Posted on February 25, 2008, updated May 8, 2016
Okay, I seem to have the same issues as several others. I actually got suckered in because I was told in the original mailing that membership dues were much less what they ended up charging me (just over $200.00). If I recall correctly, I was told (in the original mailing) that membership was only $24.00 a year. So, this past summer I decided to join because the price was reasonable, and at that price if they weren\'t all they said they were (which I suspected they couldn\'t possibly be for that price) it could still be worth it because of that low low price.
After I wrote that check it wasn\'t too much later that I got a box of stuff. At first I was excited because this seemed to be just as the company advertised. It was mostly seeds, a book, and that was pretty much it certainly nothing to test and nothing to write home about. And, imagine my surprise, when a couple weeks later I ended up getting a pricey bill for the crap in said box! (Because of these additional charges, I suspect I\'ve actually paid $300.00, if not more for my membership)
Sometime after that I got a hugh box, but after that first time I was wary rather than excited, so I opened it very carefully in case I needed to send it back. So far, I haven\'t gotten a bill for the contents, however, there was very little actually in that big old box.
It was after this that I got my biggest shock of all - a bill for the cost of my membership, which I had already paid. Worse still, this new bill was charging me over $200.00 dollars. WTH?
At the time I got that bill I\'d been a member for three/four months and saw nothing that was worth $200.00, and in the time since then (stupid of me, I know, but I thought maybe after I paid I\'d see something worth it) I still haven\'t gotten anything to justify paying a $200.00 membership. NOTHING! All I have now is regret, because I could have bought many new plants for my garden with that money, instead I\'ve completely wasted it!
Also, none of those products that they claim to send to members to test and rate have come my way. So I feel like I\'m paying over $200.00 for a magizine subscription that isn\'t worth more than the $24.00 I originally paid even if you include the three/four packets of free seeds they\'ve sent in that original price.
Honestly, I can go to my local Dollar General Store and buy better seeds for a quarter a packet, because the so-called free seeds I\'ve gotten have never even attempted to grow, even when I finally got fed up and dumped the whole packet in one pot, not one came up. And going to my local Dollar Store I get much less hassle and no threat of a hidden bill showing up later - that\'s certainly worth a quarter, especially when you consider that even the following year most of the seeds from Dollar General can be planted and while by that point less than half will come up, it\'s still better than those so-called free seeds from this company.
My first negative review on this site (though at this point I\'ve only given three ratings), and I honestly find myself hoping it is my only one. The sad thing is that I would have probably rated them positive or at least neutral if they had stuck with that original price of $24.00.
However, I would be willing to change my rating to at least neutral if the company shapes up come spring - I\'m willing to accept that maybe they have nothing to send in winter, but I actually hold little hope of getting any of the so-called free products.
To be honest, at this point, they would have to send me something really nice to have any chance of keeping my money coming, because I just can\'t afford $200.00 a year for what amounts to a magizine subscription.On February 25th, 2008, ConGar changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Changed my rating to Neutral after it was suggested that I check over my paperwork again. I have now done that, and from what I can gather from the rereading is that I won\'t (or shouldn\'t be) charged $226.00 every year. It would seem the $226.00 is a one time charge, I can\'t help but have my doubts, BUT until proven otherwise I decided it was only fair to change my rating from Negative to Neutral since the large charge was the main (but not only) reason I was so very unhappy.
The other reasons (mentioned above) are the reason I\'m not whipping out a Positive, and after rereading things there\'s a new reason I\'m not completely satisfied.
There is a disturbing lack of clarity in the original paperwork, because everything in that indicates that my original $24.00 payment was for a lifetime membership and not merely a magizine subscription. It would have been much nicer knowing up front that a lifetime membership was much more expensive than that before getting such a large bill slapped on me.On May 8th, 2016, ConGar changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
So, I came back to change my rating to a negative on this "company" once I realized I hadn't received a magazine (or anything else) from them in just over two years. And this after I paid (in full) their bogus lifetime membership fee. So apparently according to them a lifetime is about five years and it really was pretty much a magazine fee after all - basically this outfit totally ripped me off. NEGATIVE!
(Seriously, aside from the seed packets and that one box of gardening tools that was all I ever received from this "company" aside from the magazine.)
It was an adventure trying to find the listing again since apparently it's changed names since my original comments. *sigh* But I kept searching, because I really needed to update this.
On the other hand, at least this whole misadventure taught me a lesson - I start getting dunning letters for something I don't remember joining I no longer pay and ignore the matter entirely (after making sure it hasn't actually affected my credit if it affects my credit steps are taken).
Another bonus is that since National Home (NOT) Gardening Club stopped sending me mags I've apparently fallen off of whatever SPAM list I landed on in the first place because I'm no longer getting all SPAM all the time. And I plan to keep it that way, because I've not stopped mail-order gardening I've simply started ordering exclusively from Dave's A-List and when they say they don't give/sell your info they clearly don't, and honestly I've come to realize that is almost as important in getting good quality healthy plants.
But it's just annoying to realize that I was well and truly ripped off by this SCAM - and, yes, I truly believe this is/was a scam.
