In this Nurserylive.com review, I record my experience of buying live plants online from Nurserylive.com. Right from the time I contact them initially, place my order, receive damaged plants and see replacements.
Online shopping has made giant strides in every department, however, some categories are harder to sell and buy online. In this case, live plants. Both parties, the seller, and buyer take a huge risk by transacting over something alive that needs to be shipped over 3-6 days, the plants in many cases are delicate and are easily damaged in which case the customer would seek a refund or a replacement,
Skeptical as this sounds, I had my eyes on procuring some succulents. Let me tell you now that they are not the easiest plants to find. Good old Google guided me to Nurserylive.com, it seemed a vast ocean of plants. They had several categories, several varieties, and options. Their Facebook page was abuzz with positive comments and feedback.
This was not enough to convince me to place an order straight away. I just wanted to be sure as to how they would ship plants undamaged across 1000 kilometers. I tried calling them on the number they provided on their website. The number would automatically get disconnected once I selected any option. That seemed very dodgy, what if this happened after I had ordered and received a damaged shipment of plants? I found a chat option on the website and I initiated a chat.
My initial impressions were that their representative was not professionally trained. I was informed that the phone was down for maintainance. My chat went a bit bumpy as the nurserlive.com representative was not really keen on providing much impression. All they would say was that they ship thousands of plants all over India and that I should not be worried. I was impressed by the fact that they use FedEx for shipment.
I decided to take my chances as I was desperate to own some succulents. I placed an order for Rs 1,719, this is after I received a discount of Rs. 200, this was emailed to me once I added products to my cart and waited, hence, I suggest you do the same too to save some money.
On the 4th of March, the 6th day after I had placed my order, I received confirmation that the plants had been shipped using Fedex as the carrier. I receive a tracking number which was working and I was more than happy at this point. Upon noticing the Fedex tracking, the shipment had actually been sent on the 2nd March. Regardless, I received my packages on the 6th of March, that is 2 days after shipping and 8 days after placing my order.
Once the packages arrived, I was slightly taken aback at the lack of any visual signage of something on the lines of “Fragile” or “Handle with Care”. The Fedex people apparently would have no idea that this was a plant, and even if they did from the shipment details, I am sure not many would take care to not throw the packages or pile them up. Either way, seeing the boxes made me highly skeptical and having had a chat with the nurserylive.com representation before placing the order and their lackluster presales support, I wanted to be extra sure and hence made the video below of the unboxing, I also wanted to write this nurserylive.com review and thought the video would be helpful for others buying from nurserylive.com. Apologies for the poor quality of the video as I had to use a webcam to film this, but it is clear enough to understand the visuals.
The first box was in excellent condition, the second one is the box that shocked me. The bits of plants were everywhere, the soil was everywhere, the plants were broken, tangled and in a real mess. Each of these plants cost me Rs. 250 give or take. That aside, I was planning on a mixed succulent bowl, there was no way I was going to be able to make one from this damaged lot of plants. I wanted replacements and I wanted them fast.
I contacted the chat support on the nurserylive.com website. I was asked to send an email with the photos to their email address.
I sent the below email along with some images.
I called their number, this time, it worked. I called to ask what would happen once I sent the email. The nurserylive.com representative informed he was not at liberty to inform and there was a separate department for that.
Within 3 hours of sending the email, I received a call. That was very impressive. The nurserylive.com representative just assumed I speak Hindi and began speaking in Hindi, the place from where he called was extremely noisy and I was hardly able to hear the person. He was very defensive and continued to mention that the pictures I sent did not indicate any damage to the plants. And there was nothing he could do for the pots that did not have any plant in them, this was because the plant had dropped out of the pot and fallen within the box, maybe it was my fault but the way he spoke was as if I had removed the plant and sent them the pictures of the empty pots.
He certainly was not a good listener. For some reason he insisted that I should not water the plants, I was bamboozled by this, it had been a few hours since I got my delivery and here was a nurserylive.com specialist who was worse than the insurance agent at the claims desk. It was clear that nurserylive.com were not a company that would send out replacements easily or gave a shit about customer service.
I asked the nurserylive.com representative to have a look at the video again and get back to me, he insisted that he had to show it to some other specialist and to get back to me. I am very tempted to inform them that my experience will be shared online in the form of this nurserylive.com review but I would like to experience their service as it is for the moment.
After about 28 hours of me receiving my delivery, complaining about damage, sending nurserylive.com the pictures and videos, I have confirmation that they will send me 3 out of the 5 plants that I claimed for replacement. I would have loved to have all 5 replaced but I am assured that the two damaged plants will recover. Guess, this is the risk I take when ordering online and buying plants.
I now await confirmation of the dispatch of the replacement plants. I will update this post as there is progress.
I received the replacements as promised on the 15th. Which was a reasonable time to send out plants in place of the damaged ones I received. This time, I did not make a video of the boxing, however, I was shell shocked to see what I was sent. While my request to replace 5 plants was refused and only 3 were sent, only one of the plants was a good replacement. The second plant was without leaves and was literally a stem, the third one was so tiny that it cannot be called a plant.
After a lot of emails exchanged and me explaining that I paid Rs. 263 + shipping for the plant and cannot accept a stem and a sapling as a plant, I was rejected a replacement or a refund. I was asked to nurture the plant and was given tips on how to bring the plants back to live. Nurserlylive.com representative very reluctantly asked me to get back if the plants condition did not improve in a few days.
In the meanwhile, I managed to visit a local nursery and to my surprise, they were selling the same succulent in much healthier condition and in better sizes for Rs. 100. That is almost one-third of what I paid Nurserlive.com. I then realised that these were some exuberant prices being charged at the excuse of convenience.
Considering I would never have got even the replacement if I did not make the video, it is very risky to buy delicate plants from Nurserylive.com. Hence, in conclusion, I strongly advise against buying plants online. You might want to buy plants that are tough so that the journey does not damage them. Another aspect is the price. Unless you live on the moon, you are never too far from your local nursery, I strongly suggest you visit the nursery, take a long stroll and pick your plants.