I have ordered from this company several years and until this year my transactions were satisfactory. I ordered an ornamental (coleus) and the seeds came and at some point before I was to plant them I noticed the package seemed very light. When I opened it there were perhaps 10 seeds in the large hermetically sealed container. I called the company and the person I spoke with identified himself as the new owner of the company and while I waited on the line he checked on another seed packet at his facility and informed me there should be 600 seeds in the packet. He then said they would be sending me a replacement. I have never rec'd the replacement even though I sent a follow up email. Obviously customer service is not their concern and I will not be doing business with them again. Also another Bavicchi product I bought at the same time, verbena seed, had non existent germination. A mail order business only gets repeat orders from satisfied customers. I am saddened to not be able to buy the Bavicchi seeds in the US, but I will look for another vendor internationally if necessary.
On Feb 18, 2014, greenone2feel Portland, OR wrote:
Had a similar experience to the fellow below. Attempted to deal with an error on their part last season and was met with the overly aggressive Phil the manager instead. Poor, poor service...decent seed list.
On Apr 7, 2013, drthor Irving, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
Posted on April 2, 2013, updated April 7, 2013
Posted on September 8, 2010, updated April 2, 2013
This is my favorite seed company and website.
I am from Italy and I am always looking for vegetables that remind me of growing up in Padova, Italy.
Gourmet seeds has all the vegetables I love. they came in very large quantity.
MY FAVORITE WEBSITE FOR SEEDS
On April 2nd, 2013, drthor changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
This company was my favorite until I had a horrible experience and I will NEVER order again.
I bought one package of seeds that was on sale last August for $2.50. I planted after 7 months. I had 5% germination.
I wrote the company and I received a very long email saying that they did test the seeds ... that they were good ... probably it is because I stored the seeds badly ... practically it was all my fault ... and how dare do I contact them ...
So I did sent them clear pictures of all the other companies seeds I started at the same time and had 99% germination. I also wrote that the seeds were all stored in the same way.
I received an email back telling me that he cannot see any problem in these pictures) in a very rude manner.
The next day I called the company. I really thought this person"Phil" was somebody in a calling service outside USA because he really didn't understand anything about gardening.
Guess what? Phil answered the phone and he said he was one of the owner. He couldn't stop talking ... he was aggressive and offensive and totally ruin my experience with this company. By the way he told me that if a seed is on sale and I don't plant it right away ... it is my problem.
Wouldn't that be easier that he offered to send me the package of seeds for $2.50 and ask me what it did go wrong and how could he improve his product!
This person was rude and I will NEVER order from them again.
"a life time to build your reputation - one second to destroy it"On April 7th, 2013, drthor added the following:
I am not surprise of this answer, after reading the latest reviews of this company. Still a lot of "talking" but not "taking responsibility" of their products and most of all their "bad" customer service.
I apologize to the DG members that read my first review.
This company was good until I had a problem with them ... and I am glad that it was only for $2.50 ...
Bavicchi is a wonderful company and they seriously should look for a better representative in the USA.On Apr 7, 2013, Gourmet Seed International responded with:
This is truly one of the more odd situations we've seen. The customer bought the seed nearly 10 months ago (June 2012) as part of an 'overstock/end of season' sale of seed packed and dated for that year. The customer recently contacted us by email regarding poor germination. We confirmed we had a refund/replacement guarantee, but also noted that the order and seed the customer had identified to us was from 2012 in order to confirm we were talking about the correct seed. As is part of normal practice for our quality control, we asked if she could provide any additional information regarding storage, growing conditions and the like so that we might be able to identify any potential issues. Although the seed packaging was now past the expiration, that particular variety normally stores well and in fact had passed a germination test shortly before it had been put on sale in June of 2012.
The customer graciously not only gave us some additional information about storage and growing conditions, but she also sent some pictures of what appear to be a pretty wonderful seed-starting setup. We wrote back that from what she had shared we certainly didn't see any problems that could have contributed to the poor germination and so the cause was still a mystery.
