Posted on February 11, 2010, updated March 2, 2010
Swallowtail has no clue what customer service means. The website was not working properly so I did not trust its "secure" claim; as such I faxed the order in and mailed a check for my seeds. I requested confirmation of my order in the fax and in follow-up e-mails and phone messages. 2 weeks after placing the order I still have not received any response whatsoever from them. At this point I'm ready to cancel the order and hope I get a refund. It is amazing they operate this way!
On March 3rd, 2010, Lilyfan1 added the following:
Changing from negative to NEUTRAL. It took many calls and multiple e-mails to get a respnse and I finally spoke to someone who was very courteous and told me the order was sent that same day. The order was shipped and received by me. They still have a lot to learn about customer service and communication but I got what I ordered so for that I'm grateful.On Mar 3, 2010, Swallowtail Garden Seeds responded with:
This is the peak of the season and it may well be true the order took 2 weeks to process. However, our shopping cart is secure, being monitored by GoDaddy.com and certified by Security Metrics.
We let our customers know on the "How to Order" page on our web site that for time sensitive inquiries, they will want to use our phone number to contact us.
Everything we do is guaranteed . Any and all customers of Swallowtail Garden Seeds who do not feel good about their experience with us, are encouraged to contact us using our toll free phone number, 877-489-SEED (7333).
During this time of year many of our employees routinely work 12+ hours per day, 7 days a week. We do this because we care about what we do and how we do it. If we somehow come up short--we pledge to fix it--always. By giving us a call you will give us the opportunity to turn a frustrating experience into a positive exchange.
On Feb 26, 2010, kjoseph Oakland, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:
I was very happy to buy my seeds from a local company, & I liked their selection. I had a question while completing my online order so I called them. A nice woman answered right away & answered my questions. My order was made early (Jan 12, 2010) in the season since I expected my large order may take awhile. I got my seeds in the mail in about 3 weeks. I ordered 36 different kinds of seeds. 29 were shipped, 5 were back ordered (still haven't received them) & 2 were out of stock (Globe Thistle, Blue Glow & Begonia, Non-Stop -- Rose Pink). As far as germination, I've had absolutely no problem. I've had to do a lot of thinning actually. (I had read the poor germination reviews & planted more seeds than I would have otherwise). Other than wondering about the 5 packets that are back ordered (Gaura, Cup & Saucer Vine, Zebrina, Knee High Sweet Pea, Fuji Blue Balloon Flower) I'm feeling pretty good about my experience. I think they have a really nice selection & their seeds are of good quality (based on germination rates). The descriptions & planting instructions printed on the seed packets were detailed & spot on. I will order from this company again.
On Feb 11, 2010, withad Warren Center, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:
Posted on January 21, 2010, updated February 11, 2010
Posted on January 16, 2010, updated January 21, 2010
I recently placed an order for bulk seeds on 12-12-09, seeds were supposed to ship with 2-3 weeks. My credit card was charged on 1-07-10. Seeds had not arrived by 1-14-10. Sent several e-mails to confirm order and shipping times with no reply. I sent the last e-mail 1-14-10 informing them my account had been charged and I had not received the order and requested shipping info to trace shipment. Still no reply, I informed them I would issue a negative feedback if they could not extend the decency of a reply to my e-mails. This is not hardly the busy season so I do not know the reason for their lack of response. I called once only to get a recording and since they failed to respond to four e-mails I didn't see the point in leaving a message. Their web site has no way of checking on an orders status or even if you have an order on file. This was my first and last order with this company and while the dollar amount was not huge it is disappointing that a company can so totally ignore a first time customer. I will give it another week and then will dispute the transaction with my Credit Card company and file a complaint with the BBB. No where on the web site does it state they will charge my account PRIOR to shipping the order. Even with just first class postage it should not take 10 days to arrive, I would have thought they would have sent it Priority mail but I guess I should have checked to see how they ship prior to ordering.
