Horrible customer service. I have requested their catalog 4 times in the last 6 months. never recieved one, only to be told now that it's to late to get one unless I want to PAY them for it. Judging by the other comments here, I would say I dodged a bullet.
I ordered vegetable seeds from Shumway last year. They came in a timely manner and the germination rate for most of the seeds was acceptable. The hot banana pepper seeds did not germinate, not one. I told the company about this problem and they said they would send replacement seeds. I am still waiting.
On Apr 9, 2012, khadie Montgomery Village, MD wrote:
The offer of 4 free seed packets induced me to try this company. Now I feel like a fool. I was sent barely rooted plants, dried out looking strawberry crowns (compared to others I have received), and heartaches and hassles involving phone calls and post office trips. Did I mentioned the fungus gnat infestation, no extra charge--a freebie about as pleasant as the 4 free seed packets of "experimental varieties", experimental variety broccoli, tomato, bean and sweet corn.
The biggest YUCK of all is that they do not offer refunds or easily usable credits--they send a credit letter which one must use by mail or phone. Once you get the sucker's money, you have to try to keep it and keep them from easily using it-- I can only attribute such a policy to this philosophy. I am especially annoyed because I would like to end my association with this outfit once and for all, but I can't on principle let them have my money for free. I'll get seeds with my credit letters (should I send my order in by carrier pigeon?). Hope their lousy seeds are good : ).
I don't know why I decided to order from this antiquated company (not antiquated in the charming, salt-of-the-earth way, but antiquated in the oily shyster carnival barker way--get yer free seeds here...).
Why didn't I just stick to the angel companies that I know and love, that have eagerly and happily worked to make me 100% happy with a few problems or that have NEVER sent me a problem in the first place??? Oh yeah--the catalog is charming in an archaic way. If only their plants were as attractive as the catalog.
Those 4 free packets of anonymous varieties will cost a bundle once I factor in return shipping costs... and time and worry and negativity!
NB: in fairness a madeline hill rosemary looks good. so far.
The Pyrethum seeds came without a hitch. The lemon Grass I ordered was a tiny dried out tuft, I planted it and have been babying it ... but I don't think it will make it. The Pinapple sage that I bought was a mess! From an order of 3, 1 was wilted and 1/3 brown, 1 was a dangling wilted leaf draped over the edge of the pot and the other was a nice healthy plant. The Egyptian Top Set Onions will be sent in the fall. Fall? I don't want them in the fall, thank you. I have ordered in the past and been happy - but something went quite wrong this year. My message to them has not been acknowledged as of today:o(
On Dec 16, 2010, ArmyOfFive4God Rawlins, WY wrote:
This company is a JOKE!!! I ordered for the 09 season. My items were finally shipped (not rec'd but shipped) 3+ weeks after I'd ordered. When I rec'd my order, my pair of elderberry plants was missing. I called to inquire about this & was told they would ship them for my dates/area. This info was not emailed to me, nor was it included in my paperwork that was sent in my first shipment. I was given a timeframe as to when my plants would ship & after that time had elapsed, still no plants. I called back & voiced my discontent, but I did so in a calm & patient manner. The lady at CS wasn't very accommodating, understanding nor did she offer any apology or sympathy. The plants were finally sent out a few days later.
I rec'd the plants, planted them per the instructions & one withered away. I decided to give it an extra year, knowing that first year transplants often may not grow but then come back the following year. 2010- still no elderberry plant. One plant survived & not the other even when planted in the same soil, the same way, at the same time, with the same water? Of course, now it doesn't matter that one survived, because without a male & female plant, I don't have elderberries :-(
This company really needs to work on customer service, which includes communication.
I have ordered from this company before a number of times with no problems. This year I ordered 12 seed packets. 2 of the varieties I received were "Not true to name." ( A polite way of saying they got the wrong seeds in the packets.) I might have been less upset if it was just one variety, but 2? In the same order? Specifically, I ordered Muskmelon and now have small white pumpkins growing. I ordered Celebrity tomatoes and have a heart shaped tomato growing. (Celebrity tomato is NOT heart shaped. ) Well , at least it was a tomato.
