If our experiences are anything to go by, buying plants online can be a lottery. Our Gardening team used several well-known suppliers and got a mixed bag of deliveries. Some plants were damaged, others diseased.
Four members of the Which? Gardening team ordered an assortment of young plants for trials this summer, from well-known online suppliers and one smaller specialist website.
While many of the plants arrived on time and in perfect condition, we had quite a few letdowns. They included:
- Small plants that were little more than cuttings
- Damaged plants
- Plants with dried-out roots
- Diseased plants
- Plants that were the wrong colour
- Plants that were incorrectly labelled
Plants that are incorrectly labelled can especially wreak havoc with our testing, since if we can’t be sure that a plant is what it claims to be, we can’t include it in our trials.
We’ve also had problems with the delivery of the plants themselves. Many deliveries were held up in the post, came late, and in one case, not at all! Again, this makes co-ordinating our trials a bit tricky.
Your rights when buying plants online
Of course, when ordering a product by post or online, you have some legal protection from the Sale of Goods Act, meaning most companies will offer to refund or replace an item.
But it’s not so straightforward with plants. It’s not always obvious that something is amiss straight away – it may be several weeks or months before they flower, for example. By the time you’ve noticed the flowers are the wrong colour, it may be too late to organise a replacement in time for the growing season.
Have you been satisfied with the plants you’ve received after ordering them online, or have you had some disappointments? If so, what were they?