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Comments regarding R.H. Shumway Seeds

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54 positives
8 neutrals
35 negatives


Negative JLArnold
(1 review)
On May 8, 2021, JLArnold Chelsea, MI wrote:

This was a first time order and, definitely, a last! Fifty percent of the bare root asparagus bundle ordered was decent root stock, with the rest fairly insignificant. I also ordered a packet of New Zealand spinach seeds to try because it was indicated that these were adaptable to warmer weather. No where was it mentioned that this is not actually ‘true’ spinach. Who knows…maybe I’ll be surprised. The nasturtium seed packet was out-of-stock (a fact to which I was never alerted); when I requested that the item be canceled, two attempts were required to receive my $3.95 credit! Finally, reaching out to ‘customer service’ is an exercise in frustration. It takes days for them to respond by email, and then quite unprofessionally. But, calling is even worse! I called three times, and remained on hold for at least 45 minutes each time before a rather surly customer service person finally picked up.

Negative CatTea
(1 review)
On Mar 29, 2021, CatTea Seneca, SC wrote:

I've always loved the Shumway catalogue, which features lovely drawings in lieu of photographs. We used to buy a lot of seeds from them when I was a kid. More recently my family moved to a house with plenty of garden space, so we purchase a lot of seeds, plants, and supplies online as well as locally.

For the 2021 growing season we ordered several items including their Pyramid terraced garden *with* Fifty (50) strawberry plants ([[email protected]]). Here in South Carolina we have been planting our gardens since February. We cannot, however, plant our strawberries because this item has yet to arrive, even though it was listed as "In stock" when we ordered it back in December. Strawberries need to be planted soon, as they generally start to ripen at the end of April.

What we received about two (2) weeks ago was the strawberry plants only. No Pyramid Garden to plant them in. Again, this was sold as a set, and we paid for the two items as a set. It's like ordering a pair of shoes and receiving only one; what do you do with it? Now we have to worry not only about the strawberries being planted in time but also whether the plants will even survive to be planted.

We have emailed to RHS four (4) times and received no response, not even a confirmation of receipt. We have telephoned them, and the person we tried to speak with spoke such poor English that we suspect their C/S is outsourced to some third-world country; of course they had no answer for us, just "I'll check and get back to you." That was back when we first received the strawberry plants and all we're gotten from them since then is ... crickets. No email, no telephone, no snailmail response. We're also waiting for the Meyer Lemon tree we ordered from them, but as this is less time-critical we haven't followed up on it, altho' clearly we should start now.

I found your website when I was searching for the name and address of whoever actually runs the company so I could send a paper letter to them about this; we're convinced that they couldn't care less about the problem much less about keeping us as customers, but I wanted to give it another chance and hear that from somebody ostensibly in charge of the company. If anybody knows who is the Prez or CEO of RHS and how to reach them by snailmail I'd be very grateful if you would let me know. Or do I have to write to the Jung seed company? If so, who specifically?

So that is our experience with RH Shumway. It looks like our only recourse at this point is to call our credit-card bank and cancel the charges they made against it. Apparently the company is no longer the same company started and run by the original RH Shumway -- now that the company appears to have been sold out of the Shumway family nobody has skin in the game and couldn't care less about doing business in good faith (as has happened to so many formerly honourable family businesses).

There is a growing number of catalogue/online companies whose catalogues are thrown into the trash unread when they arrive at our home. Looks like Shumway will be the next addition to this group. Very disappointed and disgusted.

Negative Lmsatte
(1 review)
On Jul 20, 2020, Lmsatte Kansas City, MO wrote:

I ordered a plant from R.H. Shumway online. I used PayPal to pay for it. The plant never came and I got a notification that I got a refund from PayPal. I’ve never received any communication for R.H. Shumway about the plant.

I paid $9.99 for the plant and $11.95 for shipping. All they refunded me was the amount for the plant and not also the shipping. So I spent $11.95 on literally nothing. I would highly discourage anyone from doing business with them.

