I first try to purchase nematodes to keep the Japanese Beatles at bay, but they sent them not in a "perishable envelope," and they were left in my box, as I was not aware of a shipping on the way. None lived. I called and they were going to send more, but the timing was too late, but they sent some moth catchers that I was interested instead; although I am trying another lure from another company.... THIS IS SOMETHING YOU ALL NEED TO KNOW...I RECEIVED A MAGAZINE CALLED 'TOUCH OF CLASS,' I DID NOT ORDER THIS MAGAZINE, NEVER PURCHASED ANYTHING FROM THEM. I CALLED AND THEY WERE KIND ENOUGH TO RESEARCH IT AND LEARNED THAT MY NAME AND ADDRESS WAS PURCHASED THROUGH 'GARDENS ALIVE.'
I WAS LIVID, I WAS A CUSTOMER AND THEY ARE SELLING MY NAME TO OTHER COMPANIES FOR A PROFIT. I CALLED AND WAS LEFT ON HOLD FOR 18 MINUTES UNTIL 'CARLA,' WITH CUSTOMER [NOT VERY SERVICABLE] SERVICE CAME ON GIVING ME A LAME; 'I APOLOGIZE ABOUT THAT!' ATTITUDE, BUT STARTS GIVING ME THE LECTURE ON HOW I CAN CONTACT THE DO NOT MAILING LIST [paraphrased]. I would not have had to contact anyone if they were respectful to their customers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BE ADVISED THAT IF YOU START GETTING MAGAZINES FROM ANOTHER COMPANY...I ALLEGE IT IS FROM ORDERING FROM GARDENS ALIVE! I HAVE IT ON A VOICE MAIL from the Rep with Touch of Class!
On Mar 19, 2015, Emerogork Wethersfield, CT wrote:
Last fall, I was purchasing on-line plants for the first time. I was going through SpringHill and Breck. Generally, I was very happy with them but this year when I was going through my E-voices I saw that they have the same format in their messages. Apparently just the names were changed.
From my experience last fall, I was not happy with the invoices because they did not place the invoice number in the subject line making it very difficult to track. So I wrote to both of them saying that I would not be ordering from them unless they modified their message structure.
Now for the strange part. I received an e-mail response TO me and it was marked as being FROM me too. I have seen this in scam messages before so I looked at the hidden header. It is from GARDENS ALIVE!
P.S. I hear that Springhill is probably going bankrupt as hears in an NPR article this afternoon. Apparently they have been in the red for three years now. NPR mentioned that they are the largest grower/nursery in US.
I just checked the headers for Michigan Bulb, Breck's, and Spring Hill. They are all through Garden's Alive.
On Jun 24, 2014, schlechtenwolf Waunakee, WI wrote:
I ordered from gardens Alive with one of their buy $25 get $25 promotional catalogs. I ordered promptly from them and had the four items I ordered, a sprayer, packet of corn, key lime plant, and a meyer lemon plant on hold with four estimated ship dates. Within a month the corn and sprayer arrived and they changed the date of the lime plant to deliver another month behind and the lemon was to ship in September. After receiving several notices on ship dates being changed the company just cancelled the remainder of my order. BUYER BEWARE. I spent $25 on corn and a sprayer and never got the free products.
Thank you for your email and interest in our products. Unfortunately, in compliance with our agreement with our vendors, we are unable to disclose manufacturer information. I apologize for any inconvenience. If we can be of further assistance, feel free to contact us.
Now, I believe in full disclosure & transparency from anyone wanting my money &/or support. (For example, upon questioning, Johnny's Selected Seed & Territorial both admit to purchasing some of their seed from Seminis. Johnny's even lists the varieties so a person can choose to avoid. I do not believe in the ag gag law either, I want to know about my food, how it is cared for, what's in it & where it is from! So, buyer beware when it comes to Garden's Alive!!!
On Mar 19, 2014, food4me Idaho Falls, ID (Zone 5a) wrote:
Posted on March 19, 2014, updated March 19, 2014
I've been a customer for over 10 years, usually two orders a year, each usually a minimum of $100 or more. Beginning of March I went online to place my spring order, had problems with the web page although it indicated the charge had gone through, called on a weekend to do order corrections and got a polite male person in India who spoke heavily accented English. Order confirmation he did was wrong. Called back, got a female person in India who spoke heavily accented English who could not understand me and I could understand only an occasional word she said. It took a lot of repetition but she finally got my name and address correct and identified my order. It was taking forever to go over and over the same information and I had other obligations that day, so I asked three times for a representative in the USA or someone who was a native English speaker but she wouldn't/didn't transfer me. She kept repeating over and over "give me your credit card number" "give me your credit card number" until I finally hung up. The next person I got had a Philippines type accent and when I asked she said she was not in India. Gave her my credit card information. Cancelled one of my two orders. Their overseas representatives apparently can read a script from a computer screen but they don't have the knowledge of the context of what they are reading. Then I kept getting emails from them saying my credit card charge had been declined and had been referred to another department. I went in person to my bank, thinking my card information might have been stolen, and verified that I have more than enough available credit for that order. Called them back. Company said I had to call to verify my credit card information. I did that twice. Kept gettng emails that said the charge had been declined. Kept sending emails back to them that my card was OK. Got an emal back that I had to call the company. It's been over a dozen emails since the first of March and today I got one that said they had cancelled the order because the charge wouldn't go through. This used to be a very reliable company, but I'm not going to waste time trying to deal with them again and won't recommend them. I looked online and found a variety of stories similar to mine told by people who won't deal with them any more and also read the reviews on Dave's Garden. Something has gone very wrong at Gardens Alive. Have they gone bankrupt, been sold to a company in India, been bought by a conglomerate that owns other gardening companies? Sad. They can't afford to pay someone in Indiana or a US call center $7.50 an hour for a person to help their customers and process orders? Very sad.
