Beware Harris Seeds!!!

noboliskJune 1, 2008

I bought four varieties of sweetcorn from Harris Seeds which had no statement in the catalog that they were treated seeds, and when they arrived, they were LOADED with multiple chemicals! Now I'm ok with and wouldn't avoid just Captan, but here's what was on them: Allegiance FL, Dividend Extreme, Filmcoat, Cruiser 5 FS, Fludioxonil, Mefenoxam, Carboxin, Mefenoxam, Thiamethoxam, Difenoconazole, Safecoat, Apron XL, Thiram, Dipel-2X, and Vitavax!!!! Oh yes - also Captan. The packages are marked "danger, not for food, feed, or oil". My hands started itching almost immediately after taking the packets out of the mailer.

I called Harris and complained so they promised to send a label to return the seeds. This DID NOT HAPPEN. I then emailed them with my complaint and received no response. So not only are they selling treated seeds without warning you, they won't take them back! Buyer be aware!!

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My name is Richard Chamberlin, President of Harris Seeds/Garden Trends, Inc, and would like to respond to the negative comments posted here about our company. We take all such comments quite seriously, and wanted you to hear our side of the story.

Regarding our seed products - We respect this userÂs opinion (nobolisk) regarding the use of treated seeds. ÂNobolisk noted that we do not reveal any information in our catalog regarding treated seeds, but on page 80 of our 2008 catalog, (the Customer Information page), there is a paragraph devoted to the use of treated seed, and the reasoning behind such use. This clearly defines our product philosophy. In short, it is our policy to give our customers a clear choice by offering both treated and untreated seeds for home garden production. We offer treated seed only for those vegetable species that gain a clear advantage for good soil germination and prevention of seed borne diseases, and we follow any and all government mandates and guidelines regarding seed treatments. You will also find many species and varieties that are not treated, as they gain no growth advantage.

What the comments bring to light is the fact that we probably do not consistently list seed treatments with the appropriate species on the appropriate pages. Going forward for next yearÂs catalog, (our current catalog has been printed), we will clearly state which varieties have been treated and which ones have not. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Although Ânobolisk has a clear opinion on the use of treated seeds, we have also had many customers who thank us for offering treated seeds, as they believe treated seeds will perform better than untreated.

Regarding our customer service  Harris Seeds prides itself with providing our customers with exceptional customer satisfaction, and our employees go to great lengths to ensure that the purchasing experience from Harris Seeds is truly a pleasant one. A significant number of customers send us letters and emails indicating their satisfaction with our service and products. Although there have been a few times when our service has faltered, it is the exception, and not the standard. When it happens, we work diligently to rectify the situation with the customer. Our mission is to provide quality products and excellent service for our customers and we will always work earnestly to ensure our customers experience with our company is one of total satisfaction.

For over 129 years, the Harris Seeds Company has never taken a position of knowingly deceiving customers, and we will not take this position going forward. We have been one of the most trusted seed companies in America through all of these years and hope to continue to be so for many years to come.

Thank you for your time.

Dick Chamberlin
President  Harris Seeds

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 2:47PM
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The president of Harris Seeds emailed regarding my post and is making some changes to not only the catalog, but the customer service process. I did eventually get a refund, but it took over three months as my complaint got lost. I was impressed that he took my post seriously enough to respond and hopefully make some improvements to the process! It's not often that the company president is willing to get involved on this level.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 3:58PM
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My name is Dana and I would just like to put my two cents in. My husband's grandmother (Gram) who ran a vegetable stand for years which later became known as Gram's Stand swore by Harris Seeds. Gram passed away this past November and my Husband and I decided we were going to give it a shot and try and reopen Gram's Stand. This year is the first time I personally have ordered from Harris Seed and I will have to say it was a delightful experience! The day my order arrived I received a welcoming call from the gentleman who handles our region. He was very helpful and told me if there was anything I ever had a question about that I could call him. I talked to other people and told them how great it was to actually hear from someone at Harris Seed. I planted my seeds and so far so good, we are on our way to reopening Gram's Stand. I googled Harris Seed because I was going back to order more seeds and saw this post. It should tell you something about the company when the president actually responds to posts on the internet like this. Not very often do companies take the time to respond and the fact that this company did should say a lot. I would just like to say my experience has been wonderful I just wish I had ordered stawberry plants before they sold out! What a wonderful and helpful company!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 10:37AM
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I totally agree with assard. I have been farming and buying seeds from Harris for over 30 years and have been completely satisfied with their information, help, knowledge and service. I am a retired science teacher and can understand the concern regarding treated seeds but I only buy their treated seed to eliminate problems that I have encountered when I try using non treated seeds - they are treated for a reason (and I'm sure with a cost to the seed company). It is good that nobolisk informed the company of the concerns but certainly went overboard in "bad mouthing" a reputable company that has such a fine reputation with all other growers that I have ever talked to.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 6:34PM
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I have done business with Harris for several years and have nothing but good things to say about the company. Everyone I have dealt with there has been friendly and helpful. I will continue to do business with them in the future.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 10:00PM
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yellow_rose_man(z3 Ont.)