Negative L_byrd
(1 review)
On Aug 17, 2015, L_byrd Lucedale, MS wrote:

R.h. Shumway is a joke customer service is rude. An they don't update you on anything called to check on my order. They tell me at that time part of it didn't ship if they would have let me know about my order I could have done something different. I wouldn't recommend them to anyone.

On Aug 17, 2015, R.H. Shumway Seeds responded with:

"On Aug 18, 2015 9:21 AM, R.H. Shumway Seeds responded with:

We sincerely apologize for your bad experience. We try very hard to keep our inventory in stock but there are rare instances when items are delayed for a short period until a new shipment arrives and the seed can get packaged. We do try to get the orders out as quickly as possible to our customers. We are always looking for ways to improve and we appreciate your feedback."

Negative woof12
(17 reviews)
On Feb 28, 2014, woof12 Philadelphia, PA wrote:

Posted on April 2, 2013, updated February 28, 2014
Can't ever seem to get their spring catalog. Calling isn't any good. They always say there's none availinle.

On February 28th, 2014, woof12 added the following:

Rotten customer service. The only way to ge their "FREE" catalog is send $3.00! That's after being told they have no more.
Negative 13Shane7
(1 review)
On Feb 27, 2014, 13Shane7 Billings, MO wrote:

Horrible customer service. I have requested their catalog 4 times in the last 6 months. never recieved one, only to be told now that it's to late to get one unless I want to PAY them for it. Judging by the other comments here, I would say I dodged a bullet.

Negative mrdoitall
(3 reviews)
On Jan 18, 2014, mrdoitall Moores Mill, AL wrote:


Negative dmanister
(1 review)
On Dec 19, 2013, dmanister Jackson, NJ wrote:

I get their catalog, and I was shocked to find they sell inhumane underground mole traps! Very sad, especially when there are other mole deterrents available. I will not patronize them!!!

Negative GregTN
(1 review)
On Dec 17, 2013, GregTN Powell, TN wrote:

I ordered vegetable seeds from Shumway last year. They came in a timely manner and the germination rate for most of the seeds was acceptable. The hot banana pepper seeds did not germinate, not one. I told the company about this problem and they said they would send replacement seeds. I am still waiting.

Negative khadie
(7 reviews)
On Apr 9, 2012, khadie Montgomery Village, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

The offer of 4 free seed packets induced me to try this company. Now I feel like a fool. I was sent barely rooted plants, dried out looking strawberry crowns (compared to others I have received), and heartaches and hassles involving phone calls and post office trips. Did I mentioned the fungus gnat infestation, no extra charge--a freebie about as pleasant as the 4 free seed packets of "experimental varieties", experimental variety broccoli, tomato, bean and sweet corn.

The biggest YUCK of all is that they do not offer refunds or easily usable credits--they send a credit letter which one must use by mail or phone. Once you get the sucker's money, you have to try to keep it and keep them from easily using it-- I can only attribute such a policy to this philosophy. I am especially annoyed because I would like to end my association with this outfit once and for all, but I can't on principle let them have my money for free. I'll get seeds with my credit letters (should I send my order in by carrier pigeon?). Hope their lousy seeds are good : ).

I don't know why I decided to order from this antiquated company (not antiquated in the charming, salt-of-the-earth way, but antiquated in the oily shyster carnival barker way--get yer free seeds here...).

Why didn't I just stick to the angel companies that I know and love, that have eagerly and happily worked to make me 100% happy with a few problems or that have NEVER sent me a problem in the first place??? Oh yeah--the catalog is charming in an archaic way. If only their plants were as attractive as the catalog.

Those 4 free packets of anonymous varieties will cost a bundle once I factor in return shipping costs... and time and worry and negativity!

NB: in fairness a madeline hill rosemary looks good. so far.

