Online plant and tree seller duped hundreds, AG says
The Tennessee Attorney General sued two nursery companies and their owners for allegedly deceiving more than 400 customers who bought their products.
Named in the lawsuit are Samuel Evins Womack and Melinda Ramsey Womack, who own and operate Autumn Ridge Nursery, Inc. and Summerstone Nursery, Inc. in McMinnville, Tenn. They did not immediately respond to a request to comment.
The businesses sold nursery goods through mail order catalogs and their websites. The plants and trees sold looked healthy and mature on the websites and in the catalogs, the attorney general's office said, but were often in a "dormant state" or dead upon arrival.
Some of the complaints also allege that the companies failed to deliver the products within the promised time frame, delivered incomplete orders or in some cases, didn't deliver the ordered items at all. The lawsuit also claims the businesses failed to refund customers or replace their orders.
The AG is seeking a permanent injunction so the companies stop doing business and provide consumers with refunds or other relief. More than 400 consumers have filed complaints with the state, the Better Business Bureau and other consumer agencies.
State officials are still trying to determine how many other consumers have had problems with Autumn Ridge Nursery or Summerstone Nursery. They ask that anyone who has a complaint against the individuals or businesses named in the lawsuit contact the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-342-8385 or 615-741-4737 or online.