Tree Classics

November 22nd, 2008

Update 4/12/2011: Our tree developed some serious issues with its lights. Tree Classics offered to repair it for us, but between the time we took it down and the time we were going to ship it, seems to have disappeared. Others in the comments below have reported similar experiences. It seems they may have gone out of business or have something shady going on. Even before that, I started to have trouble with their customer service. See the comments for more.

A few years ago, not long after we got married, it was getting close to Christmas — the first Christmas we’d spent together. We set out one Saturday morning in Indianapolis to find a Christmas tree. We both have allergies, so a real tree was out of the question. An artificial tree it is.

We went to the mall. We went to Sears, to Target, and to any number of other places that I’m sure I’m forgetting. We saw trees that spun, trees that had red needles, trees with fiber optics in them, trees with some incredibly fake-looking snow, pre-decorated “generic” trees, and all sorts of things that just screamed “tacky.”

What we didn’t find were trees that looked like… trees. I think there were a few Terah would have been OK with, until I had to veto them on the grounds that they were too fake, too short, to skinny, or whatever.

So I thought I’d check the Internet. I came upon Tree Classics, and we ordered a 7.5ft Evergreen Supreme. We (or, well, *I*) got some good-natured teasing for being crazy enough to order a tree over the Internet. This was before people were quite used to the idea that you can buy anything online — and, as far as I know, Tree Classics was the only company (except perhaps for Sears) selling trees online back then.

But it arrived and we put it up and liked it. It looked like a tree, it was nice and full. And it shipped direct from the manufacturing plant in Illinois.

The downside to that particular tree was that it took several hours to assemble each year. Over the years, whatever unlucky family members happened to be visiting our house over Thanksgiving would get a nice Thanksgiving dinner — and then a pile of tree branches to shape. We started getting more haphazard over the years, and this year, decided that our now 7-year-old tree had survived three moves and a toddler, and we could do with a new, easier-to-assemble model.

So I hopped online again. We didn’t even bother with the big box stores this year. There are more places selling Christmas trees these days, but we wound up buying another tree from Tree Classics. They had basically the same types of trees as other places, but a wider selection and generally better prices. Though their website isn’t quite as fancy.

We got a 7.5ft Kensington Spruce this year. It arrived Monday and we set to assembling it as soon as we could. Our Christmas tree has had this tradition of getting put up on about Dec. 23 and then staying up until about Valentine’s Day because we are great at procrastinating with the long job of assembling it (and the almost-as-long job of disassembling it.)

We got a pre-lit tree (standard incandescent white light bulbs, of course) this year. It came in about 4, rather than several dozen, sections. The injection-molded branch ends are amazingly realistic.

We got it assembled in record time. But it didn’t look very full. The injection-molded ends seemed all squished together, and despite following the instructions, didn’t really bend out like we thought they should.

So Terah called Tree Classics today. The woman that answered gave her a tip on how to do it (“splay” them out, side to side, then shape them up and down after that). She’s got it started, and we’ll probably finish out the shaping tomorrow.

Tree Classics had also exchanged a few emails with me prior to our purchase to help answer questions about whether their current trees are easier to assemble than their prior ones, and questions about the appearance of their different standard and LED pre-lit options.

Overall, we’ve been happy with them and will order from them again in the future, I’m sure.

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Comments Feed44 Comments

  1. Erik J

    The best option is not buying a tree next time. PVC trees are very bad for the environment and people. I think my family bought the last real tree when I was eight or nine, and I think our treeless christmases were wonderfull.

    Now I’m back with trees at christmas, but only because we have several km^2 of forrest, and use it as fuel anyway. But I’m not sure I like it. :-)

    Reply

  2. Alex I

    Not true, PVC trees can be 100% recycled and do not contribute to deforestation.

    Reply

  3. Sliver

    I disagree. Every tree place I have talked to (a lot) plants around 3 trees for every tree cut. Not to mention, the real ones can be composted or turned into mulch. It’s ridiculous to go without a tree when you have so many options.

