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Giant Tree Tomato Update: Caveat Emptor

Following up on a previous entry found here:


[Order information deleted]

Dear Customer Service,

I ordered two Giant Tree Tomato plants by phone in early March. Instead of the live plants described on your website, I received two peat pots filled with vermiculite along with a sheet of paper explaining that each pot contained a tomato seed. The vermiculite had spilled out of one of the pots, and a good portion of it was caught between the exterior of the peat pot and the inside of the plastic in which it is packed. I do not see a seed anywhere in the mix, and I have little confidence that if I open the plastic and scoop all of the spilled vermiculite back into the pot that I will have seed correctly positioned in there to germinate and grow.

I called your customer service number and spoke to a rude and argumentative woman who told me that I ordered "starter pots" and not live plants. If the "starter pot" caveat is buried in the fine print on your website, I did not find it when I went back to examine your advertisement. Your ads clearly state that you are selling plants, not seeds. I would not have knowingly paid $10 for two seeds.

The woman I spoke to on the phone told me to write "refused" on the box and return it by mail, but your postage label covers the return address on the box. I will be making a trip to the post office today to see if they will accept the box for return at your expense. Your customer service representative told me that your company will issue a refund on the next refund cycle after you receive the returned order, and that such refunds are processed every three weeks, so that you will have held my money for over two months as a result of the trust I was willing to extend to your company.

Obviously, I am not happy with the situation, and my displeasure presents you with the opportunity to demonstrate some excellent customer service and win over a customer who presently regards himself to have been taken in by a bait-and-switch scheme.

You can find a copy of this letter published here:


I will append any reply I receive from your company to that web posting.


Kevin M. O'Connor

Updated 7:12 pm:

Gardener's Choice responded to my email with the following:

We are reshipping plants to you. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may
have caused you. Thanks

Unfortunately, I recieved their reply after I had shipped the starter pots back at my expense.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 29th, 2005 05:11 pm (UTC)
UGH. That upsets me, too, since I was pending an order based on your results.

Looks like I'll just have to stick to the old faithful methods of seed and dirt and lots of hope.
Mar. 29th, 2005 06:08 pm (UTC)
tried and true
Yep. Me too. I've got 30 Early Girls sprouting out of soil blocks under lights right now, and I'm going to follow that up with 30 Celebrity tomato plants this weekend.
Mar. 29th, 2005 05:21 pm (UTC)
This company is extremely shady. Examining the catalog, there are no text plots, no images of real plants or produce. It is made to seem like a stylistic choice, as if the artist chose to manipulate real photos almost. My guess is they are working out of a garage somewhere. Any gardener who is sold seeds in pots as plants has a right to be upset. Likely they may have been sending wet soil and seeds, which sprout as you ship.

I started to write this out to you with links, and then I realized that I might as well take a bit on dreamweaver, and create a reference page that other people can use as well.Seed and garden resources in the secret garden at


Mar. 29th, 2005 06:18 pm (UTC)
re: a reference page that other people can use as well.
That would be excellent. The more people who learn about this bait-and-switch the better.

I don't think this is a garage outfit, given the ubiquity of their advertising. They did send the package, and they do answer the phone (of course, customer service and phone orders share the same number, so if they didn't answer the phone they couldn't take orders from the many gardeners who still haven't moved into the internet age).
Mar. 30th, 2005 01:03 am (UTC)
I would say this:

is not an advertisement for a starter pot. Silly Gardener's Choice.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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