Posted on September 23, 2014, updated September 23, 2014
Posted on September 23, 2014, updated September 23, 2014
Posted on September 21, 2014, updated September 23, 2014
Posted on September 21, 2014, updated September 21, 2014
Posted on September 21, 2014, updated September 21, 2014
Posted on September 19, 2014, updated September 21, 2014
Posted on September 19, 2014, updated September 19, 2014
Posted on September 19, 2014, updated September 19, 2014
Posted on September 18, 2014, updated September 19, 2014
Posted on September 18, 2014, updated September 18, 2014
Victory Seed has a lot of good seeds, and they usually ship pretty quickly. Overall, they're a solid company. But there's a problem I have with one of their policies. Whenever you go to check out, you are presented with this information: "By choosing NOT to insure my package, I understand that the Victory Seed Company is NOT responsible for loss or damage to my order, nor its contents, once it enters the U.S. Postal Service's system."
I'm sorry, but I do not believe that policy would hold up in a court of law. Yes, a company usually IS responsible when an order is not received or is damaged (even if you don't buy insurance), and must send another one, no matter what they may claim. Whenever a company tries to get their customers to waive their rights like this, I think it's a form of bullying and deception. Don't fall for it, folks!
Also, I would encourage anyone who orders from Victory Seed to always use a credit card. That way you will always be protected if your order gets lost or damaged. In such a case, if Victory Seed wont cooperate, just contact your credit-card company and initiate a chargeback. It basically works every time. Be an assertive consumer, and don't let dishonest companies push you around.
I would also like to say that I am less likely to order from Victory Seed in the future because of their "policy"--I avoid companies like that who try to shirk their responsibilities. In general, I will shop elsewhere unless I can't find a particular item anywhere else.
On September 18th, 2014, rissole added the following:
Here's one more thing to keep in mind: If you choose USPS First Class shipping and the package gets lost, what proof would you have that Victory Seed ever sent your package? I don't think you would have any. So, to make the customer shoulder the blame in such a situation if they don't buy insurance is just completely irresponsible. On September 18th, 2014, rissole added the following:
Here's one more thing to think about: When you click the option to add insurance, Victory Seed charges you $1 (or $2) extra, depending on the size of your order. However, when I went to the USPS Web site to calculate how much it costs to add insurance to a package, what it said was "From $2.10." So, it seems that you *cannot* actually add any insurance to a package for only $1 or $2. This brings up the question: If you pay the $1 or $2 extra, is it really going to the USPS, or directly to Victory Seed instead? It seems to me that it must be the latter. If so, then this "insurance" thing just sounds like a gimmick to make more profit off unsuspecting customers.
Another thing to keep in mind: USPS Priority Mail already INCLUDES insurance up to a certain amount. Yet Victory Seeds still expects you to add extra "insurance" on top of that?
Wow. This definitely sounds deceptive--to say the least. On September 19th, 2014, rissole changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
It's obvious that Victory Seed is ripping off customers with its so-called insurance, so I'm changing this rating to "Negative." They also need to refund any customers who opted for their "insurance" but also chose Priority Mail for shipping ever since Priority Mail started including insurance automatically about a year ago. This dishonest behavior by Victory Seed is completely outrageous. How come nobody else has called them on it up to this point? On September 19th, 2014, rissole added the following:
One more thing: Apparently USPS "Express" mail already includes insurance too, so any customers who chose that shipping option but also opted for Victory Seed's "insurance" are due a refund as well.
Now that I realize what this company has been doing, I will not be ordering from them again. On September 20th, 2014, rissole added the following:
First of all, you never addressed the fact that Priority Mail and Express Mail *already* include insurance automatically. So, do you plan to refund customers who purchased your "insurance" while choosing those mail options?? And why don't you mention on your Web site that those mail options include insurance already? Why would customers want to purchase "extra" insurance on top of that?
You also never addressed the fact that you as a business *are* responsible if a package is lost or gets damaged. Displaying that "sorry, but if you don't buy insurance, we're not responsible" policy on your Web site to scare customers is very deceptive and shows a lack of respect (and worse) toward customers.