    Reply

  4. Bob

    The lights on Tree Classics trees last only one year if you are lucky. Customer service is impossible to get ahold of via phone – their phone serice is a loop with NO way to speak with anyone or leave a message. Google for yourself – Tree Classics complaints, and you can see they offer poor quality.

    Reply

    John Goerzen Reply:

    I’m starting to think you’re right. I’ve had a lot of trouble with this tree and service has been not terribly responsive. The trouble has indeed been with the lights.

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  5. David

    do not buy this product, what everyone says about defective lights is true. Avoid them at all costs.

    Reply

    John Goerzen Reply:

    I called them yesterday regarding my problems (had to replace 74 bulbs, entire sections not lighting, etc.) They commented that most of their trees from, I think, the 2007-2009 era (with “WorryFree lighting”) were fine, but they had too many instances of trouble, so they have switched back to commercial-grade lighting for the 2010 model year. They will also take care of my tree (replace with the better lighting system).

    Reply

    Steven Smith Reply:

    I too have tried and tried to reach Tree Classics by telephone since that start of 2011. On January 5, 2011 (I think), “Alex” told me to return our tree for rewiring under warrantee, but to wait until March (after February), Now I can’t get anyone to answer a phone and the 800 number that I used to use (800) 711-2816 says that “You have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service.” The regular phone number (847) 304-4961 message that I get is that the phone call can not be completed.

    On 11/29/10, “Alex” told me that matching replacement bulbs can be purchased at Walgreens (professional series sets of 100 replacement bulbs 2.5 volts 200 milliamp). We bought a number of sets from Walgreens and they seemed to work fairly well or even better that the ones that came on the tree – hundreds of which have burned out. We did not try to replace individual bulbs for Christmas 2010.

    Does anyone know if the company still exists?

    Reply

    John Goerzen Reply:

    When I tried to call in January to return the tree, their recording said they were “closed for the season” until April 1. Then it went through times of being disconnected. I am not sure. Will have to see what happens in April I guess.

    Cindy B. Reply:

    Steven – At least they told you not to mail the tree! We sent the top 2/3 of our tree ($100 in shipping charges) to them for repair on January 3rd and there is a record of them receiving it on January 4th. They were going to rewire that portion of the tree for us – free of charge. We have been trying to reach them ever since. Phone number is disconnected. If only I wouldn’t have sent it! I could have re-strung those lights myself. Anybody have any idea how to go about getting the top 2/3 of my tree back?????

    Margie Reply:

    Well, everybody, it’s now April 5th and Tree Classics still is impossible to get a hold of! I had purchased a 9′ Burberry Pine 4 years ago at their end of season half price sale (with no lighting guarantee). The tree came with about ten replacement bulbs. Needless to say, they were used up the second season. This year was their third time we set up the tree, at least a HUNDREDS bulbs out all over. I was willing to purchase replacement bulbs to put on tree when it came out of storage for Christmas 2011, but throughout January I couldn’t reach them by phone and there was no response to my e-mails. So, today I tried to call them, no answer, of course. But Steven, thanks for the tip about the Walgreens PROFESSIONAL bulbs working because I am willing to painstakingly re-thread each bulb into the TC existing base if necessary as long as the bulbs will be as bright as the ones on the tree that STILL LIGHT!

    Dawna Pierce Reply:

    I have the 2007 Kensington Spruce with Worry Free lighting that I bought on sale for well over $500. I have had nothing but trouble with the lights on this tree. In the past two seasons I have had to replace over 200 lights, and now Tree Classics cannot supply replacement bulbs (which they charge $30 per 100 bulbs). I cannot find replacement lights anywhere that will work in this tree. Their customer service is now non existent and they can’t be reached by phone. I suspect I will have to throw away this tree and purchase a new tree for Christmas 2011. Avoid this company at all costs. Google “Tree Classic complaints’” to view reviews from other owners. They’re a nightmare.