I too just began dealing with Harris Seeds,and have nothing but great satisfaction with them.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 12:44PM
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I ordered red roma from you and the order came back labled roma mix. Am I getting red, yelow or what? I raise plants to sell and I need to know what I am selling. If it a combination of diferent types I cannot use them.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 12:50PM
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Jim Hall - I suggest that you contact Harris directly, ASAP. It is not their practice to monitor these boards, looking for questions directed at them. They have no direct connection with The Garden Web.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 12:54PM
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Although we can respond to customer concerns more quickly when contacted directly, Harris Seeds does monitor the GardenWeb and other Gardener and Grower forums in case we need to follow up with a customer. Upon contacting the customer above regarding the Roma tomato seeds, the customer informed us that that the seeds were in fact purchased from a different company, and not from Harris Seeds.

If you are a current customer, or if you are new to Harris Seeds, please feel free to contact us at (800) 544-7938 if we can assist you in any way. You can also visit our website at We take customer service issues very seriously, and we always work diligently to provide the very best customer care in the industry. Thank you to everyone who has supported Harris Seeds over the years.

Dick Chamberlin
President - Harris Seeds

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 4:10PM
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They are the only ones I know who carry seeds of dbl flowered semperflorens (wax) begonias, I order nearly every year and have good germination, so I am happy with Harris Seeds.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 3:05PM
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Purchased seeds from the holiday seed selection 12/16/2011. 2 out of 3 items shipped with the package. I did not realize this until it time to actually wrap these gifts up, totally shocked. There was a small note saying backordered! I just realized they charged by credit card, shipping and tax for almost nothing. Phone calls have not been returned, email has not been returned. I have never been ripped off like this from an online purchase. I would not recommend buying anything from this company. Why would a company offer holiday gifts and be out of stock? This is unethical.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 9:13PM
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I would like to follow up my post. Harris Seeds contacted me through this posting and offered an alternate product, refund of the product cost and a gift certificate. This was more than fair. If I could delete the first post let me know how. Advice to any online retailer, if you list a Holiday Gift 12/1, buy it now and it does not ship until 1/20/12 please send a courtesy email/phone call or list it as sold out or out of stock or delayed i would have choose something else.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 10:52AM
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hey all! I am newbie and wanted to put in my 2 cents, too. I started ordering seeds spring of last year and Harris was my first stop and I've ordered from them 3 times. Fast shipping and I like their selection. But, I too was surprised when I opened some packets of zinnia seeds and found them to be a strange color. It was a bummer because I thought they would be the old-fashioned ones I could collect seed from. Newbie mistake and I have since learned that I need to pay attention! Will of course order from them again but use other companies like Fedco and Baker Creek for untreated heirloom seeds. Happy Gardening all!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 9:03PM
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Hello gardeners! We just wanted to let you know that zinnia seeds (and most of our flower seeds) from Harris Seeds are not treated with any chemicals. Some of our zinnia varieties have been coated with an inert, food-grade material for easier handling and flowability. These varieties are noted on our website as filmcoated seed. Seed types are specified on each product page so that you will know if the product is organic, untreated, treated, filmcoated, etc. You can also access our seed type legend that explains all the different seed types we offer.
- The Folks at Harris Seeds

Here is a link that might be useful: Harris Seeds website

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 3:02PM
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I've been using Harris every year including this one for at least 15 years and have never been disappointed. The seeds are always for the variety stated and germination is excellent, which is more than I can say for some other well known seed brands.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 7:36AM
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I have been buying from Harris for 30 years and have been very satisfied. I buy only treated seeds, if they are available. Do some research on treated seeds and you will find they are treated for a beneficial reason.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 9:24PM
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