Hi! I'm interested in ordering some tissue culture plants from you but I've heard some mixed reviews. Some members have had a good experience with ordering plants from you. SEVERAL have expressed uneasiness with their order. Some people complained that their plants arrived melted and when they contacted you for a refund, you said NO REFUND but instead aggressively pushed to re-send them new plants (some of which they didn't order and have no interest in).
I've taken these comments and experiences with a grain of salt, but I'd like to know what your policy is for plants that arrive melted or in not good shape. I understand these plants come from Italy so they are going through quite a lot of transit time. What assurance can I get that you won't ship me plants that are already on the melted side? Is it true that you won't offer a refund for plants that arrive in poor condition?
I'm very interested in ordering some TC plants from you, as I've ordered some in the past from a different vendor with great success, but I want to clarify some details to be clear as to the condition of the plants we can expect upon receipt and what happens if we aren't happy with the condition of the plants. Will a refund be viable? B/c I don't want another shipment of plants that I have no interest in as a "replacement".
These are great questions!
First and foremost, my number one priority is making sure to deliver on high expectations - the first thing I try to do is to get people what they wanted in the first place in the case of an issue, which, is usually done at a greater cost of business than simply issuing a refund - of course, if in the end, it doesn't work out, there is absolutely no "no refund" policy that blocks refunds from taking place, if it is the preference of the purchaser, then that's the best course of action to take.
In fact, I take satisfaction of fellow hobbyists in what they got so personally,
that I'd rather incur a total loss on a shipment (financially) than see someone unhappy. Pretty much everything that's done is an import product - whether it be ADA or Italy TC plants from Anubias, and part of that game is subject to logistic delays, manufacturing delays, customs issues and so on, which all essentially means that we maintain a very loose refund policy - basically you get whatever you want. Replacement? No problem. Refund? Not an issue.
In cases where there is a mishap, usually the customer wins double - because usually that means you get what you originally ordered and a bonus.
As for the TC plants, by and large, it was our attempt to bring a better quality plant to the table to be available easily to everyone (since let's face it, coordinating plants for a full-blown planted tank, planted from the get go full on is a challenge and a half with the way things are now).
We believed that that path was through Anubias tissue culture plants, but after the first shipment we discovered issues with the product.
The first is that 1.) The product is very clearly designed to be shipped via air cargo or on a truck directly to a retail store for display in smaller countries (such as European countries where logistics aren't as big a challenge).
The case that I found was happening with a lot of the plants, is that the plants would leave in perfect condition, and the plants themselves would arrive fine - but the black agar that they grow in, in the process of being tossed around through the shipping process would essentially get totally jumbled with all the plant matter, creating a scenario where when you open the package, what you see looked completely different from the original plant. The plant is fine, but it's mixed up with the Agar.
The product line saw widespread success in Europe and Japan, and in retrospect, it makes more sense as the distribution area is much smaller and it's much more viable to deliver safely without the box ever getting turned over, to a retail store in Japan from a central distribution point, than it is in the USA direct to a customer from the distribution point.
That's a hard lesson learned - and one that case by case has been addressed with all the early adopters, we found out what plants shipped well, which ones didn't and which ones make a safe transition into the aquarium better, which is all information we had no way of knowing before hand, as there had never been an attempt to distribute this kind of product across such a large area before.
All that being said, for the time being, we've essentially halted the ordering of the plants from Italy. We haven't given up on finding a solution, but for now, until retail stores begin investing more into planted aquariums (outside a few specific geographic area), this particular product line is just not suited for direct shipping, and it's price point is not particularly viable for effective distribution to stores (which, costs are so high on it, that the retail value is $14.25, the wholesale is $12.25, and our cost was $11.50...which really just makes no business sense what so ever).
It's a great product and a great line, but we'll have to work on opening a different channel to exploit it - it's a similar story with most foreign product lines trying to enter the USA after being used to Europe and Asia. Even Canada is significantly different than the USA in terms of viability of cost.
So the bottom line is,
if you're ever not happy, let me know. I will take care of you.
If you do not like the solution I present, then we'll just keep plugging away until we find the best solution for you.
There is only one policy: I will do everything in my power so that you walk away happy.
I hope that answers your questions!