On March 19th, 2014, food4me added the following:
After I posted this comment a letter arrived in the mail from a Jack Gregory, Controller, saying that an order I cancelled at the beginning of March (about 2 1/2 weeks ago) was on hold because my credit card charge did not go through. I also have an email from customer service in India saying the order had been cancelled. No one told Mr. Gregory yet. As I read the other comments about people being billed incorrectly or being sent someone else's bills I wonder what will show up on my credit card statement this month and in the months to come. Customer no-Service incompetence is one thing; financial and billing mistakes are scary. You have no idea what they've done with your credit card information or whose charges you are going to get. I have to agree with the person who said to stay away from this company.
First they lost my shipment. They sent a replacement. Then they sent a bill. I indicated that I'd paid by credit card and sent copy of order showing nothing due. I suggested that they were charging for the replacement. T
They sent another bill with a statement form someone else in an entirely different state and 3x the amount I ordered. And a pretty nasty letter. Indicating that there had been a "glitch' in their system and they'd been unable to charge my card. NO envelope to send payment. I sent e-mail indicating that enclosed statement was not mine and requested they call me so can correct. They indicated that I needed call them. They have NO 800# so this will be along distance call. Requested they call me and I'd give them cc#. They e-mailed back that they can't call out.
Said no thank you. Send me another invoice with correct statement and a return envelope with postage paid. Why should I need to spend my $$ to call them to correct their errors or for that matter spend the $$ for an envelope and a stamp...it's down to the the principal of it now.
Horrible Customer Service. There are so many companies out there that actually care. do business with someone else.
I operate a small farm http://www.thenatomasfarm.com AND a landscaping business for years.Seen many good vendors out there.....these guys are not the good guys at all.
These guys sent me a catalog with a big $25.00 off any purchase....even if it is under $25.00! I seen this scam from the Gurney Seed folks (the ones that never responses back to inquires). Gurneys simple charged $25.00 for a postal fee to mail out a two pound box to Sacramento ca. to make up the "deep discount".
I had to test the Garden Alive site to see what the scam was for them. Well....Garden Alive simple wont accept the coupon code for a purchase under $25.00! Say Gardens Alive.....dont respond here saying "perhaps I entered the code wrong". I did not after three tries.......and the Internet was working perfectly here too....so no loss connection to mess up the code process :-)
I believe these companies are betting on the fact that someone has spent so much time at their site picking out stuff, and then finds out that there are real issues with these so called coupons.....that the buyer will just go ahead and purchase anyhow.
Gurneys is known to have less seed count per package.....I bet this company does the same.
We appreciate your posting. All of the coupons we offer are valid and can be used. We do have problems at times with the codes not working properly but we will always honor our coupons. If you have problems like this you can call us and we would be happy to place your order for you. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information."
This company has turned into a conglomerate of low class, low quality, and poorly rated gardening companies that were formerly independent. Gardens Alive bought out these struggling companies and did not improve them but rather made them worse and continues to sell defective, dead, dying, low quality items.
I once used to order a lot of their lawn and garden fertilizers and potions. Over the years, I've watched them deteriorate into a giant cesspool of bad products, no customer service, and useless bankrupt companies. They bought these companies not to improve them but to feed off of the previous reputations before they were tarnished. Here is an example:
1984 Natural Gardening Research Center founded
1988 company name changed to Gardens Alive!
1997 acquired Audubon Workshop catalog out of bankruptcy
2001 paid $10.75 million for most of the horticultural titles from bankrupt Foster & Gallagher’s, which included Breck’s, Gurney Seeds, Henry Field’s, Michigan Bulb and Spring Hill Nursery; sells F&G’s Stark Bros. catalog
2008 acquired former BlueSky Brands catalogs Bits and Pieces and The Paragon
2009 purchased six catalogs: Room Service Home, Spilsbury, The Added Touch, Images of Canada, TouchStone and the U.S. operations of Thompson & Morgan Seedsmen
2010 bid unsuccessfully for the Park Seed and Jackson & Perkins catalogs.
I fully expect them to buy Burgess Seed, a notoriously poor company with reviews which reflects it.
