(KTVI) – Customers of Heirloom Acres, a family-owned seed and garden supply business near New Bloomfield, Mo., have complained to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) that they either received their orders weeks late or never got them at all.
Several said the delays forced them to order from other companies to meet planting deadlines. They said repeated attempts to contact the company about refunds or other issues have failed.
A woman in Wyoming, Mich., said she will never do business with the company again after waiting more than six weeks for garden seeds. As of last week, she had not received the seeds or a refund and has been unable to contact representatives of Heirloom Acres by phone or email.
Heirloom Acres has an “F” rating with the BBB, the lowest possible. The company has failed to respond to several customer complaints.
The BBB first issued an alert on the company in June 2009. That warning stemmed from several virtually identical complaints from consumers.
The owners of the business, Thom and Renate Kirk, promised at that time to fix the problems. BBB complaint activity went down between 2010 and 2012, but has increased dramatically in the past two months. The BBB has received 24 complaints in March and April.
Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said it appears that the same issues that plagued the business in 2009 have resurfaced. “Heirloom Acres has slipped the track again, and customer service is suffering,” she said.
A customer of the web-based business from Canon City, Colo., said she had ordered garden seeds for $99 on Feb. 6 and received a partial order on March 19, about six weeks later. She noted that the website said that most orders are sent in two weeks. She said the delay made it much more difficult to meet her planting deadline.
A gardener from Cullen, Va., said her seeds, which cost $52, arrived nearly three months after she ordered them. “The biggest thing is lack of communication,” she said. “I emailed them, faxed them and tried to call them. I never got a response from them.”
A woman from Marlow, Okla., said she finally received her seeds nine weeks after placing her order. She said she had to re-order the seeds through another company and wants Heirloom to refund her money. “This is not a garden for fun,” she said. “We depend on it.”
Attempts to contact the company have been unsuccessful, but the Kirks told the BBB in 2009 that complaints stemmed from Heirloom’s inability to fill an unexpected and overwhelming number of orders that year. At that time, Thom Kirk said he and his wife were considering cutting back on the company’s product line or closing the business completely.
The company’s website, www.heirloomacresseeds.com, says, “We continue to truly cherish the value of our customers and our friends and family who are the foundation of our success.”
The BBB offers the following tips when dealing with time sensitive orders such as seeds and plants:
- When ordering items online, try to make sure that all personal information remains secure and confidential. Look for “https:” on the page where financial information is entered to be sure it is a secure website.
- Order far enough in advance to allow a cushion in the event the order is delayed. Even though a business may promise shipping in two to three weeks, heavy seasonal orders can slow the process.
- Try to order from a reputable company, with a good track record. Check the company’s BBB Business Review at http://www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.