Has this company been bought out by a larger corporation in recent years? We have purchased seed and other products for a long time, but this year, the customer service is a disaster. I purchased a $78 Permaculture book from them in early April. It arrived in a timely manner, but inside the box was a $10 Misto oil sprayer instead of my book. I was told that the corporate office had to issue me a return slip through UPS so I could send it back and get my money, which also included a large amount of shipping and handling (supposedly to cover the weight of the missing book!) I have called Helena at customer service multiple times, emailed her multiple times, and also left a message at the corporate office customer care coordinators voice mail. Still no return slip. Am I really going to get stiffed by this company that is supposedly resting on the moral high ground of businesses? Any advice?
I have ordered from SOF for years without trouble until last year. When my order did not come after 2 1/2 weeks I called and was told that my order would be shipped "tomorrow". I waited another 2 weeks and called again. Still it hadn't been shipped. After 2 more phone calls I reached a supervisor and discovered that they had a packaging problem and it still wasn't resolved. When I asked why this had happened, she said "it's not our fault that we couldn't get the machine we needed". I asked why they didn't communicate with their customers about it, she said "gee, I never thought of that". I lost early plant sales over this and was very upset but since I had been a long term customer, I ordered again this year.
I faxed my order in and it didn't come. I called and they had no record of my order! So I ordered again over the phone. I asked if all my items were in stock and was told they were. Half of my order came quickly, the other half backordered. I was furious. I called and was told the remainder would be shipped by a certain date. Again I waited for an order that didn't come and finally called. "I don't know why you were told that!" was my answer. After 3 more phone calls, I finally reached a person who at least acted like she cared, and she helped me get all but one item, even though I still had to wait 2 additional weeks! Again it was a packaging issue.
It's such a shame - it used to be such a good company. If I treated my customers this way, I'd be out of business in no time. I understand that problems arrise, but customers should be kept informed about anything that affects their order. This company has no clue what good customer service is. If they had told me about these problems ahead of time, I probably would have ordered from someone else right then, but would have cheerfully returned in future years. Now I'm fed up and I doubt that I'll ever order from them again.
Sidenote: Their new packaging is horrible! Small seeds stick (from static) to the inside and it's very difficult to get them out without spilling them or hacking the package to bits.
I ordered 6 seed packets which were expensive already, and was then told shipping would be $7.81. I ordered anyway, and the actual shipping was $1.31, and when I called to complain they were completely unsympathetic, offered no reimbursement or credit or even an apology. I even said twice that this would be my last order, due to the extreme high cost and that didn't seem to bother them in the slightest.
On Apr 8, 2008, Ladeedah Lindenwood, IL (Zone 4b) wrote:
I am a professional cut-flower grower and have ordered from this company for a number of years. I placed an order with them on April 1. The person who took my order by phone was very pleasant. Only one of my choices was unavailable. I had the seeds by April 7.
I would not hesitate to order from this company. They have some wonderful varieties which are unavailable anywhere else. Their seed packaging is top notch in the industry and safeguards the delicate seeds to ensure excellent keeping and excellent germination. I am happy to support this fine company with repeat business and thank them for providing me with some very unusual varieties for my cut-flower markets and appreciative customers.
There's definitely a risk in relying on a company that is as environmentally and socially responsible as SOC is. I also know the frustration of having backordered seeds that eventually don't come. But I do think there is something really important about supporting them - and hope that our support for them will help them to be more proactive.
I buy seeds from Seeds of Change every year. The seeds germinate excellently, the company has a solid reputation for producing excellent organic seed, they offer a great variety of seed including heirloom varieties, and their gardening equipment is of high quality. I have never had any difficulty with paying for or receiving my seed order. Last year, I ordered seedlings, but the order was canceled due to unfavorable weather at their grower’s farm. Regardless, seed orders have always been timely and uncomplicated. This company is one of my garden staples..
On Apr 3, 2008, newgardener32 Schaumburg, IL wrote:
Placed my order on Feb. 10th for potato's I did not see the 2nd day shipping method charge. I got my $9.50 potato's on April 2nd. shipping alone cost me $13.20. that is more than the potatoes... they could have shipped them ground!!!
I wish that was in bigger print I would not have ordered from them. the good thing is they did not charge my credit card until it shipped.
If I order from them again I would read the small print.
