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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On Thursday, July 17th, I placed an order with AquaSpot World 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 a deliberate attempt to circumvent the law. I’ve attached images of both the notice and customs declaration. I’ve 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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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I paid through Paypal. I filed a claim with them and it is under review.
 

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Good luck with that. I would think Paypal would be interested in seeing those pics you posted. The fact that Aquaspot lied on the customs form probably contributed to the plants being destroyed. Looks cut and dry to me. You should get refunded in full.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I sent Paypal the documents when I filed the claim. I just want to get this resolved once and for all.
 

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I had purchased a moss ball from a different company (on e-bay) and it was snatched and destroyed also by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They stated that it was/could be carrying parisites ect... I had put a claim in with paypal and got my full refund in less than a week. You should have no problems with paypal.
I am surprised that you got a personal visit with the U.S. dept people. That would have freaked me out if they had showed up at my door step...:eek:
 

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The word "Aquarium" that they wrote on the box probably threw up a red flag at customs. Did part of the shipping charges include proper paperwork/manifest for the plants?

I'd be willing to bet that any package coming from them for the next few months will be seized and searched.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
AquaSpot has the following statement on the front page of their web site:

"Inspected & Certified
All plants undergo strict inspection by government bodies and are shipped with legal documents, including a phytosanitary certificate."

The proper documentation was obviously not included in this case.

Elsewhere on their web site they have the following:

"Phytosanitary Certificate
All live plant shipments to USA are accompanied with a phytosanitary certificate at no additional charge.
This certifies that plants have been inspected by the relevant authorities here and are free from injurious/quarantine pests, before they are shipped out.
Your shipment may be rejected or confiscated at the Custom of your country if the phytosanitary certificate is not shipped.
Aquaspot World will not be responsible for items shipped without phytosanitary certificates."

The guy from APHIS pretty much said that AquaSpot was going to be under closer scrutiny for the next few months to make sure they follow the letter of the law.
 

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Aquaspot has the worst customer service. I put in a big order and never recieved the package. I waited and waited for aquaspot to fix the situation and in the end Paypal had to. Paypal seems pretty good about claims. I wish you the best of luck.

What irks me the most is how little aquaspot seems to care. In my situation i would've settled for a fair compromise (which in the end they did not give me). In the end i got my money back from paypal and Aquaspot was out a shipment of plants + shipping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I would have been happy for almost any sign that this was being taken care of. I still have yet to receive any kind of communication from AquaSpot. I think I have been very patient throughout the whole episode.
 

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Patience won't solve anything with aquaspot. I kept e-mailing them for a month before i finally took my situation up with paypal. Ben at Aquaspot just doesn't care, even if he looses money. When i first contacted them about my missing order Ben was nothing but terse with me, saying it wasn't his problem and that there was nothing he could do about it. At first i thought i had just caught him on a bad day. I was nothing but polite, trying to get him to see my point of view and how frustrating it was, but still he refused to do anything about it.

In the end i kept threatening to post my experience on all the websites i visit and he finally got back to me... supposedly he was on vacation.

Anyways, i'm done fanning this fire. Aquaspot is horrible. Much better off ordering from someone who imports from Oriental.
 

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I've never dealt with this person but I have dealt with claims and paypal because of other sellers. Paypal is really good and refunding money when the claim is legit and yours most definitely is. Good Luck and be sure to keep us updated on the progress.
 

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Thanks for warning all of us. Won't be ordering from them any time soon! It's too bad though it's almost like no one ever cares for the customer anymore and only the green stuff in his wallet.[-X
 

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This is becoming more common with Aquaspot. How many more people have to have an experience like this before APC will drop them as a sponsor like they did with planetinverts?
 

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Remember that sponsors pay the bills for these websites we get to enjoy at no charge. This is business, and probably one that makes just enough money to stay alive. We don't have to spend money at a badly reviewed sponsor, but we should click the links and try to support this excellent website.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Dropping someone as a sponsor is a serious step that shouldn't be taken lightly. I would hope that AquaSpot would change their ways and start dealing with their customers in a more professional matter. It only helps them in the long run.
 

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I would expect imports from overseas to become more and more difficult. The US is not going to relax about importing live plants and animals. For one, there could have certainly been a pest on the plants. If you have ever gotten plants with eggs of snails, planaria, limpets, or the like you can see what I mean. Sure, the plants may be legal, but what is the seller keeping with those plants? A critter accidently introduced to his tank from his water supply? Who knows.

I'm just saying that overseas orders will likely be checked- and there will only be more and more complaints. Put yourself in AquaSpot's position. He wants to sell plants to those who want them (us) and is having major issues. Now I am sure he's dealing with way more than just one visit from customs agents and possibly masses of emails from buyers as well. Sure, maybe being patient won't fix the problem, but this is how ordering overseas can go.

I'd suggest ordering from fellow hobbyists if you want to get good service and plants.
 

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You indicate that you sent an email the day you received your order. Did you include a photo?
All claims are to be submitted with photos within 24 hours of receipt of the shipment.
 

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I would expect imports from overseas to become more and more difficult. The US is not going to relax about importing live plants and animals. For one, there could have certainly been a pest on the plants. If you have ever gotten plants with eggs of snails, planaria, limpets, or the like you can see what I mean. Sure, the plants may be legal, but what is the seller keeping with those plants? A critter accidently introduced to his tank from his water supply? Who knows.

I'm just saying that overseas orders will likely be checked- and there will only be more and more complaints. Put yourself in AquaSpot's position. He wants to sell plants to those who want them (us) and is having major issues. Now I am sure he's dealing with way more than just one visit from customs agents and possibly masses of emails from buyers as well. Sure, maybe being patient won't fix the problem, but this is how ordering overseas can go.

I'd suggest ordering from fellow hobbyists if you want to get good service and plants.
+1.

Whenever I order from overseas now, I fill out a US import permit as well as request the company to issue a photosanitary certificate. Having customs hold your package is no fun at all. I'm lucky to be living so close to a designated port so I pick up the package pretty much as soon as the plane lands...otherwise, buying without a permit is risky since there's a chance of having the shipment held at customs. :(

Hope your issue gets resolved, either by ASW or PayPal. ASW wasn't very accommodating to me, however.
 
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