How is Van Engelen treating you this year?

cynthianovakSeptember 15, 2009

Hi All

I've sun this company's praises for years. Placed my order, just spoke to a customer service person and told her that the alliums I ordered last year did not come up at all. I asked for and was expecting replacement bulbs to be offered. my order came to $600 with shipping.

I was treated like an idiot. The CS rep wants me to go dig up the bulbs (like I could find just where a bulb is / was in the midst of a garden ocean! and tell her what condition they are in. I told her that I planted in pots and in the ground and that there were other things planted over the inground area...and I didn't know if I could find right where I planted them. I said that I believed there was a problem with the bulbs because alliums from previous years came up and bloomed.

It was really weird. I ordered about twice this amount last year. I just assumed they'd care enough. Boy was I treated differently by colorblends. I'm wondering if any of you have had similar experience.

BTW, I ended the phone call telling the CS rep that I felt that she treated me like and idiot and told her to tell whoever makes the decision that this year's order depends upon how they treat the allium issue. I never expected to get to that point. CS rep said that I shouldn't have planted in pots because they could freeze. Hello, I'm in TX and freesias didn't freeze....but she couldn't understand that.

I'm rambling and ranting. Just wondering if any of you had a similar experience or what your experience has been with problem bulbs.


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It's common for non-gardeners to be placed in CSR positions. So it is to be expected that you'll run into ignorance in any company.

Were you able to talk to a super?

Supervisors are usually much more understanding of the fact that some bulbs are duds.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 11:13AM
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I was told that it would take several days for a supervisor to get back with me and that I should dig up my bulbs in preparation for that contact. As if bulbs that didn't produce would be happily sleeping with little zzzz's hoovering over them.

I'll let y'all know how it turns out.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 5:02PM
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Not trying to defend VE rep's ignorance, but you should of call them in a spring when actual non-show happened and receive a credit, which you will be able to apply to the fall purchase.
That's how I did a few times and so far everything was working to my satisfaction.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 12:10PM
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This is what I did in the past. It was never a problem. One year I did call when one variety of tulips didn't grow. I was told they could do a refund or I could apply it to my fall order. I did, then just let them know the next time something happened in the fall. I guess I just got lazy.

BTW I still haven't gotten a response. I sent an email to customer service after I spoke to the rep on the 14th. not a word.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 3:30PM
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You waited way too long to call them. All of my alliums didn't come up either but there are factors that makes that happen like voles, moles, chipmuncks, skunks and the planting in pots.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 5:10PM
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if I waited too long this year, it is a new policy. I have no moles, voles, chipmuncks or skunks. I did plant some in a pot, but that shouldn't have any effect and it certainly would not have an impact on those in the ground. I think there had to be something wrong with the alliums they sent me.

I planted some from Sam's though they were and about half of those made it. If I had any come up I would have said nothing. Planting in a pot in zone 8 is a a different world than zone 5. A little extra chill is a good thing here. Plus, the sweet alyssim planted on top of the pot was happy all winter. No harsh freeze and the pot was well drained. I would have blamed it on the pot if those in ground had come up... .

FYI I planted 2000 tulips and hundreds of anemones...they were happy.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 11:12PM
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Cindy zone 6a

Just thought I would bump this up, cause for the first time ever, and it's been years, I received bad bulbs from Van Engelen, mushy bulbs right in the middle of the mesh bag. 17 were bad, I had read this so instead of calling I e mailed, offered to send a pic if they needed it. I emailed on a saturday morning and had a reply that afternoon. The rep apologized and offered me either money back or an order from the 'sister' company John Scheepers for 20 of the same daf bulb ( Oregon Snow ) I choose the bulbs, with a reply on Sunday. I received an e mail today from Scheepers stating my bulbs were shipped out and I will have them on Wednesday. Now that's service, I was thinking about your experience, and that is really a shame, bet the bulbs were bad. I know in the future I'm gonna e mail rather than call, that way they can't ask questions that you have to answer on the spot. !!!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 5:49PM
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I think that is great and it's what I expect from VE. The customer service rep told me I would hear back in a few days. I did not. I also emailed and advised them to contact me regarding the dud alliums before sending this years order, and I gave the order number....They did not.

I got the email that my order Had Been Shipped with still no response. I thought they might have incuded a few Alliums to cover last years duds...They did not.

I suppose I've learned that the bulb guarantee is only for bad bulbs upon delivery. And that is fine, but they should have simply sent an email saying that, that that their policy had changed.

I am glad that I ordered more from Colorblends this year. The VE bulbs were great! They are already in the fridge chilling. But my enthusiasm for this company is now too cold.

BTW, I had iris reticulata that didn't bloom and geranium tuberosa that didn't bloom. Those I blamed upon me. The alliums were duds.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 6:43PM
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How is Van engelen treating me? Their customer service is an assault team if you call with a problem with the order. I received the wrong bulbs and they denied they were wrong, or mislabeled or not as described,etc. I am so exhausted by the rudeness I have decided to cut my losses and never buy from them again.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 1:58AM
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kristiepdx(8b, sunset 6)

All of my bulbs were well packed and in good condition. 7 of my 10 pink wonder daffodils were huge doubles and the other three were huge too. All were firm. My little gem narcissus (100) most were actually triples that had not been split so I really got close to 250 not the 100. All other bulbs were firm and in good condition most of my iris raticulata (rock iris) were doubles as well.

The only thing that was troublesome was getting them to ship them to me at a decent date. They automatically hold your bulbs till the weather is supposed to cool in your zone. My zone 8 (PNW) is different than the southern zone 8. They also recommended that I pre-chill which I dont need to here.

Once I called them, they shipped them. The customer service lady shipped them out when I called and requested it.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 2:05PM
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Just give them a chance to right their wrong. I order from companies that a lot of people say are disreputable like Direct Gardening. And ya know what - I have never had a problem getting a replacement from Direct Gardening. I know their stock isn't the cream of the crop (their plants/bulbs are super cheap), but I have a pretty green thumb and with a little care usually things end up thriving. When they don't, the company is great about sending me a replacement. I haven't dealt with Van Engelen, but give them a chance to make good on it again. Treat this like an isolated experience with only one person/representative and you will probably have a much different experience with another rep or their supervisor.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 2:21PM
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I ordered from them this year and my tulips and daffs are very nice. Barret Browning Daffs were HUGE. As long as the order is fine, they are great. I may be tempted by their annual sale around Thanksgiving. Sometimes it starts about a week before. c

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:06PM
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rigelcaj(z5 VT)

I've ordered from them during the end of season sale for 2 years in a row and love them. My order arrived the day after I placed it this year, was correct, and the bulbs were beautiful. I think last year it took 2 days, but it was perfect.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 8:33AM
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