    Reply

    Josette Reply:

    I just filed a complaint with the BBB and also spoke to the Attorney General Office for state of IL (#312-814-3000). The office informed me that there were 7 complaints filed against Tree Classics. You can access the consumer complaint form at their website.
    http://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/index.html

    Reply

  6. Raymond E. Martin

    If you would like to see documnets from this company stating w2hat they will do and then refusing to honor their own written documents even after the tree is returned at owners expense contact me.

    Reply

  7. Josette

    Has anyone contacted the BBB about Tree Classics? I am going through the same nightmare involving their customer service right now as well. Nothing but false promises and no return phone calls. It’s a joke.

    Reply

  8. Josette

    I just filed a complaint with the BBB and also spoke to the Attorney General Office for state of IL (#312-814-3000). The office informed me that there were 7 complaints filed against Tree Classics. You can access the consumer complaint form at their website.
    http://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/index.html

    Reply

    Pat Reply:

    I also filed.

    Reply

  9. Pat

    We have experienced the same problems with lights on our tree. In 12/2009 we took our tree in for repair and insisted it get fixed for our Christmas party. They did a sloppy job of fixing some lights, but many were still out. We checked our tree in Oct 2010 to address repairs and found even more lights out. When we called, we were told to call after Christmas too. I called in Jan and got the recorded message for April 1. I cannot reach anybody now either! You can find more negative reviews on YELP.

    Reply

  10. Sally

    I also purchased a tree from Tree Classics in 2009. The top of the tree did not work in 2010 and after many contacts with customer service, they sent me a strand of replacement lights and told me to return the top after Xmas and they would cover the shipping cost and repair of the tree. I called in January 2011 and was told to return the top and they would not cover the shipping cost. My tree cost over $1000., so I decided to pay the shipping and return the top. Unfortunately I returned the tree via UPS on January 12,2011 and the tree was received and signed for on January 13, 2011. After hearing nothing from Tree Classics, I attempted to contact them in late Feb. and have continued with no results to contact them. Now I have a great tree with no top.

    Reply

  11. John Goerzen

    Have any of you considered contacting local police where their buildings are located to get help in obtaining your property back?

    Incidentally, whois shows that a “K Ford” of Heavenly Holidays of South San Francisco, CA now owns the domain. It is probable that change happened on March 4. The contact information is at http://www.betterwhois.com/bwhois.cgi?domain=treeclassics.com&submitbtn=Continue

    Reply

  12. Simon Hoeletz

    I did hear that Balsam Hill purchased Tree Classics so unfortunately the brand and quality is now gone. Balsam Hill is known as Heavenly Holidays which is the parent company they are now using to mask the Tree Classics site under.

    I’m one of those people who got burned by Balsam Hill so their sites don’t fool me anymore, all 4 of them. Treetopia, Chrismtastreemarket, Balsamhill, and now Treeclassics. All the same scam, all the same Heavenly Holidays brand.

    You know what they say, “You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still gonna stink.” Don’t believe me? Just check out http://www.balsamhillsucks.com.

    Reply

  13. In the Know

    It truly breaks my heart to know that people got screwed by the demise of Tree Classics. It was never their intent to “burn” anyone. Customer service was the top priority until “Alex” got involved with the company — he can be solely blamed for the poor customer service. As far as the poor products are concerned, well… that can be blamed on Poly Tree (the manufacturer of the trees). They are a Chinese company and like most Chinese companies, they really don’t care about what they make. Guess who else uses Poly Tree trees… yes, you guessed it — Balsam Hill.

    Reply

  14. Sandra Hefeltz

    Well, word on the street is Tree Classics is definitely gone and apparently bought out by Balsam Hill who already has a horrible reputation online. More of the same I guess.

    We stopped by the showroom in Barrington to see it was open and did speak to Joe and Alex was also there (the person mentioned above). Both were very nice and offered to help me with my problematic tree. It seems like they started a new Christmas company in the same place called Treetime and the site is http://www.treetime.com and sells the same kind of product.

