Company guarantee says it will replace plants that don't grow. Company won't replace because part of my order label was discarded.
I purchased 5 items and received about 22 seedlings. I believe the overall cost was about $39.00. When the seedlings arrived, they looked to be DOA or in poor shape, but I planted them anyway and waited for about 3 weeks. Only a few actually started to grow. I took advantage of Burgess' replacement guarantee, which stated that I needed only to submit the order mailing label to verify the order. No invoice was sent to me, and part of the shipping label was torn off and discarded when the package was opened, but I was able to recover most of the label, which contained my name and address, Burgess' address, and the list of seedlings that I ordered. Obviously I would have sent the complete label if I had it.
Burgess sent back the damaged label saying they needed ALL of the original label, which I no longer had. I had already told them this, and their second response was that if I couldn't provide the entire label, then I had to submit the credit card statement as proof of purchase.
Assuming that Burgess is operating in the 21st century and uses computers in their business operations, they should be able to quickly look up my order information, which likely contained my credit card information and the approval of my charge. Now they're saying I need to provide proof of purchase. Why would they send the items I ordered in the first place if my credit card wasn't valid?
I believe they're doing a bureaucratic runaround on me so they don't have to replace the seedlings. After all, it's costing Burgess more in staff and overhead time to argue with me, when they should be more concerned with the poor quality of the seedlings they sent me in the first place. I'm frustrated at the way I've been treated. They should simply honor their guarantee. I gave them most of the shipping label they asked for, along with a letter explaining what had happened.
Honor their replacement guarantee. All they asked for was the mailing/shipping label, and I provided the label, although part of it had been discarded in opening the package. But the label contained the pertinent information for the company to honor its guarantee. Saying I had to prove that I purchased the seedlings is ludicrous. Don't then use computers?
Dear Mr. *********:
We are in receipt of your recent correspondence regarding the order you placed with us in July. The shipping label, that is required for our guarantee, is the brown paper that would have been taped to the outside of the package and lists the items in the package and your name and address. According to what you have written, we believe you have the information/paperwork we need. Please send the label, along with the additional paperwork to my attention for review. Be sure that the information included provides a list of how many of which item is dead.
Very truly yours,
Burgess Seed & Plant Company
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
The question is "Why is a large, profitable seed and plant company giving a new customer such a hard time replacing a simple $40 order of plants, most of which died in transit or soon after receipt?"
This should have been a simple no-brainer response to a replacement guarantee, but instead the Burgess company has now sent me nearly 10 responses over 3 months denying the replacement because it "believes" I have the mailing label in question that I needed to provide, despite the fact that I have told them repeatedly that the mailing label was damaged, the bulk of which was thrown away by my grandchildren after opening the shipped package.
I'm not a plant expert; I'm just a retired guy who likes colorful plants. I simply used a catalog I got in the mail to let my visiting grandchildren pick and plant some seedlings for some recreation and learning when they visit me. When the package came, the kids ripped it open, damaging the mailing label and tossed the wrapper in the trash. I was, however, able to retrieve most of the mailing label, which seemed to include the relevant order information. What troubled me was that, of some 22 delivered seedlings, only about 4 survived or were not dead on arrival.
So, I took the opportunity to get the Burgess replacement "guarantee" and sent them the attached letter and all of the pieces of the now discarded mailing label. I figured that the label contained enough information and that Burgess could also verify my order from their computer records for any missing information. I clearly stated in my letter that the label had been damaged and partially lost on opening and I was providing all that I had.
No such luck. Not only did Burgess not apologize for the defective plants, they told me no replacement was forthcoming in the absence of a complete mailing label. You have to wonder, what kind of 21st Century multimillion dollar business wouldn't be able to just enter my name in their computers and pull up the order information? To add insult to injury, they kept insisting that they "believed" I had the complete mailing label. Now, why would I withhold other label pieces if I indeed had them? Furthermore, they were implying that I must be lying and was trying to rip the company off for $40 worth of plants. As a retired business executive, what galls me the most here is all the staff time (read $$$) that Burgess has spent arguing with me has to have cost way more than $40 for the plants. Why not just replace the plants and get rid of a likely unhappy non-returning customer?
In my numerous correspondence exchanges with Burgess, they wouldn't budge on the "produce the entire mailing label" until they finally said, as a substitute action, I had to provide my credit card statement that documented that I had actually purchased the plants, which I did, even though the company already knew that the purchase was legitimate since it sent me my order.
As of right now, Burgess seems to have decided I was a legitimate customer and qualify for the replacement plants, until earlier this week when I got a new demand: I needed to document which plants lived and which died. I personally only selected 3 of one plants; all died, and the rest of the ordered seedlings were selected and planted by the grandchildren. I'm not a professional gardener; neither I nor my grandchildren kept records or labels for the planted seedlings, so I have no idea the names or which plants lived or died; all I have to show are a bunch of dried-up seedlings. Besides, one of the ordered items was for a bunch of miscellaneous seedlings, so I would have little knowledge of the contents. I have sent Burgess my list of the problem plants 3 times now, yet they're still saying I need to provide the information (this original letter attached).
This all comes down to unbelievable poor customer service. Instead of apologizing for the order problem and simply replacing the entire order, the Burgess customer service people have been creative enough to keep throwing obstacles in my way, probably just so I would give up. In my business dealings of over 30 years, we had a saying: "Bureaucrats can think of 9 reasons to say NO instead of 1 reason to say YES." It's not like it was an order for hundreds or thousands of dollarsmore like $40. My mistake was criticizing their performance. Clearly they decided to show this customer who's the boss here.
Burgess has spent hundreds of dollars denying me their guarantee over a 3-month period that included nearly 10 exchanges of letters and e-mails. Their latest e-mail to me says they will no longer communicate with me on this matter. Why can't they just live up to their guarantee? I certainly will never do business with them again, and I would never recommend that any of my friends use them either.