Resolved: Balsam Hill - Terrible customer service, stock answers and apologies, unfulfilled promises and no follow through on defective tree purchased and can't speak with anyone who can do anything about it
Update by user Feb 06
After my post, I was finally contacted a couple of days later by rep at Balsam Hill who apologized for everything I went through and instructed me to return the tree with the labels they had previously given me and they would refund my purchase price. She promised to follow through personally (a big plus rather than having to speak to different reps every time you call) and refund my account as soon as Fed Ex confirmed the tree wan enroute back to their warehouse.
She did follow through as promised and refunded the full amount as soon as I notified Balsam the tree had been shipped back. It's unfortunate that it took so much time and effort to get this matter resolved. It was very stressful and frustrating.
They do have a nice product, their trees look great. Balsam needs to improve their customer service with regard to resolving issues and defects that come up with their products, this seems to be the primary complaint of many consumers.
Original review posted by user Jan 06
Second Balsam Hill Xmas tree purchase. First lasted me for many years, no issues, lost the tree in home flooding.
Loved the previous product so ordered new tree from them, multi and clear lights on 11/18/17, it was on sale for $800.00. I received tree quickly, set it up 11/29/17 and found a whole string of lights were not working. Chatted with customer service on 11/30/17, troubleshooted and found that there was wire damage on that string of lights. Multi -lights were not working on large portion of the main body of tree, 2nd section.
Customer service rep said to resolve he would order me a new 2nd section, that I should receive within approx. 5-7 business days. I would receive an email within 48-72 hours confirming order and shipping info. A separate email would be sent with return label to return the defective section which should be returned within 30 days.
When no confirmation email was received, I kept calling and emailing customer service many times over the next week and half. I kept being told that it was ordered, it was in the approval process with warranty dept (?). Every rep said I should be receiving something soon, meanwhile, my tree was sitting in a corner undecorated waiting for the section replacement and the time for my Christmas parties, family gatherings was creeping uncomfortably close. I had reached my limit after about 2 weeks and many, many, contacts later.
On 12/14/17 called again and demanded they give me a definitive answer on the replacement section or else just send me a return label and I would just return this tree for a refund and buy another tree locally since I now had no time to wait for another tree shipment. That rep said, after checking, that she saw there was a request (?) to order the second section replacement but there was no second section in stock to send, she didn't understand why no one had told me that one was not available and therefore one would not be sent. I pointed out they still had my tree in stock, they were still selling my tree, so why couldn't they take a section from one of those or send me a new replacement tree and I would then return this one. She agreed that is what they would do, the tree was still in stock so she would order and ship a new replacement tree then send me return labels for the defective one I had.
Given the delays they had created (2 weeks of runaround and no resolution) and the short time till Xmas, I could go ahead and use and decorate the one I had for Xmas. When I received the new one, I should set it up, make sure lights were working and then ship the defective one back after Xmas. I told her I would be leaving on vacation Xmas - New Years and could not send the defective tree back till that 1st week in January. She said that would be fine, just within 30 days of receiving the return labels for the defective product which was 12/14/17.
I thought great! Problem resolved! I decorated the tree and used only the clear light setting which were all working. Then 6 days later on 12/20/17, now 5 days before Xmas, I had a phone call from Balsam that went to voicemail.
The message - a notice that there was no more Colorado Spruces in stock so they would not be sending a replacement tree, the stock would not be replenished until next fall. If I wished to return the defective tree I had for a full refund, I would need to ship it with the return labels I received by 12/22/17, before Xmas to be eligible to receive a refund on the tree. What??? Pissed does not even begin to describe my feelings.
I kept checking the website daily and the Spruce was in stock for at least 3 days after my call on 12/14 when it supposedly was ordered, given the problems with the 2nd section replacement, I kept checking for a few days after the order to make sure it was still in stock. If it actually had been ordered, my experience with purchases through Balsam is that it ships within 2 days. They sat on that order or they actually never ordered it at all. Another promise of resolution not kept and now they want me and my family to go without a tree for Xmas so I can get my money back or in the alternative, keep the tree with defective lights that I paid 800.00 for.
I emailed (everything in writing now) and explained I could not return the tree before Xmas because through no fault of mine (Balsam's only) I could not now get another tree before Xmas, no time. Explained the history, the lack of follow through on two exchanges/replacements to resolve the issue and that the promised resolutions kept me from returning the tree earlier and purchasing a tree from another source. I explained that their rep on the 14th authorized me to keep and use the tree for xmas due to Balsam's lack of resolution and delay. I needed a definitive answer on whether I could return the tree as already promised, in 1st week of January, and would they refund since they could not honor the replacement order.
I would then just purchase a new one when they restocked in the fall of 2018. Emailed replies gave me first, the stock return policy of within 30 days or before Xmas for refund. I responded that this was not a situation where the standard policy applied. It was a defective product I had not returned earlier due to Balsam's repeated promises to replace.
The replacement's were not forthcoming, no follow through and Balsam couldn't now ask us to take down tree a few days before Xmas and ship it back to be eligible for a refund on a defective product. The return reply was vague, and I think now after all I've experienced, deliberately so. It said, (from another rep because you can never speak to and follow through with the same person) - Balsam "may" process a return after Xmas for a defective product. May????
Does this mean I need to make a new request to return? Start the process all over? I demanded they get management to contact me concerning this, someone that I could speak with and follow through with to resolve the defective product issue. I wanted a clear answer in writing from management concerning return and refund as soon as possible.
I attached all previous emails, chats, etc., for management review. Their reply to this was to apologize yet again for everything and open up yet another case number for my reference. Rep assured me email would be forwarded to management and someone would be contacting me shortly. It is now January 6th, no contact.
I feel it is no use to contact customer service again because after 20 times I'm starting to get the point. Balsam's customer service is like a phone/web bank. Hired to field customer service calls, troubleshoot issues with products, put in requests. No power to make anything happen, their promises, orders, resolutions are meaningless.
They actually have no power to resolve anything. They are just putting in requests to the powers that be (whoever that is? - couple of people in a back room in a warehouse?). Understand, I know the tree was in stock November 30 through at least December 17-18th.
They could have shipped me a section from another tree or shipped a replacement tree in exchange at any time during that 3 weeks. Balsam's promises to send replacements kept me from returning the tree early on for a refund and just buying another, which I could have done easily in that first two weeks of December. That is what I should have done. I could have purchased another from them on 11/30 and had it approx.
a week later. Returned the defective one for a refund immediately. They are great at getting purchases out and to you quickly. Service at the sale seems to be great.
However, service after the sale is horrible. Cant speak with anyone who can actually do anything. Still waiting on that call from management, doubt I'll ever receive it. Nice products but don't buy from Balsam if you want them to stand behind their products.
I can't imagine if I needed to resolve a warranty issue, must be meaningless. I never will again. If you do, and you get a defective product, return it immediately for a refund. Just order and pay for a new one if you want another.
If you are buying, they will ship it out to you right away. No exchanges!
Product or Service Mentioned: Balsam Hill Christmas Tree.
Reason of review: Damaged or defective.
Monetary Loss: $800.
Preferred solution: Full refund.
I liked: Look of their products.
I didn't like: No resolution of non-working defective lights on new xmas tree.