I joined in 2008 and was offered free magazines for life if I would be willing to subscribe (at a reduced rate) to fulfill some kind of monetary contract. The math on that means at age 86 I would then be receiving magazines free, (or my descendants would) for life.
A pretty, glossy magazine, more pictures than words. The one 'tool' they sent me to evaluate (with no way to send them a detailed commentary) broke the first time I used it--the handle bent over and broke off. The eval. postcard that came with the tool had no space for explaining what happened. I sent back a one line comment, however, in very tiny print.
I never did receive my kneeling cushion or my fiskar shears that were supposed to have been free gifts and never did get another item to test.
I never bothered to renew, and that was the end of that. Sad, how many people don't connect 'rip off" and 'lifetime membership"...
swall2 Oshkosh, WI (Zone 5a) (4 reviews) August 7, 2015
Same as everyone else, paid $350 or so to become a lifetime member and get magazines, only to find out years later they decided to cancel magazines. So paid $350 or so for access to a lame website. Total scam company, they go by the name of Scout now Scout.com. This is the companies response when I asked for a refund, so clearly they new it was a scam = "We never said that our articles would only be provided in paper format until the end of time."
I joined as a Life Member probably over 15 years ago - at any rate, when they first came out, I think. I did receive an entire bag of garden tools and gloves (which I still use). I received seeds to test several times but told them I did not have a good area to plant lettuce seeds, etc. I never got anything else to test. I never paid another cent, never received unwanted or unsolicited books or anything else (just, periodically, offers for life insurance or VISA cards with their logo). I received years' and years' worth of the magazine, which was decent. My only complaint was how rude they were when they rejected a story I submitted and that none of the photographs I submitted were ever used even though they were generally as interesting (or moreso) than someone's grandkid standing next to yet another giant sunflower (nothing wrong with that, but...one gets tired of the Cute Kids In The Garden cliche photos!). I wondered who was doing the judging for the articles and photos (and writing the snotty rejection letters). Other than that, I never had a problem.
I noticed however that I haven't received any magazines for awhile and tried to go online to their website to rectify the issue but as someone stated only found some "scout" site. Reading here I see I am not the only one in this boat and, evidently, they have indeed ceased to exist. I can't really complain - I got magazines for so many years it certainly justified whatever I paid years ago. Bad news however for those "life members" who only got a couple of years out of it..I feel for you!
Thanks to Dave's Garden for again providing me with info I couldn't find anywhere else.
I have been a life member since 2010. In the last year I noticed no more magazines. While I have not had any major problems - only that their testing products was a real hassel and I never got any to speak of, since the magazines have stopped, I figured they have gone belly-up. their web site is not active and is switched to this Scout something. It is not worth any time or effort to attempt to get any refund, but a word to the wise, there are so many bad companies out there now scamming pple right left and center. I am filing complaints to the FTC & BBB for reversal of unauthorized charges in another matter and very bad business practices. I encourage anyone with issues with this Club or any other if u have been ripped off and subject to bait & switch, hold them accountable. The scamming, artificial web sites, and in general corrupt and unethical practices abound. They must cease and desist and that is what the Federal Trade commission is for (FTC).
I paid a hefty fee to become a 'Lifetime Member' of this bogus scam of a 'club'. I received a couple of magazines, a calender, and a few tools 2 or 3 years ago and nothing since. I finally confronted them a couple of weeks ago to which they replied that they no longer offer mailings, but offer discounts to sporting events and gardening news online. First of all...that's not the contract I agreed to and secondly, I do not have have Internet access at home. I do not need "discounts" to spend more money on events I have no interest in and secondly, I do not think reading about gardening online for $300.00 is acceptable! I am beyond angered! I have been scammed! I have been going back and forth through email with this company and they refuse to refund my membership fee! I have contacted my lawyer and plan to take further action on this matter since they are committing a bate and switch fraud. This company needs to be reported and we all need to take a stand!
I have tried numerous times to resolve this issue with the National Home Gardening Club. I joined this organization as a Lifetime member. One incentive to this membership was magazines, I have received 2 magazines since I joined over 3 years ago. Nor, have they fulfilled the other incentives.
I am now being billed for an item which was paid for. I have sent letters and emails on this matter and they keep sending me dunning letters. On my first email, I was told they would resolve the issue and yet I continued to receive letters. This company hasn't contacted me to resolve this since the response to my first email, nor have they responded to my later letters about this issue.
I wish I had checked the reviews about this company before I joined. The negative reviews of this company, on this web-site and others, far outweigh the positive reviews. My biggest regret was I should have realized "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is". If I knew what company sent my info into the National Home Gardening Club, I would stop doing business with them.
src84 Santa Maria, CA (Zone 9a) (5 reviews) August 12, 2012
this is my first review..
i joined the NHGC about 8 months ago..
i joined for 12$ which i thot was very cheap and was very happy i did
the club has been very good to me and i havent had any problems with them so far...i have received all the "free gifts" as promised i was very happy with all of them yes some are on the cheap side but honestly if you think about it thats how mass stuff is kinda made anyways..mostly it was just loose handles that i tightened up myself.
it did take a while to recieve my first mag but i was patient i figured they must have a lotta members and a lotta new members everyday so it may take awhile and it did but that okay cuz i did get the mag...