The customer then requested a replacement package. Although it is extremely unusual to receive a guarantee request for seed purchased so long ago and for which the packaging had since expired, since she had been so helpful with her information we agreed to do so.
We then received a phone call from the customer where she repeatedly kept saying that we were 'horrible' and that our customer service was 'horrible'. Although we made an attempt to try to clear up what we could only guess was some type of communication misunderstanding and to assure her that we were in fact sending her replacement, she kept interrupting and repeating how 'horrible' we were.
And now this rather bizarre posting.
We're still the same company that she first posted about, and take great pride in going the extra mile to give the best possible quality and service we can humanly provide, and we appreciate any construction feedback we get as we strive to serve our customers better."
the gloves would not last a week in normal garden use, and too small for a medium. if you saw these gloves at a flea market for $1 you wouldn't buy them
the pocket knife's blades were so compressed within the tang of the knife the only way to extract them was with a another tool—either that or have titanium fingernail transplants.
the original call to customer service was pleasant enough, the women said she had a knife and tried it and it worked fine and offered to send it as replacement and would send a mailing label for return of the gloves.
replacement knife arrived with exact same problem—apparently the women at customer service had a problem with truth telling.
I called and spoke to same customer service agent who was very defensive and went to her supervisor whose approach was to launch into a belligerent tirade never taking a breath and drowning out my efforts to communicate and then he hung up.
bottom line I've been making purchases online for more than a decade from businesses large and small and this without reservation the worst in terms of products and service.
on a scale of 1 to 10 this out fit is -10
On Aug 16, 2012, Gourmet Seed International responded with:
"On Aug 17, 2012 6:26 AM, Gourmet Seed International responded with:
We're sorry that this customer was not happy with his purchase. However, we take great exception in his portrayal of our products and customer service.
Although he was very belligerent and angry from his very first communication with us, we followed through on proper customer service, including a offering choice of refund on return or replacement. We did send a replacement knife along with a pre-paid return label, and in spite of his tirades we made every attempt to treat him professionally and with courtesy.
However, we will draw the line when a customer becomes abusive, and as a matter of policy to protect our employes we will cut off communication when that happens.
The customer did not like the products. That's fine, and as promised we did follow through on every effort to satisfy the customer, including refunding the purchase on return of the products.
However there is a difference between not liking a product and it being defective. These products were not defective. Goatskin is by nature more supple than calfskin, yet we can attest to the strength and durability of these gloves as they are used quite successfully by our field crews. Also, folding pocket knives should be by design to some extent stiff and difficult to open and close. This is for the safety of the user to prevent accidental closure when the blade is in use, something especially true for this particular knife as it includes a razor sharp pruning saw type blade.
This customer demanded a full refund before he would consider returning the product--including the replacement knife he had already been sent. This is something no merchant would ever do, and when he was reminded that he already had the pre-paid shipping label and that we would issue a refund on return, he became so loud and abusive we cut off communication.
We would advise any merchant to avoid doing business with this customer."
First, they have a good seed list. Lots of things that are difficult to find elsewhere. However, quality control issues, such as the lettuce germination problems listed below, are common. After several years of ordering they have screwed something up every year. Usually treated seed listed as non-treated, incorrect cultivars (which they are then hostile about returning), and poor germination. This may be worth it to access difficult to find seeds and then grow out and save your own. A poorly run company representing a respected one, Bavvichi. Bavvichi needs to find a competent distributor. The last straw was this years antics, in which customer service wants to tell me I ordered treated seed while I am staring at my receipt which says otherwise. Very irritating. I advise taking your business elsewhere. Try sementi seeds, which has access to many of the same cultivars, but is well run.
On Jan 13, 2012, Gourmet Seed International responded with:
"On Jan 13, 2012 9:43 AM, Gourmet Seed International responded with:
While we appreciate constructive feedback and are always anxious to deal with any problems that may arise, we do need to clarify and correct a few of the comments posted here.
