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i used to belong to this club when it was 'the garden book club'. for many years, i filled my book shelves with great buys. so many books, in fact, that i had to buy a huge book case JUST for my gardening books. (my other books too, but that is another story!) their service was wonderful, prompt & they offered great books. when they changed their name, it just so happened that they offered nothing new. that happens sometimes in book clubs. when the club was closed, i was automatically transfered to another club for gardening books. but they are mostly 'crafty' books and decorating books, not that there's anything wrong with that! but that's not what i expected from a garden book club.
several months ago, i recieved a letter saying that the club was reopening under the old name and would i like to rejoin.
after reading this forum, i am glad that i did not rejoin. it is a sad state of affairs when a company looses its good reputation for great customer service. seems like some writers were victims of the old 'bait and switch' trick too.
i know that these forums can be helpful but i also know that the people MOST likely to write are either staunch HATERS or snaunch LOVERS of the discussed issue. but is see NO staunch LOVERS here!
thank you to all who wrote warning me. what a shame that we have lost such a good source for great books.
DonnaMack Elgin, IL (Zone 5a) (59 reviews) May 10, 2004
I would like to add to the negative comments regarding this club, and perhaps my letter will shed some light on the name change. The following is the text of my letter to Mr. Frank Lombardi, Manager, Credit and Collections of HomeStyle Books, Customer Service Center, Camp Hill, PA 17012. I sent it on April 22 and have received no response as of May 10:
Dear Mr. Lombardi:
I am writing to object to your company’s practices.
For several years I belonged to the Garden and Landscape book Club. I purchased many, many books with great satisfaction. Late last year I could no longer locate them on line and was informed by mail that I was a member of your club. My immediate reaction was relief, since I had accumulated 11 credits, which back then would have represented three books gratis. Instead I found a very limited selection, and was told that I could not order on line because I had a CREDIT balance in my account. I told the telephone representative that I preferred to cancel the account but she assured me of good service.
When I did order a book in December I was appalled to receive a notice telling me that your company could not ship a book to me unless I paid for it first. As a customer of many years who had always received books before being obliged to pay for them, I presumed that your company simply had no one with a gift for customer service. I therefore cancelled my membership and ordered the book I sought on Amazon.com. I received it within a week.
A good month after I received the book from Amazon your company sent me the book that they had refused to send before. I marked it refused and sent it back unopened. You have been sending me notices about late fee charges and other nonsense that amount to $8.49. Now you threaten me with a collection agency and damage to my credit history.
I went onto the website Garden Watchdog and discovered many other complaints about your company. I also went onto the website of the Better Business Bureau and was instructed that I should write you first. I am therefore doing so. If you continue to send me these notices I will forward them to the Better Business Bureau in your state.
That's it, fellow Gardeners. I'll keep you posted but...buyer beware!
My experience with this book club is almost exactly like that of others here. PLUS--
This club has been harrassing me for over 5 years over a book they never sent to me. They even changed the number of books in the "obligation" since the I first joined-and now they want to charge me for that!! I have refused to comply with their demands and threats. I have been threatened by collection agencies. Well, I've had enough and filled a complaint with the BBB in Indiana even though their customer service address is in Pennsylvania. Now all I want is for them to leave me alone!!
I hope this helps anyone who is thinking about joining their club.
I joined the club. One of my initial books was no longer available. I received books I did not order. I sent them back. I did purchase the number of books required minus the book I did not recieve from my initial order. I have been sent to a collection agency because I did not purchase the number of required books. I feel I did since one of my original $1 books was not available.
I joined this book club because of the tempting ads in all the garden magazines. However, I have been disappointed in their total lack of customer service. I keep getting books even though I did not order them, and I have specifically said not to send them. I have tried several times to correct this problem to no avail. When I called, I was on hold forever, and it is not a toll-free phone number. When I e-mail, I only get a pat form letter that does not address my complaint. So I don't see any way that one can get through to this company. There isn't even any information on their website or their mailings about how to quit the club!
So watch out, readers! By the way, their prices are no better than your local bookstore when you add in the shipping costs. Plus, at your local bookstore you can sit in a comfy chair and leaf through the books at your own leisure!