I wrote to the company and they issued a credit for the price of the two packets. Gee, what about the shipping cost? And the lost season? Gosh!
I have never had a problem like this from any other mail order seed seller.
I will only order from this company to use the credit and any other business will go elsewhere.
On May 13, 2007, dodges7 Alna, ME (Zone 5b) wrote:
8 pepper seedlings ordered for $ 11.45. Seedlings had only one set of leaves and were in completely dried out Jiffy 7 plugs loosely packed in a small box (apparently wedged in two plastic pots when moist). If the dryness hadn't killed them, the bouncing in shipping probably would have. I have never received such tiny seedlings from any mail or on-line nursery. Will never do business with them again.
I placed my seed order in January. It's now March and I have received every other seed order I placed. Shumway seeds still haven't arrived. I just called their 800 number. Had to redial 5 times before I didn't get a busy signal. Spent 10 minutes on hold before giving up. I just sent them an email from their web site asking about order status. Will keep you posted - am very unhappy.
On March 7th, 2003, mareilly added the following:
After a week of attempting to contact Shumway by phone I finally got through. I was told the majority of items in my order were backordered, but that (what a coincidence!) my order was in the filling department and the other items would probably be sent out today. I told the rep to cancel my order (most of what I wanted was backordered).
After I hung up, I called my bank (should have done this first) and found out that my check was cashed on February 13th! I am so irritated with this company - I will *never* place another order with them.
On Feb 25, 2003, Javabean Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:
After reading their "starting over story" in the new Shumway catalog, I thought I would give this garden supplier a chance. I placed a seed order with Shumway by mail in January. The check cleared on February 3. I have not received merchandise or an update regarding the location and expected delivery time of my merchandise. Based on the other reviews and my own experience, I will not order from Shumway's again.
This company is a joke. I ordered seeds last February (2002) and I did not recieve them until June. And this was after many phone calls wondering where my order was. Last summer I received an apology and a coupon. I ordered seeds last fall and did not have a problem. I figured they just had an off year and the problem was taken care of, well I was wrong. I ordered a 12' heating cable this year in January over the internet and still haven't received it. After I get this order taken care of, it will be the last one placed with this seed company. Having it take 4 weeks plus to receive an order placed on the internet is insane. Especially when other seed companies have your order in your mail box in less than two weeks.
PLEASE READ THIS AND NOTE THIS WARNING !
Last year this company had a fire , so I was aware that they
had some 'NEGATIVE ' issues ! However I was Sincerely ,,,
willing to give the another chance this year ,,, due to the
fire and what looked to me like a sincere apolize for poor
serivce last year . NO MORE >>>> I order seeds over 3 weeks
ago emailed them and got a email back that said they were 3 weeks behind . Within that email they also said they would
research the issue no responance ,,, I have a small presonal
greenhouse and I don't think I 'll get these seeds in time for
the season here in Buffalo NY . I AM SO ANGERY ,,, PLEASE
FELLOW GARDENS DO NOT PROVIDE ANY MORE BUSSINESS TO THIS
COMPANY THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT US !
BE WARNED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
On March 20th, 2003, hangsix added the following:
Please note on March the 19 I did receive most .....
