Tuesday, February 24, 2009

National Home Gardening Club is a scam!

I got an invoice a few days from the National Home Garden Club. The annual membership was $12. I immediately got curious because

1) I didn't joing the NHGC
2) Reviews on-line were mostly negative with many people complaining about the company's scamming policies
3) It's mostly for Northern Gardeners which I am definitely NOT.

The website doesn't even have a "Contact Us" email or phone number, which got me even more curious. The rest of the website was more about marketing cheap Chinese-made products I didn't need since as a gardener I already have all the basic stuff.

Other sites I googled mentioned many displeased "accidental" members who got unsolicited books and cheap garden tools they were to review.

So I called their number 1-800-324-8454 which is actually not the "club's" number but its ad agency number. I told the man on the other end that I wanted to cancel my membership since I supposedly was on a "Free 30-day trial." (Oddly, the North American Fishing Club uses the same tactic to lure people into joining)

He wanted to know why I wanted to cancel. "Because I didn't ask to join this club!" I replied.
"You didn't, that is just the company's way of pulling new members into its club" he said.

HaHA! So there's a slick marketing scam. He asked me for my "Member Number" which was on the upper right of my "Benefits Summary" and gladly removed me from the NHGC's data base.

"You'll get another notice from them in a few days to remind you that your fees are past due, so just ignore them."

"Oh I will, or else I have another tactic planned!" I quickly answered.

So, how did I get on the NHGC's data base? The only outside garden club I joined was last year's free membership to Home Depot's alleged Garden Club, which up to now was nothing more than getting two coupons for $25 off garden stuff above a certain monetary amount.



Connie said...


I few days ago I got my first Home Garden Magazine which looked more like a bunch of colorful advertisements.

BH73 said...

i personally hyave been a member of NHGC for a year and have recieved many wonderful test products that are high quality,and a great addition to my gardening...for a 12.00 dollar fee i have recieved great magazines,plus many great products..i say its worth every penny .

sconrace said...

I am happy with my Home Gardening Club membership. Yes, there are many opportunities to spend more money, but there is no obligation. I have gotten more than my membership fee back in tools, gas refunds, etc.

Susan said...

I am happy with the NHGC, I don't fall for the advertising and so far I see no scam here.

Jo said...

I thought I was joining the Home Depot gardening club. I had thought that it being associated with that store was legit. Unfortunately, they have not lived up to their promises, sent me unasked for books to buy - without the free return postage labels. Also many other offers to get more money from me. Currently I still have a 10 dollar book and no way to return it to them. Plus a lot more junk mail asking for more information and more money. I am annoyed at this so called club and annoyed at Home Depot for lending it credibility.

Yashila said...

What an exciting experience!/Hilarious! Delightful! True!/wonderful stuff! thank you!

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Rivkah Singh said...

I have also recieved an invoice from these people, yet I have joined no club! I called to unsubscibe me and they said they would but they have not! What do I do?

doina said...

I agree,National gardening club is a big scam.They keep send unwanted books and even you send them back,National.....keep send you bills after bills.Really annoying and frustrated because if you want to speak to someone,you cannot rich a live person.

Malathi said...

This is a wonderful opinion. The things mentioned are unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone.

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Connie said...

Hi Everyone. I just now realize that people have been leaving comments here. Well, let me update the reading public.

I have not gotten any more unsolicited mailings from the NHGC since that one marketing magazine in April 2009.

I have also not received anything from the Home Depot Gardening Club except for the same coupons for chemicals to spray all over my garden. I try to be organic as much as possible because toxic chemicals are already overloading our environment.

My one advice: unless you don't mind the marketing stuff from NHGC and unless you are a beginner gardener who needs a lot of advice, go ahead and sign up for the Home Depot Garden Club. The first initial coupon for the discounted hardback garden book is pretty good, and a reference I still use.

For the savvy gardener/shopper, I still recommend buying your tools and seed at the end of the gardening season. Here in Arizona that's in September, after Labor Day, or sometimes in October/November when the first frost may hit the high desert. I've gotten great tools for up to 75% off from KMart, Target, Ace, as well as stock up on seeds for the next year. Although seeds are sold with an expiration date, most are viable for a few years afterwards and I have never had any problems with year-old seeds.

Connie said...

Apparently, the scams continue.

Gail said...