before i joined the club i read the user agreement and all the small print so i knew that the club may send you book or dvds to preview and then buy and keep if youd like.if not they send a shipping slip so you can return it no problem..i have kept a few books i really enjoyed them there very helpful..and learning new gardening secrets is always a plus..as for the test items..this is usually what draws people in to join....please do not expect to get big ticket items especially if you just joined....again the club prob has sooooo many members and not alotta test items..so not everyones gonna get something...be patient something will come for you to test...it may be just a packet of seeds but hey there were free and u get to keep them...
so if you were thinking of joining just for free test products you will be sorely disappointed....i joined mostly because of the forums and the seedswaping and the gardening friendships to be made..im working on my life membership now .everyone does have there own experience with the club mine has been a good one...perhaps yours may not be but i think as long as u really look into it and read all the small print...you wont be surprised...i did all that and im happy..
disneyland Redwood City, CA (1 review) July 22, 2012
I subscribed to the magazine and expected to receive their promotional gift of $100 grocery coupons. Then I was sent the info that I must mail them a coupon card they had sent me, for that I received no coupons but 10 "stamps". Each stamp had to be returned to them with $1 fee - one stamp at a time. To receive free coupons would cost me $10 plus almost $5 in postage. Scam. Also the magazine's second issue hasn't arrived and when I called they said to call back in another week - they were late. Too much bother - but I did tell them: send NO books, lifetime member solicitations, tools, etc. Wish I had read this site first.
Scam Alert! I got billed for a 3 year subscription although I never signed up. First I knew of it was when the debit showed up on my bank balance. So I called them and they said "Oh, this has been happening to them a lot". Really? They're victims too? Someone's been stealing credit card numbers and enrolling people in a gardening magazine? Well what scammer could benefit from that? Ah yes, National Home Gardening Club magazine.
I joined the NHG club in February and paid $24 for a two-year membership. I was promised (and soon received) a Fisker's bypass pruner, kneeling pad, and $20 in gas rebates. The $100 in grocery coupons requires that you send in a self-addressed, stamped 5" x 9" envelope in which they will mail back the coupons. the unusual envelope dimensions have kept me from bothering with it thus far.
I've also gotten one issue of the magazine so far (not bad, not great), a garden transplanter (small trowel) to evaluate and 2 packs each of cosmos and baby's breath (I gave a pack of each to my sister, tucked into a letter I mailed). I also received a larger seed packet "bouquet-mix" (15 different seed types), which I quite like.
The one potential issue I've had is an invoice that stated I'd paid $12 for 1 one-year membership. I emailed NHG club to verify that they'd recorded my payment of $24 which covered 2 years. They replied within days to confirm $24 for 2 yrs rcv'd.
I then got a book to preview "Gardening Essentials" - $10.99 including S&H. Included was a postage-paid return label if I didn't want it and a promise of a little (probably cheap) gardening totebag and some more seeds, PLUS more books to preview,, but only if I decided to purchase :Gardening Essentials.
My initial reaction was "Aha! No Way.", but I kept returning to the book, which I couldn't deny I liked ALOT and considered a deal at $10.99. I finally decided to send a check in a few days after the "must pay/return by" date (4/3/12). Within the month, I got one invoice asking for the payment or return of the book. I ignored it, having paid. I haven't received any more books, but checked online today and my account page lists the payment and shows I owe $0.00. So far, a month and a half later, I've not gotten any more books to preview.
So all-in-all, my experience has been good. That said, I DID receive the Lifetime Membership Rebate offer, which was annoying and ridiculous (and therefore ignored by me - twice so far)...though I may shoot them an email to confirm that I am not interested in paying them $250+ in return for getting my $24 "back", given the negative posts I've read. This way I'll have their response on hand should any problems arise in the future. To be fair, however, the Lifetime Membership offer(s) clearly stated the terms of agreement - it wasn't hidden or hard to find, so I suggest that people read over offers rcv'd from ANY company before accepting.
Thought I'd throw in a positive review - maybe they are shaping up - with anything they've mailed me, they always have forms to get your free stuff for joining in case you didn't get it when you should have. In fact, they sent me an additional Fisker's kneeling pad - who knows why.
I'll update my review and change it to negative if problems arise, but so far, I'm pleased.
i can't believe this place hasn't been shutdown by the feds for mail fraud. i bought a bunch of their books. i quit this scam and had sent one book back during my membership. five years later they sent a collection agency after me for the one book i returned. not knowing, my wife paid the
the agency without talking to me. i tried to get my money back, but it was too late. they said they wouldn't give it back. stay away from this company! they aren't just bad, they are a con.
cowboydj Rosenberg, TX (1 review) October 13, 2011
We have received all of our products- as promised. As for the books, if you read the information when you sign up for your free stuff, it says that you may receive books and videos to reveiw. That has happened and we just send them back like it says and the charges are dropped.
