I have been following this thread for months and would like to add that I am another unsatisfied customer. I would have written earlier but the owner or representative for Long Creek was threatening to cancel already placed orders.
Isn't that terrible, a business to whom you've sent hundreds of dollars and waited on for more than a year threatening to arbitrarily cancel the orders of customers who have complained? That, if no other reason, was enough to halt all my dealings with this apiary.
Since the season is too late for me, I've cancelled my order with him. So now I can complain...
I ordered last year and week after week received no updates on promised (and failed to deliver) ship dates. Take a vacation? Schedule all day activities? No, had be to ready to get the bees. I kept expecting packages, none would arrive, then (if I could even get ahold of them) excuses and new ship dates.
My suggestion to Long Creek and others:
*When a customer places an order, give them a numerical order number. During shipping season, update the list of order numbers that have been shipped out DAILY on the website. This way a customer has a feel for how far off his or her order is (eg orders 25-57 shipped this week, and I'm order 63) AND knows that the supplier isn't shipping to preferred customers first.
*DO NOT promise ship dates or make excuses. Make it clear that these are ONLY GUESSES. I would have rather been told upfront once it became clear that my order was unlikely to ship last year (or this year for this matter). Because I kept waiting patiently, I wasn't able to secure another source in time and a season was wasted. Communicate, communicate, repeat, repeat.
*Place order money in escrow and refund immediately when it is clear the order won't ship. Although I'm sure last year's money was spent immediately, I keep wondering what kind of interest you can get on who-knows how many thousands of dollars for 6+ months.
*DO NOT EVER THREATEN CUSTOMERS! It still boggles my mind that he did this.
To customers, a tip: Insist your bee supplier accept credit cards. They don't like to do it for many reasons, but one is that credit card companies can FORCE a return on your money.
The bees did arrive today and at first glance,they seem healthy. The quantity looked good as I shook them out and the queen looks fat and she and her helpers look active. FINALLY!
Don't get me wrong, I am grateful that I finally got the bees I ordered over a year ago. (I had honestly given up all hopes of getting either the bees or the money.)
However, no matter how wonderful the bees prove to be, that does NOT excuse the lack of communication, the endless stonewalling, the limitless excuses.
He may have a long years of experience with bees but none of that tender care has been conveyed to his human customers. So, until Long Creek learns the value of excellent communication and prompt refunds, I would NOT send them money, any money, under any circumstances.
I take cash but i only charge a deposit, then once item is ready to ship, do i require the balance. thats fair. I used to not charge a deposit but i had so many people on here that ordered stuff, then once i got it done, they said oh i already bought from so and so they were cheaper. thats just as bad as a vendor not treating customers right.
I do take a paypal thats as close to CC as i get.
There's just one question that no one, not even Mr. Winters of LCA, has been able to answer: How is it that there are still people who have not received their orders, or are just now receiving their orders (many of whom placed their orders last year) . . . when the order I placed in January 2010 was shipped (albeit 7 weeks late) in June? Why did I receive my order before all these others who ordered before me? The only two possible reasons are, (1.) LCA is completely disorganized in their record-keeping, and/or (2.) I immediately took action with both a written complaint to the Eastern Tennessee BBB and a postal fraud complaint with the US Postal Service.
I gotta say, I'm absolutely shocked at what I've read here. 15 months waiting for a refund?!?!?! No response to email/ voicemail?!?!? Threats to customers?!?!?! I am practically speechless..... Luckily, I can sit and sort through the shock of the last 14 pages before I type.
Mr Winters, I can say, without a doubt, I will not be doing any business with LCA. Not because of the delays in shipment, or because of the lack of communication, or even because of the complaints raised here. The singular reason for me saying this is your attitude when complaints are brought up. It seems to me that everyone that has posted here has had a very legitimate complaint. You then turn it around and attack them for voicing those complaints, in an effort to help other people avoid being put in the same situation.
Also, you made the following statement: "I will not move orders just because someone complains." However, it seems, based on this thread, that you do just that. A short 6 hours after handyman dave printed the text from your message sent 6/22, he posted you contacted him and his bees were shipped. And A2 Beeman responded on 06-12-2010 that he had received his bees only after threatening litigation on 06-08-2010. It seems that you absolutely WILL move orders just because someone complains, but only if they complain to the right people (or threaten to complain to the right people).
I don't know you as a person, and I hope you don't take this as a personal attack, because that is absolutely not the case. However, the attitude I've seen here is enough for you to lose me as a potential customer. Good luck in all you do in the future, and I fervently hope you succeed in whatever path you choose, be it continuing LCA, retirement, or simply focusing on "breeding the ultimate bee."
my blog: baycountybees.blogspot.com
I ordered in October 2009 and received nothing. I just filed a complaint with the Post Office for mail fraud.
I would have been happy if he just returned a phone call, sent an email, or a letter explaining that he has problems and what he was going to do to correct the issue.
Don't look now, but it looks like Mr. Winters has the apiary for sale....the hives that is! According to a scrolling message on his home page, 150+ hives full of bees and honey are for sale for $175.00 each! This jerk (who won't communicate with me either) owes me $300.00!
Gee, I wonder if he intends to refund everyone's money with what he gets from selling their bees....s
Some members have tried to give you some advice without attacking you. Since you insist on continuing this thread I have a few questions for
1. What was the issue that caused you to be removed from Charlie Harper's "Russian Honeybee Breeders Association"?
(The more technical the issue, the more I'm interested in the answer.)
2. Another "Consumer Report" thread has been viewed 18,565
times... Do you think that the "Dealings with Long Creek Apiary"
thread can top that?
Not long ago you wrote:
3. Is "breeding the ultimate bee" easier than returning five or six checks by the mail?Everyone here is great!!! I don't think I will quit after all. There
is just too much work to be done breeding the ultimate bee.
