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Year = 2007 Home page: 2007 | Previous home pages:  2006 | 2005

Vendor Review: River's Source Botanicals
NEW! 2014 update: The Don Filipe Letter
I wasn't the only unhappy customer
From: "PETER JONES" <SANCLANDSCAPE@msn.com> / Subject: RE: Rivers Source / Date: Sun, 8 Jul 2007

Quickly, Loved your review on Rivers source... I had the same EXACT gripe months ago with this guy. ...I could show you the exact problems...Pathetic. And that weight thing.... I Got the same response/ run around. Whatever...my wife had finally done away with all the miserable plants. I had them sort of tucked out of eyesight so I didn't have to look at them. She was the one trying pointlessly to bring them around. I gave up trying to get money back. And that weight thing.... don't even get me started! The plants where exactly like the ones in your photos....twisted, Pathetic.
Did the river become polluted?
(Above) February 2006 order-- only about 1/3 of the seedlings thrived. 1/3 died or were worthless (see Grade F above)
Bad experience #1 with River's Source Botanicals (sick plants)

February 2006
A winter sale offered 300 seedlings for $300. When they arrived about 20 were dead. More died or failed to thrive.

Months later River's Source sent an email (SPAM) saying that they had stopped selling seedlings due to freeze damage problems, but had recently resumed. The email claimed that the survivors had proved their cold hardiness or something.

I was never personally contacted to see if my cold damaged ones had been a problem. Yet clearly about 1/3 of the order was worthless because they died or never thrived. Another 1/3 were stunted and sickly.

The close ups at right show the neck damage so many of that batch exhibited. The freeze that River's Source had encountered may have damaged to the central core of the young plants. That could cause the permanent crippling experienced in this batch.

Was this damage from a hard freeze as River's Source later explained? Or was it from a batch of bad seed? Or was this disease damage?

(right) Was this damage from a hard freeze as River's Source later explained? Or was it from a batch of bad seed? Or was this disease damage?

The 1/3 labeled "Grade F" have never recovered despite providing them the best of care.
Bad experience #2 with River's Source Botanicals (short changed)
September, 2006
River's Source had an end of season sale. 500 seedlings for $500 with a 5% discount. Figuring that so many of the previous order were unhealthy this seemed like a way to make up for that loss. But was I wrong again!

"Don't throw good money after bad" is often a true adage. This second bad experience with River's Source took months for American Express to resolve. Not only did I send the order back—the same day they arrived by Priority Mail—but then River's Source refused to issue a credit! "Sorry, no returns!"

Funny math; 213 = 500?  Paid for 500, but I was sent 213. 500 plants grow up to be 500 big plants. But 213 only grow up to be 213 big plants.

This was the first week of October. Plants go dormant for the winter months. These tiny plants would not begin to grow again until the following spring. Thus, their current "size" was irrelevant.

The deal was for 500, not 213. To charge a customer the 500 plant price but ship less than 45% of that number and say "sorry, no returns" is what I call very unethical.
(above) "Take it or leave it letter. An invoice for 500 seedlings with a letter explaining how 213 = 500.
Bad customer service Good customer service
I only have 213 of the 500 you ordered but will not offer to refund your money. I can't fill your order so I am refunding your payment.
I think the 213 are "bigger than normal" so I say they equal 300 seedlings. I can substitute 200 Bridgesii seedlings or cuttings to make up the 500. How's that? I can't fill your order so I am refunding your payment.
I can't sell you 1/2 at 1/2 the cost because then I'd have to charge you the lower number rate before the sale --which is $660. Do you want the 213 for $660? I can't fill your order so I am refunding your payment.
I want to keep your money but not send you 500 seedlings. Since you say you do not want the "Weight equivalent" in other varieties you will only get the 213 I have. In fact, I now declare that the 213 equal the entire 500 you paid for. I can't fill your order so I am refunding your payment.
I shipped the "weight equivalent". This means I had a few big plants that weigh more than seedlings. You didn't really buy 500 plants—you bought 500 grams worth of plants. So I'm sending you 1,312 grams. Sorry, no returns. I can't fill your order so I am refunding your payment.
According to this River's Source "weight equivalent" theory a few cuttings weighing 200 grams would = 500 seedlings?  I purchased 500, not 1/2 that number!
River's Source emailed to admit they only had 213 of the 500 seedlings I had purchased

Yet they only shipped the 213 when I refused to accept the 200 Bridgesii seedlings offered as substitutes.

The closing line of River's Source Botanical's letter sent with the shipped order says "Last time I checked there's nobody who would say this is ripping someone off."

Well, Philip, I'm saying its a rip-off to sell 500 but only ship 213. I believe its a rip-off to sell Peruvianus seedlings for your "weight equivalent" nonsense because that means you are charging $167/pound!

Peruvianus, Bridgesii, and San Pedro cuttings or even plants sell on ebay for only $5 to $10/pound; not $167/pound! Seedlings, Philip, are sold be the "each" --not by weight.
Bad experience #3 with River's Source Botanicals (no refund)
Seedlings were sold on the website by quantity, not by a made up "weight equivalent" system
Thank God for American Express. After 5 months, River's Source Botanicals had not issued a credit for the order I returned.

American Express had a hard time, but finally forced the "merchant" to refund my money. This is totally fair since I returned his unacceptable order by Priority Mail the same day it arrived.

Therefore, River's Source Botanical had actually sold to me absolutely nothing. And nothing does not entitle them to $482 of my money.

END

 
Note: All comments above are the document supported opinions of Verne Robinson. Every email and document was retained to verify the truthfulness of every thing said in the above review.

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