Even Gardens Alive has outsourced it's customer service and order lines to India rather than provide jobs in the USA. When I called last fall, I couldn't understand the rep I was speaking with and called back. I received another rep that repeated the same monologue but couldn't answer my questions or deal with the call adequately. If you don't understand how these call centers work in foreign countries, there are "grades" of them. The skilled ones have people working in them that have little accents, speak English as well or better than we do, and get paid substantially more. It goes down from there and I'm fairly certain that Gardens Alive has hired the bottom of the slum dwellers.
Products that were previously good are no longer available or have changed formulations. My last order never arrived, it was out of stock. I think I lucked out although getting a refund was quite a chore. Never again.
I'm sure I'll get a company response to this and then no follow-up that I would be able to understand if they even made an attempt. Beware of these types of businesses. They are bottom feeders, have poor or non-existent customer service, and low quality control, if any.
On Feb 4, 2014, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On Feb 11, 2014 1:02 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
We appreciate your feedback. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information."
Over a month ago I ordered 2 #4413 Sunshine Blue Blueberries from Gardens Alive after receiving from them an unsolicited "$25.00 FREE" offer of plants. Shortly thereafter I received 3 emails from them to ADD to my present order which I declined. Today, over a month later I received a postcard, NOT an email, stating "The following items are out of stock for the season", which of course negates and cancels their "$25.00 FREE" plant offer! If when I originally ordered these plants they were UNAVAILABLE, why was I not advised of this, instead of them attempting to increase my order? No matter how I look at this, it seems a "scam" to me!
On Feb 3, 2014, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On Feb 11, 2014 1:00 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your feedback and I apologize for the problems with your order. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and check into this for you."
I have ordered from Hentry Fields for the past 3 years and was satisfied with the varieties and quantity of seeds I received. However last year I tried ordering live plants with the expectation that they would provide the same satisfaction.
I ordered blueberries, strawberries and raspberries and they were shipped long after they should have been planted. When they arrived all the strawberries were completely dried out. The raspberry canes had some evidence of growth and the blueberries were still dormant.
As soon as the plants arrived they were planted, watered and nurtured. Of 24 strawberry plants only about 6 were viable. 1 of 5 raspberry canes survived and only 1 of 4 blueberry plants grew. Extreme disappointment not only at getting ripped off but of having to delay another year for fruit plants.
Never shopping through Henry Fields or any of their affilliates again.
On Jan 19, 2014, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On Jan 22, 2014 11:57 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
I am sorry to hear about the problem with your plants. I would be happy to reship these to you. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information."
On Nov 10, 2013, MaryArneson Minneapolis, MN (Zone 4b) wrote:
I ordered some organic drain cleaner and a couple of garden items recently. A few days later, there was a call from Gardens Alive! but I missed it and didn't know what it was about. Maybe a week later, they called again and left a message with my son that I needed to call them. I phoned and was told that my credit card number had been wrong. I gave them the card number and was assured that the order would be on its way. Nothing happened for another 10 days or so, until they called again, saying that I needed to call them. I called, and they said that they had no credit card information on my order, so they couldn't ship it. I canceled the order and told them that I had lost confidence that they could handle credit card information safely and securely.
On Nov 10, 2013, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On Nov 15, 2013 12:50 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your feedback. We apologize for the confusion over your order. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and check into this matter."
I have not received my product yet but I would like to post feedback on the ordering and delivery process. Early on a Monday morning, I ordered 900 ladybugs. The person who took the order said that since I had called before noon, the package would go out that day. On Wednesday I called because I had gotten no bugs and no shipping notice of any kind. I was told that the ladybugs had not shipped; they only ship one day a week, either on a Thursday or Friday and they ship UPS. I said that since UPS doesn't deliver on the week-ends, there was a good chance that all these bugs could be sitting somewhere in a building or on a truck over the week-end. The person on the phone agreed but assured me it wouldn't hurt the bugs. Every other company that I know of that ships live insects and even many companies that ship life plants, always ship early in the week to avoid this exact problem. No wonder the instructions for the ladybugs say to give them water as soon as they arrive because they will thirsty! It makes no sense at all to pick one day a week and then pick a day when the bugs aren't likely to make it to their destination in the week they are shipped!! If you want ladybugs, I would go somewhere else to get them!
On Aug 21, 2013, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On Aug 23, 2013 9:06 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your feedback. I apologize for the confusion on the shipping of the ladybeetles. We usually ship the ladybeetles on Monday or Tuesday and we ship via first class mail. The information you were given is incorrect. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and check on the status of your ladybeetles for you."