Having seen how this issue played out (with five customers), is there
anything you wish you had handled differently?
Last edited by BeeCurious; 07-02-2010 at 03:07 PM. Reason: Removed mention of bee dealer
Trying to think inside the box...
I did have the same problem as well. One question that i do ask you is, did they get a little aggressive at any point for no apparent reason? I thought for a while that they were all bipolar.and by the way, what was the mite count like? for being so called "hygienic" and "mite resistant" I certainly had more mites than I could handle and ended up in the end getting a new queen after seeing the constant supersedure cells (so nobody can contest my knowledge, the top part of the frame) . Since then, my drop of mites since then has been only two or three a month. Still many more where those came from.
I would also love to know what his winter survival rate for his packages and or queens are if any body could supply that kind of info.
LONG CREEK APIARIES WEBSITE PAYMENT TERMS:
"We do not accept credit cards. Although laws were passed to protect credit card users, credit card companies have found other ways to unfairly take more of the consumer's money. We feel that the only way that you can combat that kind of thing is to fight back with your wallet. In the spirit of that fight, we no longer accept credit cards so our customers can not be cheated."
I also have ordered bees from LCA and have not received them yet. I was told when I ordered they would ship on 6-7-10 and they never arrived that week. I called, wrote e-mails, and finally was able to contact them in about a week. They told me they had not received payment for the bees and thats why they didn't ship them. I assured him my check and processed through the bank back in April and I would be glad to fax him a copy or scan and e-mail it. After some digging through his papers he found where I had paid and promised to ship on 6-28-10 and still no bees have arrived, said his computer had not been updated properly. My wife was able to contact him again night before last and he had another week delay due to the high heat and is suppose to ship now week of 7-5-10 and we will see. Wish I had found this thread prior to April before I sent my check. Its not a huge lot of money to lose buts its just the idea of being ripped off like so many more people have been on this thread, not counting the who knows how many thats not on this thread. Also its the aggravation of setting up the hives and planning on being off work to get the bees installed when they arrive. I would be ashamed to face the public if I had treated so many people this way as Long Creek Apiaries has. This would have to be a huge let down or discouragement if you were just starting out in the bee keeping hobby and these were your very first packages. I hate to see this happening in the bee world, well anywhere in the good old USA as far as that goes.
Well Beemaster01 I'm still here waiting with fingers crossed hoping to see some bees before its too late to get them established before winter if its not already. I have been nice and polite, tried to hold off typing on this thread but I'm only human, I cant imagine how mad some of these people are that have waited over a year or since last year. If your not going to send them I wish you would just go ahead and tell me so I can pull the hives back in to storage before they just sit out empty and go to waste and rot, I work too hard on them just to see them go to waste. I hope I see some packages before you get your hives all sold, are you planning on packing up and moving out too? It is going to be very difficult to ever recommend your business to anyone no matter what kind of quality bees your have, I don't care if their super bees ( your ultimate bee). Your not that far away and I'm down there several times a year anyway, I cant wait to see your operation and I will be by for a visit.
Mike , Proverbs 24:13-14 Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.
You wont be the only one mikeS trust me!!! Wayyy too many people!! In this situation they say what comes around goes around!! Wow and you was nice enough to give the guy time and all he was doing was giving you excuses like he done everyone else!...Thats sad right there!!! It will be alright Tenn isnt that far from ky!!
We have waited.....and waited...............and waited......and are still waiting. I am seriously considering driving down there myself, and some very kind gentlemen from this forum have offered to go along. I just might take them up on it.
Last edited by dragonfly; 07-04-2010 at 08:13 PM. Reason: personal attack
Wow, I'm blown away by this thread. Such a sad situation all the way around.
Beemaster01, I don't have a dog in this fight. I've never ordered anything from you nor had any prior dealings with you. But maybe I can offer you some helpful advise. It sounds to me like you got in over your head with debt and now you're trying to sell all your hives in a desperate attempt to cover your personal debt as well as to issue refunds to your business clients. But what if, instead of doing that, you tallied up the number of packages you owe to customers then used the adult bees from the hives on a 1 hive to 1 package ratio, using the hives' own queen for the package queen, then added the hive box with the brood to the hives you don't have to use to fill these orders with and sell the remaining hive equipment (top covers, bottom boards, etc.). That would allow you to fulfill all your current orders (provided you have less than 150 orders to fill), and the remaining hives would have lots of extra brood so that they will have a population explosion just in time for the fall flow. That would allow you to get a good fall honey harvest which you could use to pay down your personal debt and then if you still have any debt left you could then sell as many of the remaining hives as you need to in order to pay it off. Unless it is your intent to purposely rip off these people (which would be fraud; and to be clear, I do not believe that is your intent), it seems like this would be the fastest way possible to square things up with the most people since you wouldn't have to wait for the hives to sell before squaring things up with the people who already paid for their orders. Anyway, that's my advise, what I would do if I were in your shoes, but I'm not in your shoes so maybe I don't know all the details.
The only other thing I can do here is pray for you, all of you that are involved here, and I will.
I finally got my bees (2 packages) and installed them on Thursday 7/1/10.
Just checked them, both queens were released, 4 of 10 frames were fully drawn in each hive and the bees were so gentle that I don't think I needed a smoker or veil.
At this point, if I would have received an email, call, or whatever to tell me the bees were going to be late, I would be a very satisfied customer. Of course, its too early to see how they perform, but I'm relatively happy now.
I have filed my official complaint with the US Postal Service for non delivery of goods. I have had three promised delivery dates for two packages of bees and still have not received any bees or an e-mail or phone call. I will cancel my complaint at the post office since it is for non delivery of goods if I receive my bees or a refund of my money.
Mike , Proverbs 24:13-14 Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.