On January 21st, 2010, withad changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
I am changing my rating from negative to neutral based on receiving an e-mail apologizing for their delay in both answering e-mails and shipping my order. They did credit my account back the fund charged against it. I will wait and see how long it takes to get my order, as they say they had trouble getting it from their supplier and will ship it as soon as it arrives. On February 11th, 2010, withad changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
Changing to positive only because they did credit my account and as stated in their e-mail would still send the seeds when they arrived at no charge. They did send out the seeds no charge, though of three ordered one was still back ordered. I doubt I would purchase from them again mainly because of their customer service dept., which is totally non-responsive. I hesitate to think what would have happened had I not threatened to file complaints with both my credit card co. and the BBB.
I placed an order for several packets of seed in early January. The order was processed and shipped in about a week, and I received an email confirming shipment and a tracking number (something I am not aware of any other seed company doing). Perennial seed is germinating well. I have ordered from Swallowtail in the past and received the same good customer service. I will order from them again.
I placed an order online with the company. Within an hour I changed my mind, and called to cancel. And e-mailed the cancelation. Over the next 7 days I called and e-mailed. I never got a response. There was only an answering machine no matter what time of day I called.
Then they e-mailed me that the product had shipped. Finally on day 8 I sent a letter to the Better Business Bureau and faxed a copy of the letter to the company. Within one hour I got a call from the company: "sorry sorry sorry".
No explanation, just we're sorry and we'll refund your money. And told me to keep the seeds.
When the seeds arrived I was amazed that in a packet that was labeled 75 seeds, there were 25, in a packet label 30 seeds, there were 15.
How does a company get away with this?!
On Dec 29, 2009, Karyl7b Dawsonville, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:
I placed an order with Swallowtail Garden Seeds and received it within a week. Order confirmation and shipping notices were sent. A single item was back ordered, but this was out of perhaps 20. A refund was instantly made for the single pack of seeds.
Packaging is great - an envelope within an envelope, making it very easy to re-seal the seeds you don't plant. Instructions were printed clearly on the label.
The seeds were just planted for winter sowing, I will report back on germination. So far I am quite happy with Swallowtail Garden Seeds.
On Aug 26, 2009, Jazznart New York City, NY (Zone 7b) wrote:
Ordering was easy. Delivery was slow. Communication was TERRIBLE. I have not yet received my order but was today advised via e-mail that my seed order had just now been placed in the mails (after three weeks). You would think that the hectic spring business had ended by today - the end of August - and they would be keen to take care of business. In the meanwhile I had (1) e-mailed them about my order, (2 )e-mailed further with some questions concerning those seeds and (3) left them an irate telephone message about their lack of response. I got no reply to any of those three communications.
Given the poor quality of the service I'm a bit concerned about the quality of the seeds. We'll see.
On Jul 12, 2009, lemurianne Ida Grove, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:
I placed a big seed order this Spring and had very mixed results. Some packets of seeds had VERY poor germination -- with Magestic Giant Pansies and Pin Up Rose Begonia for example I got only two plants out of the whole packet! But other seeds did very well, and my windowboxes are overflowing with Regatta Rose Lobelia, which could not be more beautiful! Other issues: I ordered some Black Velvet Rose Geranium seeds, which had 100% germination, but turned out to be another, non black seed geranium :( One of the packets of petunia seeds I ordered also had a fantastic germination rate but were not the petunias they were labeled to be. In general, my feeling is that this company is too hit or miss. For the price you might have better luck elsewhere. Also, the shipping was EXTREMELY slow. I may reorder the seeds that did well for me, but I'll be very cautious about trying new things, which is too bad because they have a fantastic selection!
On Jun 5, 2009, socaligardener Long Beach, CA wrote:
POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE-THEY IGNORE YOUR CALLS AND NEVER CALL BACK WHEN THEY SAY THEY WILL.