I joined in March of 2011. After the first month I decided to become a Life Member. Eveything had been going fine until I suddenly started getting 2 - 3 books sent to me each month starting in Aug. Don't get me wrong, the books are a good source of info but not at 2-3 at a time and at an average cost of $29.95 per book. My biggest complaint is that each book shows up on my account BEFORE I receive it.
augpho Minneapolis, MN (1 review) September 7, 2011
I actually thought it would be a good experience as it is a local company for me. I never dreamed that either Burpee or Jung Seeds would have sold my information (the ONLY catalog orders I have done). Well I immediately became aware of the scam when I paid my $24 and did not receive my free gifts. I received a book that needed to be paid for or returned and a notice that if I hadn't received my free gifts I just needed to pay more to become a Lifetime Member to receive said gifts. I immediately returned the book along with a letter cancelling my membership and asking for a refund of my $24.00. I also received the $24.00 rebate that was good only towards a Lifetime Membership. I have since responded by e-mail asking how sensible that was for a 'legitimate business' and will be filing a complaint with the BBB.
I too received a packet in the mail 3rd class delivery with 2 small envelopes of seed and a tiny magnet for the fridge. Upon reading both sides of their 2 page letter, I was mystified and confused, so I sent a comment/question to the company, not being able to find their phone number. Then I found Dave's garden when looking for reviews of the company. They may indeed have a great magazine, I received one that was quite nice, but their tactics put them way down on the list of companies I would trust.
The letter did not tell me outright what the $12 "rebate" was for, nor did they explain that the $21.42 was EACH month. The way it was worded could make you think it was total, because they use the word "total" and never mention the $257.xx up front within a year that you must pay to be a Lifetime Member.
So basically, you are going on faith handing over your credit card to an outfit that doesn't make it clear the amount you will be paying. I cannot hand over my credit card carte blanc to a company like that.
When I realized that I might have a bill on my account, after reading Dave's Garden blog, I checked, and sure enough, there was a $12 charge. When I called, the woman taking my cancellation, said "yes, but they would never actually charge me" I guess not. I never gave them my credit card number.
Posted on May 7, 2008, updated July 11, 2011
I collected my mail from the mailbox one day, and as I sorted through the various items, lo and behold! there was a letter addressed to one of my cats. I opened it on her behalf, and it was an application to join the National Home Gardening Club, complete with a personalized membership card! I was unaware that she had any horticultural interests other than rolling in the catnip and digging in the mulch. Needless to say, she did not become a member. I still wonder how her name got on their mailing list. Cats are smart animals, but they don't apply for garden club memberships!On July 11th, 2011, tomtkitty added the following:
Once again, one of my cats has received this most generous offer of a rototiller, a sprinkler, a lawn mower, and a few other items that she, lacking opposable thumbs, cannot use.
According to the letter, it's no secret among my friends and neighbors that she is an outstanding gardener & passionately devoted to her hobby. As her owner, however, this comes as news to me. I seem to be the only one working in the garden. How did this company manage to get my cat's name? She will have to fill out her own form if she wishes to "apply for this exclusive membership". I will not contribute to her delinquency. I will not pay for her subscription to the magazine.
hardyinokc Oklahoma City, OK (26 reviews) July 7, 2011
The first couple of years as a member of the National Home Gardening Club, I was sent 2 or 3 different products to test. I was then offered the opportunity to become a "Lifetime" member. I paid for the "Lifetime" membership in about 2003, expecting to continue receiving products for testing. I have not received a single product to test since becoming a Lifetime member. I suspect that receiving products to test is just their way of getting members to pay the big bucks for the Lifetime membership. I guess the product testing is just for new members or members they are trying to convince to pay for the Lifetime Membership. Also, I have noticed that the Gardening-How-To Magazine seems to have shrunk to fewer pages over the past few years.
BabsERNurse Whidbey Island, WA (Zone 7b) (1 review) June 22, 2011
I joined Nat'l Home Gardening Club just over a year ago. I have received several items for "testing" and "feedback" that so far have been fairly decent items.
My complaint is about the gardening books that have been sent. At first they came at a more reasonable rate. About one every 6 weeks. I would go online, pay my bill when I received it with the book and it seemed like I had turned on a batting practice machine. They started spewing out to the point that they were coming every week! So, I did some sleuthing to find the phone number to call (1-800-324-8454) and called to have my membership cancelled and of course get the books stopped.
I spoke with a customer service person who went into my account and noticed I had received MANY books and had paid for each of them, so she put a notification on my account to only send one book every 2 months and gave me a $10.00 off discount as well. She explained it would probably take about 28 days to get this into the system as they work on a monthly set up and if another book came in the meantime, to ignore the bill.
So, all I can do now is wait to see if this really happens. If the books keep coming at the rate they had in the past, I will call them back and cancel my membership. I just hope I haven't been a sap and allowed someone to get away with making a fool out of me.
Other than what I've listed above as a gripe, I have been quite satisfied with the items and information I've received from the club. I'm not the most experienced gardener and all the information I can get is helpful. Many blessings on Dave's Garden and all the wonderful folks who post here with their experiences and information. I'm also thankful for the Watchdog List and ability to add my own personal experience.
Today I received in the mail a large envelope with an offer to join the National Home Gardening Club. I spent ten or fifteen minutes reading all the information. It sounded good, but before I proceded in joining, I decided to check Dave's Garden Watchdog to see if there were any reviews of the company. After reading many of the reviews, I've decided not to join - too many problems have arisen for "members." In addition to being a member of Daves Garden, I also order plants, bulbs, etc. from several different mail order companies. Still I wonder if Daves Garden provided my name and address to National Home Gardening Club. If so, in light of the many negative reviews of the company, I would hope Daves Garden will no longer sell names/addresses to this company. I truly believe that WE ARE KNOWN BY THE COMPANY WE KEEP. I have loved and trusted Daves Garden for many years.