Because you never addressed the points above, I'm just not buying the explanation that your "insurance" is not a profit-maker. If you want me to believe your explanation, then you need to:
1) Thoroughly address both points above.
2) Give us specific details about your postage provider and the optional insurance that you purchase through them, including rates. Documentation from a Web page would be very helpful.
Besides, how many other companies on the Web offer optional "insurance"? That indicates serious cheapness of the part of the company right there. Could you imagine buying something from, say, Wal-Mart.com and have them tell you that if you don't buy insurance, they're not responsible for lost or damaged items??? No, they pay for the insurance themselves, just like any reputable, customer-service friendly company would do. On September 21st, 2014, rissole added the following:
Oh, one more thing. Please don't use the excuse that you're a "Mom and Pop company" to justify what youre doing. Most "Mom and Pop companies" out there don't try to deceptively intimidate customers into buying insurance for fear of losing all their money on a lost or stolen shipment. No, while these companies may not necessarily buy insurance on every shipment, they'll absorb the loss from lost or stolen shipments without trying to force the customer to buy insurance instead. And they certainly won't try to get a customer to pay for insurance that is already included in Priority Mail or Express Mail. I'm sorry, but that's plain fraud. On September 21st, 2014, rissole added the following:
A final point.
"Sadly, not everyone in this world is honest, moral or ethical."
Tha's pretty funny. Is this not the pot calling the kettle black? Do you consider i "honest, moral, or ethical" to charge people for insurance that is already included in Priority Mail or Express Mail?
And just because you make a "policy" does not mean that it would hold up in a court of law. If someone pays by credit card, most likely any policies that the credit-card company has are going to supersede any policies that you might draft yourself. You can make any "policy" that you want on your Web site--that doesn't mean the policy is valid according to U.S. commercial law.
Can a doctor make up a "policy" that he will operate on a patient at a reduced rate if the patient agrees not to sue in case of problems? I think the answer should be pretty obvious. ;)On September 23rd, 2014, rissole added the following:
By your failure to address the points I made, it seems obvious that you have nothing substantive to back up your claims that your "insurance" is not a profit-maker for you. It also seems obvious that you were indeed aware that Priority Mail and Express Mail already include insurance up to a certain amount, because you certainly didn\'t express any surprise when I brought that point up, nor have you offered to refund money (or even apologized) to any customers who bought your "insurance" on top of that already included in those two mailing options. In fact, you have not even bothered to comment on the matter--your silence is very telling. In addition, any customers who did use those mailing options but did not purchase your "insurance" were lied to and led to believe that their orders were not insured and that they would have to absorb any loss for lost, stolen, or damaged orders themselves, all the while Victory Seed could have pocketed compensation from the USPS for such orders without passing a dime of it on to those customers.
Thank you, Mike, for implicitly confirming everything that I wrote. I'm just surprised that none of your other customers seem to have seen through all this up to this point, but hopefully they will now. And I hope that anyone who may have purchased your "insurance" while selecting Priority Mail or Express Mail demands a refund, as well as anyone who may have had a lost, stolen, or damaged shipment but did not purchase your "insurance." Your unapologetic dishonesty in this matter is outrageous. Do you think that your customers are stupid? How long did you think that you could keep getting away with this? So much for your assertion (in one of your comments to another customer) about trying to operate your business by the "Golden Rule"--I hope nobody falls for that line of yours in the future. Sorry, Mike, but the jig is up.
Oh, and thank you for one more thing as well. I did some research on the Web and found out that the consensus among buyers is that if a company has a policy that says they're not responsible for lost or damaged shipments unless the buyer purchases insurance, they are bad news and should be avoided. So, I will no longer do business with *any* company that has such a policy, and I hope that others will follow suit.
On September 23rd, 2014, rissole added the following:
Nice try, Mike, but here are the facts once again:
1) You have been LYING to your customers on the "checkout page" that unless they buy your optional insurance, you are not responsible for lost or damaged shipments. Since Priority Mail and Express Mail already have such insurance, those packages are insured. (No, it's not obvious and not everybody knows that.) Why are you trying to charge them extra? Are you going to offer refunds to customers who fell for your deception? Besides, you are still responsible for lost or damaged shipments, whether customers buy insurance or not. The purpose of insurance is to protect the seller, not the buyer.
