Johnnys was recommended to me by a friend. They put a lot of effort into their catalog, pretty informative and appealing. I hadnt bought seed by mail in many years. I got all excited and ordered $140 of seed last year. It ended up being a pretty sorry year for my garden, I cant blame it all on the seed but had poor results with several crops. particularly poor germination luck with Toscano Kale, paydirt sweet corn, onions (seed), and eggplant. I regret departing from my local seed dealer last season, prices of seed from johnnys was from 2-6 times more expensive than it is just 5 miles down the road from me. The small packets (what one would typically order when experimenting with a "new" crop) are quite expensive for a MINISCULE amount of seed. I probably wont order from Johnnys again unless I really need a special variety that I cant find anywhere else.
30 yr. customer Johnny's customer. I never worried once about shipping. Never complained about germination rates. Some things can't be helped. But less than a hundred seed in a packet of Arugula stated to contain 500 minimum? 12 Marigold seed in a packet costing $3.59? I called to complain about the shorting on Arugula and heard this from customer service: "Happens. I suppose you want another packet." Tried to inquire if there was harvesting difficulty or limited availability (rarity) of the Marigold seed and was told: I'm not sure what your complaint is." I can buy Marigold seed locally for half the price for 10 times the quantity. My final dealings with Johnny's. They won't miss my 60-80$ annual order, or at least their customer rep won't. I won't miss them!
I searched the net to buy seeds and ended up buying from 5 different companies on the net and about 2-3 more from various stores in my local area.
I purchased the bulk of seeds from Johnnys.
Some of their seeds did not germinate at all. Which I'm really mad about. The Beneficial Insect mix, which has a variety of herbs only sprouted like 10 cilantro greens and that was it from my 1 ounce packet.
I've also had problems with many other seeds sprouting, and then dying off.
Overall, I'm more dissatisfied than satisfied, because of the mixed results I've gotten.
Also, their shipping rates are terribly expensive and their rates aren't as competitive as I'd like.
On Jul 21, 2011, taufgardner American Fork, UT wrote:
Posted on March 23, 2004, updated July 21, 2011
Seeds came as ordered and quickly.
On July 21st, 2011, taufgardner changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
It had been a few years since I had ordered from Johnny's and now I remember why. Last time, I ordered a unique variety of zucchini. This time I ordered a unique variety of pole bean (Fortex). In each order, I found the germination and performance to be less than my experience with other companies. When I opened the packet to plant the beans, about half were split and broken. The rest germinated at about 40%. I kept putting seeds in the appointed spots until I had germination at all but one of my poles. At any rate, I used Johnny's each time because they carried a desired variety I couldn't get anywhere else and are highly rated on Watchdog. I order from many sources and have terrific luck with my gardens, so I can confidently attribute the poor results to the supplier. Probably won't use again, unless they are the only suppliers for something I just gotta have. Then I will over-order and over-plant because I believe the seeds will perform poorly.
We are very sorry you've had a disappointing experience with us and that your order was not received. I would be happy to look into this matter and make it right. Could you please send me your order number or your other contact information so that we can help? Please email in the information to email@example.com
I searched through johnnyseeds.com and was ready to order $30 worth of seed. I read the negative review regarding Johnny's using seeds from Monsanto and stopped order immediately. I confirmed through the link that Johnny's does in fact use seeds from Monsanto. Do not order from Johnny's or any other company using Monsanto!
On Mar 23, 2009, Johnny's Selected Seeds responded with:
On Jan 6, 2010 11:54 AM, Johnny's Selected Seeds added:
Johnny's is not affiliated with Monsanto. We carry 21 varieties of seeds from Seminis, which was bought by Monsanto. We are in the process of replacing all 21 varieties and will continue that effort as suitable replacements are found.
And was Shocked to see Johnny's on the list of those who use Monsanto seeds (Seminis) , especially since many of my organic gardening friends use them.
Please re-think your policy, and don't thtink you cabn just hide this!
On Mar 20, 2009, Johnny's Selected Seeds responded with:
I think Johnny's seed selection is great, they have unique varieties at fairly reasonable prices.
My negative is the ID Theft. I was a victim. I read their response and believe that they are honestly trying to fix the problem, but that doesn't put aside the fact that this was the first time I ordered from this company, and I may NEVER order again.
