We have not had a lot of emails about this, because we generally take care of issues before a customer have to ask, but we did want to address some of the pitfalls that may arise with a summer presale.
We are now entering into the summer months, which can be problematic for presale purchases. Succulents sold over the winter are in a semi-dormant state and ship more like the photos from the growers. In the summer it's not quite that easy. Succulents are actively growing when they are plucked from their containers and shipped overseas. If the succulent is of fast-growing variety it can elongate during transit. While actively growing the plants are more pliable and will reach and look for light to support the new growth. Wide, thin-leaved echies can pull moisture from bottom leaves, resulting in asymmetry when they arrive.
These are all things that need to be considered when making a presale purchase in the summer. You are seeing the plants as they looked before a stressful trip. We do inspect every single plant and compare them to the grower pictures before we box them. Succulents that we feel did not travel well are generally refunded on delivery day (this includes elongation, significant color loss or severe asymmetry, all of which is possible in the warmer months). We do not refund for slight or mild color loss, or plants we feel will regain their colors quickly, we feel a certain amount of this is expected during the summer, but we aim to be more than fair. We do not refund for mild asymmetry or slight elongation, but if you do receive a plant you're not happy with, talk to us. We are happy to do one exchange per customer, per month.
We make a list of everything that didn't ship well and process the refunds as needed once a week, generally after the shipment has arrived. Each package contains a very detailed packaging slip with plants that will be refunded denoted. We process these refunds after you receive your plants because if we refund up first we have to answer a bunch of emails as to why the refund was issued. This just cuts a little of that work out for us.
We do not do a lot of refunds in the winter, as shipping conditions aren't as stressful on the plants, but over the summer you may get a refund notice if your plant did not arrive in tip-top shape, at our discretion. We are pretty fair, that's something we pride ourselves on. We typically still send the refunded plants as well, because you ordered them and we understand the frustration of getting a refund notice on a variety you have sought out. We are not always able to send out plants that have been refunded, the heat of the summer will undoubtedly claim some plants, so we always do the best we can in that respect.
We sell a lot of varieties and do not always know how a particular cultivar will react to shipping when it is ordered, but we stand behind our plants and will make every attempt at fixing any issues that may arise with summer shipping. We rely on these grower pictures just as much as you guys do.
About colors, please rest assured the photos in our listings have not been enhanced, but there is a slight possibility that once the succulent arrives the hue intensity may be slightly different, warmer temps and transit overseas can cause succulents to change, but the color intensity will return with colder temps and stress. All photos are of the actual, individual plants ordered.
Shipping can take about three weeks. We pay a lot of extra money to use EMS service to import our plants, so please know your plants are not in transit that long. That said, the growers have to allow time for the plants to dry slightly to prevent rot in the summer, then they are shipped out. If the hit Customs that process can take a while, but Customs does not inspect every package. We never know which shipments may get spot checked for pests, so we quote a long lead time. We also like to allot for a brief recovery period under our commercial grow lights before repackaging. Please do not purchase a plant if you are not OK with lead times. This is the primary reason we offer free shipping on presales.
If you are in doubt about whether or not you want to do a presale purchase you can always shop our selection of in-stock succulents, which is updated weekly.
We appreciate your understanding as we try to navigate the hottest months of the year. Always feel free to reach out to us if there are any issues, our customers are the backbone of our business and we try to do our best by you.
And if you have any thoughts you'd like to share about your experience with Cedar Creek Presales we'd be honored if you'd share a comment.