I am an avid gardener, PhD scientist and Director of Sales in a Biotech company and have used Gardens Alive products for a few years now. I recently made 2 separate orders of 3 different species of grafted tomato plants on each order to be sent to 2 different delivery addresses in my home state of Connecticut. I placed these orders in March and when I received my first shipment in mid May, only one plant arrived and it was in a state of dehydration with dead branches and severe yellowing on the plant sent. I'm sure this is an expected possible consequence of shipping immature seedlings in a cardboard box thru UPS & USPS delivery. My first shipment at my other address also arrived in mid May and contained only 2 of the 3 ordered plants with 1 plant in a similar stressed condition to above, while the other plant was broken in half at the point of the graft. I contacted Customer Service and they said I would receive a replacement for the broken dead plant in 4-6 weeks and the remainder of my outstanding orders on both orders would ship in 2-3 weeks. I did receive another shipment at my first address in the beginning of June that contained only 1 of the 2 plants due. I contacted Customer Service again and they told me that their records show there were 2 plants sent, despite the fact it had only one in it when I opened it. They also told me that the replacement plant for the broken plant sent to the second address was now canceled and the outstanding plant due along w the replacement for the missing plant would arrive in a possible 4 weeks (July). I was never notified of the cancellation of the broken plant and dismayed that the partial completion of the remainder of my orders was delayed even further. More than the loss of the plants, I was at odds w/ their Customer Service's perspective to accept the possibility of a discrepency in what their records say was shipped in the box and what was present when I opened it. In addition, in my mind, waiting until July to plant tomato seedlings in Connecticut is a waste of a gardening opportunity this year. Since the Customer Service Rep was in the Phillipines, I concluded he didn't appreciate the limitations of the New Engtand growing seasons and now I just wanted to forget this entire experience. He offered a credit slip for the cost of the 3 missing plants that could be used for future purchases with Gardens Alive, but I insisted on a direct credit be applied to my Visa card. I have not verified receipt of this credit on my Credit Card account yet, but I have learned a valuable lesson about buying grafted seedlings shipped thru UPS&USPS delivery. I recognize this seems like a lot of hysteria for a few tomato plants, but I was interested in the hybrid plants as a scientific experiment and I want others to understand possible consequences in a much larger financial investment in this type of product.
On Jun 14, 2013, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On Jun 18, 2013 12:51 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for letting us know about the problem with your order. I apologize for the inconvenience. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and make sure your refund has been issued."
On May 13, 2013, timc61552 Antelope Hills, WY wrote:
last year i ordered 2 grafted plants from gardens alive.they were impressive!packaging was incredible plants arrived healthy and large. 8-10 inches tall.i bragged them up all year!!!several people made the decision to order this year.i avoid them at all cost!!the plants i ordered were almost dead or already dead.packaging was awful !!i was upset!!.i emailed them and they are sorry.so what?my garden is ruined.i have to buy from a greenhouse now.normaly i start my own plants from seed.the grafted plants last year were just see what they were like.i was so impressed there was no need to start my own tomatos and peppers.3 plants might pull thru but the san marzono was doa.last year the box proudly said gardens alive in large letters like they were proud of the product.this year the shipping label said gardens alive in very small letters.the old bait and switch!
On May 13, 2013, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On May 18, 2013 9:19 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for letting us know about the problem with your plants. I apologize the plants were not in good shape and for all your inconvenience. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and take care of this for you. I can assure you we are the same company and we will do everything we can to make this right.
Posted on May 5, 2013, updated May 12, 2013
I ordered online $250+ of grafted tomato and pepper plants from Gardens Alive. The health quality of the plants I received was pitiful considering they sell them at $9.95 a piece. All the tomatoe plants I received looked more dead than alive and were all rootbound in pots too small when compared to the height of the plant. The website advertises you will receive Brandywine and Mortgage Lifter varieties in 3" pots, but I did not. I have sense purchased a few more grafted tomato plants from my local nursery. These plants are from Burpee and the difference is night and day. The proof is in the pudding.
On May 12th, 2013, aacook72 added the following:
Dear Company Representative,
The grafted tomato plants weren't the only disappointment. Your grafted pepper plants arrived half dead, the leaves were yellow in color, and the majority of the leaves dropped off before I could transplant. The charge of $9.95 per grafted pepper plant is too high for the quality of plant you deliver. On May 12, 2013, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On May 8, 2013 7:35 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for letting us know about the problem with your tomato plants. I apologize the plants were not in good shape and for all your inconvenience. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and take care of this for you."
On May 10, 2013, asgn77 Orland Park, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:
I ordered online 3 beefsteak tomato plants and 1 GRAFTED TOMATO CARMELLO in the middle of February .
When i get beefsteak tomatoes i was so damn badly shocked!!!!
I get 3 dead yellow sticks instead of plants. they advertised that plant come in 3 in. pots but it was 1.5 .
As for grafted tomatoes i get almost dead plant ,which costs me $8.46. For beefsteaks i payed $11.
Yesterday i went to Menards and find a lot of different kinds of tomatoes there hardy ,alive and the same size for $1.50 per 6 pack.
I HATE GARDEN ALIVE! STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY!
On May 10, 2013, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On May 11, 2013 10:24 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for letting us know about the condition of your tomato plants. I apologize for the problems. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and take care of this for you."
I've ordered from Baker's Seeds, Burpee, Johnny's, and Seedsavers Exchange with no problems whatsoever. I had to email Gardensalive over 6 times because they charged double my state tax, and they had difficulties inputing my address (adding a line for my apartment number!).
