On Jun 16, 2007, BDale60 Warren, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:
Last season (2006) I ordered several tomato packets from this company for the first time. Germination rates were terrible. The main reasons I am not posting a "Negative" rating is because I made no effort to seek redress from the company so I cannot say what efforts would have been made to satisfy my complaint. Like many gardeners, I order seed from multiple companies and try a new company now and then just to see what happens. Fortunately, I had good results from my old reliable seed sources in 2006 so I just chalked it up to bad luck. Also like many gardeners I tend to blame myself or fate when things don't work out, but having grown tomatoes from seed successfully for more than ten years I have to wonder why the seed from a particular company doesn't germinate when the same conditions produce positive results with seed from other sources. I'll just say "Buyer Beware" with this particular company and let others judge for themselves.
On Jun 16, 2007, TomatoFest.com responded with:
On Jun 16, 2007 12:12 PM, Tomatofest.com added:
If this customer had notified me of any difficulty I would have immediately resolved the problem. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing what variety proved to be the problem. Without customer communication there is no way to track the source of the problem. By not contacting me the source of difficulty remains unknown.
Each pack is stamped with a LOT# for me to track if a problem does occur with a customer, so I may compare these results with my recent germ tests. When I discover that a germination problem occurs with a variety or Lot# then I remove it from stock until new testing or a new seed harvest is completed.
I am currently growing and monitering the quality of 550 varieties of heirloom tomatoes. Although I regrow my stock each year, some varieties occasionally show a viability drop off sooner than others.
Customer feed back is essential for correcting up any difficulty that is discovered. This has also proven useful to me and the customer when I've found on occassion that the seed packs were from prior years or stored in less than ideal conditions. In any case, I make good my "guarantee"...always have.
It would be far more useful for this customer, and Garden Watchdog viewers, for this person to contact me regarding the difficulty so that it could be identified and resolved quickly, if the problem is with Tomatofest. "
On Jan 18, 2006, cprice4265 Arroyo Grande, CA wrote:
Buyer Beware! I just ordered over $300 worth of tomatoes. This company uses old stock and charges a high price. Some of my packs were dated back to 2003. Not one of the 75 packages I received was for 2006. I grow heirloom tomatoes for chef's and buy from several companies around the world and have never seen such poor communication and customer service. I asked for a receipt and was never sent one. I asked for bulk pricing information and was never responded to. Buyer, there are much better choices for your purchases, no matter how tempting the website looks.
On January 26th, 2006, cprice4265 added the following:
After reading my posting on Garden Watchdog, I was contacted by Mr. Ibsen of Tomatofest on 1/22. Mr. Ibsen offered the following response to my posting.
My post: This company uses old stock and charges a high price. Some of my packs were dated back to 2003. Not one of the 75 packages I received was for 2006.
Reply from Mr. Ibsen: The number on my seed packets is the paper stock number from the printing company. Per Mr. Ibsen, since harvest 2005, all seeds are packaged for 2006.
My intention was never to post inaccurate data against Tomatofest. Whenever I purchase a packet of seed, there is a date that tells me I am buying a current pack of seeds. Not one of my packets contains a “Date Packed” number. The only number combination that could be a date, is the number 12.2003 leading me to believe that I had received old seed stock. I suggested to Mr. Ibsen that his package be redesigned to show the consumer clearly, what date the package was packed. I had contacted Tomatofest via email asking for clarification about the dates before I posted to this site. When I did not receive a response from the company I posted to Garden Watchdog. Per Mr. Ibsen, he was unable to respond to my email question due to health issues and being on the east coast for a week.
Missing receipt/shipping list has been received
Bulk seed question has been answered
On July 9th, 2006, cprice4265 changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I really, really hesitated on whether or not to make the rating an actual negative, but decided to give the benefit of the doubt here, since I have only ordered once from the company:
Here are my comments--
(1) I don't care what time of year I order, attempting to sub 40% or more of my order without even attempting to contact me first to ask if that's okay is not acceptable. When placing the order, the telephone # and address is asked for (and I provided it). In my opinion, if you are going to sub that much of the order, why wouldn't you take the time to e-mail or call the person to see if that is acceptable?
(2) What I eventually received over three weeks later was not properly packed. Whoever packed it rubber banded multiple packs of seed together in a non padded, poorly packed envelope for much more than a thickness of 1/4 inch (doesn't tend to work well with machine sorting)/cancelling).
(3) Next step, I politely contacted the company. All I got when questioning the substitutions were excuses and justifications. I did want to say that they did eventually send me the seed that I orginally requested and paid for, after two requests that they actually send what I paid for.
(3a) After waiting more than a month after the first excuse and resending the request for what I originally ordered, I did receive another response asking that I remind them once again in a few weeks or so. This really was kind of irritating as my thoughts were that why the heck was anyone asking *me* to remind them yet again?
Why not take responsibility and write it down in their daytime planner, type in their schedule, etc.? In any case, they did send me the rest of the seed a couple of weeks later, but sure I won't be in any hurry to deal with them again.
(4) The marketing blurbs are just ridiculous and over the top to anyone with a lick of sense and some real knowledge of open pollinated tomatoes.