Friday, February 10, 2012

Grow Alabama CSA - Review (sort of)

In the past I've posted about using a CSA as a way to get quality produce at a reasonable price.  At the end of last year I decided that I would finally sign up for one. In our area we have two (that I know of). One (Doe Run Farms) runs set "shares", meaning that you sign up by the season and pick up a box each week containing whatever they choose to put in it.  The other one (Grow Alabama) appeared to be a bit more flexible allowing you to sign up at any time and also allowing you to "customize" your box by replacing things you might not want with other things that were available that you did want.  Since it was too early to sign up for Doe Run's next share and I liked the idea of being able to customize, I decided to sign up for Grow Alabama.

I signed up online at the beginning of January. While it appeared that my purchase went through and I could log in, I never received any confirmation or a PIN # to customize my box. After a week I finally called and was told that since it had been the holidays they'd been closed and were behind but I'd get one soon. Ok, no problem. I asked that since it was already the second week of January and I'd be out of town for a week to please schedule me to start the first week of February. I was told no problem. I still did not receive any sort of confirmation or PIN#.

I called again when I returned from my trip, and I was told that evidently my order, while it had gone into their online system had never actually made it to them. This was somewhat bothersome since I could login (but not customize), and it showed my billing info. So my billing info was in their online system but never made it to their office? Do they not have any way to access their online system? Weird. The girl said she'd need to take my info and do my order over the phone. I gave her the info again, frustrated, and waited. Again no confirmation, no nothing. I was told my first box would be this week.

I did finally receive an email with a PIN#, however when I tried to use it I was told it was invalid. I replied to the email several times asking for help and got no response. Not wanting to show up if I didn't have a box I called on Wednesday (the day before I was supposed to receive my first box) and talked to a girl who was quite new. She found my order form and noted that it was in the pile to be processed but not yet processed. She told me she'd have someone check on it and have them call me back. I never got a call back, BUT I did get charged.

I tried to call again after I saw the charge (since no one had called me as she'd said they would) and got no answer (this was a recurring theme when I would try to call them). Since I'd been charged, I showed up on Thursday to pick up my box only to find out there wasn't one. I tried again to call and tell them to just refund my money and again got no response. I left a message asking them to refund my order. I also emailed (again, to multiple email addresses) and posted to their Facebook page. All with no response.

This is beyond 3 strikes when it comes to bad customer service.

It is now Friday morning and with no responses to my emails, phone calls or facebook posts, I called again this morning and was told that "it would be taken care of this morning" (the refund that is) and that it was the first thing she did this morning. I asked "well then why didn't you follow that with bothering to take 30 seconds to reply to my email or call me, and let me know that you were taking care of it. She didn't have an answer. Never once did she attempt to apologize for the lack of communication or poor service that had been provided. I pointed out again that this is just terrible customer service and again it would have only taken her 30 seconds. She just got an attitude with me about how I need to walk in her shoes. My reply: "Honey you obviously aren't walking in mine either". Given how long it took them to actually get me signed up I don't believe for a second that I'll be refunded today. But, if it's not, I know how to do a charge-back through my bank.

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