I spent $60 worth of money on a variety of seeds and I followed explicit planting instructions provided on the seed packets. I diligently checked seedlings everyday and once I noticed a few sprouting I also noticed they immediately started to wilt and die. This happened to all seedlings across 15 different cellpacks that I had planted the seeds in, offering partial light, full light or darkness as per the instructions. A month into this process and with no results, I contacted Swallowtail and expressed my concern and left a voicemail. I received a callback from a woman who said she would talk the manager about how to handle my situation and instead they never called me again. I called back and left a voicemail saying I was waiting to hear back to resolve this situation (I wanted a refund but never even got that far in discussing since once they realized I was not happy with the results, they decided to duck for cover and never return my calls.). I continued to nurture the cellpacks for ANOTHER TWO MONTHS but there were no signs of growth at all from the seedlings and I had bought approx 17 different types of seeds for Spring planting, and I planted in Spring in mild California weather. It was a COMPLETE WASTE of TIME AND MONEY and worse, Swallowtail Gardens feels they are too far above their customers to resolve any situations. They just can't be bothered with you. Spend your money elsewhere as there are plenty of other seed companies out there. I suggest http://www.mycooksgarden.com which is Franchi Seeds. I found them at the Los Angeles Botanical Gardens Show this year and they are great.
On may 9, 2009 I placed an online order. I did get a confirmation and the product would be delivered by May 12.
It is now June 3rd and I do not have the seed I purchased. I have called, left messages, and emailed this company , no response. I did leave a message each time I called, due to "high call volume". I have no response, and no seed. I did call them again before posting this comment.
I do understand this is a busy time of year for them. But, Im coming up on a month of waiting on my shipment. All I have asked is for help with this situation of why I do not have my shipment.
I feel I have given adequate time for a response. I did give more time than I normally would due to the time of season it is .
On Jun 1, 2009, Centaurea Amsterdam Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:
I purchased a fair number of seeds from this company. They came very well packaged and I liked that they used little baggies for the seeds inside the paper packs. That's exactly what I do when I open a regular paper pack is immediately put the seeds into a baggie. A fair number of the seeds did germinate and appear to be true to type - but a fair number did not.
On many (guesstimate 1/3-1/2) of the seeds I purchased and have planted from Swallowtail I have either 0% germination or very poor stands (with some I have others purchased from other companies growing right next to, same conditions, just fine with the appropriate percentage of germination and appropriate seedling vigor for my conditions). Although I am new to having my very own garden (hence my large order, to fill new beds!) I have been in horticulture for years so I am well aware what it takes to germinate and grow on seedlings, and aware that not all seeds have excellent germination naturally and some lines are less vigorous than others, and that my one-size-fits-all growing room results in some not doing as well as they would in their individual optimum conditions, but I expect better than what I got.
All that said, I might even be okay with - if the company would answer my emails and address my concerns, ideally with troubleshooting assistance and/or replacement packets if needed - I did pay for them after all and got no plants out of many of the packets I paid for! With the poor germination on many and almost total lack of communication (they did in fact reply ONCE when I sent a positive e-mail to them about one particular variety which came up well), I don't believe I got my money's worth this time.
On May 25, 2009, denver_dry Denver, CO (Zone 5a) wrote:
Quick and accurate service, generous amounts of seed, nice selection at a nice price, packets clearly labeled, ship date and confirmation email let you know when to expect your order. I would order from them again with complete confidence. Thanks!
On Feb 22, 2009, sunnyg San Francisco Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:
I have ordered from this company for several years, and have always been delighted. They have a great website, an excellent variety of seeds, they provide a generous quantity of seed in each packet, and I've had very good germination results.
On Jan 25, 2009, CarynDalton Marysville, OH wrote:
I will try my best to remember to update my review of this company after the seeds have grown so now I am only commenting on the pre-growing experience.
Website: Extremely easy to navigate and does have a search box. Has both side and top navigation bars.
Checkout was simple and quick. They do take personal checks, money orders, VISA and Mastercard but not paypal.
Merchant Rating with BBB: I always check this before ordering online but I could not find this company. BBB keeps negative ratings even when the company has not paid the fee to be a BBB member. I purchased based upon the other reviews here on Watchdog.