of my order two items were left off . I was told due to the fact that there had to mail them at a later date I owned them
postage .. of .80 cents I have writen to them and told them to
cancel any other products . I WILL NEVER ORDER FROM THEM AGAIN
This company is a joke.And its moving to Wisconsin according to a representitive of Jungs.... Seems Shumways, Totally Tomatoes, Jungs, Vermont Bean and a bunch of others are all owned by a few stockholders who seem to have bought a bunch of companies and in turn are doing a half --- job at management. I ordered seeds in bulk quanities in Nov and Dec and some ( including lettuce) showed up in June. I called Jungs who is taking over this mess and I was assured it would not appear on my credit card and just to keep the seed... Guess what ...it showed up on the credit card I just got. The Fire was at Jungs in Randolff WI near my home and distroyed the Catalogue Storage Area and Bulb area... I was told it did not affect the seed divison so who knows whos telling the truth. I tryed to call Shumways toll free number from March thru May and never got thru on apparently the only line they ever had... I even tryed other numbers which were also always busy. I ended up buying seed from other sources in the mean time like lettuce to get in the ground early.... ANd to top it off one of the varieties I ordered was an heirloom called chicken lettuce. They sent me a Lettuce mix with Black simpson and some other things and said ..." We cant supply you with the variety you ordered so we hope you will like this".... How do they know what ill like.??... ANyways I told the sales person at Jungs I would not order from Shumways or Jungs again ... Even if they are now only going to be 30 miles from my house.
Anyone who has good luck with this company must have caught them on an off day. Generally they are as bad as the worst reviews written for them. I had many problems with orders being promised by specific dates and not arriving. As I have a short growing season, seeds need to be planted indoors. Shumway sends everything as if it will be planted outdoors, based on some incorrect assumptions they have on what is a good planting time for my area. They had an herb mill advertised for a good price. However, it was CLEARLY pictured as all metal, but when it arrived it was some cheap Chinese made junk. Mostly plastic and wholly not as pictured. In many states that is considered fraud and should be reported to your state's Attorney General. I too, had problems connecting with their customer service and they should have an 800 #. Line was always busy, no answering machine. When I emailed them, they came up with the 'computer down' excuse again. They don't give a darn about customer's, just our money. I was so frustrated with them, I wanted them to refund everything, and take everything back, and to pay for the return postage, as it was their screwup. I never heard from them again, and I assume that is a part of their corporate policy!
I send in a order in Feburary and only recieved the potatoes. Only one plant grew from the eyes. I emailed the company and they sent a email stating they had a warehouse fire in March. If that is the case I feel that they should have informed me in March. I will have to go this weekend in May to find seeds to begin growing before it is too late.
I will not be using this company again.
On May 18th, 2002, lbclisa added the following:
I got some more of the ordered products the other day. They have changed their reason for the delay due to supply problems and not getting the seed package growing directions in. Oh ya, they gave me the $$$ coupon of 3 bucks towards the purchase of other seeds. They also sent the seeds for ordering so early. I was not pleased however because the Sweet potaotes plants that arrived were totally dried out including the peat moss covering them. I planted them and hope they will grow. The seeds I have planted from this company seem to have okay germination. I still have some seeds yet to come.
I had great hopes for this company since it had seeds that you can not get elsewhere but I will stick will companies I had good service with and try to find another source of seeds such as mangle seeds.
I have ordered a lot of seeds from other companies including ordering from Germany and Hawaii and did not have delay/ problems like I did from this company.
I have ordered small orders for a few years and was pleased. However, this year, things have drastically changed. My order, placed January 18, was received and the check cancelled January 28, 2002. It is now March 29, and I have received no seeds. I have made four telephone calls (none toll free). The first time I was told that the order was prepared for shipping and would be shipped at the end of the week. The next two times I was told that the order had been shipped. Today, I was told that the order had been shipped. I asked for the date it was shipped and was told that it was in the shipping department and would be shipped. I asked to speak to the manager. I was told that the supervisor was not in. I asked to speak to someone in the shipping department and was told that I could not have contact with them. I asked for my shipment to be cancelled and my money returned. I was informed that I would have to wait until the seeds arrived and that I could return them and then my money would be refunded. Needless to say, I will not be ordering any more seeds from this place.
I ordered early Feb. 2002 now late march cant get them on phone sent several emails and letters can't get any one will never never order from them would rather go hungry at least I know the outcome of going hungry with Shumway I don't know what's happening except I am not getting service. DO NOT ORDER FROM THEM!!!
