An Unofficial Guide to Buying and Selling Plants Online in Australia

Please use the following information as a "guide". We hope this information is helpful to those who are experienced, or new to the plant craze, in the Australian Community! (We'll try to keep it short and to the point).

Is there something we should add or edit? Leave it in the comments below! Also don't forget to share!

Contents

A Guide To Buying Plants:

1. What to do and consider when purchasing Plant(s) Online

2. Check the Seller, and ask questions

3. Extra Cover/Insurance? Is it worth it?

5. Payment Methods

6. Receiving the Package

7. What to do as a buyer if bad things happen

 

A Guide to Selling Plants:

1. Listing the Plant(s) for sale

2. Accepting Payments

3. How to Package the Plant(s) for transit

4. Extra Cover/Insurance - The best practice to protect your business and customers 

 

For a possible future update: A Guide for Quarantine States (Tasmania, Northern Territory and Western Australia)


A Guide To Buying Plants:

1. What to do and consider when purchasing Plant(s) Online

  • Save the seller's post- Screenshot, Bookmark, whatever you have to do to save the original sales post. Why? Just in case the item arrives not as described, or damaged, aswell as it acts as proof of value.
  • Read the seller's description, acknowledge the terms of sale - Determine how the plant(s) will be shipped; bare-root/ semi-bare/ inside it's pot/ leaves removed or intact. Options for pick-up/ shipping included or extra on-top. Note that most sellers will not take responsibility for the plant(s) once they have been handed over the postal carrier- read on to see whether you should consider Extra Cover/Insurance for your purchase. 
  • Carefully inspect the photos - Transit is often stressful to plants, so it is best to choose a healthy specimen. Checklist to view (all may not apply): Leaves, Roots, Nodes/Growth points, New Growth/ signs of life. Red Flags: Signs of damage: fungal/pest/yellowing/rot, no viable nodes. If in doubt, ask the seller for more pictures.
  • Do your research on the current market value of the plant - A quick search on google or facebook should give you a rough idea of a plant's value. Supply and demand normally determine a decrease or increase in price. (As a general statement: If you do not like the price, there is no need to make negative comments, just let it go. The market will reflect what buyers are willing to pay, and what sellers are listing for.)
  • Consider the weather conditions - Winter is cold, Summer is hot, and some plants are sensitive.
  • Postal Carrier/Delays - Consider how COVID-19 has affected the postal service used, as well as the current situation the state(s) of the buyer and sender.

2. Check the seller, and ask questions

  • For Quarantine States (Tasmania, Northern Territory and Western Australia), ask if the seller is willing to ship to you, with the use of a concierge service arranged by either you or the seller.
  • Be buyer aware - Do a background check on the seller, i.e. ask for references, search for previous sales posts, ask how long/experienced they are, does the payment method account have the same name?
  • Ask for more photos - If the photos of the plant(s) are not clear/ visible, request a close-up of on an area or the mother plant.
  • Advice or care - Ask about how the plant(s) were cared for, and what is recommended to maintain and keep it healthy. (Doing your own research is also highly recommended.)

3. Payment Methods

  • AfterPay: Splits purchases into 4 interest-free payments fortnightly
  • PayPal:  When paying with the option "Goods or Services", you'll get the added benefit of Buyer Protection - There is a small fee, that is paid for, and absorbed by the seller. Note that the seller cannot ask you to pay the fee on-top, as it is against Paypal's T&Cs. When paying with "Friends and Family", the fee is free, but does not include Buyer Protection.
  • Bank Transfer/Pay ID: Paid directly to the seller's account. In the event of a dispute, you can only resolve it with the seller. Normally fast and almost instant, but transferring from different bank branches, or on weekends may have a delay (i.e. ANZ to Commbank).
  • Cash: Best to stick with Australian Dollars ($AUD)

4. Extra Cover/Insurance? Is it worth it? 

Postal Carrier: Australia Post

Cost: Extra cover costs $0 for the first $100 of cover and $2.50 for each subsequent $100 of cover (above $100 included cover) up to $5000.

Source: https://auspost.com.au/business/shipping/domestic-shipping/optional-extras-domestic

In our opinion, for orders over $200, it is worth it. The idea of a valuable live plant going missing or damaged in transit is always a major concern, and it has been unfortunately become an increasingly common thing. Read on to see how we handled and dealt with a plant that was damaged in transit.

*Disclaimer: We are not sponsored by Australia Post. Read the terms and conditions to determine if the service is right for you.

5. Receiving the Package

  1. Take photos/video for your own records: Document, (if possible with time stamps): The outside of the package, the inside of the package with the plant still inside, the plant once removed from it's packaging.
  2. Carefully inspect the plant for any signs of damage: Do a through check of the entire plant, and if sent rooted/ semi-bare rooted, check the roots for rot. 
  3. Place the plant in it's intended location: Best follow any care instructions the seller may have given
  4. If you suspect something is wrong: like the parcel has gone missing, the plant is not as described/damaged, immediately contact the seller.

6. What to do as a buyer if bad things happen

  1. Immediately contact the seller - make the seller aware of the situation. A responsible seller will work with you to resolve the issue: i.e: care/advice, refund/ partial refund, or settle with compensation.
  2. a) If the plant(s) was damaged in transit or lost - contact your postal carrier to submit a damage report or start an investigation to locate the package. (In the case with Australia Post, you will need to go to an eligible store branch and hand over the package for them to do the damage report. - To support your case, show them your documented photos/videos of the package). Depending on the case, if the plant is determined to have been lost or damage had been caused by the Postal Carrier, the seller, to which they have a contract with, should receive the compensation, of which, they should then pay back to you, the buyer.
  3. b) If the plant had been damaged due to natural circumstances (i.e transit shock, the weather), it will be up to the seller to determine the outcome.