Bill after bill for a book I sent back. Never answer their phone. However, I found a number for the parent company.... (952) 936-9333...somebody actually answers the phone. By the way...738 complaints in the last 3 years with the better business bureau!

Cracker said...

Seriously...don't believe any of the positive posts here as my experience was NEGATIVE. Paid dues for 2 years upfront and received nothing as of yet but a couple packs of useless seeds and more promises. I did get a rebate form of my paid dues but I needed to return it to them in order to apply it towords a lifetime membership that cost over $250 if I remember. My 1st test item was a LINK to a website that charges for "plans/prints" to build items that have nothing to do with gardening....but I got to keep the link for free.....yes.....it was just a LINK! I have since requested cancellation and a full refund of paid dues since as of yet I have really received NOTHING from them.

Max said...

I did not know how they got my information and they charged me for some membership I never joined. Big scam!!!

Mike said...

I see that this topic was started some time ago, but they are still scamming people. I received an unsolicited book from NHGC today and a notice congratulating me on my membership - and that they'd be sending me a bill.

I didn't join any garden clubs, but I did order some plants through a catalog and have since been put on a number of gardening catalog distribution lists. I assume that this scam is tied to the catalogs.

Tristyn Coker said...

Thank you so much for posting this... So the invoice I received had no call back, email, nothing but address to send money back... Somehow these people got a hold of my debit card number through an online purchase I made because I got sent the National Home Gardening Club, North American Fishing Club, and Cooking Club of America membership Dues Invoices at $3.00 each... So first it appeared on my statement and I called bank said it was fraud then a week later I get the invoices and ALL THREE had the same return address... exactly that was: CLUB HEADQUARTERS PO BOX 3526 HOPKINS, MN 55343-3526

Tired of these scams, I had to shred my card and get a new debit card, which of course I had to wait for... the inconvenience of a total of $9.00 charge to my card caused much havoc on my daily spending.

I really appreciate your relaying your experience, I've read all three "clubs" are scams, and I know this to be true when I never signed up and they had my card info! YIKES

Much more careful now and don't purchase as much on-line because I know for a fact now that even if the sites say they are secure... Obviously one wasn't!!!

Unknown said...

I never joined the home gardening club, they started sending me unsolicited things in the mail. I never, not once, joined. I am going to report them to the Texas Attorney General if they don't leave me alone.

Marilyn Chalich said...

I joined with a very expensive life time membership about 20 years ago. I had no complaint till I moved. I went online and changed my address and have not received a magazine since. Now I can't even contact them online. There's no contact info and they won't let me log in as a active member. I did notice that I could join if I wished to. Does anyone out there know how to contact these people?
Help, ifyou can I would appreciate it.
PO'ed in Minnesota

mittens said...

Home Gardening Club; sounds good. They send you a packet of info and a chance to test garden products, they promise to send you Fiskar Pruning Shears and a kneeling mat. Yay, you think. Then they ask if you'd like their magazine, on subscription, for 24 bucks for two years. Not a bad deal. Its glossy, it's got some interesting articles, the pictures are pretty; not a lot of depth, but I've gotten some good info out of them already.

However. I joined in 2008. Not long after joining, I received a positively breathless letter from them, saying that I had been selected (one of only a few aha) for a chance at Lifetime Membership. Free, by golly. Yep, that's what they said. To that end they were rebating my magazine subscription price and there was the check at the top of the letter to prove it--and here is the catch--you had to send the check back to THEM, and they would put it toward the Lifetime Membership fee.

Um. Fee? Now it turns out you 'only' had to pony up $18 a month instead of the usual $24 a month for a year, and your lifetime membership would be all paid up. Forever. If you do the math on that, a Lifetime Membership cost $288 (full price) or $216 (if you figure in the 'discount') and since the only thing you are paying for is a magazine subscription, that's 24 years of magazine and not much else. I was 62: that means that by the time I was 86 i would be riding free with Home Gardening Club. wowzie.

I still haven't received my kneeling cushion or Fiskar Shears, either. To be fair, they did send me a trashy little digger trowel to "test", and a return postcard to use for the results of the test. The kicker was, there was no room for anything to be written down. And the digger metal broke off clean from the wood handle the first time I used it...

But I never joined the lifetime membership club and they never sent me another magazine. Id say we're even.

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