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Old 08-28-2008, 01:22 AM   #1
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Angry ordered plants from AquaSpot World - got empty box

On Thursday, July 17th, I placed an order with AquaSpot World (www.aquaspotworld.com) for more than $85 worth of plants (order # 1261) and I have yet to receive them (or get a full refund as I have since requested). The order total came to more than $130 when you include express shipping and handling. On Sunday, July 20th, I received an e-mail confirmation that my order had shipped (tracking number EC200168094SG). Based on my experience with two previous orders I expected to receive the plants on Friday the 25th.

I did not receive a package from AquaSpot until Thursday, August 7th, or three weeks after I placed my order. The package did not contain any plants though. It was empty except for a mail interception notice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture stating that the plants in question were not authorized entry because they were infested or infected and did not include the proper certificates or permits. The plants were subsequently removed and destroyed. The customs notice on the outside of the box incorrectly identified the contents as glassware. I don't know if the mistake was accidental because of some kind of mix-up or if it was deliberate. Iíve attached images of both the notice and customs declaration. Iíve ordered many of these same plants from AquaSpot before without any problems. I e-mailed AquaSpot that night and notified them of the problem and requested that my order be reshipped. I received no reply from AquaSpot to my e-mail.

The next day, Friday the 8th, I had a visit at work (where the plants were to be shipped) from a Smuggling Interdiction & Trade Compliance (SITC) officer with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He wanted to question me about the shipment. He told me about the regulations regarding the importation of noxious weeds (I was already familiar with the rules) and I gave him a list of what I ordered showing that nothing was on the prohibited list. He said that the plants were seized and destroyed because they were not manifested properly and that future shipments from the same supplier may be delayed for inspection for some time. That night I again e-mailed AquaSpot and received no reply.

The following week (on the 11th, 13th and 15th) I sent e-mails to AquaSpot about my order asking them if they had resent it or were going to resend it. I received no reply to any of these messages. On Sunday the 17th I told them in an e-mail that I concluded they weren't interested in satisfying a customer by fulfiling my order and requested a full refund be credited to me by the 20th. That has not happened.

To finalize, I've sent six messages requesting first the plants and finally a refund but have not received a single response. I'm not saying that other people who order from them will have the same lack of service, but anyone in the U.S. who orders from them may encounter issues with customs similar to what I experienced. I'll never order from AquaSpot again.
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Old 08-28-2008, 05:11 AM   #2
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OMG! Well, I had a time at my local post office when I sent snails to another member here. They asked me what was in the box and then had to get out their big book of rules and finally found somewhere in there that it was okay to send the snails through the mail and the member did receive them, but it was incredible the "security" those snails had to go through.
Is there a phone number for AquaSpot that you could call and actually speak to a person about the situation? I would be furious!! So sorry!
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Old 08-28-2008, 06:03 AM   #3
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Unfortunately they are located in Singapore, which is thirteen time zones ahead of me, so it is kind of hard and expensive to call them.
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Old 08-28-2008, 06:26 AM   #4
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Oh man that is just terrible. Well, hopefully you were able to give someone the heads up that will not order from them now. I know I sure won't!
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Old 08-28-2008, 08:22 AM   #5
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wow.The goverment even has plant police.Hope you can get your refund .Good Luck
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Old 08-28-2008, 10:50 PM   #6
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I filed a claim with Paypal and hope to hear about a successful resolution to this issue soon. I think my boss was more concerned and also amused about the visit by the 'Fed' than I was I knew that I hadn't done anything wrong and the APHIS guy admitted that during his visit. He was pretty much a plant geek like many of the people on this web site.
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Old 08-28-2008, 10:55 PM   #7
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Wow. This serves as a good warning to anyone who orders from outside the country. I myself have never ordered anything (either plants or fish) from anywhere outside the US for precisely this reason.

I'm sorry about what you went through; hopefully PayPal will come through for you and get you your money back.
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Old 08-28-2008, 10:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by gheitman View Post
He was pretty much a plant geek like many of the people on this web site.
So that's what you meant when you said "destroyed"
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Old 08-29-2008, 10:58 AM   #9
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Thanks for the head's up on Aquapot World. I had considered ordering some marimo balls from them but since their customer service sucks I won't ever do business with them as I believe your statements. I also won't do business with www.aquariumplants.com ever again. The quality and quantity they sent me was absolutely embarrassing. I figured I'd get more than what I paid for. That was their last chance too. I previously ordered from them and they initially forgot to ship it out. Then, when they did ship the quality again was terrible and was infested with pond snails. Over half of the potted plants I received died within a week. Thier customer service is also terrible.
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Old 08-30-2008, 12:02 PM   #10
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That's an amazing story. Thaks for sharing.
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Old 08-30-2008, 12:11 PM   #11
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WOW that is crazy.

Just curious though, why order from another country? Is there no other vendor/hobbiest that has the specific plants/ect.. that you wanted?
I understand that you have bought from them before so it should not have been a big deal.

Again you did nothing wrong, I'm just curious.
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Old 08-30-2008, 12:14 PM   #12
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I ordered from them because they had some species available I couldn't find elsewhere (i.e. some of the less well known Cryptocorynes).
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Old 09-24-2008, 08:17 AM   #13
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Well I tried filing a claim through PayPal but that was a total waste of my time. After filing a dispute with them they denied any responsibility and let the charge stand. Their e-mail started off by saying "Our Buyer Complaint Policy applies to items paid through PayPal but never received..." but I learned in a recent phone call it is their position that since I received an empty box and I bought directly from the seller's web site their policy doesn't apply in this case. When I pointed out that I had not received any of the plants I had ordered, that AquaSpot had misidentified the contents as glassware on the customs declaration and no phytosanitary certificate was included so the order could not legally enter the country they said "they had no information that the declared glassware didn't contain any plants". They said that I should try and work with AquaSpot (that's like squeezing blood from a stone) or go with a third-party mediator.
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