In 2006 I was lured by Cali Bamboo's rally (quoted from their website) for saving the planet one fence at a time;" and their "mission to promote bamboo as a new material for everyday products." Though bamboo truly is beautiful to look at, bamboo itself is not indigenous to North America. Little did I understand back then that "if it didn't grow here it probably doesn't belong here."
I live in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. It is incredibly hot and dry here. Before I bought the fencing I was told by the rep. at Cali Bamboo that the fence would do very well in Arizona, and that they have sold hundreds of fences in Arizona as well as Nevada and California. I took their word for it.
We erected $2, 238.10 worth of bamboo fencing in the late spring of 2006. After the first summer I submitted my initial complaint to the BBB in San Diego (Cali Bamboo has a D+ ranking with them) because the fencing had already begun to break down and even showed initial signs of rotting. Cali Bamboo was adamant that they had sold me a product as is, and that I agreed to it; they owed no recompense on any level. They gave nothing.
Cali Bamboo claimed on their website that the fencing product would come to the consumer: pretreated for fire protection as well as bugs and sun damage. The fencing product that we received was not treated and after one summer had begun to bleach-out white from the sun; had split and cracked wide open on the support beams as well as the panels; was extremely sharp and dangerous from the dryness; and was blackening in spots where it was beginning to rot-little holes were appearing in various spots throughout the entire fence.
Before I purchased the fencing I was very concerned about privacy-I only wanted a privacy fence. I was assured by the rep. at Cali Bamboo that the fence would be private. It was not. After we erected the first panel I saw my loss; the fence was completely see-through.
Needless to say, this report comes two years later; our fence has to be torn down. In late summer of 2008 we had some strong winds come in. Our bamboo fence snapped off at the support beams. On the Cali Bamboo website they claim that bamboo is known for its strength and even compares it to steel and granite. The fence is beyond repair. It is so dry, brittle and sharp as it has cracked open on every single panel (it looks hideous). I'm embarrassed to look at it. The bamboo fence that we bought is far from strong; it's actually very delicate and fragile. It's completely bleached out and has ugly white-yellow streaks. It's rotted all over with ugly black holes.
Cali Bamboo is known for their contributions to saving and preserving the environment. They're passionate for their mission which is what I was taken in by to begin with. Unfortunately, they don't have the product to support their mission; worse, they have misrepresented and mislead what they promote.
It has been a nightmare in dealing with them. I recently returned to file a follow-up complaint with the BBB, to document the outcome of my 2 year old bamboo fence. Cali Bamboo responded to my complaint and actually blamed me for the fence's condition-that I didn't treat it, or take steps to repair it. I can't repair it. It was already deteriorating by the time I realized that it had never been treated in the first place. Cali Bamboo offered me $200.00 to settle my complaint and said that they were not willing to do any more. The consumer has a right to know that Cali Bamboo aggressively pursues the sale, and once it's sealed-they don't give anymore.
I think that the consumer has a right to know about the liabilities of bamboo. Though Cali Bamboo is in the limelight for their green campaign, I would caution the buyer to consider that the end- product is not as described or even suitable for North America.
Though their mission is popular at this time, I don't foresee that Cali Bamboo could possibly have longevity in the business world due to their faulty product and business practices in dealing with the consumer.
Cali Bamboo didn't "save the planet" with the fence that I bought. Some landfill is going to have to consume the fence that I inevitably have to discard.