 

A Guide to Selling Plants:

1. Listing the Plant(s) for sale

  • Take decent photos - doesn't have to be perfect but be aware that presentation is important. Try to highlight the areas or things buyers will want to see; (ie; leaves, stem, roots, nodes, new growth, mother plant). Optional: Add an object or ruler for scale
  • Determine a price and sales term: A quick search on google or facebook should give you a rough idea of a plant's value. Determine how the plant(s) will be shipped; bare-root/ semi-bare/ inside it's pot/ leaves removed or intact. Options for pick-up/ shipping included or extra on-top. Add any relevant additional information in the description about the plant, such as care tips/ plant form, disclaimers, etc.
  • Available or not to Quarantine States (Tasmania, Northern Territory and Western Australia)Consider whether or not you would consider shipping to Quarantine states, with the use of a concierge service arranged by you or the buyer.
  • Marketplace: List it up! There are many places you can choose to list your plants for sale, just be aware of the seller associated fees. Examples include: eBay, Gumtree, Instagram, a website, online forums, Facebook.

2. Accepting Payments

  • AfterPay: You will need to sign-up and set up a merchant account. Convenient for customers as it splits purchases into 4 interest-free payments fortnightly. (It is integrated with ebay)
  • PayPal:  If your customer pays with the option "Goods or Services", there is a small fee, that is paid for, and absorbed by you, the seller. Note that the seller cannot ask a customer to pay the fee on-top, as it is against Paypal's T&Cs. If customers pay with "Friends and Family", the fee is free, but does not include Buyer Protection.
  • Bank Transfer/Pay ID: Paid directly to the seller's account. Normally fast and almost instant, but transferring from different bank branches, or on weekends may have a delay (i.e. ANZ to Commbank).
  • Cash: Best to stick with Australian Dollars ($AUD)

3. How to Package the Plant(s) for transit

  1. Take photos/video for your own records: Document, (if possible with time stamps): The condition of the plant before it is packed, the inside of the package with the plant inside, and the outside of the package. - This will be crucial in the event of a dispute.
  2. Decide how the plant(s) will be shipped: bare-root/ semi-bare/ inside it's pot
  • Shipped bare-root / semi-bare - This is an example below is done with a Thai Constellation. It was de-potted, with most of the potting mix removed. The roots were then wrapped in moist, not wet!, spag,moss that soaked in water - and the excess squeezed out. Additionally, a layer of paper-towel, cling wrap, and foil was wrapped around for extra insulation. if it has long stems, be sure to secure/re-enforce them. It was then carefully taped down, and fixed inside the box to prevent/ minimise movement.You can choose to do something similar to the above, and just use the materials that are available to you. It is just a matter of preference, as long as the plant's roots are kept moist and protected. Another example could be placing the roots inside a zip-lock bag with spag.moss.
  • Shipped inside it's pot This example below is done with an Alocaisa Black Velvet. The top of the potting mix has a layer of paper-towel and foil on it to prevent small particles from going everywhere during transit. With an additional layer of cling wrap to capture anything else, the whole pot is placed inside a plastic bag. It was then carefully taped down, and fixed inside the box to prevent/ minimise movement. You can choose to do something similar to the above, and just use the materials that are available to you. It is just a matter of preference, as long as the plant's roots are kept moist and protected. Another example could be just putting the pot straight into the plastic bag and taping it secure.

Extra tips for Postage - After making sure the plant is properly taped down/secured, stems/leaves re-enforced and all, inside the postage box (which is an appropriate size), fill in the void or empty space left inside to insulate, and provide extra protection for the plant(s). Use materials available to you such as, shredded news paper, tissues, paper towels, air cushion, bubble wrap, bio-fill packing peanuts. Lastly, best to label the outside with "Live Plant" or "Fragile", as it "could" make a difference.

4. Extra Cover/Insurance - The best practice to protect your business and customers 

 As mentioned previously, take photos/video for your own records: of the plant before, and after hand off to the post office or your customer. A responsible seller will work to resolve the issue: i.e: care/advice, refund/ partial refund, or settle with compensation.

If your customer contacts you, and the plant(s) were damaged in transit or lost - Ask for photos to determine confirm the damage of the plant(s), or check to see how long it has been since the package was posted - it should be late more than two business days after the estimated date.

Request your customer to contact the postal carrier to submit a damage report or start an investigation to locate the package. (In the case with Australia Post, your customer will need to go to an eligible store branch and hand over the package for them to do the damage report. - Advise them present their documented photos/videos of the package to support the case). 

You will also need to go to your local, eligible, postal carrier store branch to confirm and claim the compensation.

After your visit, follow up and call the customer service line to finalise the claim. Be prepared with:

  1. Your photo records/ videos - to prove that the plant was adequately packaged 
  2. Proof of value/ sale - screenshot of the receipt/ transaction 
  3. Bank details - to receive the payment 
  4. Depending on the case, if the plant is determined to have been lost or damage had been caused by the Postal Carrier, you the seller, have a sales contract with them, and should receive the compensation - to which, you should then transfer to your customer. 

If the plant had been damaged due to natural circumstances (i.e transit shock, the weather), it will be up to you, the seller to determine the outcome.

 

Thanks for reading!

4 comments

Dave

Thanks for the guide. Wish I read this sooner. Will definitely be using some of the advice here.

Amber

Nice guide. Looking forward to seeing more!

Jenny

Hi,
Just wanted to say I highly recommend these guys. Great customer service and awesome plants.

Keep up the good work!

Van Thu

Thanks for posting! Lots of helpful information on here.

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