Yesterday I spent a couple of hours trying to find a place selling a
specific variety of sweet pepper for our garden this year. (Gypsy, an AAS
winner, for those who care) I called around to a number of the stores in
town that carry seeds, and none had this very sweet, prolific variety.
Afterwards, I did a search, and I finally went with Seedmart, an Ebay
store that is also known as Hirt's Gardens. They had quite reasonable
shipping and cost for a single pack. Although I didn't find anything in our
city, at least it was in Ohio, and I figured that way I wouldn't have to
wait long for the seeds to arrive. (which made it worth paying the sales
Anyway, the Ebay store checkout showed I was getting 30 seeds - a bit more
than the industry standard 25. AFTER I had agreed to buy, it then showed
that I was only getting 15 seeds - half what I had ordered.
When I made my payment, in the text box I made sure they understood that I
had ordered 30 seeds, not 15. I also stated that I would leave negative
feedback on Dave'sgarden website IF I was shorted.
Later yesterday, I got a message saying that my order had been shipped, so
now I was in waiting mode - I had mentally taken ownership of the
merchandise, and was just waiting for the seeds to show up in my mailbox.
This morning, I checked my email and found a message from another email
address (but still from this company) saying that perhaps I would be happier
taking my business elsewhere, and that they had refunded my money. That was
all that was said - nothing about the discrepancy I had pointed out, and
nothing to address the fact that I'd already been told my order had shipped.
I checked out the Ebay store, and noted that the number of seeds now says
15, not 30.
Evidently what I'm gathering is that either:
A) they were involved in a bait and switch tactic, giving people half the
seed they ordered
or (and I find this one more likely)
B) They didn't realize that the system was halving the orders people placed,
corrected it when I notified them.
Even if it is the latter, I'm rather disgusted that they didn't even
acknowledge this or thank me for telling them about an issue that would have
caused them to have a lot of upset customers. Imagine buying a gallon of
gas and only getting two quarts instead. If a person had a certain size
area to plant with peppers, and only got half enough, this would be
I'm on dialup Internet. It took me a good couple of hours to shop around
and finally pick this company, then another half hour to get through the
Ebay and Paypal checkout screens. After going through all of this, and
being told that my order had shipped, of COURSE I'm rather miffed that
someone would write to say "perhaps you would feel more comfortable doing
your business elsewhere".
I mean, it's ok for a company to tell you something like this BEFORE you
pay, or even BEFORE you are told that something has shipped. (as long as
they're not being racist, etc.) However, they told me this after the fact -
even after they told me they had shipped my seeds. What's up with that?
I went ahead and resent my payment, and informed them that they were
mistaken if they thought I somehow enjoyed wasting my time going shopping
for the same item twice. I also explained that since they told me the item
had shipped already, they were obligated to follow through and fulfill the
order. I further explained that if customer service and satisfaction had no
importance to them, I would then leave negative feedback on the Davesgarden
website, the Ebay website, and file a complaint with the Better Business
Bureau. I prefer not to do these things, but when a company treats people
without consideration and jerks you around, then I feel it is important to
share my experiences with others.
Here is how they responded:
firstname.lastname@example.org Add Mobile Alert
Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2008 09:17:20 EDT
Subject: Re: Item Shipped -- eBay Stores #36763957024 -- Sweet Gypsy Hybrid
Pepper 30 ...
The purchase was refunded and it has not shipped. Since you threatened us
with the anti-semetic Dave's Garden we feel you would be happier purchasing
your Gypsy Peppers elsewhere.
What the heck? Anti-semitic? Threatened? I don't know where they are
coming from with that anti semitic thing - the davesgardens website is just
a place where people rate garden websites. And as for threatened, I just
told them that the system was only giving me half of what I ordered, and
that I expected the full amount. I did say that I left feedback online
whenever I felt that I was shorted by a company. I feel that it's important
for other folks to know how companies treat their customers.
So I guess this is what has happened to customer service in this day and
age - it's dead. The customer is always wrong, I guess. In this case, by
refusing to do business with me after the fact, I guess they want to claim I
was never a customer in the first place, and for this issue to go away. In
fact, what they did was give me the poorest customer service I've ever
received, and ensured that I will be posting negative reviews of their
business. How in the world is bad word of mouth advertising good for any