Aquatic Plant Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
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.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I paid through Paypal. I filed a claim with them and it is under review.
 

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

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 ·
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.
I e-mailed them at 6:31 PM local time the day I received the shipment and included scans of both the customs declaration and the notice of destruction. Those are the documents that I included with my original post.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Any resolution on this yet?
No, I still have not yet received any communication from AquaSpot and Paypal says the claim is still being reviewed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
Discussion Starter · #24 · (Edited)
Trying to get help from PayPal was worthless. 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 it is their position that since I received an empty box 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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Actually I've been buying plants and shrimp from a number of different members here. Every transaction has gone smoothly and the quality has been outstanding. This web site is my number one source of plants right now. I also intend to try a domestic reseller with a good reputation such as Aqua Botanic. I'm fortunate that my LFS gets good shipments of plants in once a month. I've gotten some very good species that way too.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top