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Hartley Greenhouse – the good and the bad

Hartley Greenhouse

I’ve recently had a Hartley Greenhouse (from Hartley Botanic) installed in our lower garden that I’m trying to turn into a beautiful natural garden. To install the greenhouse, it needed to have a substantial base built and then have the Hartley Greenhouse installed on that. You can see photos of all this construction below (click on the images to see them full-size). 

The end result is a very nice greenhouse, but it wasn’t all plain sailing. The base was built by a company called Chartwell Paving and Landscaping and they did an excellent job. The problems that I had was with the Hartley Botanic after-sales service. I’ll describe those problems next.

Hartley Greenhouse – issues with after-sales service

If you consider buying a Hartley Greenhouse, my recommendation would be to read the fine print carefully and refuse to sign off on it. Tell them that you’ll only buy their greenhouse if they change the conditions. Like normal for me, I didn’t bother too much with the terms and conditions and I didn’t notice that they wanted 50% of the purchase price on ordering and then the other 50% on delivery.

So, I made my order and paid the 50% of the purchase price, and almost the next day someone from Hartley Botanic called me and asked me what day I wanted the greenhouse delivered. I told them that I need to get the base built first and I didn’t even know what was required yet. She told me the instructions for the base were in the post. I said that when I get those instructions, I’ll find a builder to construct the base. But the Hartley sales person wouldn’t let me go, she wanted me to estimate when it could be delivered, and insisted that it can be left outside easily and safely until the base is ready. She warned me that, if I don’t get the delivery organised, then I might not be able to get it delivered when I need it. Now it’s obvious what they were trying to do.

Because they get 100% of the money on “delivery”, the sales person was just pressuring me to get the greenhouse delivered. It really annoyed me that I’d agreed to have it delivered and then realised it was about a month before it could be installed. I’d paid for everything, including installation, and I didn’t have an installed greenhouse. Then came the next problem.

When the guys came to install the greenhouse, they found that one of the pieces wasn’t correct and would have to be re-made, and that would take several weeks. Arghh!! 

I was quite mad and insisted Hartley came back on a particular date to complete the installation. They agreed on that date, but then came one day later without telling me. How rude. Not the installation guys problem, they were good at what they did. In fact, the sales guy that visited me originally to help me decide on the greenhouse was also very good, it was just the sales people who pressured me to get it delivered. It’s clear now that Hartley Botanic’s business model is purely around getting greenhouses delivered, not about satisfying customers.

What would I have liked instead? I would have liked it if Hartley Botanic called me to ask when my base would be ready, and for them to say “no problem, we’ll do our best to have the greenhouse delivered and installed just after that”.

All they cared about was getting 100% of the money as soon as they could, even if it was well before I had a functioning greenhouse. That’s awful.

The Outcome

As you can see by the final photos below (click on them to see them full size), I now have a very nice Hartley Greenhouse. I’ve never had a greenhouse before and I’m not really sure how to grow plants from seed, but I’m really looking forward to learning all about this over the coming years.

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