Negative JeniAnn
(4 reviews)
On May 28, 2011, JeniAnn Long Grove, IA wrote:

The Pyrethum seeds came without a hitch. The lemon Grass I ordered was a tiny dried out tuft, I planted it and have been babying it ... but I don't think it will make it. The Pinapple sage that I bought was a mess! From an order of 3, 1 was wilted and 1/3 brown, 1 was a dangling wilted leaf draped over the edge of the pot and the other was a nice healthy plant. The Egyptian Top Set Onions will be sent in the fall. Fall? I don't want them in the fall, thank you. I have ordered in the past and been happy - but something went quite wrong this year. My message to them has not been acknowledged as of today:o(

Negative ArmyOfFive4God
(4 reviews)
On Dec 16, 2010, ArmyOfFive4God Rawlins, WY wrote:

This company is a JOKE!!! I ordered for the 09 season. My items were finally shipped (not rec'd but shipped) 3+ weeks after I'd ordered. When I rec'd my order, my pair of elderberry plants was missing. I called to inquire about this & was told they would ship them for my dates/area. This info was not emailed to me, nor was it included in my paperwork that was sent in my first shipment. I was given a timeframe as to when my plants would ship & after that time had elapsed, still no plants. I called back & voiced my discontent, but I did so in a calm & patient manner. The lady at CS wasn't very accommodating, understanding nor did she offer any apology or sympathy. The plants were finally sent out a few days later.

I rec'd the plants, planted them per the instructions & one withered away. I decided to give it an extra year, knowing that first year transplants often may not grow but then come back the following year. 2010- still no elderberry plant. One plant survived & not the other even when planted in the same soil, the same way, at the same time, with the same water? Of course, now it doesn't matter that one survived, because without a male & female plant, I don't have elderberries :-(

This company really needs to work on customer service, which includes communication.

Negative bigarden
(1 review)
On Sep 16, 2008, bigarden Beecher, IL wrote:

I have ordered from this company before a number of times with no problems. This year I ordered 12 seed packets. 2 of the varieties I received were "Not true to name." ( A polite way of saying they got the wrong seeds in the packets.) I might have been less upset if it was just one variety, but 2? In the same order? Specifically, I ordered Muskmelon and now have small white pumpkins growing. I ordered Celebrity tomatoes and have a heart shaped tomato growing. (Celebrity tomato is NOT heart shaped. ) Well , at least it was a tomato.
I wrote to the company and they issued a credit for the price of the two packets. Gee, what about the shipping cost? And the lost season? Gosh!
I have never had a problem like this from any other mail order seed seller.
I will only order from this company to use the credit and any other business will go elsewhere.

Negative dodges7
(13 reviews)
On May 13, 2007, dodges7 Alna, ME (Zone 5b) wrote:

8 pepper seedlings ordered for $ 11.45. Seedlings had only one set of leaves and were in completely dried out Jiffy 7 plugs loosely packed in a small box (apparently wedged in two plastic pots when moist). If the dryness hadn't killed them, the bouncing in shipping probably would have. I have never received such tiny seedlings from any mail or on-line nursery. Will never do business with them again.

Negative cemcoatl
(2 reviews)
On Mar 20, 2004, cemcoatl Elgin, TX wrote:

The length of time it takes between ordering from this company is too long . place your orders right now so you can get them next year.

Negative mareilly
(1 review)
On Mar 3, 2003, mareilly wrote:

I placed my seed order in January. It's now March and I have received every other seed order I placed. Shumway seeds still haven't arrived. I just called their 800 number. Had to redial 5 times before I didn't get a busy signal. Spent 10 minutes on hold before giving up. I just sent them an email from their web site asking about order status. Will keep you posted - am very unhappy.

On March 7th, 2003, mareilly added the following:

After a week of attempting to contact Shumway by phone I finally got through. I was told the majority of items in my order were backordered, but that (what a coincidence!) my order was in the filling department and the other items would probably be sent out today. I told the rep to cancel my order (most of what I wanted was backordered).

After I hung up, I called my bank (should have done this first) and found out that my check was cashed on February 13th! I am so irritated with this company - I will *never* place another order with them.
Negative Javabean
(3 reviews)
On Feb 25, 2003, Javabean Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

After reading their "starting over story" in the new Shumway catalog, I thought I would give this garden supplier a chance. I placed a seed order with Shumway by mail in January. The check cleared on February 3. I have not received merchandise or an update regarding the location and expected delivery time of my merchandise. Based on the other reviews and my own experience, I will not order from Shumway's again.