I had to get a new Credit Card, call everyone I had recently placed an order with and tell them to change my card on file, or when they tried to run my card they would get a invalid # warning. I had to get credit reports and am still watch dogging them.
I work in retail, and know they were very lucky that no one has yet used one of those stolen cards, or the fines levied against the company would be unsurmountable. It is a huge offense to not protect CC data.
I ordered over $100 in seeds and was charged a very high shipping rate for a very small package. How about a good faith offer for those of us who had to go through this. Credit my shipping cost from this year; Send me a COUPON for free shipping over $25 for next year, or just a coupon free seeds based on a minimum purchase. Try to keep me as a customer, keeping my data safe is something that is required, going above that will keep me buying.
I am disgusted my mikeinmaine's fingerwagging. You didn't have to deal with a stolen identity because of the oversight and disregard for security of this company. I did.
The fact that they didn't have antivirus on their computers, the fact that someone had access to all 12,000 credit card numbers, and the fact that they were unencrypted is just plain sloppy.
How do they respond? A snail mail letter a few weeks after it happened! How many people threw it away thinking it was junk mail? How many people don't realize that this company put their finances at risk?
As far as I am concerned, they deserve all of the bad press they can get.
On April 17th, 2007, JimStout added the following:
I understand that no one hacked into the system, by why would one person be able to read all 12,000 credit cards just by logging into a system? Why were the card numbers not encrypted/obfuscated/in an easy to steal format in the first place? Why were there not layers between the internet and intranet with sensitive information in the first place? That is extremely poor computer infrastructure.
A letter seems very impersonal. Putting the burden on the customer to fix this situation seems like you are passing the buck. I almost threw that letter away. How many people are still unaware that you allowed their personal information to be exposed? How many of your customers had their cards used? Do you have any hard numbers?
If you were a bit more proactive, perhaps with a phone call like was suggested earlier, I wouldn't be so upset. Now that this fiasco is winding down, all you have to do is worry about bad press while I have to deal with the paranoia because your company allowed someone to steal my money. On Apr 16, 2007, Johnny's Selected Seeds responded with:
On Apr 16, 2007 10:37 AM, Johnny's Selected Seeds added:
Dear Dave's Garden Community,
Folks who were affected by the theft have every right to be upset. The stealing of credit card data was inexcusable. No doubt about that. Johnny's takes this theft extremely seriously and we are making necessary changes to prevent it from ever happening again. The increasing frequency of these crimes is disturbing and many, many companies are finding themselves in a similar and unfortunate position. Johnny's is deeply sorry the theft occurred.
Our response, we think, was very fast (within 8 days of discovery). Johnny's chose to notify customers immediately, which is not necessarily the practice in these situations. Many companies choose not to notify customers for months while there is an ongoing investigation. We felt, however, it was important to be honest up front. Drafting the letter, having it printed, and then mailed took 7 days.
We encourage our customers to call us and talk to us. 1-877-564-6697. It's toll-free. Call us. We would be happy to answer your questions.
I wanted to address some of the statements being made, however, and lend perspective to the situation. We also have a FAQ available upon request for those who would like more information.
Johnny's absolutely has security in its business and on the website. We absolute do have anti-virus scanners. On every machine, and we've had them constantly. Data on the website is indeed encrypted.
Here were the weaknesses:
1. We had a single anti-virus program running on all machines. The libraries are updated every time there is an update available. We did not, however, have 3 anti-virus programs running. It is a fact that a single anti-virus program is not enough to capture all the nasty things thieves can throw at a system. We now have 3 in place, and nothing is getting through.
2. There is encryption on the site. The thieves did not hack into the web databse. They did not brute force an entry. They logged on with a valid username and password into a secured portion of the website and downloaded a small portion of order files. It was as if they were one of Johnny's employees. How they gained access to this information, we do not know yet. The FBI is still conducting an investigation.
Credit card details are fully encrypted absolutely everywhere on the website and access to this information also now protected by requiring VPN restricted access as well as windows authentication, as well as admin interface user authentication - 3 tiers of secured access.
Johnny's fully accepts and understands customer disappointment, anger, and upset. We feel the same way about this. We are sorry this happened. Johnny's 34-year business has been built on a firm foundation of excellent product and customer service. Our rating here, even with recent negative postings, is outstanding. This is the first situation to produce a mar on Johnny's otherwise unblemished reputation and we are asking customers to take a breath and to try to empathize. It doesn't excuse the theft. Nothing can do that. We are asking for folks to be human and to allow us to make the changes necessary to resolve the issue and to provide us with, we think, a much deserved second chance.