After the first 4 emails, each from a different representative, I asked them to send me a $3.95 packet of seeds to make me a happy customer. Rather than that, they wanted to send me a $5 gift certificate that would have required me to overpay on my next online purchase by $5, and then, trust them to deduct that $5 from my credit card. As if I would trust them again in the first place! I told them to please keep the certificate. In my final email, I requested that they unsubscribe me from their email list and to not contact me again.
A simple first-ever order of 4 smart pots should never be this difficult. I also nixed one phone order with Gardensalive when I called a few months ago. I didn't feel confident giving my credit card number to what sounded like an overseas call center.
There are better companies out there that listen to their customers, have better IT systems and better customer representatives. Let's find better companies and do our business with them!
I have been a long time customer (over 10 years) and the last two times I have called because of an issue with their website ordering process, discounts, etc. (including not being able to sign in without a catalog), the customer service rep has spoken to me like a child and when I stop to tell her I understand the issue, I just want it corrected, her tone of voice very snippy and insulting. I will take my business elsewhere and I am called to be removed from their mailing list and website. They also spam you will catalogs by selling your name to other garden supply companies.
On Feb 15, 2013, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On Feb 19, 2013 10:47 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your feedback. I apologize for the problems you have had with our site and one of our agents. I will have one of our customer service representatives contact you so we can take care of these issues for you."
I placed a large order this spring with Gardens Alive, primarily because I'm an organic gardener and they have a variety of organic products. It's very difficult to find organic plants in my area, so I had decided to start and/or plant my own.
Mail order companies are a boon to gardeners, because they make it possible to find plants that we might not have available through local stores. So in that regard, I want to be fair to companies I've ordered from. On the other hand, I think it's only fair to warn others if I've encountered consistent problems with a company.
My main complaint is low/no germination of a number of the organic seeds/bulbs: most notably two types of onion, summer squash, spinach, garlic, arugula. Also, a raspberry plant that never grew.
It also took 2 months for all the items to arrive. I'm not sure how to prevent this--my order was placed in early April, which I guess is the busy season for nurseries. When I've ordered from other companies, I've never had quite as many items on back order or slow to arrive, but perhaps it has to do with the fact the items were organically grown.
I would not give this company an F; in fact, the tomato seeds all sprouted. But if you're ordering organic products, you might want to think twice about it and/or just order a few so that you aren't risking your whole crop.
I just contacted the company about the problems, so will update my rating after I hear from them.
Thank you for your posting. We apologize for the problem you has with the seeds and we would be happy to replace them for you or refund your money, whichever you would prefer. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and take care of this for you."
Ordered many packets of seeds and have been horrified at the germination rate - less than 10%. I've been gardening for over 30 years and have never had so much trouble. Out of the 450 seeds of corn I planted only 14 plants have come up over a month later. In Utah the growing season is VERY short so my guess is I will not see one ear before frost. Not ONE of the zuchini has germinated, not one. Butternut trees leafed out and promptly died, ditto for the rasberries. Canadice grape is doing great. I did contact the company (Gurney's) with my complaint and they are promising a refund. Happy with that but will never order from this company again. They also owe me a refund of $142 from a previous complaint, have yet to see that one
On Jun 20, 2012, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On Jun 21, 2012 2:57 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your posting.We apologize for the problems with your order. A customer service representative will contact you for your account information and check on your refunds for you.
On May 29, 2012, Annie321 Pleasant Valley, MO wrote:
I ordered a batch of 5 million flea-eating Nematodes on May 2 and waited...and waited some more. I received no explanation for the delay. I finally emailed customer service and explained I needed to cancel my order if they were unable to supply the item. A few days later I received an email that my item had shipped on May 23 (21 days after I ordered them--not including the actual time in route). Again, the email included no information regarding the reason for the delay and a simple "sorry for any inconvenience." Nematodes work best if introduced in the cool temps of spring before fleas get going, so a month delay is significant.
On May 29, 2012, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On May 29, 2012 1:17 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your posting. It may be the nematodes were on backorder. We apologize for the delay. One of our customer service representatives will contact you for your account information and check on what had happened."
I have used Gardens Alive products in the past and the performed very well. The reason for my negative rating is that I suspect that some of their products, specifically, Tomatoes Alive, Vegetables Alive, and Root Crops Alive may contain high levels of dangerous heavy metals like Arsenic, Cadmium, and Lead.
My suspicion is based on the fact that I asked Gardens Alive to tell me the level of these heavy metals in the products listed above and they declined. They told me that the numbers were low but declined to give them to me even after repeated requests. The word "low" is good but it means very little without the actual number to compare to other products and my own acceptance levels. The only reason that I can think of for this refusal is that the numbers were not favorable.
Beyond this, I have nothing but praise for the company and the performance of its products. Unfortunately not knowing the heavy metal contents of the products make them too risky for me.
On Apr 22, 2012, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On May 3, 2012 11:55 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your posting. We checked on this for you and the amounts of heavy metals in our products are so low they are below the minimum reporting amount."
