Policies

Where We Are

Sproutpeople's physical location is...

170 Mendell St.
San Francisco, CA 94124

Local folks - or those visiting the Bay Area may pick-up orders from our facility, but you still need to place the order online and allow us time to fill it (2-3 business days). We email when it is ready for pick-up.

The Telephone

As of December 2013 we are trying to use the telephone again.  We're such a tiny business it's very difficult, but we are trying.

Our phone number is 415 640-1280

You will almost invariably get our voice mail.  We are busy mixing seeds, packing and shipping orders, answering emails, and a whole lot of other stuff.  It keeps the 5 of us very busy.  Since I (Gil) am responsible for the phone - and since I love to talk and can not shut up - phone calls take up a disproportionate amount of time and subsequently slow down the shipping of orders.  So, I try to call you back - sometimes in the evening - but it takes up so much time... I want to be forthright so that you don't get frustrated.  Honestly I love (LOVE!) talking with you all!  But the reality is that email is much faster in our case.  I am often up past midnight answering emails - so though it is less personal - it is more efficient.

I want to tell you the story of why we didn't use the phone for over a decade - so here is the deal:

We stopped using the telephone in 2001. Here is the short story...

Back in 2001 we were still using the phone. One day I (Gil) was talking to a long-time customer while pushing my (then 4 year old) daughter on the swing in our backyard (this is what a mom n' pop business is like on the internet). It dawned on me that my priorities were severely messed up, so I stopped using the phone. I love to talk and I love to help, but my family would never see me if I picked up the phone again, and that's just wrong - don't you think?!

The way to contact us is through E-mail =:-) We are quite fast and VERY thorough. We love to help.

So, we have been an internet only business since 2001. We are not a big corporation. We are but 2 people with some helpers, Mom n' Pop Sprout. We decided after years of juggling our family's (kids, dogs, cats and even our own) needs, and the needs of Sproutpeople, that we had to make more time for our kids, so we stopped talking on the phone. All calls go to voice mail and have for over a decade. We are very fast to fill orders and answer e-mail, and though we wish we could make the time to talk, we just can't seem to get more minutes into a each hour. We are many years older than when we started, and our days are too short and made up of too few hours to do everything. This limitation in our business has not kept us from pleasing our customers, nor from growing (as we have every year since 1993). We do what we do as well as we can, and we think we do it very well indeed. We appreciate your patronage more than we can say.

We ask that you search our site for answers before e-mailing us. This site is bigger than any 4 sprout books put together, it is always available and it is free, and we know that almost all questions are answered here. I have spent years - literally years - writing, editing, and re-writng this site. I NEED you to use it. It is part of me. Let me ask - if you buy a book - do you write the author with questions? No. PLEASE try finding answers here before writing. We pay Google for an exceptional site search engine. We have hundreds of pages. We love to help, but we are unhappy when we have to answer questions in email that are readily available on our site. I suppose it's just my ego - but I need you to treat this site like a book. After over 2 decades of sprouting we know a whole lot and we have put it into our site. Please, PLEASE use it. It is here for you. I wrote it for YOU!

Thanks again for your support and your many kind words.
Sproutpeople

Adding to Orders and Large Orders

I really am sorry to bitch at you constant customer, but we are a very small business. We work very hard. We love to save you the cost of shipping whenever possible (we loathe that UPS and the USPS make so much money off you). We have long tried to combine orders for those who forget something and then go back online to buy something else. The fact is, we can't keep up with that anymore. So, please be sure before you checkout of our shop, that you have everything you want. If you end up placing multiple orders within a day or three - and we notice (sometimes we do, sometimes we don't) - we will ship the orders together and will credit your credit card for the shipping saved. If you email us asking us to combine orders we might actually be able to do it (don't hold your breath) and once again - if we can do it - we will gladly issue a credit to your CC. As much as it pains us to say it - we are very unlikely to be able to help in the case of multiple orders. I could explain the intricacies of our little business, but who cares? This is just our reality.

