I know it has been a while on the update, but wanted to ensure that all of the moderators of the forum had a chance to review and comment on the situation.
In an effort to better understand and clarify what happened, given that so many others have ordered from Aquarium Plants Factory (the seller) and were happy with their plants, the moderators were able to obtain the following information from them. All of the history with all communication on orders are recorded and archived by them, so they have a timeline and communication log which they have reviewed in this situation.
The moderators of the forum are choosing to let all post in this thread stand as is but felt it fair to post the seller's response.
According to their records, during the only round of communication pre order, the customer took the following action:
1. Communicated that the 15" Anubias was too tall for their tank and asked for something in the range of 10" - 12".
2. On the order the customer noted: "Please look and send 10"-12" tall. If only taller plants the one under 15" with the most and fullest leaves."
3. The customer placed the order before confirming they had requested 10"-12" Anubias.
4. At no point did the customer specifically ask for a 15" or taller Anubias (as is implied previously).
The seller interpreted from the communication that the customer wanted 'The next tallest and fullest plant that they have that is not 15"'. Since they don't have 10"-12" plants in stock and wanted to get the order out promptly so they sent what the plant with the most leaves that is not 15" tall.
The next tallest and fullest plant below 15" tall in their stock is what the customer received.
This is a simple difference in interpretation of the wording in the notes and timing of the order. Once the order was placed, the seller wanted to get it shipped as soon as possible.
As already mentioned, the delay in shipping is not the seller's fault, this was a due to USPS and timing of the order.
In an effort to satisfy the customer, the seller already agreed to take a loss on this by refunding the money, paying for the return shipping and, while not explicitly mentioned, taking the risk the plant survives so much shipping and environment change.
The seller did receive the returned plant and from their experience and after consulting others they do not believe the plant is diseased.
Above is all of the information as we have it. You can make your own judgement and read no further.
It is the moderators' view that:
In reading this, it is clear that the order note could be interpreted in two ways.
1. The next tallest and fullest plant that they have that is not 15"
2. A 15" plant with the most and fullest leaves at the bottom of the plant.
The seller interpreted it as item 1 above.
This appeared to be a special request order that was placed with very little confirmation / communication before placing the order and the seller filled the it as best they could.
By consensus of the moderators, we do not believe it's fair to attribute this to malicious intent on the part of the seller.