The only problem is that there is always two sides to everything. And for every complaint there may be 100 people who swear by that company. And some people who are very emotional tend to exaggerate their complaint. I just read a post on myfishtank.com, where someone reccommended to someone else that to resolve a complaint, that the person should file a complaint with the state attorney, the federal trade commission, and threaten to bad mouth the company on message boards all over the internet, all because two of the plants in the order of ten was dead. The company in question based in Florida and has been around a few years and has many loyal customers, but if the person took this other persons advice, would that be fair?
Such a forum is great for a frustrated person to vent their feelings, but if you want to base your buying desicion on other peoples experience, simply ask who people like, not dislike, and you will get many different answers.
Geez you can get sued for anything these days even freedom of speech. The stupid thing about that was he used a the interent to express his opinion and thats the internets best use. We are all people talking to each other, if he was just some guy talking to his friend on the street corner nothing would have happened. A decent lawer should have been able to get him out of that but you never know these days.
OK, I was a defendant in that lawsuit with Pets Warehouse, so I sympathise with "free speech", but the other side of the coin is if you have a complaint with a store, you can not by law stand in front of the store and picket and tell people going into the store that the store will rip you off and they have horrible service...you would be arrested. On the internet if you steer customers away from a business by putting out negative comments and impeding their way of doing business, it amounts to the same thing. At least that is the reasoning they are using to sue people, like it or not.
In other industries, reputable third parties do reviews. In the computer industry for example, PC Magazine rates various classes of computers and other hardware. The products and service is tested according to very strict guidlines. It is judged by well qualified experts. It is as fair and unbiased as is humanly possible. I have often wished that there was a comprable body to judge online plant suppliers. Someone fair, unbiased, and well qualified to rate a company by their WEB site content, quality of the WEB site, selection of plants and merchandise, availability, cost, level of support and expertise, ease of communication, (do they answer their phone?) fullfillment, ship time and so forth. That would mean something and be something for someone like me worth striving for. But I do not know if in the real world that is possible or practical.