On Oct 11, 2011, lapaixfarm ALUM BRIDGE, WV wrote:
I ordered two lady bug traps from Gardens Alive within the last two months, and as the lady bugs (Japanese and not
really ladies) descended this autumn day, we read the directions closely and affixed (or thought we did) the two boxes to the windows as directed. Later that day (yesterday), I noted that the one which was attached to the window in my office had fallen - the sticky part on one side was not sticky at all. I re-placed the trap on the wooden frame between the upper and lower windows. This a.m., my helper, who had put the traps on the windows arrived and we examined what was wrong with the trap. The sticky part on one side was not sticky and trying to find another layer did not reveal any solution to the problem. In doing this I accidentally upended the trap and powder flew out and up my lungs. That was a good l/2 hour ago and I am still coughing and choking - I vacuumed up what was on the floor but have no idea what I have inhaled. I called the phone # of Gardens Alive and talked to someone in India who after hearing my complaint and getting my name and address and business name stated that I did not have any account with Garden's Alive nor did I ever order from them. Therefore, I did not exist and there was no help to be had. I wanted to let the company know that they had a defective product, one with unknown repercussions should the powder get in the atmosphere - that the sticky part didn't work - and I needed to know what was in the powder. Would it draw lady bugs to inundate my office? Was it dangerous? Do I need to go to a Dr. or emergency ward? Well, obviously I am frustrated. I will never order from them again. Their product is inherently defective and possibly dangerous. But the man in India didn't care - I think his name might have been Peggy. Throroughly disgusted and pretty much alarmed.
On Oct 11, 2011, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On Oct 17, 2011 10:36 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your feedback. I apologize that your account could not be located. A customerr service representative will contact you for your account information so we can locate your account and take care of this for you."
My negative rating is in regards to the online ordering. About a year ago I voiced my concerns to a representative, I recently checked their site and nothing has changed. Garden's Alive will not let you order online without creating an account with them - there is no way to proceed as a guest through checkout. This means that all your credit card info is stored on their web hoster's server - convenient, but dangerous. My second career led me to a job as tech support for a domain registrar. You can not imagine the barrage of attempts and the unpublished successes that hackers accross the globe have on "safe servers". I don't do online banking and I don't use companies online that will not allow checkout as a "guest". I can't keep them from hacking into my credit card company, but I can minimize exposure. Network Solutions is the original and oldest registrar in the world as well as the registrar for the domain gardensalive.com - the Washington Post headline in 2009 was: "Network Solutions Hack Compromises 573,000 Credit, Debit Accounts". The webhoster of gardensalive.com was also hacked in 2007 as shown by the infamous rewriting of googles whois info.
- it's time to start protecting the consumer, use "check out as Guest"!
Thank you for your feedback. We are checking this out and will let you know what we find out.
On Aug 8, 2011 11:13 AM, Gardens Alive! added:
This posting regarding online security at GardensAlive.com is both incorrect and baseless. At GardensAlive.com, any customer can checkout as a guest, sign-in and account creation are optional. Secondly, GardensAlive.com is a secure site and compliant with SSL requirements evidenced by verification from VeriSign.
I called to place an order. The rep refused to give me the 25% discount that was advertised on the site! I had to place my order online. That was mostly annoying. The worst part, and therefore what ensures I will never order from this company again is that the total on the order "overview" page that you look at before you confirm an order was different than the amount they charged me on the next page! They charged me MORE than the total for the purchase!! I saw this and immediately emailed and made them aware of the issue. They have not responded. There has been no contact with me, correction, or an apology. They have ignored me and therefore lost a customer.
Terrible products, even worse Customer service.
I placed an order for Garlic, Asparagus and some fertilizers.
I paid $18.95 for Garlic and it is rotted and moldy.
I paid $14.95 for 12 Asparagus plants, planted them carefully and only 4 have come up.
I tried emailing the company about this issue on May8th, again on May 12th and again on May 16th. ABSOLUTELY no response from them other that an automated email saying they would reply SOON. SORRY but it is not May 20th - no response in 12 days.
I am afraid to use the fertilizers lest the quality is the same as the plants I received!
On May 20, 2011, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On May 20, 2011 4:35 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your feedback, We apologize for the problem with your order. A customer service representtive will be contacing you for your account information."
I ordered their Stay At Home Ladybugs earlier this year (2010). It was very obvious that they did not send me the quantity they said (900). I called and told them about the problem and they sent some more. The total amount sent though was still less than the amount I was supposed to receive.
I called and told them about the problem and they refunded the total amount for the ladybugs. It was rather disturbing that they didn't bother to count or make sure that they sent what I paid for.
Now, I see at least on their Web Site, that they list the number of ladybugs you will be getting is about 900, which I think is misleading. How many are about 900?
If you order any, be sure and try to count them. The problem is---it's hard to do.
On Nov 15, 2010, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On Nov 16, 2010 9:21 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
We appreciate your feedback. We use this information to provide better products and service to our customers."