This one hurts, and we have discussed it often...
For those of you who purchase twenty - thirty - forty - fifty - or more pounds at once - please forgive us if it takes us an extra day or two to ship your order. We do not think it fair, but the reality is that we mix our seed by hand - and if your order is going to clean us out and other orders will pile up as a result - we will prioritize the smaller orders. Like I said - this hurts. We figure that you should get better service - being a bigger customer and all - but mixing seeds is a time consuming, and space consuming job. We can't do it every day or our little seed shop would grind to a halt (while everyone tried to squeeze around the seed-mixing wheelbarrow). We always ship orders out in the order we receive them, and we try to ship big orders out in that line - but if the timing isn't quite right - it is possible that your order won't ship for an additional day - or in extreme cases - two. Please forgive us our shortcomings. We truly are doing the best we can.

Product Returns and Cancellations

We will accept return of un-used items (ie: sprouters and juicers) only. We are a tiny company and our margins are very low. If you have not used your item and you have all the original packaging: you may return it to us (you have to pay the shipping) for a refund. We will credit your card the cost of the item minus a 15% restocking fee.

We do not accept returns of Used OR Opened items.

We do not accept return of seed - though we will credit your account if your seed is in fact not good at the time you receive it. Since we sprout these same seeds we know they sprout well, so instead of returns, we force you to learn how to sprout the seeds correctly. We can teach you that, and that's why we're here - to teach you how to sprout! If you are having problems sprouting something, try this:
1. Read the in-depth page for the seed you are sprouting.
2. Visit our Help page.
3. Join our Web Group.
4. Write us an E-mail using our Contact Form.

Try and see this our way: We sprout the same seeds you get from us. We sprout them in the same Sprouters we sell. We get great sprouts from these seeds. We've grown over 200 TONS of sprouts and tens of thousands of trays of Grass and Greens. If we can't help you - who can??? If we accepted seeds back - we'd have people giving up on sprouting instead of learning. We'd go out of business and the quitters would never know what they were missing! To us this seems like the height of logic.

We have to point out that we do not make any false claims to sell products - in fact we warn customers to avoid certain products. We feel that our honesty compensates for our strict return policy. We also point out all over our site, that we are a small family business, and frankly you just can't expect a family business to run like a big corporation.

Cancellations: We understand that sometimes an order needs to be canceled. Life happens!  But please note that cancelations cost us 3.5% in fees on the total order. We reserve the right to assess that charge when issuing refunds on canceled orders.

Shipping

We ship orders as soon as possible - usually within 2-3 business days.  We insure all shipments. Our shopping cart lists several shipping options.

You choose your shipping method as you checkout of our online shop.

So as not to delay your order, please keep in mind:

UPS Ground may be used ONLY if we are shipping to a STREET addresses in the United States.

If we are shipping to a PO BOX, APO or AFO you must choose Priority Mail.

If you have chosen Expedited Shipping (UPS Next Day, 2nd-Day, or 3-Day), PLEASE e-mail us as soon as you place your order so that we can move it to the front of the line.  If for any reason your order is processed too late to make it to you by the expedited delivery date, we will hold your order and contact you.

If you are outside of the US, you will only see Postal options. ALL shipments outside of the US go via the US Postal Service. How they get delivered in your country will vary from place to place, but it is from the USPS that your delivery person got your package.

Be sure you provide the EXACT SHIPPING ADDRESS! If we ship to the wrong address it will come back to us and you will have to pay both the cost of that return (UPS charges us to return packages) and also to have it shipped again. If UPS delivers to an address other than that which you give (ie: You forget to put the apt. number or you give us 4700 when the address is 4722), they charge us twelve (12!) dollars. We will charge that to your card, so make sure your address is EXACT.

You must provide the EXACT Address your credit card bills are sent to as your BILLING address. If the address or zip/postal code don't match, your order will never get to us. You may ask us to ship anywhere as long as you provide the correct billing address, if you live in the US. We no longer send international orders to any but the Billing Address. We've been "taken" too many times to do anything else.

We are a very small business.  We usually print orders a day or two after they are placed.

We fill orders in the order they are received.  If you need us to prioritize your order - if you chose Expedited Shipping or it is a Gift that you're late in ordering or it is time sensitive in some other way, you need to e-mail us as soon as you place your order so that we can satisfy your needs.  We love to help kind people so don't feel bad asking to move to the front of the line, we just need to know who needs special service.


USPS Flat-Rate Priority Mail Shipping Option

There is no way for a shopping cart to know what will and will not fit in any size box - so our cart cannot offer you USPS Flat-Rate shipping at checkout. 


