Info, articles and FAQs

Scented Geraniums and UK Distance Selling Regulagions

(November 12, 2014)

'After many years of offering our lovely SG's by mail order through our website it is a rarest of rarest occurrence when we receive an email that a Customer has encountered a problem with the plants that they have received.  Great care is always taken with every single plant that is picked and each one is given a thorough health check.  However, we are aware that it is a total impossibility 'to please all of the people, all of the time' and acknowledge this.  We offer a 14 day no quibble guarantee with all of our Jumbo Starter sized plants - see below and our Ordering, Payment & Delivery Information for full information and how to address a 'problem'.  We do not guarantee our starter sized 12 Selection Starter Offer as often novice gardeners order these as a false economy.  Nor do we accept any responsibility for the growing on of plants received by a Customer.

We do not guarantee any plants delivered to Southern Ireland

Buying items over the Internet is for many of us these days a regular occurrence.  The question is what are YOUR Consumer Rights when it comes to buying Scented Leaf Pelargonium from our website, other Companies, or any other item from any Seller on the Internet?  Buying goods off the Internet is not like buying from a high street shop!

I have copied an article, which is lower down this page, which is probably the easiest one to follow that I have come across over the past few years.  Buying over the Internet is a contentious issue as basically it is very difficult to 'police' by the Regulators/Authorities and the rules that have been set in place are ambiguous and unclear.

You will see lower down in the article that PERISHABLE GOODS, which includes plants and flowers, are not covered by Distance Selling Regulations. This means that plants are NOT covered by UK Distance Selling Regulations and if we were really mean traders we do not need to refund any plant or order.
However, we have amended our Ordering, Payment and Delivery Information to be totally fair to our Customers should they not be happy with their Order.  Here are our amended Terms of Trading:

  • A Customer has the right to return the plants that they receive within 14 days from when we post out.
  • The plants must be returned to us in the original packaging that they came in.  Failure to comply with this will make the return unacceptable and no refund will be issued.
  • A covering letter should be included, detailing the original Order Number, Customer Name & Address, it would be helpful for us to understand why the plants are being returned.  This might be as simple as, 'I just didn't like them'.
  • In line with Distance Selling Regulations the Customer will pay the cost of the return postage.
  • When we receive the plants, providing that they have not been tampered with in any way, we will issue a refund back by PayPal.
  • Politeness always gets results with us and we believe that this is a very simple request.  If you have a problem with plants that you have received, or have even changed your mind, please communicate with us in a reasonable manner.  It really is difficult for us to imagine that we need to mention this but rudeness will never be tolerated.  Please communicate with us in a constructive way and we'll listen and always solve a problem.  Regarding outright rudeness in an email - we hit the delete button and that's the end of it. 
  • We never enter in to discussion on how we grow our plants or run our business; nor do we justify ourselves or explain how we operate our Nursery to anyone.  We state again - if a Customer is not happy with their plants, no problem, follow our procedures and we'll refund.  We really cannot be any clearer than this or fairer.
  • We reserve the Right to amend our Ordering, Payment & Delivery Information and Terms of Trading at any time without further Notice.

You will read in the article below that as plants and flowers are not covered by the Distance Selling Regulations that 'technically' we do not have to issue refunds for any reason.  We have always been very fair with our Customers and in the past we would automatically send replacement plants for any reason without any charge.  Unfortunately, between 2010 and 2014, we have had experiences of unscrupulous people attempting to get something for nothing and this is why we are amending our terms of Trading.

We do hope that you find the following article very informative and that it will be of assistance in knowing your rights for any item that you buy over the Internet in the UK.

Annie and Guy




The nature of shopping has changed dramatically within the last decade. Shopping via mail catalogue order or by phone had been two means by which traders had been distance selling for some years. However, the advent of the Internet brought distance selling to the fore. The easy, flexible approach to online shopping meant that consumers were spoiled for choice more than ever before. Online sales still grow annually, as consumers gain more confidence with the ever-increasing range of products and services on offer online.

Partly in response to this e-commerce boom, the UK Government initially brought the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations into action in 2000. These Regulations, alongside other relevant and related Parliamentary Acts and regulations since, have sought to protect consumers that buy goods or services from sources where there is no face-to-face communication. This article explains some of the fundamental points covered in the Distance Selling Regulations that relate directly to safe online shopping and consumer rights.

Applying the Regulations

Firstly, it’s worth noting that the Regulations only apply to consumers that purchase goods or services from a business. The Regulations don’t apply to business-to-business purchases, land sales, vending machine purchases, and purchases made via auctions. However, a little confusingly, the Regulations are applicable to both land rentals and TV Internet auctions!

Any financial services sold at distance also don’t apply to these Regulations, but are covered by a separate piece of legislation known as the Financial Services (Distance Selling) Regulations.

The Regulatory bodies that enforce the Regulations are the Office of Fair Trading in England, Scotland and Wales, and the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment in Northern Ireland.

The Fundamentals

The core part of the Regulations ensures that consumer rights are upheld when the consumer isn’t physically in attendance at the time of purchase. Therefore under the Regulations consumers have the right to clear access to what is known as ‘prior information’. This includes the provision by the supplier of their business name, geographical location if payment is received in advance (PO Box numbers are not acceptable), the price of the goods or services on offer including any hidden costs such as VAT or delivery costs, a satisfactory description of the goods or services on offer, the right to a 7 day “cooling off” period, cancellation and returns rights and policies, and the arrangements for purchases as well as any applicable deliveries that may be made. Unless another agreement is made, it is expected that deliveries will be made within 30 days.

In part, this ensures that the consumer is fully aware of the terms and conditions of the sale before their part of the contract (the purchase) is concluded. The Regulations also stipulate that the supplier must provide written confirmation of the order placed, as well detailing any after-sales guarantees or services. The complaints procedure should also be made clear and accessible.

7 Day Cooling Off Period & Cancellations

The DSR Regulations state that consumers have the right to what is commonly referred to as a 7 day cooling-off period. During this time the consumer is entitled to examine the goods as they might do in a shop. If they change their mind, the consumer is allowed to cancel the purchase and receive a full refund within 30 days, making the goods available to be ‘restored’ to the supplier. If agreed before the purchase, the consumer might be asked to foot the return postage charge. However if the goods were deemed faulty, having been kept in good condition by the consumer, then the supplier must offer a replacement, repair or even compensation.

It is worth noting that if no 7 day-cooling off period was stated in the original terms and conditions of the contract, then the consumer is automatically entitled to a three month period in which they can change their mind about the purchase. Also, the right to cancel or withdraw can be implemented by the consumer even once the goods or services have been provided. The supplier should offer a full refund for cancellations made by the consumer for up to 30 days after delivery or provision of services begins.

There are some exceptions to cancellation rights, most notably services such as catering or transportation that are provided for specific times and dates, personalised or customised goods, perishable goods such as flowers and food, unsealed software, audio or video CDs or DVDs, and auction sales.

Additional Protection

The Distance Selling Regulations also offer extra protection to those that make purchases at a distance with a debit card, storecard or credit card. Basically if a fraudulent payment is made via any of these payment methods, then the consumer retains the right to cancel the fraudulent purchase and recoup a full refund from the card issuer.

Click here to return to the Info, articles and FAQ's page