Seed Selection: Their website states they have 1,200 varieties of seeds including open-pollinated and untreated vegetable seeds, unusual heirloom and hybrid annual and perennial seeds. They also carry flowering vine, savory herb, rare poppy, super sweet pea and heirloom tomato seeds.
Shipping: Super Quick and came in a standard bubble manilla envelope. Best shipping price I have ever seen at $3.95 for the whole order with a $6.00 minimum. That alone was enough to make me try this company! They did as I requested and emailed me to let me know that they had shipped my order.
Seed count for price: Fair to Generous. They do have bulk seeds available.
Product information: Good pictures of varietes, but sparse information on some that I looked at. I did have to go to other sites for more information on the varieties. There are no customer product reviews on site which would be helpful. Still, I will shop there again even though I have to work a bit to get the information I need. I would like to see more disease resistance information listed for the varieties.
The seed packets are white manilla envelopes and are written in English and dated. There is adequate sowing/growing on information on seed packs. Packs of seeds were bundled into groups with thin rubber bands within the bubble envelope.
There is not a paper catalog available that I could find.
I have ordered flower and vegetable seeds from Swallowtail for the past 3 years. Their website is simple to use and contains superb photographs. Each year, I find many unique varieties that I've never seen anywhere else. Seed germination has been excellent.
This year I placed my order in early January. A couple weeks later, I hadn't received the seeds & was champing at the bit to start my early sowing. Voila'! The very next day, an overnight express envelope arrived with my seeds! The company spent a good bit of money to get them to me this way, and I appreciate it! I've recommended Swallowtail Garden Seeds to all my fellow community gardeners.
On Dec 24, 2008, peonyflower Glen Ellyn, IL wrote:
I placed a small order by mail back in November.I have called them twice and each time they seemed they were sincere about what happened to my order. The first time they said they had mailed it the past week, the second time they said they would track the order since it shipped two weeks before. I gave them my e-mail and phone number.I never recieved either one as to what happened to the order. I was looking forward to these seeds.I'm giving them a nuetral rating in hopes they will deliver. If I recieve them,I will surely write another review.
On December 28th, 2008, peonyflower added the following:
I finally recieved my seeds. Apparently they were sent to a non-existing city in Illinois. It took a while, but they delivered.
I hope they look at the addresses more carefully before they ship seeds out.
In the past month I have ordered 2 small orders with this Company and both times I had to call to find out when my order would arrive. I never got to talk to a rep, just leave a message. E-mails go unanswered. Both time it took over 10 days to get from Cal. to Arizona. If you have LOTS of time, these are your folks.
On Aug 30, 2008, geminitrv Marshall, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
I ordered from Swallowtail Garden seeds for the first time recently. I received a nice package today, and everything looked great! There was lots of information and planting instructions on each packet. I would recommend this company and will definitely order from them again in the future. =)
I ordered a number of seeds from this company this year and found them to be wonderful seeds. They all germinated wonderfully and are growing very well. When there was a question about my shipping address for my seeds, not only did I receive several e-mails but phone calls as well. I will definately order from them again next year.
On Jun 23, 2008, rebecca101 Madison, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:
I ordered several seed packets from them this year and was very pleased. They had a great selection, reasonable prices, and fast shipping. Germination was excellent and the flowers so far have been lovely. Will definitely be back for more next year.
I have been buying seeds from Swallowtail for two years. They shipped very fast and all seeds were well packed. I have successfully grow some beautiful plants from their seeds. Will keep shopping with them.
On May 14, 2008, gardenlemur Pittsburgh, PA wrote:
I am really pleased with Swallowtail Garden Seeds. Before I ordered I sent questions via email and their response was quick and very informative. I placed my order with ease through their website and the seeds arrived promptly. They were neatly packaged and included good directions. I can tell that they really enjoy what they do and are willing to help their customers along. They have a very nice selection of seeds and I appreciate the reasonable shipping charges. I will certainly order from them again.
