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Van Bourgondien

17 years ago


I ordered from this company using their late season spring 2006 sale. Half of the plants I recieved were dead, the rest of them were much smaller than advertised size and weak. They scheduled a replacement for plants that were dead upon arrival on April 2007. I was told that according to their policy they can not replace them in the fall. OK, I agreed to wait till spring.

Recently I received a letter with store credit from them. The store credit is for plants' cost only, WITHOUT SHIPPING COST. They did not answer my emails, so today I called them. I asked why my replacement was cancelled. The guy I talked to said that this is their policy for Internet purchases. I asked: why they did not tell me so last year? He said that he does know with whom I spoke!! I had two more questions to them:

1. Why you did not give me store credit for the shipping? (The answer: Because we shipped these dead plants to you!)

2. Why your lame policy is not clearly explained on your website? (The answer: I think it is ....)

Their customer service representatives lie all the time.

This company is a gang of scams.

This is the worst mail order experience I ever had.

Comments (35)

  • 17 years ago

    I've also had them send me a dead plant, put me off when called afterward - something about it being too late for that year. Sounds like similar response to what you got. Matter was never pursued or resolved.

  • 17 years ago

    I've purchased thousands of dollars in bulbs from their wholesale division and have NEVER had a problem - in fact their customer service has been great. Like any catalog photos, you are not going to get anything by mail that looks like the mature plant in the photo. I have found their plants to be small, but never different from the way they are described. I don't know of any mail order operation that reimburses shipping costs, but I've never received dead plants, either, so I've never had to hoe that row. Best advice is to always buy at a local nursery, but a couple of outstanding mail order nurseries who are really customer service oriented are Niche Gardens and Plant Delights, both in NC.

  • 17 years ago

    This is really interesting. VB tried to inflate their own rating by submitting customer feedback by themselves.
    Check out this Garden Watchdog page:

    my dahlias were just beautiful and my lilies were better this year than last.

    Note from the Garden Watchdog editors:

    This comment was submitted from the same IP address as several other customer comments, including three that were determined to have originated from company representatives. It is the stated policy of the Watchdog that companies can NOT submit customer feedback to inflate their own rating. The rating, originally positive, was changed from positive to neutral so that it would not affect the overall rating given by customers.

    Flowerscapes, do you have the same IP address as VB? Or you became a member of the GWF from your home computer? On February 4th 2007, just in time to post a "newtral/positive" feedback on VB ;-)
    I always received a full refund OR replacement for poor quality mail ordered plants from reputable companies.
    What a scam company...

  • 17 years ago

    I ordered Karma Dahlias from VB two years in a row. No problem whatsoever. I just placed a rather large order of Karma Dahlia again this year. I have not tried any plants because of negative rating.

  • 17 years ago

    The plant I ordered that came in a decomposed condition is not generally and consistently available. In fact, I may have noticed it was not even offered by them the following year. A friend here in the same metropolitan area also ordered it and got a live specimen.

  • 17 years ago

    I ordered alocasia macro variegata from them. When I didn't receive them they gave me an excuse about crop failure. This went back and forth several times and months. Finally they shipped alocasia Hilo Beauty. I had phoned my order with no substitution. They said ship back. I asked if they would reimburse shipping for mailing back to them. They said no. I told them I would notify NY attorney general's office. They gave me a $60 reimbursement. I'll never order from them again. I think they are in cahoots with TyTy.

  • 17 years ago

    I get bulbs from them almost every year but had problems with Iris 5 years ago.

  • 17 years ago

    Long story (will spare you...)but they have terrible customer service. Will never order from this company again.

  • 17 years ago

    I had used a coupon to place an order in January for something I really, really, really wanted. Fortunately, it only cost me s&h, but I'll just have to wait and see what happens. I had used a coupon code that I found online, but apparently it was only a one-time use coupon, so they ended up putting ALOT of peoples orders on hold. I did have an old catalog at home, which had a coupon code, so I emailed them to reinstate the order with that code. As skeptical as I was, I received an email the following day saying that the coupon was applied and the order is in place. Hopefully, I'll be one of the lucky ones. But, I'm one of the ones who knows better, but was willing to take this one chance; maybe they'll redeem themselves...

  • 17 years ago

    They seem to do OK with their bulbs but I have had terrible problems with any plants. I am from LI and can get plants from them but even doing that they are horrible!

  • 17 years ago

    Well, they didn't redeem themselves.

