On Jan 23, 2003, carolanne wrote:

I sent this company a check in February of 2002 to purchase two apple trees, as they don't take credit cards. The check was cashed immediately. I emailed them in April & May to check the status of my order. My queries were ignored. Their website states they always ship by mid-May. In Mid-May I was able to reach them by phone & was told shipment would be in a few more weeks. I cancelled, asked for refund & followed up with registered letter. I received a package two weeks later when the temperature was 95, too hot to mail living plants. I refused it & sent another registered letter asking for refund. This was ignored. Their business motto seems to be "take the money and run". Never again.

Negative Plesuer
(1 review)
On Jul 10, 2002, Plesuer wrote:

Positively the worst mail order experience EVER! I ordered 8 peach trees and now 2 years and numerous phone calls later I have received NOTHING. Much like the other comments on this page, I too got the major run around from these clowns and of course no plants. I later called the BBB serving that part of Michigan and was told that good ol Southmeadow has a pile of complaints against them - many of which are similar in nature to mine. I did file a complaint with the Michigan AG and was essentially told that their hands were tied but that I could pursue private litgation should I so choose. Gee thanks. Check with the BBB before you place any future mail order. It can all be done on line. I lost $179.40.

Negative gramercygreen
(1 review)
On Apr 21, 2002, gramercygreen wrote:

I've also had difficulties with this nursery, primarily trees ordered, then dying and not being replaced, as promised. As I recall, I had to badger the company constantly regarding replacement trees, only to be given the run-around. After more than a year of this, and the trees still not having arrived, I simply went out to a local nursery and bought the trees I needed. Not the trees I wanted, mind you, but something, anything, to fill the holes in the orchard. I plan to order from Southmeadow again (hope springs eternal), but pray that my experience will have just been a strange glitch in a fascinating operation.

Negative nturland
(7 reviews)
On Apr 4, 2002, nturland wrote:

Beware! They seem to have gone a long way downhill since eight years ago. In my experience, this is definitely a nursery to avoid if you value your time, money and peace of mind. Their customer service is the worst I have ever known from any nursery or indeed any mail-order outlet. To cut a long story short, I placed an $80 order with them in October 2001, paid by check (which was prompty cashed), received an acknowledgment stating "ship fall 2001" but have not yet received any plants (April 2002). Today I called them for the SIXTH time since November, and received the same kind of delaying tactics and empty promises that I had received on all five previous calls. When I mentioned that I had fully documented our interactions and would file a complaint with the Michigan Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division or the Better Business Bureau, they said this: "you can do what you like, but you're gonna feel pretty stupid when those plants arrive today or tomorrow" and words to the effect that they were very busy and did not have time to talk to me any longer. I asked the name of the woman to whom I was talking and she hung up the phone. (I called back and she told me she was "Judy" and hung up again.) I will follow up on this message if the plants indeed arrive.

On April 8th, 2002, nturland added the following:

On April 5 I received half my order: a quince tree and a grape vine. There was no explanation of why only two plants were shipped. They seemed nice plants with good roots, dormant and alive. I called Southmeadow today and asked about the other two plants (a medlar tree and another grape). They said they would ship this week, but they might have to substitute the grape.
On April 30th, 2002, nturland added the following:

I called three more times since April 8 and received empty promises each time. Shipping was promised "tomorrow" or "next week" but nothing ever arrived. I have reported the company to the Michigan Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.
On December 9th, 2002, nturland added the following:

In November 2002 I finally heard from the Michigan Attorney General: they contacted Southmeadow twice but received no response. They will maintain their non-cooperation on file. The Better Business Bureau's web site also notes that Southmeadow shows a repeating pattern of non-delivery of orders and non-reply to inquiries from both customers and the BBB. Southmeadow does not deserve anyone's custom.
Positive john_hempel
(1 review)
On Apr 2, 2002, john_hempel Pittsburgh, PA wrote:

Absolute first rate. Six trees ordered some 8yrs ago were all delivered promptly. All survived and are doing well. Some of these are Swedish varieties I never imagined I could get in the US but were right there in the catalog, and are now beginning to bear true to their descriptions. (Turns out, Mr. Grootendorst once worked in the Frescati Gardens in Stockholm.) A very professional operation.

Neutral johnoneill
(1 review)
On Apr 1, 2002, johnoneill wrote:

I checked the ilex vertillicata and the bayberries I bought from them 2 years ago, and they are still going. They came as tiny little things, but they have survived a hard winter and a fairly easy one in northern Illinois-allegedly Z5, but it gets colder than that. I ordered some other conservation plants at the same time, and they never showed up. I called and emailed but no response-I figure they nicked me for $10.00, and it is too bad they went to the bad, because their catalog was interesting, and the stock I got was hardy.

Negative katyfraser
(1 review)
On Feb 1, 2002, katyfraser wrote:

Let me add my twenty-five dollars worth of opinion to this. Southmeadow took my order, cashed the money order, and promised March delivery. To make along story short, all I ever received in return was a lot of empty promises. No tree. No refund. After about the third phone call, they quit returning my calls or answering my email. I have reported their shabby service to the Better Business Bureau. Avoid these people if you value your time and money!

Negative michaelwmals
(1 review)
On Dec 1, 2001, michaelwmals wrote:

I would like to add my own experiences with them. My first order of 6 trees was filled without a problem in 1998 - one variety was unavailable that year so they substituted, which was OK by me. In 1999 I re ordered the tree that was unavailable the previous year, along with some gooseberry bushes. They cashed my check, but never sent the order. Repeated emails, phone calls, and letters produced either the ol' run-around, or stony silence. Requests, and later demands, for repayment were not answered, nor did they claim the certified letter I sent them. I went to the Postal Service without avail: they need a PATTERN of incidents of this nature to act. All told, I still don't have my plants, or my money, or even an explanation - which is the worst part of the whole fiasco. They did, however, have the audacity to send me a 2001 catalog anyway.

Negative hmvfraser
(1 review)
On Dec 1, 2001, hmvfraser wrote:

I, too, ordered from Southmeadow last year-NEVER AGAIN! They said they shipped my tree but I never saw it. Repeated attempts to contact them were ignored. They did manage to find and cash my check. I filed a complaint with the Michigan Better Business Bureau.

Negative cherismyser
(2 reviews)
On May 29, 2001, cherismyser wrote:

I ordered from Southmeadow in October 2000 and still (it's almost June 2001) have not received my plants -- they cashed my check promptly, however. I have written, called, and emailed them to no avail.

Neutral CharlieElgin
(3 reviews)
On Feb 1, 2001, CharlieElgin wrote:

I have had a good many praises about Southmeadow's trees so I placed an order. After several weeks I received a partial shipment and some weeks later received someone else's order. I sent 2 e-mails without a response, tried calling and sent a certified letter saying I had someone else's order and would like to know how to handle the trees. Southmeadow never responded to my attempts to communicate with them. I must say that they only cashed my check after the shipments of trees even though my order was partially filled.

Positive GindaFisher
(7 reviews)
On May 1, 2000, GindaFisher wrote:

Lots and lots of varieties of apples, also pears and small fruits. The catalog starts with an essay extolling the quality of a few of the offerings, and then is just a list of available cultivars. Each year the essay is different, and it can be quite informative on the few cultivars it covers - it is also a good read. A booklet that includes descriptions of all (most?) of the cultivars costs $9, and is tedious reading with less than terrific illustrations. The trees are fine and the variety can't be beat. Most are available on dwarf and semi-dwarf stock. The one that I bought was eaten by rodents over the winter, but it did fine (and even blossomed) in its one year.

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