Consumer Demands Refund After Canceled Christmas Tree Order

A Grand Prairie woman called NBC 5's Samantha Chatman after an online Christmas tree company failed to deliver her order and only offered a credit.

For Mary McDowell, the holidays are bittersweet. She lost her mother in 2010.

"There was one thing my mom had asked me on her death bed, and she said remember to keep our traditions alive," said McDowell.

That's why Christmas decorations are so important to McDowell.

"It just is empty without them. So having a tree is important to me," she explained.

Two years ago, she ordered a Christmas tree online from Five Star Christmas Tree Company.

"It was delivered without an incident. It was perfect," she said. "I've never seen a gorgeous tree like that and I was just thrilled."

This year, she decided to order from the same company, hoping for another gorgeous tree. She paid $75 and was told the tree would be delivered in November.

"Well, I had emailed the company asking where's my information about the tracking because it was getting close to thanksgiving," recalled McDowell.

She she got a reply saying the tracking numbers would be sent out on Black Friday.

"I waited. I waited all the way til Monday," said McDowell.

She never received her tracking number, so she sent the company another email and got this response: "We just received news that there is a supply issue in the Grand Prairie area and we will not be able to deliver your order this year. We apologize for the inconvenience. We will not be working with that local farm in the future."

But they weren't offering a refund; just a credit for $252.

"I don't want a credit. Just give me my money back so I can get a tree," she said.

The Five Star Christmas Tree website says they offer a money back guarantee on all of their products. But when McDowell asked about her refund, she said her response was silence.

Consumers across the country have a lot to say about Five Star Christmas Tree on Facebook. The company even has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau with dozens of negative complaints.

"I felt empty. I feel used," said McDowell. "$75 doesn't seem to be a lot these days, but to us it's $75. If that money is gone there is no tree this year."

We called Five Star Christmas Tree. A voicemail said to send an email for customer support. So we did that, asking the company about McDowell's tree, the negative complaints online and its F rating with the BBB.

We didn't get a response, but two hours later, McDowell did: "I have issued a refund to the payment method that you used when you ordered. You should receive confirmation by email shortly."

As she waits for her refund, she's pulled out an old plant as an alternative.

"I don't like it, but I've just got to punt and make do because that's what mom would've done," she said.

As of Monday, McDowell has not yet received her refund, but we'll be staying on top of this to make sure Five Star Christmas Tree follows through.

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