    Anyways, I have had no issues with either company so I’m glad its still in the same place even if the name changed!

    Reply

  15. Sam

    @sandra – joe should help you – he was a part owner of tree classics

    Reply

    Jo Reply:

    AT LEAST GET YOUR STORIES STRAIGHT, JOE NEVER WAS PART OWNER OF TREE CLASSICS.

    Reply

  16. Sandra Hefeltz

    Sam, thank you. I did get my tree fixed by Treetime when I was out there. The service was leap years ahead of the disorganized mess that was Tree Classics last year I can tell you that much. Glad whoever took the reigns got their stuff in order. I was also very impressed with the warehouse store they put together it truly looks amazing. I saw at least 3-4 dozen different types of artificial Christmas trees in a huge forest it was fun. I wish them success. God knows this country needs some good small businesses to get back on its feed in the long run.

    Take care.

    Reply

    Connie Reply:

    That is NOT TRUE. I stopped by there an they refused to fix my tree. They said that Tree Classics went out of business and it’s not there problem.

    Reply

    Sandra Hefeltz Reply:

    Sorry, don’t believe it, Connie. Do you honestly think that a brand-new company would dare say something like that to a new customer? Seriously, the second I went there people were helpful and willing to assist with the Tree Classics tree I had. Of course it wasn’t fixed for free and I didn’t expect that since it wasn’t something I bought from them (duh). So, I really don’t believe your 1-liner. No offense!

    The person I spoke with at Treetime was Nino. He was the head of their repairs department and was super-helpful. :) I found the number on their site: http://www.treetime.com.

    Reply

    Lindsay Heinecke Reply:

    I just called Treetime as we’re looking for replacement bulbs for the Tree Classics tree we bought in 2009 and was referred back to the Tree Classics site, which is still up and running, though they confirmed for me that the only link Treetime has with Tree Classics is that they moved into their old space in Illinois. I’m not confident that Treetime will be of any help to us should we need it in the future. I called the Tree Classics customer service number to inquire about replacement bulbs and was told that any warranties are no longer in effect as the new company didn’t “assume any of Tree Classics’ liabilities”.

  17. Kathleen

    The lights stopped working almost immediately on the Tree Classics tree I bought last October 2010. The lights went out “one string at a time.” By Christmas Day, I think only one strand worked.

    I called and asked for replacement lights. They sent 2 strings that did not match the original on the tree and looked bad. The color of the cords “stood out” against the branches. When I called to complain, they said they were out-of-business.

    I reported them to the BBB. I ordered lights from Amazon.com.

    I like the tree, overall. My complaint is with the lights. I should have been given a refund for the cost of replacing the lights, or I should have been sent lights that matched my original purchase.

    Reply

  18. Sally

    Thanks to all of you, I contacted TreeTime and they have been great! They found the top of my tree, will repair it and ship it back to me. If anyone else returned their tree to Tree Classics, there is a chance that the tree is still in their warehouse. I contacted them through email and have talked with Joe and Nino. Both very helpful!

    Reply

  19. Margie

    Good news! (I think) Tree Classics was bought by another company and has reopened. They are selling replacement bulbs for their Worry Free Lighting, $ 3.99 for 50 bulbs in either clear or multi colored

    Reply

  20. Sally

    Yea Margie, you’re correct. The showroom did reopen and its still in the same location in Barrington but now called Treetime. They just have a new number its 847-527-8880.

    Reply

  21. Margie

    My 300 replacement bulbs arrived today and I immediately brought my tree top down from the attic and tried them out. The bulbs work great and the color is just as bright as the original. The replacement bases do have a locking tab on them, but as my receptacles don’t have the notch, I can’t lock them. But they fit securely which is a relief as I expected to have to rethread each bulb onto the old base. Thanks Sally for the phone #, the # on the website is different but I was able to reach customer service the first try. Here is some info from the newly revamped website: http://www.treeclassics.com/lettertocustomers-s/180.htm

    Reply

  22. Margie

    NOW I get it! Tree Classics(.com) is only an online company and the Barrington showroom has reopened as a different company, Treetime. From what I can tell, Treetime does not appear to sell replacement lights online.

