We are amidst a pandemic. The COVID-19 issue has affected everybody’s lives and forced us to adjust to a “new” [hopefully temporary] normal. We are encouraged to stay inside our homes as much as possible and limit person-to-person interaction to help keep the infected at a minimum.
The COVID-19 pandemic has sent people to supermarkets and groceries, bulk-buying essential goods or whatever is still available on the grocery shelves to keep their food and essential supplies at a sufficient level until the enhance community quarantine (ECQ) or lockdown be lifted. I chose to buy my essential goods online, though; this, after numerous times of witnessing almost-always empty shelves in the groceries near my place and the fear of getting infected or infecting somebody when I choose to go out to buy some needed stuff.
However, shopping and buying online while convenient, have its risks, and I, unfortunately, experienced it recently, due to Homegrown Organics’ failure to deliver my orders.
I came across a sponsored ad on Facebook of an online seller of produce (vegetables, fruits, dairy, etc.) named Homegrown Organics. After checking their product catalog and saw that they carry some of the things that I need, I decided to place my order.
A day or two passed, I was contacted via SMS by a staff of Homegrown Organics, informing that they will deliver 5 pm onwards that day and would like to confirm the mode of payment. I acknowledged the text message and said I will pay through bank transfer. I confirmed the account name and account number and sent them a receipt that the payment –Php2481 in total– has been deposited to their bank account, However, no package arrived this day and the seller called saying they will reschedule the delivery the next day as some of my orders are unavailable and they are waiting for the shipment from manufacturers to arrive. I agreed and trusted that they’ll commit to the re-delivery.
The seller called to suggest that instead of waiting for the unavailable orders (i.e. fish), they will instead substitute another product. I did not agree with their product suggestions and I decided which product to get instead. They agreed and re-computed the total amount I have to pay.
Unfortunately, no package arrived again. A Homegrown Organics staff called to say they’d be delivering it on Saturday, April 18, instead. I agreed and asked if that will be a sure and final date of delivery, and they committed.
I followed up and did not hear from anybody from Homegrown Organics. I did not receive any order status update from them as well.
I waited the whole day while rendering overtime at work but still no package has arrived. I did not hear from Homegrown Organics at all.
I started to worry. I tried to call their mobile numbers but nobody answers. I gave up and tried again the next day.
As early as 7:30 am, a staff, named Rica(?) answered the call. I asked about my order, provided the order number, and told her what occurred days before the call. The only answer she gave me is “Pasensya na Ma’am, gagawan ko po ng paraan.” I said my thank you and ended the call. But I did not hear from her again within the day.
I tried to reach Homegrown Organics in the following days, and not once did I receive a response. I tried to email their “newly set up” Aftersales Team, I called their dedicated aftersales hotlines, I sent them texts, but not once did I receive a response from them. Talk about customer service, eh?
As a last attempt, I tried to contact Homegrown Organics in their Viber account (as suggested by a former customer who also encountered problems with them). This time, instead of following up with the order, I am demanding a refund of the amount I paid. This is so frustrating because as I see the messages get delivered and eventually seen by whoever mans their aftersales Viber account, I did not receive any reply to any of the messages I sent or an acknowledgment that they agree to refund my money instead of pursuing the delivery. Fvvvvck!
I tried calling them again, but Homegrown Organics has the balls to ignore customers. Checking their Facebook page and seeing other customer’s posts, I see that I am not the only one who is frustrated by Homegrown Organics’ lack of consideration for customers that trust them to supply food necessities. Homegrown Organics fail big time in terms of customer service and committing to deliveries to customers. Sure some express their satisfaction over the service rendered, but many do not, and they are left losing their money, wasted time waiting, got inconvenienced, and switched to another store or online seller who could provide them better service.
And there it is, with Homegrown Organics not providing an update about the delivery of my order (for two weeks now), I feel like my hard-earned Php2481 was robbed, lost in a puff. Unless I hear from Homegrown Organics after all these, I am not sure if I can still get my money back.
The late delivery may be understandable if they indeed have to cater to a lot of orders. But to not communicate with customers, i.e letting them know of the status of their orders, request for cancellation of orders, and payment refunds is never acceptable. If there is one thing that Homegrown Organics must bear in mind, it is to take care of their customers so that, in turn, they become loyal and buy from their business again.
You lost a customer, Homegrown Organics.
As a customer and consumer, I deserve to be treated fairly by any goods seller by providing fair business and goods and services in exchange for payment. Because of this, I decided to not let this pass and get my money back, and so, I escalated the issue to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Consumer Care.
I contacted the DTI Consumer Care Office and explained my side.
Fortunately, DTI Consumer Care responded after two weeks and I was asked to formally file the complaint by filling out a complaint form and provided pertinent documentation of the transaction I had with Homegrown Organics.
DTI Consumer Care sent an email to Homegrown Organics regarding the complaint I filed against them. I was notified as well and copied in the said email.
Homegrown Organics called me and emailed me to ask to provide my bank account details for the refund of my money. Details are provided and my money was returned!
It was funny to me that, after roughly a month of not hearing from them about my orders, or about my request for a refund, all their contact lines became active to settle the matter. They called, texted, emailed, and even sent me a Viber message! It took one complaint for them to attend to their customer’s concern?!?!?
Homegrown Organics have since responded to DTI Consumer Care’s Notice to Explain email and is asking me to do the same. I have yet to do so but no worries, I am going to close this matter with a proper response.
I would like to thank DTI Consumer Care, despite the limited staffing and unconventional work setup that all of us might be having right now, they were able to assist me and help me settle this matter. Thank you DTI Consumer Care!