Should You “Grow Your Own” Seeds From GYO Seedbank in 2023?Is GYO a trustworthy seed bank? Our full GYO review covers all the important details you need to know.
At first glance, GYO Seedbank was an inviting place to order your next batch of seeds – with a huge selection, a website filled with 5-star reviews, and all sorts of discounts and promotions. But an alarmingly high number of this seed bank’s online reviews painted a very different picture. As a result, the seed bank has been bought, shut down, and traffic is now redirected to another web property. In our review, we’ll cover the history of the infamous GYO seed bank and why it failed to solidify a position in the market.
GYO Seedbank Reputation and History
Was GYO Seedbank ultimately a trustworthy place to buy cannabis seeds? The answer depended on who you asked. While GYO’s former website was full of 5-star ratings, the sheer number of negative reviews out there were enough to make potential buyers reconsider. Here’s a look at where that discrepancy came from, and what that means if you are looking for a place to buy cannabis seeds online.
GYO Company Background and History
GYO (“Grow Your Own”) Seedbank was based in the UK and Spain. GYO was founded in 2015, originally created as a sister seed bank to Bonza Seeds. Bonza Seeds has since been purchased by another well-known seed bank, while GYO was acquired by Homegrown Cannabis Co., which first rebranded the company in the United States and Australia, then Europe and other parts of the world. Today, all traffic going to GYO.green is redirected to Homegrown Cannabis Co.
We’ve decided to keep our review up for informational purposes. There’s a reason why GYO failed and if you are looking for a new cannabis seed retailer, spotting the red flag demonstrated below will help you find a reputable retailer.
Contrasting Customer Reviews
While there were satisfied buyers over the years to keep GYO Seedbank in business, a closer look revealed that many of the 5-star reviews on GYO.green were written by buyers who hadn’t even sprouted their seeds yet – many of them remarking solely on GYO’s fast shipping, but saying nothing at all about the quality of their cannabis crop. Considering that GYO Seedbank offered buyers extra loyalty points in exchange for reviews (on public forums as well as on GYO.green), it’s easy to see why there are so many of them. It’s also highly likely that these average ratings were artificially inflated, as multiple buyers have reported their less-than-glowing reviews of GYO seeds were deleted from the site.
If you ventured off of GYO Seedbank’s official site, it was easy to see that GYO’s reputation is actually not that great. Most reviews in growers’ forums skew dramatically toward the negative, complaining of everything from seeds failing to germinate and difficultly getting through to customer service to delayed shipping and orders never arriving at all. Unlike most other well-known seed banks, GYO didn’t maintain a presence in popular growers’ forums to respond to negative reviews or offer explanations or solutions.
GYO’s Seed Selection and Quality
GYO Seedbank did boast a very large selection of seeds and strains to choose from, with over 2,500 strains from over 70 breeders listed on its former website. However, the quality of GYO’s genetics had a track record of being inconsistent at best.
An alarmingly high number of buyers have had the unfortunate experience of receiving multiple seeds (in some cases, an entire order) that either completely failed to sprout or abruptly stopped growing at some point after sprouting. Some of these buyers realized something was amiss as soon as they opened the packaging, finding underdeveloped seeds that were smaller than they should be and white or gray in color. There have also been several cases of hermaphrodite plants growing from seeds that were advertised as feminized. GYO did not guarantee germination or seed quality, and there was, unfortunately, no recourse given when seed issues arise.
Reviews describing the following types of situations and interactions with GYO are unfortunately rather common in public cannabis forums:
GYO Seed Bank Customer Service Review
Unfortunately, customer service was another area in which GYO Seedbank had considerable room for improvement. For starters, GYO’s customer service team was difficult to get ahold of via telephone, email, or the live chat option on its site. Response times were often unreasonably long and the responses themselves not particularly helpful.
However, the most concerning problem buyers had experienced was the repeated incidence of orders being canceled on GYO’s end after payment was received – with no refunds given. Multiple buyers who experienced this issue and contacted GYO about it were met with customer service representatives who refused to research what went wrong, simply claiming that payment was never received, or, in some cases, failed to respond at all.
GYO Website Design and Navigation
At first glance, the eye-catching graphics on GYO.green gave it the look of an interesting and fun site to shop. But each page was cluttered with so many pictures and text that it quickly gets overwhelming to sift through and zero in on what you were looking for. However, a particularly nice feature of the site was the footer shopping cart, where buyers could quickly reference which items are in the cart, the cash value of any available loyalty points, and what their running order total.
Price and Payment Options
GYO’s seed prices were pretty well in line with average prices across the industry. The discounts offered to loyalty club members could yield buyers some great deals, but considering the steep entry cost of joining this club, most members would still end up spending close to typical retail prices in the end.
