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tomatoaddict January 17, 2017 07:45 PM

Jerry Harrell and Tomato Geeks
I was invited to come on here and share my story about Jerry Harrell. The growing community is a small place and everyone has the right to know the character and business practices of who they do business with.
In Sept. my webdesigners, a company in Toronto, wanted me to pay 1,500. dollars for them to redo my site with newer code. They also were going to raise my hosting fees to 80. a month. I own Secret Seed Cartel.
I put out a message on my FB to ask for advice on my website. Jerry Harrell jumped in and offered to help me for free. said "he just likes to help people". I took his offer but insisted on paying him. I paid him 300 to rebuild the site. He offered hosting. I said he didn't have to do that but he said he wanted to. The deal was that I would send him some seeds here and there.
First thing he did was plug his blog into my site. I asked him twice to remove it and plug mine in and he ignored me.
He sent me a list of 112. varieties of tomatoes he wanted. That's a lot! I only saw the first 53 because it didn't fit completely in my email. I sent him the 53. He messaged me in October and wanted the other 50. I said no problem.
In the meantime, in a conversation in October, he blurted out my sales figures to me. What! He was looking at my sales info. I don't know about the rest of you but that is just wrong to look at a persons finances without their permission. So there was that.
So Jan 3rd, my birthday, he messaged me about wheres the rest of his seeds. I said "hey, im gonna be layed up from surgery for a few weeks so I'll send them next week. Then, I mentioned that I would probably have godaddy take over hosting in a month or so because I wasn't comfortable with him looking at my sales. Well then he had a complete meltdown. Said I hurt his feelings. Said to get my site off his server and that we couldn't be friends anymore. He was completely unhinged. Finally I said, I am having surgery tomorrow. Give me 2 weeks and it will be moved. Tomorrow would be the deadline for the 2 weeks. He decided yesterday, Monday, to just take it down. No message, no warning nothing. I messaged him and said "hey, this is my only income here. I need my info". He basically told me too bad and blocked me from messaging him and wont' take my calls. So he shut my site down, in the middle of busy season, right after m surgery when I am in a cast and cut off my only income completely. People have offered him money for my content, people have offered to drive to his home and get the back up. NO GO. His goal was to hurt me and destroy my business for nothing more than "hurting his feelings".
He is a damaged man. Who does this to someone. I paid for that site, I own the content and he will not turn it over. He is a very shady character. There are other people out there that have had bad experiences with him besides myself.
That's the Gods honest truth and you should know it before you have any business with him.

Rajun Gardener January 17, 2017 07:57 PM

How did he get you to agree to this? Especially when you say other people had bad experiences with him.

RESEARCH before doing business with anybody saves troubles later.

Get a lawyer and make him pay.

tomatoaddict January 17, 2017 08:01 PM

I agreed because I thought if I paid him, I owned it. Naive. And yes, people warned me and I was so desperate I went ahead. I am angry with myself for jumping on his offer and not waiting for a day or so. My bad.

Rajun Gardener January 17, 2017 08:12 PM

I hope you can get your content back and it's good you're warning others about him.

jtjmartin January 17, 2017 10:39 PM

Tomato Addict:

I am an attorney but mainly criminal defense. And by your growing zone I'm guessing you do not live in Virginia. Civil law varies state by state so I cannot offer specific advice.

What I would say is this:
1) talk to an attorney in your area as soon as possible - many give free consultations
2) until you talk to an attorney, watch what you post online
3) often attorneys cannot win you a lot of money without you spending a lot of money but a letter or call on the firm's letterhead is sometimes magical

Feel free to PM me but I only know and practice Virginia law. I would be happy to talk to you on the phone if you PM me - I'm around tonight.


tomatoaddict January 17, 2017 10:46 PM

Thank you Jeff. I have the name of an attorney. I am in the process of rebuilding the site and an attorney will not be able to get my content in time but I plan on using one with him on principal. It will cost him in legal fees for sure and I think he is someone that needs to learn this lesson. You cannot just ruin a person and think you can walk away.

jtjmartin January 17, 2017 10:50 PM

I do wish you the very best of luck. Please let us know when your site is back up - I'll be sure to visit and place an order on principle! (Well, I love tomatoes and gardening too!)


BigVanVader January 17, 2017 11:12 PM

Sucks man, wonder why anyone would do something so cruel? I wish you the best.

Barb_FL January 18, 2017 12:53 AM

That is so appalling.

I hope everything works out for you. I will place an order - Keep us posted.

greenthumbomaha January 18, 2017 01:01 AM

[QUOTE=jtjmartin;611623]I do wish you the very best of luck. Please let us know when your site is back up - I'll be sure to visit and place an order on principle! (Well, I love tomatoes and gardening too!)


Exactly my thought too. I'll be a new customer to your site, and pass the site along to anyone I can find to listen :)

We can wait for seeds. More importantly take care of your health. You come first!

Best wishes- Lisa

KC.Sun January 18, 2017 01:17 AM

Sorry to hear about that Terry.

I might be wrong about this. But a few years ago, someone showed me that you can go back in time on day by day to pull the history of your site. So you can literally go back in time and pull content of what your site used to look like and possibly data.

Perhaps this will help recover something. Unfortunately, I'm not skilled in that area. Maybe someone here will be able to chip in.

Nattybo! January 18, 2017 06:45 AM

Oh dear lord:cry: this is so horrible.

The wayback machine. Try that. It might help.

sjamesNorway January 18, 2017 07:40 AM

Maybe we can bombard him with irate e-mails on your behalf?


oakley January 18, 2017 09:38 AM

How horrid. Rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. I say that without exclamation because
nothing surprises me.
Hopefully you can resolve this 'extortion' soon.
At least you have Facebook for communication.
I'm not that familiar with this person but did look at his site and saw one tomato in the checkout
i don't recall putting there. Deleted it.
On SecretSeedCartel i am familiar with, i had a half dozen but was still shopping....had not ordered
Fortunately you have your inventory.

Wi-sunflower January 18, 2017 09:57 AM

He has a group on Facebook called Tomato Geeks, same as his web site. It has over 6,000 members. If those of us that now know about all this leave his group, that would send a message that people aren't happy with him.


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