Negative chickenman
(19 reviews)
On Feb 25, 2003, chickenman Somerset, PA wrote:

This company is a joke. I ordered seeds last February (2002) and I did not recieve them until June. And this was after many phone calls wondering where my order was. Last summer I received an apology and a coupon. I ordered seeds last fall and did not have a problem. I figured they just had an off year and the problem was taken care of, well I was wrong. I ordered a 12' heating cable this year in January over the internet and still haven't received it. After I get this order taken care of, it will be the last one placed with this seed company. Having it take 4 weeks plus to receive an order placed on the internet is insane. Especially when other seed companies have your order in your mail box in less than two weeks.

Negative hangsix
(8 reviews)
On Feb 19, 2003, hangsix wrote:

Last year this company had a fire , so I was aware that they
had some 'NEGATIVE ' issues ! However I was Sincerely ,,,
willing to give the another chance this year ,,, due to the
fire and what looked to me like a sincere apolize for poor
serivce last year . NO MORE >>>> I order seeds over 3 weeks
ago emailed them and got a email back that said they were 3 weeks behind . Within that email they also said they would
research the issue no responance ,,, I have a small presonal
greenhouse and I don't think I 'll get these seeds in time for
the season here in Buffalo NY . I AM SO ANGERY ,,, PLEASE
BE WARNED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On March 20th, 2003, hangsix added the following:

Please note on March the 19 I did receive most .....
of my order two items were left off . I was told due to the fact that there had to mail them at a later date I owned them
postage .. of .80 cents I have writen to them and told them to
cancel any other products . I WILL NEVER ORDER FROM THEM AGAIN
Negative enilniah
(7 reviews)
On Feb 18, 2003, enilniah Rockford, OH wrote:

i ordered from this company in January 2003 and still have not gotten my order as of February 18, or heard anything from the company. I will not order from this company again.

On February 19th, 2003, enilniah changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:

called Shumway this morning to ask about order from middle of Jan. was told most of order is on back order and rest is in process of being processed. Will never order from this company again.
Negative moosecop
(2 reviews)
On Jul 30, 2002, moosecop West Bend, WI wrote:

This company is a joke.And its moving to Wisconsin according to a representitive of Jungs.... Seems Shumways, Totally Tomatoes, Jungs, Vermont Bean and a bunch of others are all owned by a few stockholders who seem to have bought a bunch of companies and in turn are doing a half --- job at management. I ordered seeds in bulk quanities in Nov and Dec and some ( including lettuce) showed up in June. I called Jungs who is taking over this mess and I was assured it would not appear on my credit card and just to keep the seed... Guess what showed up on the credit card I just got. The Fire was at Jungs in Randolff WI near my home and distroyed the Catalogue Storage Area and Bulb area... I was told it did not affect the seed divison so who knows whos telling the truth. I tryed to call Shumways toll free number from March thru May and never got thru on apparently the only line they ever had... I even tryed other numbers which were also always busy. I ended up buying seed from other sources in the mean time like lettuce to get in the ground early.... ANd to top it off one of the varieties I ordered was an heirloom called chicken lettuce. They sent me a Lettuce mix with Black simpson and some other things and said ..." We cant supply you with the variety you ordered so we hope you will like this".... How do they know what ill like.??... ANyways I told the sales person at Jungs I would not order from Shumways or Jungs again ... Even if they are now only going to be 30 miles from my house.

Negative philr
(1 review)
On Jul 1, 2002, philr wrote:

Anyone who has good luck with this company must have caught them on an off day. Generally they are as bad as the worst reviews written for them. I had many problems with orders being promised by specific dates and not arriving. As I have a short growing season, seeds need to be planted indoors. Shumway sends everything as if it will be planted outdoors, based on some incorrect assumptions they have on what is a good planting time for my area. They had an herb mill advertised for a good price. However, it was CLEARLY pictured as all metal, but when it arrived it was some cheap Chinese made junk. Mostly plastic and wholly not as pictured. In many states that is considered fraud and should be reported to your state's Attorney General. I too, had problems connecting with their customer service and they should have an 800 #. Line was always busy, no answering machine. When I emailed them, they came up with the 'computer down' excuse again. They don't give a darn about customer's, just our money. I was so frustrated with them, I wanted them to refund everything, and take everything back, and to pay for the return postage, as it was their screwup. I never heard from them again, and I assume that is a part of their corporate policy!

