I'll keep this short. I'll never buy another plant from Prairie Plant Systems and I'll avoid UPS as much as humanly possible.
This year, I ordered a bunch of Saskatoons and Honeyberries. UPS messed up the shipping and the plants spent five extra days in trucks during the heat of summer.
When I received the plants, they were in sorry shape. I contacted Derek, greenhouse manager, at Prairie Plant Systems. He told me the plants would recover. I said they wouldn't and they didn't. Neither UPS nor Prairie Plant Systems took any responsibility for their failures. I'm out a few hundred dollars. And I'm pretty bummed about the incompetence from both businesses.
Yes, I could contact my credit card company but I won't. It's not about the money. It's about an agreement between me and Prairie Plant Systems that I would pay for healthy plants delivered in that state. They failed. I believe that they should remedy the situation or deal with the consequences. The consequences in this case are having people in the Permaculture community know how they deal with customers. When we appeal to a greater power such as the government, the police, or the credit card company, we reduce the importance of interhuman connections that help sustain our larger society.
I have to deal with this frequently as I ship a lot of expensive test equipment around the country. Your problem isn't with Prairie Plant Systems, it's with UPS. All (unless you make special arrangements) freight is shipped "FOB" or Free On Board, that essentially means that you own the property being shipped the minute the UPS truck's bumper parted from PPS's dock. FOB is a concept that's as old as shipping. If it was in good merchantable condition when they put it on the truck then they did all they were obligated to do. While I agree with you that 'good' business people will make a stretch to keep a customer happy, your beef is with the shipper who failed to keep their part of the contract. Look at your order, did you specify "Next Day" or "Second Day" shipping? Get your paper together and go to UPS's website, they have a fairly easy click-'n-fill claim system. UPS Claims At the very least you'll get your shipping charge refunded and most likely the whole enchilada. My experience with UPS is uniformly good, they know it's just a block away for me to go to FedEx or DHL. I'd bet the folks at PPS would probably be glad to lean on UPS on your behalf, they probably do a fair bit of business with them and it's not a given that they have to use them. If you make a claim and UPS blows you off then you can go back to PPS and at least be able to say you tried, they might be a little more amenable to helping you then. My bet is that if UPS screwed up they'll make good on a legitimate claim.