"Green" retail company reviews

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"Green" retail company reviews

Postby zzsstt » Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:02 am

The government has started "naming and shaming" insulation installers that do a poor job, and there has been mention on this forum of doing the same for solar installers. As an extension of this "service", I thought I would share my experiences of some "green" retailers in Australia. Please feel free to add your own experiences!

Other than as a customer, I have no relationship with any of these companies.

1/ Greentopia. I do not know if this company have any stores, as I have only used their web shop. I have ordered several batches of lighting products from these guys when I have been unable to obtain what I wanted locally. Their prices (compared to othe online stores) have been competitive, their range equally so. I have never had a problem with speed of delivery or accuracy of order processing. If they sell what you are looking for and have it at the right price, I would not hesitate in buying from them.

2/ ATA - The Alternative Technology Association. As an association that publishes a magazine, their webshop is small and basically designed to supply a few products to their members. However they are friendly, and once you are a member they offer some good services like weekly hire of a PowerMate. I have bought a couple of items from them, and been happy with the service they have provided.

3/ Neco. Neco clam to have several "eco megastores" as well as their online shop. My experiences with them have been poor. I placed an order with them for a few items that were all "in stock". After a few days I called, to be told that the order was delayed becuase some items were out of stock. When I questioned this, they replied that their web site was "sometimes" not up to date with stock levels. I requested they cancel the out of stock items, refund my card and send the other items. The following day, one of the supposedly "out of stock" items arrived, having been posted before I spoke to them. They could not explain why this had happened. As I had by then re-ordered from another supplier (Neco, after all, had said they were "out of stock"), I arranged to return those items. I had by now also recieved a couple of "your order is complete" emails, the details on which were very odd (phone numbers were either American or random numbers, and the "if you have any problem" email addresses were "noreply@...). Overall I was not impressed, but was assured that this was a complete one-off event. In order to test this (and because I wanted another couple of items anyway) I placed a second order, again for items that were all "in stock". A week later I have yet to hear anything back from them, so I checked the order confirmation email which gives a phone number for 8am to 5pm. At 8.15am I received a message telling me that the office hours were 9 to 5 and I should call back during those times.........

4/ "Onlinelighting.com.au". Not a "green" shop, but selling a massive range of lighting products that include all the fluoros and LED's you could want. They have a retail store in Sydney somewhere, though I have never been there. I have found this webshop to be incredibly helpful, to have an enormous range and good prices. I have had a couple of items arrive broken, but clearly this was down to rough handling in transit - lights being somewhat fragile, even the best packing can be thwarted by a determined courier! In both cases the broken lights were replaced speedily and without question. This shop was even willing to test some external light fittings for me to check which CFL's would fit.

5/ Todae. I have never bought from this company, but after a single emailed question about a product, I was added to their marketing list and recieve frequent "reminders" about their products, sales etc. Unfortunately, though I have not spent any time checking, the prices they quote seem to be rather high compared to many (most?) of their competitors.

6/ Servaas Products (servaas.com.au). Again, not a "green" company per se, but suppliers of a large range of rechargeable batteries and chargers. I have found both their service and products to be very good. They supply batteries designed for high capacity, and batteries designed for low self-discharge. I have used both types, and both types out-perform and outlive the standard supermarket brands of rechargeables.
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Re: "Green" retail company reviews

Postby zzsstt » Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:52 pm

Update - Neco. One full week after placing the second order I called, again to be told that neither item I ordered (which were "in stock" according the web site) were actually in stock. They were expecting them that day, and would call me to let me know. I requested they investigate how "up to date" the stock level on their website actually was.

One week later, after hearing nothing, I called them. Half my order was sent out on the previous day, apparently (the promised phone call never happened) and the other item is still not in stock. They have now investigated the stock position reported on their web site, and have discovered that it is entirely unrelated to actual stock levels (it just says everything is "in stock", regardless). I have cancelled the outstanding items. Once again, the person on the phone was very friendly and seemed to want to help, but still could not achieve an acceptable outcome.

I had sent them an email asking for an explanation after the debacle that was my first purchase, but have not heard anything.