In spite of best efforts to repeatedly test and correctly store seed, on rare occasion seed that is not up to our normal standards does come up. Additionally, some claims for poor germination or performance are due to circumstances beyond the control of any seed company, such as poor weather, poor storage or handling by the customer, or some other cause. Regardless, in every case we are quick to respond to the customer's needs as is fitting the situation.
As to the current issue of treated/untreated seed, the varieties in question were all clearly listed online as treated when this customer placed their order. Additionally, the customer's packing list in fact does not list this either way. Even more so, the customer admitted to us by email that their packing list did not include this information, so what she claims in her posting that she is looking at simply does not exist.
Although this ordering error is not on our part, we have already responded to the customer by offering to arrange for its return or help in whatever other way they may need. Considering the circumstance we feel we have done everything and more possible to satisfy the customer.
In every communication this customer has been quite harsh and spiteful in their comments to us. Regardless, we have tried to be very courteous and offer solutions and resolutions, even for issues such as this that are not our fault. Our offer to help remains open."
This was my first experience with this company. I bought 15 different seeds. None of the 2 Lettuce (May Queen or Ciucca) germinated. I wrote the company and they claimed to have experienced 100% germination on these seeds but nevertheless offered to reimburse me. I said OK but never heard from them again...
Since then things hardly improved; only a few of the Bush Snap and none of the Leeks or the Onion seeds came out either.
I have grown a substantial garden over the last 25y and never had an experience like this. By the way, my 2011 garden is otherwise doing very well in spite of some challenging weather conditions, but not thanks to Gourmet Seed.
On Jun 20, 2011, Gourmet Seed International responded with:
"On Jun 20, 2011 1:36 PM, Gourmet Seed International responded with:
We did receive an email from this customer regarding a problem with the lettuce seed not germinating. After properly identifying the order and the customer's preference for a refund, a refund was issued.
This posting is the first we have been told of any other problems. The customer did order a number of other items, but since they are not mentioned here, we can only assume they are performing well.
We are truly sorry if the customer has had difficulty, and would like to continue a direct conversation to work to identify possible causes, such as the very unusual weather conditions that have existed this year, any possible shipping issues, or any other possibilities. The fact that the customer is having problems for such an odd range of varieties in the order makes this conversation particularly important.
Whenever any kind of cultivation problem is brought up, we do all we can to identify possible causes. In particular, any issues of possible germination problems are looked into quickly. This requires as much information as is possible from the customer including lot numbers, growing conditions/weather, how the customer stored the seed until it was planted, and the like. This allows us to not only investigate and retest a lot of seed, but also to investigate any and all possible causes of problems.
Ultimately, not only do we want to solve whatever the problem may have been for this customer, but where appropriate we do want to take steps to avoid similar issues for our other customers and add to our knowledge base.
We invite this customer to please continue communicating with us as we work to get to the bottom of whatever issues there may be.
In January 2008 I ordered 11 packets of vegetable and herb seeds from Gourmet Seed International. When the order arrived, it contained 5 seed packets dated 5/2006, and one seed packet with no date at all. I emailed the company, expressed my opinion that fresh seed was my expectation and asked if they could replace the seed with fresh 2008 seed. They replied with an email talking about how seed remains viable for years after it is packed, etc. I again told them I had never been sent 2 year old seed by any other company, and asked to either have fresh seed sent, or my money refunded. They have said to return the seed and they will refund the money. This is disappointing, as it now means I must take the time to go back to the post office to send it, and must place another order and pay another shipping and handling fee for another order with another company. I think they also should refund their shipping and handling fee ( $6.29 US, the highest of the 5 companies I ordered seed from this year), as I certainly would not have even ordered from them to start with if they had posted on their web site that they send seed packed 2 years ago. And, of course, my time and energy to handle this return as well as time off work during the business day to get to the post office is not something they will reimburse.