I will never place another order with Shumway unless there is something I really, really want, and they are the only company that has it. I placed my order on January 3, 2002, and is now March 27. I still don't have my seeds and it is getting too late for me to start the tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. Maybe I will get my seeds, but I'm writing it off as a loss. I called them three times, and they are not cooperative. They simply say there is nothing they can do. If that's the case, I really feel sorry for them.
After ordering in mid January, I still (3/26/02) have not received my very large order. After four phone calls and assurances each time that my order would be sent, "at the beginning of next week," I stopped calling. I missed the window for planting early vegetables on my half acre garden, had to buy emergency backups from a local Agway, and plant late. Many seeds that would arrive now will have to be put into cold sealed storage for next year. I definitely will not be ordering from them again.
I ordered from their catalog on January 13th, 2002. My check cleared the bank on January 30th. Now it is March 10th and still no order. I have ordered and received several seed orders from different companies in the meantime. Now the customer service phone is always busy. Do these people really take orders on that line? I can't believe anyone would keep trying a bazillion times to reach these people to place an order. I have given up trying to get through to even check my order. I have learned one thing. If I ever try a new company again, I will try their customer service line first to see if there is anyone "home" before I even venture to use the company to throw my money away again.
I would normally have high praise for RH Shumway, but I have had nothing but problems this year with my order. When I placed my order, they could not tell me if my items were in stock because they were doing inventory and that the order wouldn't ship for at least a week. My order has still not shipped (a month later), and every time I call to check on it they tell me it will probably ship the next week.
On February 15th, 2002, CindyM added the following:
As of 2/15, my order has still not shipped and I am still getting the response that it will probably ship next week. Soon I will just cancel the order.
On Jan 1, 2002, richhurley New Freedom, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:
I made my first purchase from R. H. Shumway last year (Spring, 2001) and it will be my last. I was extremely disappointed with the alstroemeria (Peruvian Lily) roots I ordered. I gave them to my mother for Mother's Day and was embarrassed when she opened the package and it looked like all it contained was several envelopes of straw. There were no cultural instructions at all with them. Since neither of us had ever grown them before we didn't know what to do. As it turns out, we should have soaked the "straw" in water to rehydrate the roots before planting. None of the poor things ever came up. I also purchased several packages of flower seeds and they had only very general cultural instructions with them. The "hummingbird plant" never came up but the asarina vines did germinate. Unfortunately, since I was late getting them started, they never bloomed for me.
Glad to know that there is somewhere to complain. This is my second year to order from Shumway and I will never again order anything from them. I placed my order in January and at the end of February nothing had arrived.I tried to call them by phone and they do not have a toll free number, but worse, the phone was always busy. After several days of calling at different times and always getting a busy signal I finally go through. The lady on the phone then could not find my order and told me that there was no way she would be able to trace my order because the computers were down. She asked my to check my cancelled checks to see if they might have cleared the bank!! I couldn't believe my ears! When I told her that it was the responsibility of the company who took my money to keep up with the order and send me my seeds, she relented and gave me a 1-800 number to phone back in a few days when the computer problem was fixed. When I attempted to phone the 1-800 number in a few days, it was always busy. These folks could buy an answering machine at a yard sale! Anyway, after finally getting through on one of the phone numbers, I talked to someone who found my order, but it hadn't been sent out. I cancelled $50 of the order, and have just now received my money back -- and it is May. There really should be a warning on the catalog of RH Shumway; the company seems to be run by very unprofessional people and don't expect to get a delivery of your order unless you demand it.
Their seeds are the only ones I have ever had trouble with. I was planting a lot of How Sweet It Is corn so I ordered their commercial quantities to save a little money. The seed, all 7 pounds in two shipments, had weevils. It didn't germinate, or grow, the way it should.Flower seeds I ordered didn't even come up.