Negative lbclisa
(2 reviews)
On May 2, 2002, lbclisa wrote:

I send in a order in Feburary and only recieved the potatoes. Only one plant grew from the eyes. I emailed the company and they sent a email stating they had a warehouse fire in March. If that is the case I feel that they should have informed me in March. I will have to go this weekend in May to find seeds to begin growing before it is too late.
I will not be using this company again.

On May 18th, 2002, lbclisa added the following:

I got some more of the ordered products the other day. They have changed their reason for the delay due to supply problems and not getting the seed package growing directions in. Oh ya, they gave me the $$$ coupon of 3 bucks towards the purchase of other seeds. They also sent the seeds for ordering so early. I was not pleased however because the Sweet potaotes plants that arrived were totally dried out including the peat moss covering them. I planted them and hope they will grow. The seeds I have planted from this company seem to have okay germination. I still have some seeds yet to come.

I had great hopes for this company since it had seeds that you can not get elsewhere but I will stick will companies I had good service with and try to find another source of seeds such as mangle seeds.

I have ordered a lot of seeds from other companies including ordering from Germany and Hawaii and did not have delay/ problems like I did from this company.
Negative jeffc
(1 review)
On Apr 16, 2002, jeffc wrote:

Order sent on 02/26/02. Check cashed and cleared. As of 04/16/02, nothing received. No responses to email inquiries. Telephone (toll call) has been busy consistently (~9 tries).

Negative mssuesan
(1 review)
On Apr 12, 2002, mssuesan Huntington, WV (Zone 6a) wrote:

I placed an order in Jan. 2002 and it has still not arrived. I phoned and they told me it was on the way 2 months ago. It wasn't. Nice catalog though. Too bad I won't get to see the seeds.

Negative jeffchamberlain
(3 reviews)
On Apr 1, 2002, jeffchamberlain Nassau, NY wrote:

Order placed 02/02; check cashed and cleared; nothing received as of 04/16/02. No responses to email inquiries. Telephone (toll call) consistently busy (~9 attempts). Unsatisfactory.

Negative annoliver
(1 review)
On Mar 29, 2002, annoliver wrote:

I have ordered small orders for a few years and was pleased. However, this year, things have drastically changed. My order, placed January 18, was received and the check cancelled January 28, 2002. It is now March 29, and I have received no seeds. I have made four telephone calls (none toll free). The first time I was told that the order was prepared for shipping and would be shipped at the end of the week. The next two times I was told that the order had been shipped. Today, I was told that the order had been shipped. I asked for the date it was shipped and was told that it was in the shipping department and would be shipped. I asked to speak to the manager. I was told that the supervisor was not in. I asked to speak to someone in the shipping department and was told that I could not have contact with them. I asked for my shipment to be cancelled and my money returned. I was informed that I would have to wait until the seeds arrived and that I could return them and then my money would be refunded. Needless to say, I will not be ordering any more seeds from this place.

Negative bobbyabernathy
(1 review)
On Mar 29, 2002, bobbyabernathy wrote:

I ordered early Feb. 2002 now late march cant get them on phone sent several emails and letters can't get any one will never never order from them would rather go hungry at least I know the outcome of going hungry with Shumway I don't know what's happening except I am not getting service. DO NOT ORDER FROM THEM!!!

Negative mitchandbarb
(1 review)
On Mar 27, 2002, mitchandbarb wrote:

I will never place another order with Shumway unless there is something I really, really want, and they are the only company that has it. I placed my order on January 3, 2002, and is now March 27. I still don't have my seeds and it is getting too late for me to start the tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. Maybe I will get my seeds, but I'm writing it off as a loss. I called them three times, and they are not cooperative. They simply say there is nothing they can do. If that's the case, I really feel sorry for them.