Posted on May 23, 2011, updated June 7, 2011
National Home Gardening Club is indeed not a place I suggest you joining or doing business with..
I paid for a 2 year membership and as of yet have received nothing to justify my finds sent but a e-mail newsletter, oh and a couple packs of useless seeds. No magazines, no free items and no products to test and keep......unless you consider a 'ink to a website that CHARGES to download "plans/prints/instructions" to build items that have nothing to do with gardening. Yes...that was my first official "test item", and I get to keep it......a link to a website. I have sent 3 e-mails to this scam place and got apologies for troubles and more promises. I requested cancellation of the membership and a complete refund of my money and was sent an email offering a free 6 months to the club if I re-considered cancellation. I too got the phoney re-bate form for my money spent if I only sent it back in a timely manner to apply it to a lifetime membership which cost over $260 dollars, but I had to send the rebate back. Oh and I was promised even more free items, more test items (I had to fill out another questionaire to make sure the items I got to test that were selected specially for me) more magazines, yadda yadda yadda.......and I did get a couple more packs of useless seeds. I tore that all up and sent another e-mail demanding a full refund and cancellation of my membership. Looks like I will be contacting my financial institution to get my refund as it looks like these guys want to keep my money but lets see.
I highly suggest staying away from these guys as they give you promises, promises, promises but fulfill nothing. They will ask you for more money, along with these promises but will give you nothing in return, at least that is how it was and is in my case.On June 7th, 2011, weaponx88 added the following:
6-6-2011 : I cancelled my membership weeks ago and demanded a full refund of funds paid. I did get it but just today I received a box from them. I was a book and low and behold it was shipped out the day after I cancelled, how convenient for them. I immediately called them and the guy on the phone was as rude as could be saying that it "was in the warehouse at the time of cancellation and could not be stopped" and that I needed to send it back. I know how that is going to turn out. I haven't opened the box and will ship it back and will just have to cross my fingers hoping they don't claim never receiving it.
Seriously.....stay as far away from these guys as you can.
Gaiashope Thessaloniki, Greece (1 review) May 3, 2011
I have no idea about this magazine or organization or whatever but I have a problem.
After that some people left comments for bills and accounts as you can read in my post.
"i want to cancel my account. i must have missed something because i did not join. i just wanted some information. thank you,"
I said that I don't send anything and she answer me that: "i still must have misseds something because i just got a bill for 12.oo for the yeat from national home gardening club. so what’s with that."
After this some other people came to my blogpost with same problems...
"I am having the same trouble as delores. I did not sign up for anything, and now am getting a bill. It states to go to this web site to cancel membership"
"I just received a bill for the chief pierre pattisserie. I already sent it back. This is the second time you have done this. I don`t care if I ever get another one of your magazines or calanders again. Take me off your mailing list for everything. I`m tired of having to contact you about your errors in billing me. I don`t owe you anything."
I don't have idea what happening and why they connect my blog with this. So today I start searching for some spam/scam or anything and I read this in dave's garden so I decide to write you about my problem.
Someone send bills and send people to my blogpost to "cancel their accounts".
Alaska_Jim Eagle River, AK (1 review) April 28, 2011
Although ultra-aggressive in its marketing tactics, this company deserves at least a little credit. Admittedly I joined this club thinking I was just signing up for 12 magazines @ $1/month along with some freebies like many others out there. I'm usually not the type to skip reading the fine print but have to admit I did so when I joined the NHGC. I did my usual "cut n paste" of the agreement details which I saved without giving it much thought. Thing is now that I go back through and read it, everything was laid out right there in black and white. Just wish I would have read it BEFORE I signed on for the pains in the butt to come.
I joined the NHGC back in February and like others sent in the little card for the "freebies" (pruning shears, knee pad, etc..) Just today (4/28/11) I received my package of freebies in the mail - not exactly what I call fast but at least I eventually ended up getting the stuff.
The pruning shears aren't exactly heavy duty but they aren't as cheap as my old pair and if I ever get back down to 110 lbs or if I need a one-kneed kneeling pad, I'll be set!
Seriously though - I guess free is free and these items aren't bad for free.
I sent in my first $5 gas redemption coupon for the 1st quarter of the year. I received a confirmation e-mail letting me know they received it and it was in process then a week or so later I got a check for $5. I scanned the check for any fine print to make sure I wasn't signing away my first born by cashing it and so far so good - check cleared with no issues or strings attached and I just sent my 2nd redemption coupon for the 2nd $5 this week - we'll see how that goes.
Like others just after joining I was shocked to see I somehow owed $10 when I logged in to my online NHGC account. When I contacted customer service to see what was up they told me it was part of the product preview I signed up for. I was furious and told them I would not open the package when it arrived and that I'd simply mark it "Return to Sender - refused" as I was not interest in part of the product preview program. I also told them not to bother sending me any other items to "preview". The customer service rep said, "OK. I'll take you off the program but it's too late for me to do anything about the book because it's already in the mail".