My order did not arrive and they did nothing to help me track it down as to where it got to and in fact seemed rude when I asked questions. They acted like they didn't even care. They did refund my money but I will never order from them again. From here on I will buy local.
On Oct 27, 2010, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On Nov 1, 2010 9:34 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for your feedback. Your comments are very appreciated and are used to provide better service to our customers. A customer service representative will be contacting you to find out what happened with your order.
I ordered my usual items, as well as several additional items that would be covered by the $25 coupon in their brochure. The items I wanted are apparently no longer available, so they just sent and billed me for the remaining items, which I only ordered because they were 'free' by using the coupon. They didn't even have a record of my complete order, only an altered order, listing only the items they had. They shipped them with no explanation or notation that the other items were no longer available. After several emails, letters and calls, this problem still has not been resolved. I have sent subsequent emails, but they no longer respond. I strongly recommend to SHOP ELSEWHERE. I know I will.
On May 17, 2010, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On May 18, 2010 10:35 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for taking the time to post. We apologize for the confusion. A customer service representative will be contacting you for your account information."
Several times I have asked that the hardiness zone be corrected on my mailing label for this and the sister companies. I am clearly in zone 6 - quite close to 6A. These catalogs have me in 7B. I have to remember each time I order to change the shipping dates. The order takers seem to get quite frustrated with me and are often rude about this issue. One order taker said that the USDA sets these zones - and I agree with this. He should have looked to see that all of the state of VA is not in zone 7. From sister companies, I have lost sweet potato and other plants because they were shipped when I still had snow on the ground. Beneficials from Gardens Alive did no good since it was too cold to release them before I learned they had me pegged for shipping in a much warmer zone. Each time I have ordered on line or on the phone, I have requested that they correct this issue. They never do - and so I simply refuse to order from any GARDENING company who cannot read the USDA hardiness maps. Any serious gardener knows his/her hardiness zone. These GARDENING catalog people don't seem to care that they are wrong.
On May 8, 2010, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On May 11, 2010 11:12 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for taking the time to post. We base your grow zone on the USDA Hardiness Zone Map. We understand there are micro zones which causes the temperature to be slightly different within the same grow zone. Unfortunately, we are unable to determine these zones based on zip codes, which are used by the USDA. A customer service representative will be contacting you for your account information. We apologize for the inconvenience."
I'm definitely an unhappy customer! I ordered a bottle of IRON X! last week. The catalog stated that a bottle of concentrate makes 3.125 gallons and should be applied at a rate of 1 gallon per 2,500 square feet, meaning a bottle of concentrate would treat 7,812 square feet of lawn. (This makes it reasonably economical product!)
When I received the product the instructions on the bottle state that the bottle of concentrate makes 3.125 gallons and should be applied at a rate of 5-10 gallons per 1000 square feet. That translates to a bottle of concentrate treating only 300-600 square feet. That is a HUGE DIFFERENCE from what is stated in the catalog.
At that rate it would take about 17 bottles of concentrate to treat 7,800 square feet of lawn! That would come to $510.00 instead of $35.00.
Below, I have copied, exactly, the ad from the catalog followed by the instructions from the bottle.
Copied from the March Catalog I received in the mail.
IRON X! Selective Weed Killer for Lawns sup-
presses weeds quickly and effectively without
killing your lawn. Dying weeds will turn
black or brown within hours of application.
People and pets can enter the treated area as
soon as the spray dries. It even works in cold
weather and is safe to use on new lawns, one
week after grass emerges. Lawn areas may be
re-sown within one day of treatment.
Mix 5 ounces of concentrate with 1 gallon of
water. Apply the mixed solution with a hose-
end sprayer at a rate of 1 gallon per 2,500
square feet of lawn or spot treat with a hand
sprayer. 16-ounce concentrate makes 3.125
gallons. There is no unpleasant odor and the
solution is rainfast in 3 hours. Repeat treat-
ment in 3 to 4 weeks for best results..
#3721 16 oz $34.95, 2-4 @ $32.95 each,
5+ @ $29.95 each
Copied from the instructions on the bottle.
Shake well before using. Mix one part
Iron X! Selective Weed Killer for Lawns
with 24 parts water (5 oz. in 1 gallon of
water). Apply the mixed solution at a rate of
5-10 gallons/1000 sq. ft. (5.75-11.5 fluid
oz./sq yd.) Any standard hand-held or
backpack sprayer can be used. Thoroughly
spray weeds. Use a coarse nozzle setting to
reduce drift. Uniform coverage is important
Repeat treatment in 3-4 weeks for best
I have emailed Gardens Alive about this issue twice but have never received any reply.
On May 7, 2010, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On May 11, 2010 2:39 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Thank you for taking the time to post. We apologize for the mis-print in out catalog and this will corrected. A customer service representative will be contacting you for your account information."