Negative nachamkin
(1 review)
On Mar 26, 2002, nachamkin Glen Mills, PA wrote:

After ordering in mid January, I still (3/26/02) have not received my very large order. After four phone calls and assurances each time that my order would be sent, "at the beginning of next week," I stopped calling. I missed the window for planting early vegetables on my half acre garden, had to buy emergency backups from a local Agway, and plant late. Many seeds that would arrive now will have to be put into cold sealed storage for next year. I definitely will not be ordering from them again.

Negative windy678
(1 review)
On Mar 10, 2002, windy678 wrote:

I ordered from their catalog on January 13th, 2002. My check cleared the bank on January 30th. Now it is March 10th and still no order. I have ordered and received several seed orders from different companies in the meantime. Now the customer service phone is always busy. Do these people really take orders on that line? I can't believe anyone would keep trying a bazillion times to reach these people to place an order. I have given up trying to get through to even check my order. I have learned one thing. If I ever try a new company again, I will try their customer service line first to see if there is anyone "home" before I even venture to use the company to throw my money away again.

Negative CindyM
(1 review)
On Feb 7, 2002, CindyM Agawam, MA wrote:

I would normally have high praise for RH Shumway, but I have had nothing but problems this year with my order. When I placed my order, they could not tell me if my items were in stock because they were doing inventory and that the order wouldn't ship for at least a week. My order has still not shipped (a month later), and every time I call to check on it they tell me it will probably ship the next week.

On February 15th, 2002, CindyM added the following:

As of 2/15, my order has still not shipped and I am still getting the response that it will probably ship next week. Soon I will just cancel the order.
Negative richhurley
(4 reviews)
On Jan 1, 2002, richhurley Hanover, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I made my first purchase from R. H. Shumway last year (Spring, 2001) and it will be my last. I was extremely disappointed with the alstroemeria (Peruvian Lily) roots I ordered. I gave them to my mother for Mother's Day and was embarrassed when she opened the package and it looked like all it contained was several envelopes of straw. There were no cultural instructions at all with them. Since neither of us had ever grown them before we didn't know what to do. As it turns out, we should have soaked the "straw" in water to rehydrate the roots before planting. None of the poor things ever came up. I also purchased several packages of flower seeds and they had only very general cultural instructions with them. The "hummingbird plant" never came up but the asarina vines did germinate. Unfortunately, since I was late getting them started, they never bloomed for me.

Negative bethtombs
(1 review)
On May 1, 2000, bethtombs wrote:

Glad to know that there is somewhere to complain. This is my second year to order from Shumway and I will never again order anything from them. I placed my order in January and at the end of February nothing had arrived.I tried to call them by phone and they do not have a toll free number, but worse, the phone was always busy. After several days of calling at different times and always getting a busy signal I finally go through. The lady on the phone then could not find my order and told me that there was no way she would be able to trace my order because the computers were down. She asked my to check my cancelled checks to see if they might have cleared the bank!! I couldn't believe my ears! When I told her that it was the responsibility of the company who took my money to keep up with the order and send me my seeds, she relented and gave me a 1-800 number to phone back in a few days when the computer problem was fixed. When I attempted to phone the 1-800 number in a few days, it was always busy. These folks could buy an answering machine at a yard sale! Anyway, after finally getting through on one of the phone numbers, I talked to someone who found my order, but it hadn't been sent out. I cancelled $50 of the order, and have just now received my money back -- and it is May. There really should be a warning on the catalog of RH Shumway; the company seems to be run by very unprofessional people and don't expect to get a delivery of your order unless you demand it.

Negative DShelton
(3 reviews)
On Aug 1, 1998, DShelton wrote:

Their seeds are the only ones I have ever had trouble with. I was planting a lot of How Sweet It Is corn so I ordered their commercial quantities to save a little money. The seed, all 7 pounds in two shipments, had weevils. It didn't germinate, or grow, the way it should.Flower seeds I ordered didn't even come up.

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