    Reply

  23. Sally

    Yep! Treetime is NOT Tree Classics (and Tree Classics isn’t really Tree Classics its Balsam Hill). But whatever, the new Treetime company doesn’t sell the lights because they have a different brand of trees. They do, however, try their best to fix trees for old TC customers that have issues which is cool.

    Reply

  24. sandy

    Do not purchase from Tree Classics under any name. I purchased a $1200 12 ft tree from the original company located in Barrington, IL in 2009. After just two seasons I’ve replaced over 500 bulbs and they keep burning out. The company is under new management so they don’t honor the guarantee….what a rip off!!!!!

    Reply

  25. Cosmo's Mom

    Do not purchase from Tree Classics! I purchased a 9 ft. tree with “Advanced warm-glow LED” lights in Oct. 2010 from the original Tree Classics online website. After much hassles and speaking with Customer Service and “Alex”, I finally received my tree in mid-December 2010. The actual tree is very nice but the LED lights are not “warm-glow” but instead a glaring white. With all the ornaments, it finally looked ok. I just put up the tree for the 2011 holidays & found that 5 of the LED light bulbs burnt out and one of the plugs completely bent so that an entire branch was not lit. When I called 877-699-6278, the number listed on the Tree Classics website, I was told by the customer service rep that Tree Classics, Inc. declared bankruptcy in January 2011 and shut down operations due to a $3.9 million judgment against them. She referred me to a page on their website addressed to “Past Customers” http://www.treeclassics.com/lettertocustomers-s/180.htm. She told me that Heavenly Holidays purchased Tree Classics online operations and they will not honor my 10-year warranty nor do they have LED replacement bulbs to purchase. The customer services rep said that I should file an “Affidavit of Claim” form since I had warranty issues with http://www.treeclassics.com/v/Tree_Classics_Incorporated_ABC_Notice.pdf . So if you purchased your tree prior to January 20, 2011, your warranty is null and void and you will get no service or support from the new Tree Classics.

    Reply

  26. Robert

    Sandy, you are sadly out of luck big time. The same thing happened to me. I went to Treetime in Barrington (new company) who did help by taking a look at the section of the tree that wasn’t working and managed to fix 1 set of lights free. However, I contacted the new owners of Tree Classics via their website at 1-877-699-6278 and after waiting over 30 minutes to speak to a person I was given a runaround that they are not liable since the original Tree Classics went bankrupt yadda yadda yadda. Trust me, the “new” Tree Classics owners are never, ever, going to make it off the ground I hope with the bad Karma they are creating by screwing so many of THEIR OWN customers over.

    I wish Treetime in Barrington luck in their new endeavor. At least they had the decency to help someone out even though I didn’t spend a dime of money with them as a new business.

    Reply

  27. Sue

    I ordered a 7.5 foot tree from Tree Classics and then realized later on the same day that I needed a 6.5 foot tree. My mistake, I know, but Tree Classics refused to cancel my order, even though I sent the cancellation request less than 8 hours after placing the order. They went ahead and shipped and informed me that I would incur a 20% restocking fee to return the tree, and I would have to pay for the return shipping. I have sent them a letter saying I’ve turned the FedEx delivery around (it was still en route) and I will not pay a restocking fee because they shipped after I had sent my cancellation request. If they charge me anyway I will dispute the charge with my Visa company. The bank has already told me that an ignored cancellation request is grounds for dispute. I’m quite displeased with Tree Classics. They won’t be in business long if they continue to screw over customers like this.

