Green-fingered customers of Gardening Express vent anger on social media after their lockdown plants and flowers fail to arrive – with no sign of refunds or even a message from the website
- A growing number of Gardening Express customers have taken to Twitter
- Many deliveries have been heavily delayed and refund requests are troublesome
- The online-based plant firm admitted it had ‘fallen be hind’ in delivery times
- Email [email protected] if you’ve had trouble with your order
A growing number of green-fingered shoppers have taken to social media to vent their anger at a website that had seemed to be their lockdown saviour – Gardening Express.
Customers of the online-only firm – which offers home delivery of horticultural supplies – complain they are still waiting for flowers and plants ordered at the start of lockdown in March. Meanwhile, emails from worried green-fingered punters are being met with automated responses and many refund requests going unanswered.
The situation is grave enough that the firm’s founder Chris Bonnett is due to appear on the Radio 4 consumer programme You and Yours show on 1 June to answer some questions.
Plant problems: A number of customers have vented their fury about Gardening Express
New customers flocked to the website in March when it became clear most gardening centres would not be exempted from compulsory retail closures under lockdown.
But many experienced slow or non-existent deliveries and then found the Chelmsford-based company does not have a telephone number. It has also – temporarily at least – shut down its Twitter account, so customers can no longer direct message by this method.
Those who have submitted a request via the company’s website to ask about their orders have been warned that they will face a ‘significant delay’ in receiving a response.
Gardening Express – which This is Money has contacted by the only means possible, via an online form on its website – is open about the challenges it has faced in the last few months, stating on its homepage that deliveries are subject to delays, and in some cases by ‘at least’ two to four weeks.
On Tuesday, one Gardening Express customer, Jan Hubbard, posted on Twitter to say that she was ‘really worried about [her] money.’
Ms Hubbard said she placed a £128 order with the company on 14 April, but is yet to receive her delivery. She said she has tried sending Gardening Express messages online, but they are yet to respond.
Another Twitter user, Carly French, said she placed a £160 order online at Gardening Express on 12 April, but was yet to receive her order and had not been able to get in touch with the company. Ms French said she wanted a refund after suffering ‘appalling’ customer service.
A Twitter user called ‘Lyndsay’ then responded to Ms French’s tweet claiming she had received her Gardening Express order, but thought the plants from the company were in a ‘right state’ and allegedly not packaged adequately.
On Wednesday, fellow customer Jill Rennard also took to Twitter to say that she placed an order with Gardening Express five weeks ago, but was yet to receive her order.
Ms Rennard said on Twitter: ‘I know it’s exceptional times but they’re happy to take the money.’
Registered nurse Ross Andrew is another customer who claims to have received poor service from Gardening Express.
Mr Andrew said on Twitter: ‘I’m disgusted at people and companies like Gardening Express.’
‘Mr Andrew said he had submitted a Section 75 request for a refund via his bank after using a credit card to pay for his Gardening Express order.
On Facebook, the company’s founder Chris Bonnett, published a lengthy post on Friday suggesting that Gardening Express was now ‘catching up’ with its outstanding orders.
Mr Bonnett added: ‘We put an awful lot of steps in place to mitigate the situation as it unfolded, but despite all of these, we have fallen behind where we would like to be in terms of dispatch time-frames.’
The company has seen over 160,000 orders placed since lockdown, which is around five times its normal level for this time of year.
Full statement from Gardening Express’ founder Chris Bonnett on Facebook posted on 22 May