Kmart’s “Plants For Life” Guarantee Doesn’t Cover Rogue Lawnmowers, “Acts Of God”

Image courtesy of bert_m_b

If you’re the kind of person who can kill a plant just by looking at it, Kmart’s “Plants for Life” guarantee might sound like the solution to your brown thumb: the retailer is offering a lifetime guarantee on its trees, shrubs, and perennials that gives a customer a replacement or store credit if their plant dies before its time. Claiming that replacement, however, means first clearing your plant from a slew of plant-death scenarios included in the offer’s fine print.

First of all, to qualify for the “Plants for Life, Guaranteed” offer, the plants have to be planted in the ground, “in the recommended USDA Plant Hardiness Zones.” So make sure you’ve got your zones straight. Second, we’re only talking about your average outdoor shrubs and trees: “Annuals, houseplants, tropicals, seeds, bulbs, and seasonal plants including, but not limited to, Christmas trees, poinsettias, and Easter lilies are excluded.”

If your plant is the right kind of vegetation to qualify, you won’t get your free replacement for a plant that you neglected, didn’t adequately water, or for otherwise “abused” plants.

And if it was destroyed by anything from the lawnmower or a hurricane, you’re also out of luck: the guarantee doesn’t apply to “plants damaged or destroyed by mechanical (vehicles, snow plows, mowers, etc.), chemicals, animals, vandalism, or acts of God, including, but not limited to: disease, insects and related plant pests, or weather.”

So… what’s left? Genetic defects, essentially.

“They’ve covered just about everything that’s going to go wrong,” Ken Johnson, a horticulture educator with the University of Illinois Extension told the Chicago Tribune. “There would have to be something wrong with the tree itself, with its genetics.”

Other caveats include the fact that Kmart has the right to “limit or refuse any lifetime guarantee or exchange” at its discretion, and reserves “the right to modify or discontinue this program.”

When the Tribune asked the company about the range of exceptions, Kmart said in a statement that the guarantee “provides customers with peace of mind that the eligible plants they get from Kmart will last.”

“If a plant dies as a result of a covered problem Kmart will replace it. Like any guarantee, there are certain exclusions for things like abuse, mechanical damage or extraordinary weather events,” the company said.

The offer is also only valid for plants purchased in a store, and not online.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.