Thursday, June 18, 2009

BUYER BEWARE: C&H Apiaries of Ocilla, Georgia

Rarely do I complain about things. A former Highway Patrol sergeant once told me that I have the Biblical patience of Job when it comes to dealing with people. And I like to believe that is true. But this is a situation that I just have to speak about in order to help keep them from losing their money and time. Long story, but I will cut to the chase.

On May 18th, I bought a 3lb package of honey bees from C&H Apiaries of Ocilla, Georgia. I saw their website (which has since disappeared) and it looked pretty good, and I watched videos on YouTube of people who bought his product and they seemed to be happy. So after several emails and talking to the owner, Terry Hester, by phone, I sent him $145 through PayPal for the bees and for shipping and handling. I even got emails from this guy that said everything was on set-to-go and he would be shipping my package to me.

On June 4th at 4:40pm, my bees arrived. Three quarters of them were dead, queen included, covered in sugar syrup, and it appeared to be a UPS problem. I called UPS and filed a claim and they told me they would contact C&H Apiaries to get the claim the meantime, I needed to talk to him as soon as possible.

I sent several emails and kept trying to call Terry Hester's phone. No answer. No return emails, no nothing. Then finally, on Monday June 8th, he did answer the phone and told me that he had countless complaints about UPS from the same shipment, that they (UPS) messed the shipment up, and he was doing all he could to remedy the situation. Then he assured me he would "make it right" and he would send me a new package of bees in a week with his next shipment. I even sent him pictures of the dead bees and the packaging so he would know I was telling the truth and help him with his claims against UPS. He sounded sincere and I even felt sorry for this guy and I told him I would be in touch.

Needless to say, nothing has happened. No bees, he won't answer his phone..nothing.

So remembering that he sells honeybees through Ebay (click to see his seller's profile...and the negative ratings and his professional responses) I decided to check his listing. Guess what I find? A slew of negative feedback (click on the picture above to see it)..many within the last few days, and many in the very same situation I was in; dead bees, no contact, won't answer his phone, etc. And it seems that all of the new negative comments were from a recent shipment..which leads me to believe he sent out a new shipment since he sent mine in early June, and like me, he seems to be avoiding his customers.

Maybe this business has been overwhelmed with bad luck, I don't know. Terry Hester says that he's sold honey bees on Ebay since 2007 and up until now, his ratings were good. And people had nice things to say about C&H Apiaries on YouTube. But all of a sudden, many people like me are getting really bad service from this guy, be it dead bees and lousy customer service.

At the time, I didn't want my money back, I just wanted a new package of bees. But now I want my money back. Its the least I deserve for the countless phone calls and the time I've had to use to track this guy down, then for him to make promises and ignore me. I work hard for my money and expect something in return when I pay. But in this case, all I ended up with is a package of dead bees and endless disappointments with the situation.

If you're looking to buy honey bees, all I'm going to say is, be careful of who you buy from, do some checking into their business practices before you buy, and make sure you have decent resources to fall back on. I thought I had that with C&H Apiaries of Ocilla, Georgia, but I was oh so wrong, and in the case of my bees, dead wrong.


ADDENDUM: While tooling around on Youtube, I found this video from one of his other customers. I have no clue who made this video, all I know is TFW9001, but his bees were EXACTLY like mine when they arrived. Pictures and videos speak loud and clear.

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