On Apr 2, 2008, CintiMG Richboro, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:
I ordered two Cox Orange Pippin Apple trees Sept 21 2007 over the internet and received confirmation of the order. Today, 4/2/2008 I called to enquire when they would be shipped and was told "They cancelled the order - I'm sorry they didn't tell you. Those trees are no longer available"
On Mar 26, 2008, greengiraffe edmonton Canada wrote:
Be wary of ordering from Canada! I ordered seeds from Seeds of Change in Feb 2008. The website would not accept an order from Canada, so I called in to place an order. I was told the order could not be shipped until the shipping amount was calculated at the warehouse, and that this would happen quickly "usually within 24 hours". Noone contacted me with the shipping amount for days and I called the company later in the week only to be told that my order was still being processed and that I would be called. I ended up calling the company approximately 4 times over a 2 week period. Each time the staff were very friendly, but noone seemed to be able to tell me what was happening to my order! Noone ever did call me back with shipping amounts and on my second last phone call to them (2 weeks after my order was placed) I asked the clerk to have someone call me back that day with information as to what happened to my order and a shipping quote. I informed them that I would cancel my order if I did not hear back. Two days later I called them intending to cancel my order. The clerk informed me that the order had shipped already, and sure enough it arrived later that day. Noone ever did give me a shipping quote (by phone or email), it was just automatically billed. To top it all off, the company always sends out a free pack of seeds in your order as a token of thanks for your business...they included the thank you card saying that there were free seeds enclosed but there were no free seeds! I sent an email back to them about my experience and asked to be contacted and noone has responded to me. I have ordered from this company years ago with no problems, but this is the last time I will order from them, I will find a local supplier of heirloom organic seed.
I placed an internet order for a fairly large amount of seed. I noticed that some of the seeds were on backorder. I called customer service to find out what the availability time frame was. I was told that the seeds just needed packaging and that they would be ready in a few days. I placed the order. I called back a few weeks later and asked about my order. I was told that they would have a better idea in a few days. I called back and was told that some of the order was still not available. I asked which items that might be as I could get by without some of them. The operator told me that the only way that she could tell was by looking at each item separately. I said go ahead and do that. Well, it turned out that a large portion of the seeds were on back order. Even ones that did not show that when I submitted. I was also told that they did not know when they would be available. It was getting very close to the time to start many of the seeds, so I cancelled the order. I sent an email to the company describing my experience. I also said that I would like to do business with them in the future. I never got a response.
I started to order online, but ended up calling them after I noticed that a few of the seeds I wanted were backordered, with no information as to when they would be available. The person on the phone did not seem to know when they would be available either, but I placed the order anyway. We received our order noting the items on backorder. About 2 months later, we received all but one of the backordered items, and were charged another shipping charge, even though they clearly state that back orders will not be charged additional shipping. When we called to inquire about the shipping charge, they told us that we placed two different orders, and ARGUED with us when we stated that the backordered items were on our original invoice! They still did not know when the remaining backordered item (peppers) would be available, so we had to cancel those and order from another company, as we need to start peppers now. We are certified organic growers, thus we have used seeds of change as our "go to" company. After this very frustrating experience, we are going to try to buy elsewhere in the future. Thankfully there are more and more companies now offering certified organic seeds.
On Jan 28, 2008, locoporloros Lambertville, NJ wrote:
What is up at Seeds of Change? I've had some 15+ years of consistently wonderful experiences with this company and it's products, from the ordering process, to speedy receipt of orders, the best overall germination rate over anyone else's seeds, extraordinarily nice customer service people, &etc. Today it took way too long to place a small order. Many products shown in the catalog were not listed on the website - items which a phonecall revealed were indeed available after all. The first customer service person with whom I spoke was extremely curt, explaining that not everything shown in the catalog was posted yet and that the items may be posted at some future (unspecified) point. I was instructed to place my online order and then call back to order the additional items over the phone. When I did that, a much more pleasant (thankfully) customer service rep had to reconfigure the order I'd placed online into two separate orders, seeds and plants, and recalculate the amount owed for each order.
Given my long standing regard of this company I'm willing to give this annoying instance the benefit of the doubt and write it off to a one-time wierdness, but heads up folks - if what you see in the catalog isn't showing on the website, call customer service and ask - chances are it IS available after all. Also - no more 5% discount for online orders (even though the announcement when you're on 'hold' still says there is).
Of all the seeds I've used over the years, SOC seeds have had a consistently high germination rate and seeds that are several years old will still perform very well. Still highly recommend their product.