USPS Flat-Rate Shipping is Free

to our friends in Hawaii, Alaska, and all U.S. Territories 

Reasonably-priced USPS Flat Rate Priority Mail service makes it possible for us to offer Free Shipping to you. Please be aware that if your Free Shipping order will not fit into a USPS Flat Rate Priority box we will charge you the difference between a large flat-rate box and the amount it cost us to ship your order via non-flat rate (regular) USPS Priority Mail. Our cart cannot calculate beforehand what orders will fit in a Flat Rate box—but most orders do fit. 

One more thing...

While we're on the subject of Free Shipping - We have a $60 minimum because we determined it was necessary for Sproutpeople's survival. The heavier your order (by weight) - the less it costs (per pound) to ship your package (we still have to pay (UPS and the USPS) to ship your package). If we offered Free Shipping on everything, many folks would order single items (we would) - and we'd actually lose money on those orders - and then Sproutpeople would not survive - and then our web site would cease to exist - and then how would you know how to grow sprouts? And what would become of us?


International Shipping Policy and Disclaimer

We are very sorry to have to say this, but we can not afford the expense we are incurring more and more often as a result of non-US government silliness (that is not to say that we here in the US don't have a silly government). Though the problems are rare, we have lost our patience for them.

Firstly, ALL INTERNATIONAL ORDERS MUST SHIP TO THE BILLING ADDRESS.
We've had one too many incidents of fraud, so we will no longer ship to a different address.
We can't determine whether the problem is stolen credit cards or organized fraud. We suspect the latter.
When a charge is credited back to a customer who claims their card was stolen and that they did not order from us, we have little recourse, if the package shipped to a different address. We are sincerely sorry for this limitation. But, the other option would be us holding orders for 30 days or to contact the bank which issued the card to verify authenticity. That is an expense in time and money as well as an inconvenience given the time difference on the other side of the planet.

Secondly;

Countries are more often requiring phytosanitary certificates. A phytosanitary certificate documents the origin of the shipment and confirms inspection in the country of origin by a member of that countries national plant protection organization.  These certificates are an additional expense and have a limited life span. We can not justify the expense and the time - We have 80 varieties of seeds and mixes - all of which would need to be certified. So, you should check to see if your country requires a phytosanitary certificate. If it does you should NOT order from us as we can not provide one.

UK

The UK has in recent years reorganized their entire agriculture bueracracy and we have NO idea where to find seed importation rules at this point. Information used to be with DEFRA. If you go there you are redirected to GOV.UK. You could poke around there. We are really sorry but we just do not have up to date information at this time regarding seed imports to the UK. It is incumbent upon you to confirm UK rules and regulations and make sure you can comply before placing an order with us. Note: We do not supply phyto-santitary certificates.
 

Lastly, we have AUSTRALIA and NEW ZEALAND. We had 2 occurrences regarding specific limitations on seed varieties in the first half of 2006. In both cases the seed was held up, but eventually let through. We had to provide the Latin name: Family, Genus, Species, and Cultivar of Broccoli and Amaranth. For many years Australia and New Zealand did not allow any seeds in. Then we had a couple easy years, and now they are tightening up their restrictions once again. Though this may delay your order, we are willing and able to provide such additional information. BUT - as of September we have had yet another incident, and this time they refused our seed and offered to ship it back (not for free) or destroy it. So, Here is the update for you folks down under:

AUSTRALIA

We cannot export seeds to Australia without the Importer (you) first applying to Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) for a permit and emailing us a copy. There are fees for permits. Here is the link to Import CONditions, or, ICON: Import Conditions Database - ICON - AQIS
Please note that any seeds applied for should be STRAIGHT (NON-Mixed) SEEDS. Seed Mixes MAY be applied for, but it is much less likely that they will be allowed byAQIS than straight seeds.
If you wish to go ahead and apply for a permit, please email us a list of the seeds you wish to import. We will email you back the scientific names of the seeds which you will need for your Permit Application.
Or, you can find them on our web site here: Seed Taxonomy
Please be aware that if we receive orders from people in Australia who have not first emailed us their Import Permits we will cancel and refund these orders which will include a 4% processing fee reduction (That is the fee we pay to the credit card companies. They keep it even when we cancel/credit you).

NEW ZEALAND

Pretty much the same as Australia. Here is a link to their application for importation of seeds

 

Back to the rest of the planet.....

What frustrates us is that our seeds are not going to be used except in a home. They are not getting planted in a field, so whether they contain any weed seeds (VERY rare in high quality sprouting seeds) makes no difference. Countries claim to be protecting their environments, but as truly Green people, we are confident in saying that they are doing a poor job indeed if they think holding up our shipments to you is bettering your countries environment.