    I received an letter that my cc was declined. Hmmmmm, never had trouble before, plus, there's no balance!!! I emailed them about it, and they said I could send another cc. Hmmmmm, no, can I send a check? Resonse: yes, nothing more, no address, no nothing. Customer service needs help, and lots of it. One word responses don't help. Sorry, I'd rather deal with a company that's wants business, and works for it. Enough is enough...

  • 17 years ago

    Those plants from this company that were not dead upon arrival did not survive the winter. Obviously, they were too weak. I have plants ordered at the same time from 6 other mail order companies, most of them are fine.

  • 17 years ago

    I have ordered very large numbers of bulbs from their wholesale catalog twice. The bulbs were big and healthy and grew like gangbusters both times. Too bad they turned out to be the wrong varieties both times, despite being labeled as the ones I had ordered. Twice is enough.

  • 17 years ago

    I orded 3 canna "Milk Festival" and a collection of 9 jap. irises from this company in '05. The irises had thrips and 2 of the cannas were tiny and rotten. I contacted the company. Their response was,they were dormant. I've been growing to sale for many years. I know the difference between dead and dormnat. They had no comment about the thrips.



  • 17 years ago

    Thanks to everyone who has posted! I planned to order from Van Bourgondien and had showed the catalog to my father who was also going to order. After reading through the posts here I called him immediately to warn him NOT to order. I was too late, and he had already called them to place his order. Fortunately, they were out of stock on all the things on his list!

  • 17 years ago

    I too am very unhappy with Van Bourgondien. I ordered some of the hardy geraniums and when I got two packages - in each package it said three roots. Well there was one number 1 root which was healthy and big but the other two roots were so small I wasn't even sure if I should plant them or not. I did but only four of the six came up. I emailed the company twice and received no reply. So today I called them and finally after I told the person what their website said about their products she said she would mail me one. I will never order from them again. Unless anyone has anything negative about White Flower Farms I am going to try them.

  • 17 years ago

    Hi Beckonwood,
    White Flower Farms' plants are overpriced. You can buy same plants much cheaper. Besides, the quality is not always good. They stand behind their plants though, so refund or replacement will not be a problem.
    Check out their rating and customers' comments here
    If you are going to order some particular plant online, I would strongly recommend to make a search for good vendors on the corresponding forum or ask people there for recommendations.

  • 17 years ago

    Hi Alina, thanks for the information. Next I guess I am asking others if they have a site they think is good for ordering plants/flowers etc. I really like the hardy geraniums which Van Bourgondien carries. I have not been able to find them anywhere else, unless I am not looking in the right place. Thanks for the help.

  • 17 years ago

    Do not feel bad about plants you did not order from VB. You would receive a bunch of dead plants for sure. They are notorious for sending dead Perennials. There is a chance that you would get somewhat alive bulbs from them, but not perennials.
    Check out Geraniums at Hallson's Gardens for example. This company has 100% rating. I got excellent experience with them.
    Other good places to order Perennials are
    Bluestone Perennials
    Garden Crossings

    Park Wholesale is having excellent sale right now. Many plants are sold out, but they still have something to choose from.

    Good luck!

  • 17 years ago

    No matter how good the discount might seem, do not take a chance-this company will get it's money from you. They won't ship the order or they will charge your card the full price. They never shipped my order and now won't respond to emails or phone calls.

  • 16 years ago

    On August 20, 2007, Richard_in_CT wrote: In March of this year (2007) I placed an order with Van Bourgondien. I was entranced by the pictures in their catalogue and did not think of googling them. My mistake, and I am still paying for it. This is the chronology:

    In late April my order arrived. The most expensive piece (a tree) was quite obviously dead. I called in early May to request a replacement and was told that the tree was dormant, not dead. I explained I could tell dead and requested a replacement. They told me that they were out but they could send credit or a refund. I asked for a refund and was told it would be soon.

    Having received nothing, I called again in mid-July. A young man (Joe) told me that they were busy issuing refunds in the order in which they generated, that they had many to do, and mine would be gotten to Really Soon.

    In early August I called them. The young man (whose name I didn't catch but it wasn't Joe) said that my refund must have been mistagged, and I should get it next week.

    Two weeks later I called them. I got Joe again. He gave me exactly the same song and dance routine: they were issuing refunds in the order in which they were generated, that they had many to do, etc., etc. I told him that they must have an enormous number of unhappy customers, and I was certainly one.

    As I said, I let myself be taken in by the glossy pictures in their catalogues. This was my mistake; it shall not happen again.