On Feb 10, 2008, Gourmet Seed International responded with:
On Feb 9, 2008 8:06 PM, Gourmet Seed International added:
We are sorry that this customer is unhappy with the seed that we offer, and did offer to refund their purchase price, which is normal for any company.
We did explain that although most domestic seed companies use simple paper packages which only allow for a 1 year expiration dating, much of our seed comes from some of Europe's finest seed houses packaged in long-life, hermetically-sealed packages, which allow for a 3 year expiration date. In fact, we have followed this example as it provides the customer with much fresher seed. Also, much of what is being sold as '2008' seed here in the US was packaged in 2007 from 2006 harvests. In other words, still 2006 seed.
After we offered our explanation, we did extend our offer for a refund, as it was obvious that the customer was still not happy with the seed. We did not hear anything further from the customer until they filed this complaint, and were never aware that the customer took exception to returning the seed. If the customer will contact us, we will be happy to arrange for a pickup of the seed at their convenience."
On Jun 10, 2007, gardenbumpkin San Francisco, CA wrote:
They substituted an item without letting me know if I wanted it or not (they have my email address). I had to emailed them three times trying to ask them whether the item they sent me was the same one I ordered/paid for because the seed packet was in Italian.
They finally emailed me back on my third email to them and said that they did not have my first two emails and did not know what happened to them????
Then I got another email . . . . .from their warehouse telling me that they have already sent my order??? DUH. . ...That was not my question.
The next day got another email and this time they finally told me that they had substituted the item. Well . . . . duh. . . . .
I would not buy from them again for the lack of customer service, gave me the run around and their S/H is extremely high.
On June 10th, 2007, gardenbumpkin added the following:
Here are the only two emails I received from them and still have in my file folder:
"A package was shipped to you on 06/06/2007 Via US Postal Service First Class to the following address . . . .
(from their Warehouse email)
"This is a # for the replacement seed we sent you".
There were never any mentioned of refund or replacement on either of the emails to me.
Nor were there any other emails to me that the company spokesperson had mentioned - just the two little emails above.
It is always best to tell the truth and what had actually happened during the course of this event. Everything the spokesperson had mentioned is a lie beyond reality. On Jun 10, 2007, Gourmet Seed International responded with:
On Jun 10, 2007 10:19 AM, Gourmet Seed International added:
We're sorry to see this posted, as we made every effort to respond to the customer and reply to the emails that were received.
We received only two emails to Customer Service, both of which were responded to (we keep all emails on file for at least 6 months for reference). We can only guess as to why the customer did not receive our first response, perhaps there was a problem with a spam blocker.
In any case, when we received the first email, we acknowledged that based on the information the customer had relayed to us at that time, it appeared there may have been a error in the warehouse in filling the order. We asked for more information to be sure we understood exactly what was wrong, and to ensure that we would be able to correctly solve the problem, we also asked the customer to let us know how they preferred to resolve this, whether by refund or replacement. We received no response until a later email arrived, where it seemed obvious that the customer had not received our first response.
We again responded to the customer, but since we were afraid they would again not receive our response, we went ahead and reshipped the seed in question to the customer. Meanwhile, the customer did respond to a shipment confirmation email, at which time the warehouse directly responded by confirming that a replacement was being sent.
As to our S/H rates, for domestic orders, we charge $4.95, plus 5% of the order. Our standard shipping is either USPS Priority Mail, or UPS Ground for larger and bulk orders. We normally ship within 2 business days of receipt of the order. Given that postage rates for Priority service start at $4.60, we feel we do a good job of providing exceptional service at a fair rate.
We again apologize for the inconvenience this customer experienced, and are reviewing our SOP to see what we might do in the future to minimize this type of problem.
Situations like this can be very frustrating, as emails can occasionally be unreliable. Spam blockers, while useful to reduce the junk emails we can potentially receive, can interfere with necessary business communication. Whether that was a factor here or not, we don't know, but it is important to add the names of the companies you do business with to ensure you receive all the information you need.