I placed an order for a mix of vegetables, herbs, and flower seeds the 1st week of Jan. I received my complete seed order 2 days later, although I selected standard shipping. I do live in New Mexico, but even so, I had ordered in the afternoon, so they must have really got on it.
I ordered a packet of eggplant seeds and a paper pot maker from their website. My order arrived about 12 days from my purchase date (a little long but not enough to deter me from ordering again) and they included a free packet of seeds. Very nice touch.
Don't want to further damage seeds of change standing on this forum, but I do have the same frustrating experience with them every year: I order bulk seeds and one or more of them are put immediately on "backorder." Its December, their professional catalog has been out for some time, they've really had plenty of time to winnow and germ test the seeds, and they can only send me one out of three varieties that I ask for! (Last year, they barely got me my corn by June 1, and I had to put a fire under them to make even THAT happen.) Unless I'm extremely unlucky, they must be listing MANY varieties that they do not yet have in stock. This is difficult for the customer, and it is difficult for them--its hard to keep track of backorders, and multiple shipping is expensive for them. At this rate I'm going to have to bother them with a phone call to confirm availability every time I order from them--I'm seeing their profits dwindling and their prices increasing before my very eyes...
On Oct 7, 2007, zebraman Venice, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:
I ordered Tahitian melon squash seeds as I didn't have enough from the seeds I bought from Sandhill to grow a healthy germplasm.I had already had the Sandhill seeds sprouting and Sandhill takes Forever to ship.The seeds (2 packs) from SOC came really quickly,however the resulting plants produced everything but Tahitian melon squash,half the squash grew like TMS but stalled half grown,never getting ripe,some were egg shaped,two of them had the seed cavity at the stem end.This is Not the same company now that M&M Mars owns it.They are clearly not saving seed from a large enough Germplasm.I called the Company and the person I spoke too had No Idea what a Healthy Germplasm was.Did Not understand the term "Out-Breeding".I will Never buy seeds from this Co. Ever Again!
On Jul 30, 2007, KrissyKol Westfield, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:
I had originally placed a large order with SOC but had to cancel the order a short time later. Customer Service responded very well and canceled the order for me with no problems. I did, however, decide to keep the potatoes that had already been shipped. They arrived on time and were excellent quality. I just pulled some out of the ground yesterday and they are absolutely beautiful.
On Jul 6, 2007, BDale60 Warren, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:
We've been ordering from Seeds of Change for nearly ten years now, and my experience with them has been nearly always positive. The printed catalog and website include beautiful photographs and helpful descriptions. I've only ordered seeds, never plants. The seeds have a marvelous germination rate and the plants mature true to form as described. Good company, good philosophy, good product.
On occasion I've had trouble with the "backorder" issue raised in other posts about SOC. That is, I've ordered a variety and received notification that it is on "backorder" which places the buyer in some limbo since one is never completely sure if the order will or will not be filled. Unlike books or shoes or lampshades, the "backorder" issue is a bit dicey with seeds since one has a limited window of opportunity for planting. I tend to order quite early in the season so I still have other options (including other companies) if a "backorder" problem occurs, but this seems to be an area where SOC could improve. More often than not I've either gotten my seeds (a little later but still in time) or I've gotten notification that the variety is unavailable for the season in time to make alternative plans, thus my "Positive" rating for this company.
I ordered 6 tomato seedlings in mid January. April 9th I Emailed the company about the shipping date, since I had ordered tomato plants last year and they were delivered the first of April. I received an Email from them stating they would be shipping in a few days,"most likely this week". When I didn't receive them, I inquired again at the end of April, and this time I was told they would be delivered May 13th to May 31st. I have a very short growing season, with an early spring and short summer, so I Emailed them that I needed to get them in the ground now, and although I like green tomatoes in September, I like ripe tomatoes in August better, and asked for an early shipment on April 28th. It's May 24th and I received them today. They are a little dehydrated, which is amazing, since the nursery is only 65 miles away, but they are absolutely beautiful, and if not somewhat wilted, would be terrifically robust. I can't figure out how they got so wilted. I was going to give a negative feedback, but because of the fantastically georgeous plants (although slightly wilted), I have changed my mind to a neutral. Now l'll see if I am able to get any ripe tomatoes this year at all. I won't order from them next year, unless I am assured I will receive them at least by the first week in May.