SO...

Though we usually have NO PROBLEM getting most of your shipments to you (excepting Australia), we have had enough difficulty getting seeds into foreign countries that we have changed our policy. We require that you assume the risk. We will refund you for seeds and goods sent back to us (when we receive them (minus a 15% restocking fee)). Furthermore you will bear the burden of the freight. In the case that your government returns the product to us they may charge additional freight. We will deduct that from your refund as well.

We can not say we think our policy is particularly fair. Frankly we are trying to discourage you from ordering, as much as we hate to do so. That said, we will do everything we can to get your order to you. We have spent many, many hours writing letters, sending faxes and e-mails, and phoning around the globe to get orders moving. But we can no longer accept the financial burden. When our time is factored into the cost of our merchandise, it is clearly a losing proposition for us to ship internationally. That said, we love to send seeds around the world. We have done so for over 12 years and we will continue to, but we are covering ourselves by charging a bit more for freight and by requiring you to assume the financial burden if your package is delayed, refused, or sent back to us.

Checking out of our store is your acknowledgement and acceptance of this policy.

It is a gamble, but given history, you have very good odds of winning if you proceed.
We are so very very sorry about this. Please feel free to petition your government about their policies regarding sprouting seeds.

 


Delayed Packages

99.9% of all packages make it to their destination on time. However, there can be delays due to bad weather. Rarely, a package gets mis-delivered to a neighbor’s house, or it is left behind at a delivery hub, or unfortunately stolen from a front porch. If your package is delayed beyond a couple of days, let us know and we will begin an investigation to recover it. We will keep you apprised every step of the way. Here is what will happen if you report to us that your package was not delivered:

For Domestic Ground US Priority Mail and UPS packages, 1-2-3:

1. After you verify with us that your package is missing, we will initiate an investigation to find your package. It is often faster to spend a few days locating the original package than it is to send a new one right out. Most packages are recovered in a few days.

2. Although most delayed packages do make it to their destination in a reasonable amount of time, an investigation can take 8 business days, so please mark your calendar.

3. Immediately after the investigation, we will contact you to let you know if the original package was found and is on its way to you, or if we will be sending you a replacement.

For Domestic Expedited UPS packages:

Non-Ground, Expedited UPS packages virtually always make it to their destinations on time. But if you have chosen UPS Next Day, UPS 2 Day or UPS 3 Day Service and your box is delayed, we will make sure you get a replacement right away.

 

For Delayed International Priority Mail Packages

Most times, US Priority Mail International packages are delivered in a reasonable amount of time. But sometimes, they can be delayed. Once a package leaves the US, there is nothing we can do to make it go faster. We must wait 45 days from the date of shipment before we can send you a replacement or a refund. We know that this can be frustrating, but please understand that most delayed international packages are delivered within 45 days. We ask you to please be patient and to acknowledge that there can be a lengthy wait while your package makes its journey to you. You must assume this possible inconvenience.

Mark your calendar 45 days from the date of shipment. Let us know if you do not have your package by that date. If you do not receive your package within 45 days, please tell us if you want your money back OR if you want a replacement package sent.

 

Your Privacy

Sproutpeople considers your personal information PRIVATE! 

  • We will never allow anyone else to see it.
  • We will not sell it, give it away or misplace it.
  • We will not use it to send you spam, though we hope to someday offer a newsletter (we'll warn you first).
  • We will never use it for the telemarketing of sprouting supplies.

 

We do appreciate you giving us all the information you can so that we may serve you better. 

  1. Including your phone number allows us an easy means of contact if we have a problem or question regarding your order.
  2. Providing us with your Credit Card's ACTUAL Billing Address (the place your bills are mailed to) allows us to verify that you are the owner of the card we are charging. Without it we are unable to complete your order. You may have us ship it anywhere - as long as we have that billing address too.

 

We hate junk mail and we loathe telemarketing (try telling them that the person they are trying to reach is dead =;-) and we are disgusted by the junk faxes we receive constantly advertising cruises!

We have an address to share with you which is intended to stop junk mail.
Just send your address and ask to be removed from junk mail lists

Mail Preference
Direct Marketing Association
PO Box 90028
Farmingdale, NY 11735

 

Be well and happy.