On May 14, 2008, bethany_in_ct Hartford, CT wrote:
This is my first time growing plants from seed, but so far I'm very happy with Swallowtail. First, I thought the website was very easy to use, and they had the best selection and info I found on the internet. Then, the seeds arrived VERY quickly after ordering, with very reasonable shipping rates. Next, the packaging was really nice--just enough packaging, nice seed packages, and seeds in convenient ziplock bags inside the paper seed packs, with wax paper packets inside those for really small seeds. I've also had great germination rates with the seeds I've planted so far--two heirloom tomatoes and foxglove (>90% on the tomatoes, harder to tell but still very good on the foxglove).
On Apr 14, 2008, Cynara Champaign, IL (Zone 6a) wrote:
I've been a customer for two years, and have ordered maybe ten seed packets each year. I've been very pleased with the experience. Speedy delivery, reliable labeling, and excellent germination. I've ordered from a lot of sources, and this is the one I'm coming to trust the most.
This was my first time ordering from Swallowtail seeds. I ordered a bunch of primrose seeds (as well as others) and all but one that I opened were perfect. One of my primrose seed packets was light - so I emailed the company. WIthin 48 hours they had 1) refunded my money for the packet and 2) mailed me another one!
I've started monarda and primrose and so far, the germination rate has been really solid. I recommend this company!
On Mar 27, 2008, msonmezay Mission Hills, CA wrote:
This was my first order with Swallowtail Garden Seeds, and I am quite pleased. They really give you a generous amount of seeds! My order came quickly. Their selection of seeds is big, it was hard to choose what I wanted! I would order again next year.
On Mar 17, 2008, gemini_sage Winchester, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:
This was my first order with Swallowtail Gardens, and thus far I'm quite pleased. The germination rate on the snapdragons I've sown has been excellent, and I was thrilled with the quantities of seed for such good prices. I ordered from 3 other sources on line the same day I ordered from SG, and received all of them 1-2weeks before my order from SG, so I was glad I ordered early. Considering the bulk pricing and good luck I've had with the seed so far, I don't mind getting my order in early :-)
On Mar 6, 2008, Lala_Jane North West, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:
This is the first time I have ever left negative feedback for anyone anywhere. And I hate it. But I feel that I must express my disappointment.
On Feb. 2nd I sent Swallowtail Garden Seeds an email telling them that I'd had extremely low germination on a packet of their coleus seeds. I asked their advice on whether they thought the seeds might still sprout (it had been 3 weeks,) or if they thought should I replant. After 5 days with no response I sent another email asking if I could get the seeds replaced.
The next day I got a reply telling me, "As our seeds are guaranteed, of course you can get a replacement." Fast forward 4 weeks. No replacement seeds sent. No contact from Swallowtail Seeds.
On March 3rd I sent another email asking if I'd gotten lost in the shuffle. Again no response. This morning I sent yet another email and.......you guessed it. As of this writing there's still been no response.
By reading through their past feedback this company has a pretty good reputation. I'm not sure why I've been given such poor customer service but it is certainly frustrating and I will not be ordering from them again.
On Feb 29, 2008, IronstoneGarden Andover, MA wrote:
Last year was my first time ordering with Swallowtail and I am very happy that I did. Their product descriptions were right on, everything (veggies and flowers) came up great – grew/looked/tasted exactly as described. Great company, great customer service...it's reassuring to know that there really is an actual “somebody there” at the other end of the internet in case something happens. I will rely on their descriptions and be a little more adventurous in my ordering this year!
I stumbled on the Swallowtail seeds website after doing a web search for a particular type of California poppy seed I couldn't find. I was very happy with the speed of their delivery and their germination rates. the flowers were just gorgeous. This year I wanted to order more, but I was unsure whether they had their 2008 seeds ready, so I emailed them and got a very prompt reply. Once again, my order was sent very quickly! I expanded my order this year beyond California Poppies, and I expect good results, based on last year's performance. Their web site is beautiful, the descriptions and pictures are accurate, and it is very easy to navigate, load, and order. They have varieties I can't find anywhere else. They are one of my favorite companies!