On May 21, 2007, sagesue115 Willow Grove, PA wrote:
In March I ordered a six pack of their "top seller tomato seedlings". It is now 5/21. I have called the company twice; I asked to speak to customer service and told them my problem. They said they "are not available". I told them I ordered them in March for a zone6 garden!. She then spoke to her supervisor who said they would be "ready to ship" in a week. That is not acceptable. I was never informed that the plants would not be available at the correct shipping time; nor was I notified that they would be very late. I will NEVER ORDER FROM THEM AGAIN!!
I ordered 30 strawberry plants to be delivered April 30.When I had not yet received plants on May 12, I looked on web site to confirm order, and found order was cancelled. I then called comapny, and was told all strawberry orders for that year were cancelled. When I asked why I was not informed, I was told "I should have received a letter." They had my email address, but did not send me an email stating order had been cancelled. The person I spoke to was very polite and apologetic, but I will never order from this company again.
On May 1, 2007, Niere Chepachet, RI (Zone 5b) wrote:
I wish there was a "neutral-to-negative" rating, because that is how I would classify my experience. Not totally neutral, not totally negative. Perhaps "completely dissatisfied" comes closer to the mark.
Sometime back in March I placed an order for their Sunflower collection. It was meant to be a gift for a friend--her favorite flowers are sunflowers and I thought the varieties in their collection seemed like those she would enjoy. Anyway, soon after I placed the order I had to cancel it because we had to close our credit card out because of the whole hacking incident with Johnny's. Once we received our new credit card I called SOC back and re-ordered the collection--no problem. I subsequently received two letters from SOC that the seeds were on back order and there would be a delay. Last Thursday I called the company and asked to speak to someone who had concrete knowledge about what was going on with the seeds and was told that the person to speak to was out of the office and that he would call me back on Monday. After waiting most of the morning (granted, I'm East Coast, I'm assuming they're either MT or Pacific) to hear from someone and not hearing anything I called them and was put on hold only to be reconnected with a different customer service rep. This time I was told that the problem wasn't with the seed, but with the packaging. They said it might be another 30 days before I get the seed and at that point I cancelled my order. Later that day I received a letter from them stating that my order was still delayed and that if they didn't hear from me in 14 days they would cancel the order.
To be honest every customer service rep I spoke with was very pleasant and apologetic and that does count for something, therefore I have a hard time classifying this as purely "negative." But pleasant customer service doesn't get sunflowers blooming in my friends sunflower beds. And their website mentions nothing about this collection being out of stock whatsoever.
I will probably not order from this company again unless it is something I absolutely cannot find elsewhere and unless I know for a fact that they have it in stock. It's a shame really, because I admire their organic ethic.
On Apr 26, 2007, trillium612 Portage, WI (Zone 4b) wrote:
I have only ever had positive experiences with this company. I have always found their seed to be of excellent quality with high germination. I like that they sell unique varieties. It is the only place I have found the orange celosia, which is a gorgeous variety that has even yielded bicolor orange and red forms and a few exceptionaly huge ones as well as the multi stemmed plant. I appreciate any company that stands behind and supports organic and family farms. I have always have excellent experience with their shipping and they included the free packet again this year. I will continue to order from this company as long as I am producing cut flowers. I love their unique varieties of ornamental corn as well and have excellent luck with them even in heat and drought where modern hybrids fail.
I placed a small seed order with Seeds of Change. I chose the option of paying for 2nd day express delivery as I needed to get the seeds started quickly for a church plant sale. I waited- no seeds. after 1 week I emailed them. No reply. I tried contacting them again and again. Nothing. I fogot about it until 2 months later I got a letter in the mail from Seeds of Change. It was a generic "Dear Valued Customer" we are out of stock on this item type letter. A week after this the seeds arrived and I was still charged the fee for 2nd day express delivery! SOC used to be an alright company. What the heck has happened? I will never order from them again. To top it off the seeds I ordered have given me less than 20% germination. I sure feel cheated!
On Apr 8, 2007, loveliesbleedin West Plains, MO wrote:
Seed order was placed and took over 3 months to arrive. I placed several phone calls to the company "customer service" and was basically told, they were working on it. No apologies, no explantation except they were still "picking the seeds." Seed order did finally arrive, but way late for my gardening zone in TX. I will never order from them again, not becaseu of the products, but the total laack of conern for customer service.
