Best and worst online and mail order plant retailers revealedDavid Austin Roses tops the table
21 June 2012
David Austin Roses has come top in a Which? survey of online and mail order plant retailers. It achieved a customer score of 84%.
The survey gathered the opinions of 2,726 Which? members on 26 well known online and mail-order plant retailers including Sarah Raven, Ken Muir, Suttons Seeds, Dobies, Gardening Direct and J Parker.
Crocus and Bloms Bulbs came joint second in the survey, both scoring 81%.
Thompson & Morgan had the highest number of customers in the survey, but scored just 57%. Garden Bargains was bottom of the table, with a customer score of 46%.
To see the customer scores for all 26 retailers in our survey, Which? members can log in to read the full report, published in the July/August issue of Which? Gardening. If you're not already a Which? member, you can take out a trial for just £1 a month.
Online plant retailers rated
Which? members were asked to rate online and mail-order retailers in terms of the quality of the plants/bulbs they had received, packaging, delivery, value for money and customer service.
Three quarters of respondents who had bought plants by post had bought them online, and plug plants (young bedding or veg plants) were the most popular purchase. Respondents said that their most important consideration was that their plants/bulbs arrived healthy.
The Which? Better Plants by Post campaign
8 out of 10 people surveyed said that they were happy with their experience of buying plants online or by mail order. However, 36% admitted that they had experienced problems. Common issues included:
- Problems with the quality of plants/bulbs provided (41%)
- Package left on the doorstep while I was out/away (20%)
- Package damaged/broken/thrown around by the courier/postal service (17%)
Which? thinks too many people experience problems when buying plants online or by mail order, and has come up with 10 best-practice criteria that it would like to see all retailers adopt. You can see the criteria here.
Nine companies, including David Austin Roses, Crocus and Garden Bargains have already pledged their support.
If you've experienced problems when buying plants online or by mail order, our Q&A section gives you lots of useful consumer advice.