Their response to the credit card situation was poor at best. If I ever order from them in the future it will be through the mail and by check and that is only if I can't get the product anywhere else. And for some to get their notices 7 days or more later than the first is also uncalled for. I don't care if they would of had to pay overtime to call these people they should have. I hope they have learned their lesson but by their by their attutude I have my doubts. There is other vendors out there that really care about customers.
On April 19th, 2007, elkwc36 added the following:
I was involved in a similar case with another online transaction and was called immediately upon them finding the problem. And assume all others were also. I know it may cost a little more and also they may have to pull some people off other duties fora day or so. But those people may have plenty of time in the future if enough take their business elsewhere as it is evident it isn't a very high priority with Johnny's. If they would come out and say they made a big mistake in notifying people it would be different. We all make mistakes but to uphold their poor response just makes you think they would do it the same way if it happened again. JMOOn January 12th, 2009, elkwc36 changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
The total lack of response by Johnny's show their lack of concern for their customers and the inconvenience they experienced.
I also got the letter from Johnny's letting me know that they allowed someone to steal my information with their negligence. The money in my account was spent on dirty things that I really felt uncomfortable having to explain what happened with my bank.
The fact that they waited for weeks and put the burden on me to fix the situation was ludicrous. They may say that they contacted my bank, but I can confirm that they absolutely did NOT.
The time frame that they reacted in was ridiculous. 2 weeks to react to only send me a letter? If my credit line was compromised, I would expect a personal call or at least an impersonal e-mail. My financial future could have been affected by my choice to order only 4 packs of seeds.
Johnny's doesn't care about their customers and this was totally illustrated by how they reacted to their customer's information being handed out like candy.
I was one of those customers whose credit card information was stolen and subsequently used. I noticed 2 match.com transactions, which I have never used, and immediately called my bank. Sure enough, I got the letter from Johnny's telling me my data had been stolen a few days later.
Their response to the breach was totally inadequate. I left several courteous messages on the voice mail of someone who I assume was the PR spin department, but never got a call back. I hope it costs them their business for how much they inconvenienced their customers.
I have zero trust in them and I have been telling everyone that I can about what utter disregard they have for their customers and the inability to keep their data safe.
I've ordered from this company many times with positive results, but this week I tried to place an order on their website. I spent about an hour getting my order together. When I clicked submit, it didn't appear to go through. I emailed Johnny's and received no reply. I clicked highest priority asked for a read receipt and nothing has returned to me so I'm assuming they haven't even read my email. I waited two days and emailed again. I've still received no reply. I can't tell if my order was placed and now my shopping basket is empty. I'm very disapointed in their customer service, which is too bad as I always liked their products.
On Mar 9, 2007, Johnny's Selected Seeds responded with:
On Mar 12, 2007 11:56 AM, Johnny's Selected Seeds added:
Hi there -
Two brand new web servers were put in place due to the recent theft incident. There have been known issues with the site and we do apologize if it wasn't working for you. We understand how frustrating it is, and we're working to resolve issues as quickly as we can on the new web servers. Email also has a bad way of getting caught up in SPAM filters, unfortunately. Email is not a guaranteed means of getting in touch with us due to how many can get flagged as SPAM. We respond to just about every email we do get, however.
If you haven't heard from us, and you know that we usually respond very quickly, then please do not assume we are ignorning you. Your email probably did not get through. Please CALL us, and we'll be happy to help you. Toll-free: 1-877-564-6697.
Sorry to report, but I was one of those w/ compromised credit card information. These things happen; however, to send snail mail (and at the standard rate yet) when my phone number and e-mail address is available is unacceptable. Had their response been more prompt--even a general e-mail stating the situation, it would have allowed me to kill the card immediately.
I saw today that their site is now "hacker safe". That's nice to know. When I call them tomorrow (during normal business hours only--no hotline available), I intend to point out that my trust in their ability to protect my information is gone; I am sorry about their PR disaster, but their response was totally inadequate.
BTW, I also took the liberty to post the overall contents of their letter to me and the timeline involved on the e-bay garden groups/discussion boards I belong to, just to provide information to anyone considering using them as a supplier. Would you believe the post was near instantaneous. The net is so amazing and so fast. It gives you a good feeling inside to provide a public service.