At that time I also told her I wanted nothing to do with a lifetime membership and that I only signed up for the magazine and that's it. Again I got an, "OK. I will take you off the life membership program list". I have recieved a "2nd notice" to my "selection" to the life member program but simply threw it away. In case I ever have any issues down the road I am saving the e-mail from the customer service rep confirming my desire to not be bothered about the life membership and if I get a third notice about the matter I will e-mail them again.
When the package containing the book (I assume - never open the package) for me to preview arrived I immediately did as I said I would and took it to the post office and refused the package. That was back in March. Then I received a letter in the mail (probably about 2 weeks ago - mid April) from them asking me to either send back the book or send the $10 and there was also a yes/no box for me to mark as to whether I wanted more books to preview or not.
At first I was pretty fired up since I knew I refused the book which means it was returned to them already and also since I'd already asked for no more items to preview and was told I wouldn't be bothered with it but I decided to simply mark the 'no' check box on the return receipt and sent it back them to see what would happen next to see if they'd actually honor my request.
So far no more preview items and to my surprise today I got an e-mail confirmation that the book they'd sent me back in March (the one I returned "refused") had been returned and that my account had been credited and sure enough I'm now back to $0 on my account.
So all-in-all I'd have to say my experience with them so far has been a pain in the caboose but thus far they've followed through with most of my requests to be left alone - they're just a little slow in confirming things and fairly aggressive in their marketing tactics. I have admit I've pretty much gotten my $12 worth so far in the way of the $5 check for gas and the pruning shears. And assuming I get the remaining 3 checks for gas I'll have redeemed more than my $12 worth but we shall see.
Who knows though maybe there's more pains in the $@# to come but so far I'm OK with what I signed up for and if I'd have read the agreement before submitting my order, I might have recognized the issues to come and avoided it altogether but so far my experience hasn't been as bad as others and the NHGC customer service has been pretty decent to deal with. I will certainly update my preview with any good or bad items I experience down the road but so far not-so-bad.
I too received the invitation to join their club which is how I found the davesgarden site... always investigate where you're thinking of putting your money!
Anyway, whether or not I join, I wanted to help alleviate some of the ill feelings many posters have toward their garden vendors. I was in marketing for awhile and can tell you that your name was not necessarily sold by your garden providers.
Acquisition lists - the lists companies buy to help them acquire new customers - are generated in a variety of ways... many of which are all 'public disclosure' venues.
More than likely, the fact that your own a home, have public utilities in your name, have children, live in a suburb - or a town, or the country, subscribe to better homes & gardens, forbes, wall street journal, shop at macy's, and a whole litany of other items was the deeming factor in you being included in this acquisition list.
It is actually very expensive for companies to buy mailing lists and often they will opt to blanket an entire zip code - all know names at all known addresses (much cheaper list though the response rate is lower) within designated zip codes.
I say all this in the hope that you will forgo any bitter feelings toward your customary and usual vendors - though I can't guarantee it wasn't them, I'd still wager it wasn't!
I have not ordered any plants or gardening supplies since moving to our current house - nothing that would have put me on a mailing list with potential for targeted resale... I've ordered shoes and items from ebay on-line - that's it and I'm fairly sure this place wouldn't pay money to any of them for my name. :)
Hope I've been of some help...
mark9199 Dickinson, TX (Zone 9b) (1 review) April 24, 2011
I signed up with them about 4 months ago. They promised me 4 free gifts, including a kneeling cushion, $100 grocery coupon card, a pair of Fiskars Bypass pruners and $20 in gas rebates. Also, a gardening magazine, free product giveaways and product testing. Sounded good for a dollar a month in dues. It didn't take too long until I received my member kit consisting of a membership card. There was also a form with the kit that they wanted me to send in to let them know that, yes; I really wanted that free stuff they promised me. I sent it in and at about the same time, received a hardcover gardening book from them. If I wanted to keep it, send them $10 and look forward to receiving more books monthly, otherwise send the book back… and fill out a form that says to stop sending me the books. Oh, and there was another form for me to fill out and send in if (again), I really wanted that free stuff that they promised me. I sent in the form to cancel the book club, and sent in both forms letting them know it was safe for them to send me my free stuff. That was about 3 months ago. As of yet, still waiting on any of it. I haven't even received a magazine. They do keep sending me offers to make me a lifetime member, though, if I send them some more money.
Posted on March 26, 2011, updated April 18, 2011
I was offered free gardening gifts if I joined. I got a free gift all right, but it was sent packaged with a book they expect me to pay $10.00 for. I never read anything about having items sent to me for me to examine and either pay for or return. I think this is just a big rip-off...On April 18th, 2011, hepster added the following:
I emailed this outfit to inform them that I wanted to discontinue my membership and to request a refund of my membership dues. It was quite a surprise when I recieved an envelope from them which stated "Dues Rebate Enclosed" on the envelope. Upon inspection of the enclosed "DUES REBATE CERTIFICATE", which was made to look exactly like a check for $12.00 payable to me, I was instructed to mail this "rebate certificate" back to National Home Gardening Club to "re-confirm if gardening products may be delivered to your home", etc. etc. What a bunch of $%^&*!