We stand behind the quality of the product we provide, and continually work to improve the level of service our customers receive. In spite of their perceived experience with us, we thank this customer for their business, and wish them well.
ordered greasy pole bean seed from them and received quickly. i planted the seed and had 0% germination. i planted several other varieties at the same time and had excellent germination. i emailed them and they sent me an equal amount of seed but said the reason mine didn't germinate was that i planted them in cool soil. they also said that the greasy bean was an heirloom variety and they were harder to germate in cool soil. well, the soil was plenty warm as i germinated lima beans as well. the replacement seed were of the same lot and when i opened them the smelled rotten. i tried to germinate them on a propagation mat and they only rotted , stinking up the entire house. i ordered from a lady in kentucky the same type seed and planted last week and the seeds are now coming up. i can't get a response from harvest moon though i have emailed them several times. i would like a refund but don't think i'll get it. i would not reccommend them because the fancy packaging doesn't hide poor seed quality.
On May 11th, 2006, dvrmte added the following:
i don't want to make this a bigger issue than it is. you seem to be a bit agitated. i would like to bring some truth to you as it seems your staff is giving you some dishonest information.
(1) i have received one response to my complaint about the seed. you said you would send more seed and did. when the seed was sent and didn't germinate you never answered any of my emails.
(2) nobody spoke with me from your company on the phone as i'm deaf. my wife said there were never any messages left either. you may need to check with your "customer service manager" about their honesty.
((3)complete copy of last unanswered email:
i emailed you the results of the replacement greasy bean seed you
sent to replace the first order that didn't germinate and haven't
received a response. in case you didn't read it, i also had 0%
germination from them as well even under controlled temperature. you
need to retest the seed and send refunds to anyone that bought them.
most gardeners will think it was their fault the seed didn't come
up.the seed must have been harvested too damp and packaged before
fully drying as the smell they have permeated my entire house while i
attempted to germinate them. i've since purchased some greasy bean
seed from a lady in kentucky and they came up extremely well. i'm no
rookie at gardening, especially heirlooms. i have grown greaseys for
many years and the only reason i wanted new seed is because my seed
had crossed with a neighbors several years ago and i couldn't seem to
breed out multi-colored seeds.
the okra seed i received from you germinated great.
i would like to have a refund for the 2 packs of seed i bought from
you.i also would like to complain about the unusually high price you
charge for shipping those fine looking seed packs that don't hide
poor quality seed.
as i said in my previous email i would post negative comments about
your company if you didn't refund. here is a link to the first of
such comments: http://davesgarden.com/gwd/c/2282/
i'm not the only one complaining if you read other comments about
your company. you have negative comments on other forums as well.i
will post on them as well.
(4) where's the refund? i haven't received it. i bet its dated after you saw i posted here. if so i'll scan a copy and post it here.
(5) i'm sure after other members read this they will know whose honesty is in question. i never said your company was dishonest , i only said one variety of seed were bad and i didn't like the lack of response after my first complaint. you have made several dishonest or incorrect statements in defense of your company. i can't believe you said i had a phone conversation with your customer service mgr. he must have been talking to himself as i didn't hear him. (deaf) ha! ha!
i'm glad to see you admitted the seed are bad and am looking forward to my refund that hasn't been received yet.