On Mar 2, 2007, donn Great South Bay, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:
I received the letter also.
The company's protestation puzzles me:
"Yes, sensitive information was compromised at Johnny's. However, it was NOT due to a web site hack. Please do not assume the details before you hear them."
The first line of the letter from Johnny's reads as follows:
"I am contacting you to advise you that on February 4, 2007 an unauthorized person, from outside Johnny's, broke into our website and stole data."
I'm sure Johnny's PR person can understand why those of us who received that letter assumed the website was compromised.
Be that as it may, I fully understand how data security can be difficult at best. I do, however, fault Johnny's for the theft. When they store our personal data, they assume responsibility for it.
I am far more irritated by their response to the issue. It isn't so much the fact it took two weeks to discover the theft, but almost another two weeks to provide notification is inexcusable. In these days of virtually instant communication, I would expect an email, or a phone call in advance of the snailmail letter. I would further expect some sort of urgency on the envelope bringing the mail. I imagine many of us receive numerous window envelopes from vendors every day. Some may not immediately open such mail.
I opened mine, and am glad I did. My first call was to my credit card company, where I cancelled the account. They had not yet heard from Johnny's on the issue.
My next call was to Johnny's, where a very polite gentleman assured me they had arranged for their credit card processor to notify the issuers. When I advised him that my bank had not been notified, he apologized further.
I will likely continue to do business with Johnny's. I look to them for seeds, not computer prowess. I fully expect my order of onion sets to be delivered, on time, next month.
I will probably not, however, use their website for purchases, and will be reticent to give them any credit card information, either on the web or on the phone. It looks like I'll have to write checks.
Be aware of this company....I just received a letter indicating that someone broker into their website and sole personal data include credit card numbers. the worst part was this took place on february 4 and it took them until february 18 to discover this. i will never place an order with this unsecure website.
On Mar 1, 2007, Johnny's Selected Seeds responded with:
On Mar 1, 2007 10:22 PM, Johnny's Selected Seeds added:
Dear Gardening Group -
Allow me to speak for the company before emotion gives sway to truth.
Yes, sensitive information was compromised at Johnny's. However, it was NOT due to a web site hack. Please do not assume the details before you hear them.
The website is as safe and secure as it always was. The breach occured through internal engineering and the placement of a keylogging trojan virus on some of Johnny's internal machines. We have no idea where the trojan came from. The theft wasn't noticed because the thieves logged into the web interface using a valid username and password. The FBI is still investigating this crime and we haven't all the details yet.
Johnny's is reacting with immediacy on this situation and it is a situation we take most seriously. We are as outraged, disappointed, and shell-shocked as those people we had to reach out to and notify.
You may recall that TJ Maxx recently had 40 million card records stolen. This kind of theft is as rampant as it is unfortunate. This crime happens the world over to even those most secure of companies. Finger-pointing, blame-games, and inaccurate assumption of details does no one any good. We are responding to this as quickly as we can and we are sparing no step to prevent it from happening again.
In the end, Johnny's will wind up being even more secure that it originally was, and it will make the company stronger. There is no company that is immune to this crime.
We ask that those folks who have questions talk to us and understand the facts before people blindly passing judgements.
On Jan 20, 2007, White_Hydrangea Aurora, CO (Zone 5a) wrote:
My only experience with them has been unproductive, and they don't seem to care. I spent an evening picking out vegetable seeds for this year's garden. I got half way through checking out. I hit "continue checkout," and nothing happened. I tried several times. I backed up and tried again. I got out of the site, went back in, totally reselected all the seeds I had originally selected, and tried again. Nothing. Their website doesn't work. I'm not able to order. I tried to e-mail them, using their links. But that just brought up an old version of CompuServe on my computer, which doesn't do me any good because my computer is not hooked up to a phone. I used high-speed cable access now. I came to Dave's Garden and e-mailed them from here, finally, successfully. That was over a week ago. They never bothered to respond. So -- I can't order through their website. I can't contact them through their website. When I do contact them, they don't bother to respond. Even if they fixed everything so I could order from them, I wouldn't, because of their casual attitude toward customer service.