It began in January when I ordered my seeds at a pretty good price. Turns out price is not so good when stuck on the phone with someone from India. Any how, I payed with my credit card and most of my seeds showed within 2 weeks the rest is Garlic which is shipped later. About a month later I had more money come out of my account through Gurneys with no explanation. I called India for an explanation & it turned out that they didnt charge me for the garlic at that time. Another thing that really ticks me off is that gurneys has me listed as zone 5. USDA, Burpees and everyone else has me listed as zone 7. All my other garlic is up except for what I ordered from gurneys because they refuse to ship before the date they have listed. I am canceling my garlic and re-ordering from burpee which I should have done in the first place. Absolutely will not order from Gurneys ever again. Because of this experience my friends will no longer order from them either. 2 have canceled orders and have been refunded. Sorry Gurney but I hope you lose alot more than just the six of us. Extremely poor customer service.
On Mar 28, 2010, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On Mar 31, 2010 1:34 PM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
We appreciate you taking the time to post this. We are always here to assist in any way we can. A customer service representative will be contacting you. Our zones are set according to the USDA and we can always change the ship date on orders if a customer request it."
I have done business with this company for years - no problems - love their products. Last week, I placed a large order (14 items) with them, including a membership fee to receive a 10% discount on all future orders - clearly intending to continue purchasing from them. Several days later, I had not recieved a confirmation, so I emailed to inquire and included a screenshot that I had saved of my order with the order number on it. Yep, you guessed it. They had lost my order, and wanted me to call or mail them a copy of my order! I sent a second email asking that they initiate the order from the screenshot and just got a canned response telling me to call or mail my order. Unbelievable - any company that wants to keep their customers would have been all over getting my order in their system. I'm taking my business elsewhere. Now, how much you want to bet they reply to this with another canned response about "striving to provide 100% customer service"?
On Mar 12, 2010, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On Mar 15, 2010 11:41 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
We appreciate you taking the time to post this. We are always here to assist in any way we can. A customer service representative will be contacting you to help locate your order and have it shipped to you right away."
On Mar 11, 2010, ellejacob76 Phoenixville, PA wrote:
I have attempted to order twice from this company's website. The first time was using the account number from the catalog sent to my PO Box. I wanted the shipment to come to the house, so I changed the address to my home. After not receiving any confirmation email, I was told that it was my fault because I changed the address and now the order couldn't 'find' my name (? um, ok). And then I was told to call back in a few days, which I did, and after speaking to the nice lady in India, I was told to put another order in. OK, so I did, and I started without a catalog number, used my home address, and again, I have not received a confirmation email, I can't get anyone to answer my emails, and no one can tell me where these orders are going to. And they aren't small orders.
I ordered from here because of Mike McGrath and NPR - what a disappointment.
On Mar 11, 2010, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On Mar 12, 2010 8:25 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
We appreciate you taking the time to post this. We strive for 100% Customer Satisfaction. We are always here to answer any questions you may have or assist in any way we can. A customer service representative will be contacting you to help with your order."
After receiving a $25 coupon in the mail, I placed an order with Gardens Alive! over the phone since the web site did not respond to the coupon sucessfully. I reached a pleasant customer service agent that had a strong, clipped accent. When I asked where he was located, he responded, "in India." I told him I thought so (from his accent). I went ahead with my order, hating to waste a $25 coupon, and only had to pay for shipping. The order arrived quickly and was well-packaged. Since I have not yet tried the products, I can't elaborate on their performance. However, I am posting this to let everyone know that Gardens Alive! has outsourced customer service to India, and because of that, I will NEVER purchase from this company again. The outsourcing of American jobs is a huge problem in this country; we have many Americans here that need the work. Buyers, support American companies that keep the jobs here!!! Also, a note to Gardens Alive!: at the end of my order, your customer service rep was giving me the spiel to try and sell me something else before closing the order. Due to his heavy, clipped accent, I could not even understand what he was trying to sell me. I later finally figured out that he was trying to say vegetable, but pronouncing it in a very hurried, strongly clipped way as "ve-ge-TAY-bul." Hard to sell someone something when they don't understand your sellsperson. Sometimes it really pays in the long run to keeps the jobs at home.
On Feb 17, 2010, Gardens Alive! responded with:
"On Feb 26, 2010 10:52 AM, Gardens Alive! responded with:
Gardens Alives strives to provide 100% customer service. We want to be available 24 hours a day for our customers therefore we do have call centers outside of the US."
Buying from this company was one of the worst on-line purchasing experiences I've had, not just once but twice. Their Web site has technical problems, which can be frustrating. Their order system "looses" order information. Telephone support was inconsistent, some were rude others polite. I received no email replies, despite their claim "we'll respond in 24 hours". On both occasion, the products ordered did not ship "the next day", contrary to their published statement. I had to contact them about problems they caused. Their products may be good, but their sales and service are poor.
Early in July I ordered a couple of items from GA. One was sent promptly and they said the other would be sent when it was time to plant. Well, it is time to plant but no shrubs!!! I e-mailed them and was told they didn't have anymore. The e-mail was rather "flip", sort of tough luck, teehee attitude. I am unable to find this same item now from any of the RELIABLE companies so will have to do with out until next year.
Lousy customer service from a company that was once very good. Too bad.