I received a USED book from this organization today to "preview" it. Inside the book were copies of an office football pool. In additional, the book was published in 2000!! I was willing to give this organization a chance despite the negative comments, but this is just an outright scam.
ewilmax1 Albuquerque, NM (1 review) March 29, 2011
Posted on March 29, 2011, updated March 29, 2011
I was sent an "invitation" by mail to this join the national garden club. I sent in the order for the subscription then when I got the bill, I went on their website to pay and got a really nasty virus attack on my computer. Fortunately I found an antivirus program that removed it after spending $60 for the antivirus. This site and the club are a scam. I'm so glad I found your site with the warnings about this club before I sent them any money. I have sent the bill back to them to cancel the subscription. We'll see if they continue to harass me.On March 29th, 2011, ewilmax1 added the following:
Also just realized I got this invitation because of the subscription to "GARDEN GATE" They SOLD my name and address to this scam company.
I became a life member over 10 years ago. I got the toolbag
with tools, nice gloves and the magazine. Over the years I've gotten stuff to try and evaluate-rose bush, several kinds of seeds, dahlia tubers, some tools, but nothing ever big. I like the magazine. They have a "click & win" daily but I've never won.I'm sure there are lots of members from which to draw for the prizes. Some are really nice.I've never been hassled by them about anything.
callmemad Wood River, IL (1 review) March 28, 2011
I was chosen to receive a free "lifetime" membership which meant I would no longer have to pay any dues, plus still receive the magazine and not have to buy books and still get some gifts. Months went by and I started getting invoices for monthly dues claiming I owe $269.00 to pay for my lifetime membership. To date I have refused to pay.
alinag Sacramento, CA (1 review) February 15, 2011
National Gardening Club Is Fully Legit.
I signed up an today after 2 weeks of paying my dues I received my 2 free gifts a kneeling pad and bypass pruners. Also I have received seeds, magazines etc. from them an i signed up back in August. But didn't have my due's but finally paid. They have been great. An btw I aint someone who works for them. Because I live in California. Those who are hating on them probably most of ya haven't signed up. Or spend your time putting in bad rev's. I am not a beginner gardener. But this club is great.
On January 21, 2011 I paid the $12 dues with my credit card. The bill said $12 and it said $12 on the billing page when I submitted my payment. However, THEY TOOK $24. I have emailed them and heard nothing back. I am contacting the credit card company to see if I can stop the payment. My excitment to join changed to much frustration with the click of a button, literally.
JUst an FYI for all of you who are speculating that your seed companies and other places that you order tools & plants from are selling your addresses to National Home Gardening Club:
I have NEVER ordered from any mail-order companies. This past year, I decided to sign up for Garden Gate magazine, via *this* website. (Dave's Garden) So today, in the mail, I got the "Congrats, you have been selected.." packet in the mail from National Home Gardening Club. The ONLY places who could have sold them my address are DG or Garden Gate. Shame on them. :(
After Googling the company and finding the reviews here, I'll be filing my packet for the Gardening Club (and NOT mailing it in). If I get a bill later, I'll be filing a claim with the State Attourney General's Office *and* the BBB here in MN. That would NOT be cool. I just wanted to find a fun website to learn about plants/flowers and thought it would be safe to order the magazine that they recommended.
Thanks for the great reading!
Filoli Suwanee, GA (Zone 7b) (1 review) December 30, 2010
Posted on December 27, 2010, updated December 30, 2010
I also keep getting bills for membership, services and books that I never signed up for. Requests to halt mailings have been ignored. Have never ordered from them, never will, just another scam.On December 30th, 2010, Filoli added the following:
I filed a complaint with the BBB against the National Home Gardening Club. As of this date, according to the Better Business Bureau, the National Home Gardening Club has been an accredited business since April 2009 - and the BBB has received 742 complaints against it since that time for just the type of thing people are complaining about here: bills for fake memberships which weren't requested, magazines and books which people don't want, are not interested in, and didn't order - followed up with reams of junk mail and spam filling mailboxes and email folders. Wow. And to think the NHGC proudly displays the BBB logo on their website (which makes it easy to file a complaint by the way). Even more amazing, if this company can get a high rating with the BBB, what does that say about being a member of the BBB? Not much.
Very negative experience with Natl Home Gardening; For several years, I have written to them to stop all mailings to me. They are billing me for books I never ordered. Cannot stop their harrassment no matter how many times I write. Did not like their magazine; it was misleading.
When a company engages in misleading deeds, it is hard to trust other areas of their endeavor. I think this company relies on people not reading their materials well, not remembering if they have paid for their subscription, and then being intimidated.
by threatening collection letters.
I really liked the magazine and agreed to sign up for one year after getting a free copy. I got billed and billed and billed for two years--no way on the bill to indicate I onl;y wanted a one year subscription. I liked the magazine enough that I decided to buy two years. Then I started to get really dishonest mailings telling me how lucky I was to have been selected for life membership. The explanations of this were a bit fuzzy--but I realized they wanted as much money for this life membership as it would cost me to order the magazine for about 17 years...but they wanted it NOW. I have no idea if the company is solvent. I have already decided that they use flattery and poofery in their advertising--why would I want to thrust them with that much money.