I will not be doing business with them again!
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Re: "Green" retail company reviews

Postby possibly » Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:15 pm

Gosh I wish I'd read your review before I dealt with neco.com.au!

Fooled by the advertising saying this store is ecofriendly etc, I purchased a Water Saver Shower Kit.

A huge box arrived a week or so later, with the wrong product - a small plastic bucket - but the box it came in was stuffed full of PLASTIC PEANUTS for packaging! If I'd known this company used such environmentally unfriendly packaging I never would have bought from them. I have since discovered that their communication is also extremely poor - as yet not one response to emails I've sent asking for clarification. I've had to call them to find out what was going on. And now they've refused to refund the money I spent on the return postage for the incorrect product they sent!! They will give store credit but I don't want to deal with these people again. BUYERS BEWARE. I don't know what its like going into the shop, but buying on-line - I don't think so!! Never again!
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Re: "Green" retail company reviews

Postby KarenS » Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:37 pm

possibly wrote:Gosh I wish I'd read your review before I dealt with neco.com.au!
- but the box it came in was stuffed full of PLASTIC PEANUTS for packaging! If I'd known this company used such environmentally unfriendly packaging I never would have bought from them.


Given what I've seen from wandering round their bricks'n'mortar shop in Melb, the packaging probably WAS plastic fruit-loops.

HOWEVER there are now packing peanuts made from plant waste, rice mainly, apparently, but possibly other things. They both look and feel very similar to plastic peanuts, but if you wet them, they dissolve!!
You can put them in your compost or dig them into your garden if you can't re-use them. Word of warning, though - apparently mice LOVE them, according to the office lady in a company which supplies my brother's company (for which I'm one of the Office ladies). We were talking in the Post Office about having a joke on a pompous person by 'accidently' spilling some of these things in his coffee, and seeing the look on his face when he went to get a spoon to fish them out, and came back and found them very nearly disappeared, having mostly dissolved. Priceless!!

Anyway, check your packing peanuts these days - you just might get some biodegradable ones, and if you do, either compost or dig them in, or store them VERY securely so mice (and doubtless other small beasties) can't get at them, either to eat, or to nest in!!
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Re: "Green" retail company reviews

Postby possibly » Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:05 am

Thanks Karen for that info on the peanuts - very interesting, and positive news.

But the other thing with Neco that I forgot to mention was the freighting. I live in Sydney, and apparently they have a shop in Sydney, but the huge package they sent me was sent up from Melbourne! :-(

Catherine
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Re: "Green" retail company reviews

Postby giles41 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:56 am

I have talked to neco about their packing. They are the biodegradable type of packaging. So no problems with sticking them in the garden or worm farm. Consumers needs to be aware that they are now being used by many companies. I think the brand they used was from a business called BioFill.
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Re: "Green" retail company reviews

Postby KarenS » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:40 pm

giles41 wrote: They are the biodegradable type of packaging. So no problems with sticking them in the garden or worm farm. Consumers needs to be aware that they are now being used by many companies. I think the brand they used was from a business called BioFill.


This will be a bit of a problem without a major 'awareness' campaign, as the biodegradable peanuts look and feel really similar to the plastic ones. Almost the only way you can tell between the two is to wet them, and see what happens, or to discover that you have a mouse nest in the box of peanuts in the back of the cupboard ...

Many people I have spoken to aren't even aware of the fact that the biodeg ones exist, let alone that you can put them in the garden or compost. As I live in an area with clay instead of soil, they would probably be useful to gardeners (one of which I am NOT), but if I get any of them I will be saving them to use when I flog stuff on ebay etc. I also save shredded paper from my brother's office for this, but they produce more than I can use!

As I subscribe to Choice online, I will do a little bit of research about these things,and write to Choice suggesting they do something with any good info available, as I think anything any of us can do to lessen the use of plastic, and to re-use stuff which would otherwise go to landfill or get burnt or something else less environmentally friendly, has got to be a Good Thing!
Last edited by KarenS on Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Green" retail company reviews

Postby giles41 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:18 pm

Oh, and from what I understand Neco closed their Sydney address more than a year ago and relocated to Melbourne and opened their big store out in the suburb of Blackburn. I've been in several times and always found them to give excellent service (....for what its worth....).
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