On Jan 20, 2007, Johnny's Selected Seeds responded with:
"To all of Dave's Garden users -
Customer service, quality seed, reliable shipping, you name it - we care about it - deeply. I am not alone when I write that Johnny's takes poor experiences very seriously and it bothers us a great deal. All of us here at Johnny's are shoppers and none of us likes a bad experience. We appreciate when you reach out and we most certainly want to hear from you.
If you have a poor experience, please call us first. E-mail is not always reliable and even internal email gets cuaght up in SPAM filters. If you have had a negative experience, do not trust email to communicate it through. Pick up a phone and call us, toll-free: 1-877-564-6697. That translates into 1-877-JOHNNYS so its easy to remember no matter where you are.
If you do email us, and you do not get a response, do not assume it's because we don't care. Those statements are inflammatory and nothing could be further from the truth. Responding to customers is a very serious part of our mission and email does not get ignored.
If email gets caught up in SPAM or other filters, though, there isn't much we can do, unfortunately. If there is a serious issue you need to tell us about, then it is even more critical that we respond to you quickly. Email is not dependable. Do not email us with a problem. Call us. We want to talk to you. TOLL-FREE: 1-877-564-6697.
If you do insist on email, then here are some paths:
Web problems can be directed to [e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Customer service issues can go to [e-mail:email@example.com]
Use [e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org] as a CC for back-up. I always take time to answer email.
We are here for you, for the good as well as the bad. Especially the bad. if you have a bad experience, we want to know about it so we can correct it.
Generally, Johnny's has high quality seeds which germinate well. However, I believe seed prices, in some cases, are no longer competitive. For example, Fiesta del Sol seed at Johnny's is double the price listed at another company and its shipping costs are less as well. A $3.95 charge on a purchase of less than $10 seems a bit steep. On the positive side, Johnny's catalog and website provide detailed information on growing plants which is not always available elsewhere. On balance, I am a former customer who is put off by their increasingly higher prices.
Used to love Johnny's. Something has happened to them, I think ownership is changing hands ("employee owned" or something like that). Their catalogue this year isn't nearly as good, many good old varieties are gone, and the "150 new varieties!" boasted on the cover are nearly 100 percent hybrids. They also warn you against heirloom tomatoes because they are apparently all diseased and rot too fast. This catalogue is no longer interesting to me-- and they are increasingly overpriced. (250 cauliflower seeds for $20.80.... yeah right... I don't care if it is a yellow cauliflower.)
No longer a customer! What a shame!
On Jan 14, 2007, Johnny's Selected Seeds responded with:
"Dear Kristin -
I wanted to let you know here in this forum that your email was received on Sunday and your thoughts were promptly responded to as soon as I got into the office this morning.
We hear that you are disappointed in the choice of the 2007 catalog cover. The email you received from me this morning and that you will receive from our Director of Sales and Marketing will speak to this opinion.
Johnny's has always carried a number of hybrid varieties. To address your specific comment, we carry three types of kohlrabi seed and we have carried these same three varieties since at least 2001, when I started working for Johnny's. The number of hybrids we carry in this category has not changed, at least not in 5 years. I do know that Johnny's tries to balance the number of hybrid and open-pollinated varieties it carries in response to market demand. If customers demand hybrid varieties, we will provide them, otherwise, they go to another seed company who does carry them.
We certainly respect your preference for open-pollinated varieties and if you are looking for a specific variety that we do not carry, our customer service representatives are always ready and willing to help you find it. You can call us toll-free at any time. 1-877-564-6697.
Johnny's, as always, is deeply and personally committed to providing the best quality seed and customer service we can. In working as an employee-owner of this company, I can tell you the people who work here care deeply about our products, the service we deliver, and the success of our customers. Since Rob Johnston, Jr. established the company in 1973, this dedication to quality and service has not changed, nor will it in the future.
We stand ready to assist you should you decide to call.
On Apr 23, 2005, gardening101usa Burlington, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:
Tomato, Red Cherry "Matt's Wild Cherry" claims minimum germination 80%, 40 seeds per pack (minipack). I Planted in starters three times now 16 seeds. I have six plants growing. All were started in a most favorable enviroment. Starter potting soil by Miracle Gro, in 2x2 square peat pots with bottom trays, waterered as they should be with gro lights 12 hours a day and heat mats set at 70 degrees F. Not a very good outcome.
Cherry tomatoes by Burpee and by Ferry Morse planted at the same time, same enviroment every seed germinated. So this was the comparison and why I gave Johnny's a "Big Negative" on this specific seed.