On May 25th, 2006, dvrmte changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
well harvest moon made things right after all. it seems they are going through growing pains as their business has grown quickly. on my original order i incorrectly misstyped my email address. every time i complained they would go back to the order email and reply rather than replying directly to the emails sent. just a case of the right hand not knowing what the left one is doing. someone there finally forwarded my emails to the right person and a refund was sent. the only problem i have now is that there was a claim that i had a phone conversation with customer service even though i'm deaf. i guess this guy got taken to the woodshed for that.
they also pulled all the bad seed and have more being tested now. i would probably order from them again just because they have a huge selection and they did make it right even with such a small order.
cary doverOn June 15th, 2006, dvrmte changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
well its neutral to negative as the blue lake beans were just picked. it seems this is not blue lake at all. i don't grow this for home use as i sell them to people who request them. when i tried to snap them they were full of fiber and strings even when young with undevoloped seed. it seems i was sold a white seeded bean that is for dry shelling. i tried to cook some of the very young ones but i had to spit out large amounts of woody material. the company already has refunded me more than they have to so i'm not looking for money. i would not reccommend this company at all. you may get your seed but who knows what kind you're getting and is the seed going to come up?
look around for a more established company as i wasted alot of time and will lose quite of few dollars at my roadside stand because of this mess. On May 3, 2006, Gourmet Seed International responded with:
On May 8, 2006 1:56 PM, Harvest Moon Farms added:
Dear Mr. Dover
I apologize (again) for your germination problems resulting with this seed. For the record I think you should be more honest and evaluate the facts in your remarks to the general public of our handling of your order that
1) we responded to your email 3 times and our customer service manager spoke with you on the phone as well. You were not ignored but promptly taken care of.
2) After our first email we replaced your seed once with no complaints about it until now.
3) You were refunded the full purchase price and shipping costs per our guarantee even though we replaced the seed immediatley.
We offer some of the finest quality seed on the market! With over 2,000 selections we admit there is always going to be a variety or two that "goes bad' though its fresh and germinated fine during testing once in a while and that is simply nature and any seed company will tell you this. This lot of White Greasy Bean was pulled, though we had no other complaints, we did notice that the germination rate for the lot was increasingly lower since the last 2 tests after your inquiry. Our return and replacement rate is less than 1%, exactly 0.06% of our total sales of seed. We receive only a handful of concerns regarding seed germination a year (6 to be exact for 2006) from the tens of thousands of customers we service.
If you are going to file a complaint Sir please be legitimate and offer all the facts to the public. Though you had a problem, we handled it properly and above and beyond what any other company would do. If you want to comment that all our seed is poor, though that is your right to opinion but this is contradictory to the facts you gave us on the phone and of your own comments in the last email to us from you stating our other seed we supplied you was extremely good and that this problem apparently was with only the variety White Greasy (Email address below in your comments have been wiped for your privacy) I do wish you well and hope that in the future we can offer your our service and "great germinating" seed, especially the okra again. Again any apologies for inconvenience you experienced and I do wish you the best this gardening season.
Harvest Moon Farms & Seed Co.
----- Original Message -----
From: "large runner" <*************>
Sent: Friday, May 05, 2006 7:45 PM
Subject: greasy beans 0% germination again
"i'm no rookie at gardening, especially heirlooms. i have grown greaseys for many years and the only reason i wanted new seed is because my seed had crossed with a neighbors several years ago and i couldn't seem to breed out multi-colored seeds.
the okra seed i received from you germinated great.
i would like to have a refund for the 2 packs of seed i bought from you."
I´ve ordered and payed on January 15th. Today is Februaray 14th and nothing has arrived yet. And I´ve payed U$11,75 for s&h!! for a total order of U$34,95.
I´ve asked by email for the shipment date and they not answered. Very bad experience indeed.
On Feb 14, 2006, Gourmet Seed International responded with:
On May 8, 2006 1:19 PM, Harvest Moon Farms added:
As we explained over the phone and by email to you. It takes 10 to 14 business days (not including weekends or holidays) for an International package to reach you as well as the time that customs handles it. We confirmed with tracking you received your package on Febuary 17th. The shipping charges were actually $12.03! Im sorry you felt the seed should have arrived sooner, but Express Service to your location in South America was $38 and you already complained of shipping cost, we always ship exactley what were charged from the carrier plus cost of envelope or box. I apologize for any inconvenience to you but these are unfortunatley issues with the carrier and not our service.
Harvest Moon Farms & Seed Co."