I actually think they have a pretty good product so why don't they get honest and quit trying to fool people or make their customers angry and look like fools?
jcstevensva Springfield, United States (1 review) October 25, 2010
Posted on October 23, 2010, updated October 25, 2010
The magazine is always welcome. I like the range of articles and look forward to receiving it . I have been gardening for over 50 years. Not really understanding why so many positive comments seem to go on the attack on comments from people who have problems with this club. This 'club' has negative comments all over the internet if anyone wants to search on them.
This company is all about hustling people for more money. As soon as you sign up, expect to begin getting bombarded with 'offers' of lifetime membership and it is very confusing to figure out just what will be free from make you have more obligations to them for payment. Books, things to test and other stuff I don't need or want but they came and I had to return books again and again until that stopped.
I managed to dodge their 'offers' for two years. Then they came up with something new. Extend membership three years for a good price, so I did sign up and sent my check to them in July 2010. In October, I received another notice to extend membership again and I had forgotten I had already sent them money in the previous July. My wife was quick to recall we had already renewed in July. Very tricky as I should already have membership out to 2013 and am not at all interested in another three years. And the second notice did not show when my current membership would expire. It just says it would extend three years beyond current expiration date.
I am bit older and keeping up with the details is not easy. Thus, tricky games like this are not welcome. I will not extend my membership when current subscription expires. I don't need to be hustled. On October 25th, 2010, jcstevensva changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
I changed my rating from negative to positive as I decided to call them about not getting credit for extending membership for three years. After a bit of poking in numbers and trying to get a human, a nice fellow came on who quickly affirmed I had membership paid thru 2013 and said they would remove me from offers for lifetime membership.
After considering it all, this company is all about finding their niche and working hard to fill it. Good capitalists, and I like capitalism that is honest.
Lifetime membership and such seem part of their program and we consumers are responsible for our choices and following up problems. I don't like frequent offers that are bit confusing, but there really are people behind the mail offers who can help. As I do like the magazine and it is relatively inexpensive, believe I will stick with them.
I've been a member for a few years. I love the magazine that they send it makes me happy. I like that they sent me free gifts when I joined. The pruning shears are still working after a few years. They have sent me books and a calendar to preview but I promptly send it back and there is no charge. I have been picked twice to test a product. The first time it was on the Internet and I forgot about it and never did it. The second one was a fungicide but I have no idea of where to put in my rating for it.
I've been wanting to join the lifetime membership but I don't have the money for it. Also I just got my renew in the mail and I'm sad because I don't have the money for that either. *weep*
YES I'M A REAL PERSON, AND YES I LOVE THIS CO.! I've read a few negative comments and have come to 1 of 2 conclusions, either u r one of those people that just love to screw with ratings and reviews or two ur an absolute idiot. Harsh? Yes. If you call up ANY customer service with an attitude do u really expect to get far with them? Or if your so bent out of shape that u have already convinced urself that ur getting screwed over u don't bother to listen to the person on the other line. I've NEVER had a problem with this co.
Yes I initially signed up for the 1 year at $12 and they billed me for two. When I called they told me I could just pay for the 1 if I wanted. I got the 1st magazine I sent in my subscription for 2 years, I like the magazine that well.
Within that year they gave me the option to become a lifetime member. I looked at overall how much the subscription would cost me at the $12 a year rate and ALL of the gardening tools I would get. Just adding up the cost of the gardening tools for the lifetime member (I went to my local walmart on SR 26 here in Lafayette, IN for all of u who still think this I'm bogus) The price of the tools and the magazines was yes I thought it might be too good to be true. I went ahead and did it anyway. What I got a telescoping clippers which I love and have outlasted the pair I had bought at walmart, gloves which I love...I even bothered to sow them back up when my son decided to take the gardening pocket clippers, I also got and are a great tool, to them lol! I've also gotten hand shovels, hand trowels, and several others all in a great bag to carry around the yard if I need to. All the tools I have gotten have out latest the cheapies I have purchased at Walmart over the years!
I've gotten several other gifts seeds, tester items etc...
As for the getting charged for the books I got sent one book and opted to never get anymore. I put the book back in its box attached the return label and have NEVER received another book again. I had forgotten all about this till I read someone else's comment on it and remember.
Last year I even attend the Ball Canning class they held at Ball State University. I was completely green to canning and came away with so much knowledge about canning and freezing! Yes the classes they offer are a bit pricey but for what you get and walk away with you get your moneys worth.
I don't understand why anyone wouldn't want to give this co a chance. If your NOT into gardening then NO this isn't for u. If you want to learn and have some place to go for advice then I COMPLETELY RECOMMEND THEM!!!
Now I'm going to gardeningclub.com to get some help with my honeysuckle bush.
National Home Gardening Club IS NOT A SCAM! I have been a member for about 10 years and have always received what I have paid for. I love their magazine and I have had the opportunity to test several products over the years. In 2003 I was sent a $500 lawn vacuum to test and was allowed to keep it. I don't see the scam in getting what you pay for. I will continue to subscribe to their magazine and hopefully will get the opportunity to test many more great products. For those of you that think the positive reviews are plants I am signing with my real name and city of residence. You can google me and see I am a REAL person.
Dr. Krista L. Ottino, Hudson, WI