2007 is the third year I am ordering from Seeds of Change. In 2005, I ordered both seeds and seedlings, and everything grew well. In 2006, though, both the pepper seedlings and salsa set seedlings arrived in poor condition and we found bugs on them. SOC customer service staff was very pleasant and hepful, sending free replacements for one and refunding us for the other. However, the replacement seedlings were in equally poor condition. I purchased seeds from them this year, but chose not to purchase seedlings this year as a result. As all of these were drop-shipped, I hope that SOC tightens up their quality control with their growers.
On Feb 22, 2007, Chicago_Burbs North Aurora, IL wrote:
Love Seeds of Change.
Love organic & the varietey of items.
Wish they had more seedling options rather than just assortments.
Order seedlings early - they sell out quickly (at least that was my experience in 2005 and 2006).
Seem to be over priced on seedlings, but they do arrive in great quality.
Mountain Valley Growers (www.mountainvalleygrowers.com) grew the tomato and pepper seedlings I received from them in 2005 and 2006 and did a great job packing and shipping the plants which arrived in excellent condition. (You can't buy the seedlings direct from Mountain Valley Growers - they only sell flowers, strawberries and herbs direct.)
On Jan 21, 2007, emeraldblue70 West Sacramento, CA wrote:
First time order and so far I am not overly impressed. I ordered six packets of seed and received them within 7 days from placing the order. No free packet of seed included. Perhaps I did not order or spend enough. Shipping is on the pricey side compared to other vendors.
Seed packets were the amounts as promised with the exception of Chires Baby Corn which came up with less than the140 seeds stated in the catalog. Still there is enough to get a decent crop from.
Website has been confusing. Prices in the print catalog have not matched what is in the website even with the 5% added. My thought is if that they are going to change pricing and shipping, they need to do it across the board in one release instead of updating it when they feel like it. It's not good customer service to have price descrepencies on many items.
While they can improve in these areas, what is going to count now is how well they germinate and grow. "Organic" is secondary to me. I purchased seeds from Seeds of Change because they have a few varieties of tomatoes and peppers I cannot get from anywhere else.
I ordered online and received my complete order in less than a week. Their shipping charge was fair and they included a free packet of seeds which I really appreciated. Just so happens it was one I was thinking of ordering and did not.
I placed an order on Jan. 6, 2006, for several items, including a salsa six pack of plants. All the non-plant items came, but on Mar. 30 I called to check on status of live plants. The rep said oh, sorry that item is all sold out. She acknowledged that it probably wasn't sold out when I placed my order. I was NEVER notified of the problem. Not by email or via the partial shipping slips. Little late to start tomatillo seed in New England for me now! Very poor way to communicate and deal with customers.
On May 15, 2006, jif91 Huntington Beach, CA wrote:
We've had one positive and one negative experience--ending up neutral. The first time we ordered seed packets--they came quickly and most seemed to sprout. We've bought them from a store, as well.
Then right at the beginning of this year, We just received their catalog--telling us to order now for fruit trees "go quickly". Well we ordered right away, online. Not long after, we were checking on our order--online--and one tree said "Cancelled" the second tree said "Customer cancelled". We thought that was really strange since we didn't make any cancellations. We tried emailing them--no response. Again we emailed--no response. So we called the customer service line where the gal was pretty curt, not wanting to give us any info as to why it happened--just that "We" had cancelled one tree--and the other would be drop shipped sometime in the future. It sounded as though it was our fault, not theirs???
We tried emailing again about the phone experience--no response.
And on the phone they told us the one tree had sold out--well weeks later, maybe months later it was still advertised as "available" on their website and in the numerous catalogs that we are sent.
We love Organic gardening---but we're a little leery of a company that doesn't respond to emails quickly--and doesn't want to give any info over the phone.
their reputation in stores and online has kind of gone downhill in our eyes.
The seeds I have received from Seeds of Change have been viable, and produced beautiful plants. I placed an order late this year (early May) and was pleased and suprised to find that I received my seeds within 5 days of ordering. Bonus seeds were also a plus.
I guess one positive experience and one negative makes a neutral!
My positive experience is that the seeds arrived almost immediately and they are already growing.
My negative experience is that I ordered lacewing eggs for my heated greenhouse and paid for 2-day shipping. After 3 calls and 4 weeks the only answer I am able to get is they have been "drop shipped" meaning they do not have them in stock and that they are being sent from somewhere else. I think this should be explained in their catalogue so one does not get the impression that Seeds of Change actually has this item available for sale.