"Since this upholds our end of the transactional requirement by proving that the order was mailed and delivered...."
If you have to prove that the order was delivered, then this contradicts your stated policy that you are not responsible for lost packages. So, which is it, Mike?
2) You have not offered any kind of documentation that you are not making money off your "insurance." Who are you buying it from, and where are the published rates?
3) The consensus among buyers on the Internet is that sellers who have policies like yours are bad news and should be avoided. You have also not provided any documentation that your "policy" is valid according to U.S. commercial law.
If you want to play the victim, go right ahead. But your unapologetic dishonesty speaks for itself. My attack against you is not personal--I just don't like to see companies get away with defrauding customers.
As far as my identity goes, Dave's Garden is smart enough to protect those who leave feedback. Why would anybody want to leave honest negative feedback if they felt they could be retaliated against by the company? Most people that I know don't use their real names when they leave feedback on the Internet--that doesn't mean that their comments are not honest or valid. It's the same reason many people call 911 to report crimes but don't leave their names--they don't want the criminal coming after them too. So, please don't think that playing the victim is going to work for you here. On September 23rd, 2014, rissole added the following:
One more point.
"Although in no way constructive, your feedback did prompt me to revisit this package insurance service and I did take the time to clarify the statements about the 'Additional Package Insurance' on the checkout page. I will also be working on making the policy even clearer to avoid this issue from arising in the future."
Why would you need to clarify anything if there was never any problem in the first place? So, you obviously realized that something needs to be changed.
As for changing my rating, you must be joking. At the very least, you would first have to apologize profusely for your deception and then offer refunds to anyone who might have been affected by it.On Sep 23, 2014, Victory Seed Company responded with:
Thank you for your interest in the Victory Seed Company but I wish that you had gotten to know us a bit, or at least attempted to talk to me about the policy that you have issues with prior to making false accusations and incorrect assumptions. I take great pride in our company and in the service that we provide to both the gardening as well as the seed saving communities.
When you visit the website of any company or organization and read their policies, you can bet that they are borne out of some specific experience. In the case of the policy that you are having issues with, sadly, not everyone in this world is honest, moral or ethical. If we did not have policies like this, there are people that perform the electronic equivalent of \"shoplifting.\" And since we are a mom and pop, not a big box corporation, we just cannot absorb that kind of loss.
That said, yes we do offer optional insurance. Yes it is real. Yes it is cheap (we purchase it through our postage provider and offer it at our cost ... it is NOT a profit generator for us ... just a service for our customers that regularly experience mail theft in their location). Yes it is cheaper that what a person is charged at the post office. And the reality is, very few people ever opt for it and it is never an issue.
In a nutshell, please do give us a chance to be your garden seed provider ... all these other folks on here the Garden Watchdog are a good testimony to what we do and how we serve them year in and year out.
Thank you again for your interest in the Victory Seed Company and I look forward to being of service to you in the near future. ~Mike
On Sep 23, 2014 12:11 PM, Victory Seed Company added:
“Rissole,” I am sorry, that I have not replied to you in a manner that you deem as timely. You seem to have much more free time on your hands than I. It is harvest season right now and as a seedsman and farmer, I am actively working to preserve rare seed varieties and trying to beat the fall rainy season. I just don't get much time in the office during this time of year but obviously I needed to take the time to nip this post in the bud.
I attempted to find you in our customer database to see if I could determine why you have chosen to launch this slanderous attack upon myself and the Victory Seed Company. While you hide behind a pseudonym and list a town where you no longer live (this fact based on what you stated in a post made elsewhere on GWD), I have no clue who you are and therefore no idea what the basis of your grievance is in regards to.
However, I can address your attempt at fabricating an issue that is based upon your incorrect interpretation of facts. The simple truths are that (1) no package protection problem exists and (2) the foundation of your whole, four day rant is invalid.