    And -- on a thoroughly ironic note! -- I mentioned my problems to my 87 year old father. His initial response? In so many words, "they're a bunch of crooks." Many years ago, he had been given the same kind of treatment when his merchandise had arrived dead. He wrote to the Better Business Bureau; Van Bourgondien apparently told the BBB representative that Dad had withdrawn his comments and was happy, which was not the case. This went back and forth, and Dad did finally get a refund.

    Me, I'm still hoping.

  • 16 years ago

    I've ordered a couple of times from them (keep falling for the pictures and the half off deals) with mixed results. The bulbs and perennials are generally ok, but a little on the small side. Occasionally, something will be rotted or not make it. Can't really recommend them with so many other wonderful mail-order companies around....

  • 16 years ago


    I ordered from their wholesale division.

    the plants I received (daylily cultivars & peonies) looked great but so far, none of them have been true to the cultivar sold.

    example: cherry valentine DL is blooming and it's orange looking like common ditch lily.

    their refund policy consists of 'credit towards future purchase' only.
    I put my business reputation on the line when I sell items that don't come true. NO WAY will I ever order from them again.

  • 15 years ago

    I ordered a clematis and they shipped it bare root. It never grew. I avoid this company like the plague.

  • 15 years ago

    i dislike them immensely.

  • 15 years ago

    This is one of my favorite perennial catalog mailorder sources. I have dealt with them, since the early '80's.
    If I've ever been disappointed, they've always handled the situation accordingly & appropriately.
    I continue to order from them & am quite satisfied with their customer service, & products, after doing nearly 30 years of business with them.
    Although now that they are shipping from within in VA. & are no longer in NY. I now must pay State sales tax!
    I suppose $25. off a $50. order, plus an additional $10. off, wasn't that bad of an incentive to get my most recent order with Van Bourgondien's.
    In fact, it made it quite worthwhile, considering mailorder prices, plus shipping costs, these days.
    I've been a loyal customer & they've been a decent source for many years, especially regarding the quality of their Tree Peonies.

  • 14 years ago

    I will say that I have ordered various types of bulbs from VB and their related wholesale company the last 4 years. The bulbs have always been large, healthy, and of the correct variety. No problems whatsoever.

    I have, however, noticed that on various garden sites, the feedback on their perennials is consistently poor. Consequently, I would not risk plants from them. Having had no issues, I cannot speak to refund/replacement policies.

    But their wholesale bulb prices (especially when things go on sale in late fall) are fabulous!! I will continue to order those from them.

  • 13 years ago

    Attention all buyers!
    If you have purchased or received any blueberry plants from Van Bourgondien, Dutch Bulbs, or Simple Pleasures this season, then we have news for you! Van Bourgondien has chosen not to pay for the plants received. Van Bourgondien does not grow any of their own plants; they just buy from growers and resell to you, collecting your money in the process. But this year, they have chosen not to pay for the plants, and simply keep the money you have given them. Several companies from growers, to trucking firms and even the widows of growers recently passed away are now suffering the losses of their time and hard work at the hands of Van Bourgondien. Here is a link to the Better Business Bureau complaint against them, , and also a copy of the letter sent to us threatening bankruptcy, .

  • 10 years ago

    In response to 'blueberrypatch', I went to the BBB site and entered Van Bourgondien. They have had 12 complaints in the last 3 years where VB refused to respond to BBB. VB acknowledged a few other complaints during this time and settled with the customer. Who knows how many total complaints were filed with BBB in that time frame. VB's rating with BBB is 'F'.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I have no problem with K.Van..(i lied) I did have problem with bad bulbs from them but when i email them about bad bulbs the first email i got from them was a certificate of my whole order... WO shipping ofc... however considering wo shipping substitute most bulbs are good to put in the ground. btw i spent thousands of $ for just bulbs from many website, K.Van is my top click if i need more bulbs.

  • 5 years ago

    I will never order from K Van Bourgondien again. I contacted customer service 4 times over 4 weeks and still have not gotten my bulbs for planting in my zone and I have not even gotten confirmation that my order can be canceled so I can order from someone else.

  • 3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I have dealt with VB for years and they have terrible customer service and orders are often mislabeled.

  • last year

    I ordered Japanese iris from . They came three months later and all had dead crowns. Never again!

  • PRO
    10 months ago

    No No No! Terrible, terrible company! To give a frame of reference, I have, in my entire late-middle-aged life, left two companies a remotely negative review….so when I say this company is TERRIBLE, you can believe it! Terrible customer service + terrible products = please don’t make the mistake of dealing with them!

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