GYO Seedbank did accept a variety of payment options, including cryptocurrency, cash, personal check, wire transfer, Visa, and MasterCard. However, its payment processing system was also rather inconsistent, with frequently-changing addresses across the globe where buyers were been instructed to send wire or check payments. GYO Seedbank used a credit card processor based out of Nigeria. There was also a concerning trend of buyers experiencing credit card fraud shortly after placing orders with GYO, indicating the likelihood of a serious security risk via the payment processor.
Shipping Range and Stealth Methods
GYO Seedbank shipped everywhere in the world, from its former hubs in Spain, the UK, and California, USA. When orders shipped out as scheduled, buyers tended to receive their seeds very quickly. But as with many would-be pluses of this seed bank, shipping was another area of inconsistency. In many cases, an excessive amount of time passed between orders being placed and the seeds actually leaving the warehouse. This issue was made more frustrating by how difficult it often was to reach GYO’s customer service team to inquire about the delay or cancel an order that took too long to ship.
GYO’s website stated that all orders were always shipped in discreet packaging sturdy enough to keep seeds from harm, though this was not always the case. It wasn’t uncommon for seeds to arrive in relatively flimsy packaging, and occasionally inside sealed packaging with punctures or tears in it. As an extra security measure, shipping is supposed to be tracked, but that tracking info wasn’t always shared with the buyer.
As far as stealth goes, like most seed banks, GYO sent seeds by mail, without mentioning the company name or contents on the packaging. But on the inside, seeds often arrived wrapped up in nothing more than a page ripped out of a book. Many buyers prefer their seeds ship in the original breeder packaging, for the assurance that they are getting correct and authentic seeds. Handling these requests was another area of inconsistency for GYO Seedbank, with some buyers reporting their seeds arrived as requested and others receiving repackaged seeds despite requesting otherwise.
Discounts and Loyalty Programs
GYO’s Eucalyptus Points
GYO Seedbank gave a lot of attention to advertising its loyalty program, Eucalyptus Points, which included many ways to rack up points to cash in for discounts on future orders. Some of the ways to get extra points included writing a review of your purchase on GYO.green, reviewing the company in a public cannabis forum, signing up for the newsletter, sharing on social media, or inviting a friend to join the program. You’d also get points on your birthday, with every fifth purchase, and when you first create your Eucalyptus Points account.
Despite the fact that Eucalyptus Points were heavily advertised on GYO’s website, the program wasn’t necessarily dependable. Some of GYO Seedbank’s repeat customers saw their large quantities of previously accumulated points suddenly disappear. GYO’s explanation for the disappearing points was that the Eucalyptus Points program was “temporarily” shut down, with plans to bring it back in the future. No mention was made of a plan to restore these lost points, however.
In addition to its loyalty points program, GYO Seedbank offered a membership club option for repeat customers. The perks of joining GYO Club included free tracked shipping on every order, a replacement guarantee, first access to new products, a 10% discount on all purchases, a 50% higher Eucalyptus Points payout awarded for each purchase, and a free GYO t-shirt. You’d also be gifted up to 40,000 Eucalyptus Points when you joined.
These perks all sounded nice if you were planning to do business with this seed bank regularly. However, it was rather pricey, with a three-month membership running $65CA, six months running $123CA, and $221CA for a full year – or you can pay with Eucalyptus Points if you happened to have enough stored up. Unless you were buying very large quantities of seeds or placing multiple orders over a relatively short period of time, the discounts and free shipping wasn’t worth the cost of membership.
GYO Discounts and Sales
GYO also offered a number of sales and discounts open to non-club members. For instance, you’d receive discounted pricing, bonus seeds, or extra Eucalyptus Points if you purchased seeds from one of the selected Breeders of the Month. Purchasing the selected Strain of the Month rewarded you with double loyalty points. GYO Seedbank also ran Mix & Match deals and buyer’s choice of selected free bonus seeds with orders of a minimum purchase amount. The more money you spent, the more bonus seeds you’ll be eligible for. Bulk quantity discounts were offered for single and pick-n-mix seed orders of 3 or more. Orders over $500CA (approximately £300, €400, or AUD$550) were also subject to bulk discounts.
Conclusion, GYO Seedbank Review 2023
Since enough buyers received useable seeds for their money, we considered GYO a legit seed bank. However, even before the company was sold and shut down, we still recommended shopping elsewhere, as this seed bank has a track record of inconsistency in nearly every important area – including genetics, customer service, and shipping methods. If you are looking to purchase cannabis seeds online, you want consistency and confidence that if a mistake was made, you had someone to call that would help. GYO Seedbank had neither of these qualities.
At this time we are unsure if the new company is ran by the same group or if they only bought out the business for the URL, logistics, and inventory. Therefore, we highly recommend checking out some of the seed banks we consider to be industry leaders.
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