Firstly, this OPTIONAL service that we offer to our customers is just that. Our customers are not stupid and in nearly twenty years of supplying seeds to our gardening supporters, you are the first person to take issue with this service. From your ranting, it is obvious that you do not understand the basic concept about how this type of service works or that there are option available in the marketplace different from the one that you fixated on and incorrectly decided that we are using.
Your initial basis for this whole post was that you somehow determined that because the USPS charges the retail public some published amount for a similar service, that we are somehow defrauding folks because we quote a cheaper rate. If you actually took the time to get to know us, read the experiences that other folks have had, read about our mission, etc., you would know that we are a mission-driven, not fiscally motivated, organization.
The bottom line is that no one has EVER paid us for package coverage and not received their seeds!!! If they had, they would be the ones posting here. So my question to you is, what is your motive for your slanderous behavior? I know for a fact that you have not been defrauded by us! I honestly do not follow your reasoning about how you can interpret our passing a savings on to our gardening friends (customers) as being deceptive!
Yes, Priority Mail and Express Mail include some basic coverage from the USPS. This is very public information. You know this, I know this, and since the USPS advertises it, everybody knows this? In addition, this fact is clearly stated in the checkout process on our site. People that choose to use Priority Mail for their shipping option rarely if ever chooses to purchase the optional coverage. But it is available to those folks that want it for smaller First Class mailings or larger orders exceeding the USPS coverage.
As far as our policies are concerned, every business has them and ours are very typical within the mail-order industry. Most of ours have been adopted from other organizations and evolved over the years as times have changed. It is necessary for organizations and businesses to have them and yes, they are enforceable. We are thankfully not required to have the same policies as the giant “Big Box” stores because if we did, ultimately consumers would be left with only large corporations with which to do business. Small organizations simply cannot absorb the fraud that the large corporations experience (and then pass the losses on to their paying customers).
In your last post you suddenly took on the persona of a lawyer but again, your assumptions make your conclusions very wrong. When you choose to enter into a transaction with any business, you are doing so in agreement with, among other things, contract law and their policies. If you don't like a company's policy, rational people simply contact the company and ask for clarification, or move on and do business elsewhere. But I do want to address the policy that you seem to be taking issue with and perhaps clear it up for you . . .
All business transactions take place between multiple parties, each with their own set of responsibilities. In the case of mail-order, the seller (me) has the responsibility of shipping what was purchased, in a timely manner, at the price that was agreed upon during the sale. The customer is required to provide an address that can safely receive packages and to collect their mail on a timely basis. (By the way, this later bit is why people who do live in areas where mail theft is prevalent often choose to use the optional package insurance.)
To protect ourselves, when we purchase the postage for the packages that we mail, we are also purchasing proof of shipping / tracking. This subsequently provides proof of delivery so that we know when our customers receive their orders. Since this upholds our end of the transactional requirement by proving that the order was mailed and delivered, we never have an issue with credit card charge-backs with folks.
The bottom line is that your attack on the integrity of myself and the hard-earned reputation of the Victory Seed Company are unfounded and very slanderous and I do take this offense both personally and seriously. I know that there are all kinds of people in the world and believe that everyone has the occasional bad day, but I just find it hard to comprehend why someone would handle themselves in the way that you have chosen to.
It is unfortunate that you chose to use Dave’s Garden Watchdog in this manner (and I hope that they address this accordingly). It is actually a great resource for consumers but intended as a forum for sharing thoughts about companies based on real, actual, personal experience. This out-of-control rambling of yours would have best been handled by simply emailing and asking me your questions or expressing your concerns up front. I am always happy to chat with folks about anything and to fix problems that may exist.
Every aspect of our organization is supporter-driven. That is, after nearly two decades of doing this seed variety preservation work, our web site, the varieties that we offer, our policies, and yes, even the optional services that we offer, are all based on customer feedback.
Although in no way constructive, your feedback did prompt me to revisit this package insurance service and I did take the time to clarify the statements about the “Additional Package Insurance” on the checkout page. I will also be working on making the policy even clearer to avoid this issue from arising in the future.
I really do hope that I have addressed all of your concerns and that you have a change of heart and see fit to either delete or change your rating. With the actual facts now aired, at least the gardening public will understand what has transpired here.