    Reply

  28. Meg

    WHEW!!! I actually have my checkout page up from Tree Classics, and decided to quickly check out the company BEFORE I check out. Its such a lot of money. We got a real tree this year after having artificial for many years(It just didn’t last through three moves) and now I know why we like artificial! THANK YOU all for leaving comments. I live in Va and would have no way of going to the show of the new company mentioned above. Now the big question is, where DO you getr a good quality tree, from a reputable company? My last one was bought on sale at Michaels after the season, (2003) It was SO well made, never had a minute’s problem with it….

    Reply

  29. Jason Hendricks

    Meg, I got my tree from the company that ended up in the same location that Tree Classics used to reside in (Treetime Christmas Creations). I have heard nothing but good things about Treetime.com and that is the main reason I gave them a shot. The tree is just excellent and the customer service was very good. I picked the Vermont Blue Spruce with the Pro lighting and I confirmed that even pulling a bulb out of the socket didn’t cause the set to fail which is EXACTLY WHY I WANTED A PRE-LIT in the first place!

    So to make a long story short, I would not hesitate to recommend http://www.treetime.com as my #1 pick for fake trees from a reputable company. And you’re right, after reading this thread it’s pretty clear that the majority of them are snake oil salesmen.

    Reply

  30. Peter

    Just got off the phone. Bought a $600 tree in 2006. Whole strings of lights are burned out. I don’t mean there is a problem with the string, each bulb is black and no longer functions. Alex answered. “We have no bulbs to fit your tree. The only solution is to buy a new tree”. I complained about the lack of support. His response “Sorry, we are a new manufacturer and cannot help”. DO NOT BUY ONE OF THESE VERY EXPENSIVE TREES FROM TREE CLASSICS. YOU WILL END UP WITH A PRELIT TREE WITH NO LIGHTS LEFT ON IN IN A FEW YEARS.

    Reply

  31. Ronald

    If you want a great looking tree, are willing to pay good money for it and expect good consistent customer service DO NOT BUY A TREE FROM THIS COMPANY, http://www.treeclassics.com! The problem we had is so ridiculous I plan to post this almost daily for one year.
    Here is what happen.

    The trees are gorgeous. We were delighted with our tree. It was simple to put up.
    The problem started after Christmas as we were putting away the tree. We discovered we misplaced replacement lightbulbs. We accepted our error and need to buy more replacement bulbs. I called the company. They informed me they were out of stock. No problem, right? WRONG! The day was 1-28-13.

    They informed me they were out of replacement lights and it was up to me to call them
    back IN SEPTEMBER or OCTOBER of 2013, (8 months from now), when they would get more stock.
    I was shocked. Year long service, supply and demand is evidently not this company’s business plan. What if a business wanted to have “Christmas in July?”

    I told the Treeclassics.com’s initial “management rep” -as he described himself – this was not exceptable. They were asking me to accept THEIR responsibility of
    selling more product. I was the customer, not the buyer or sales person! I refused to keep any note reminding me to order more bulbs in Sept. 2013. They were not willing to assist. After many fake apologies by them and my insistence to complain higher up, the same rep called me two hours later telling me they would send the bulbs out. He tried to take my order but it would not go through. I was asked to wait. A new person got on the phone and acted like he knew nothing of the issue and also informed me they do not get new stock in until Sept.or Oct. 2013. I patiently asked him to read the notes they surely must have made on my account. He still did not act like he knew the problem. I was flabbergasted. He had complete information on me and my personal info, yet did not act like he had notes on the two earlier discussions with them that day- or communicated to the person forwarding the call to him.?

    Bad Company: These trees are expensive. They are obviously made and come from overseas. The box says China. If this company is not going to have the “business brains” to maintain small inventories of accessory stock for their trees DO NOT BUY them. I strongly discourage buying from http://www.treeclassics.com.

    Why? Whose to say the bulb style will stay the same next year?
    They will- but should you believe them?
    Whose to say they won’t run out of other tree parts, and there are many?
    They will- but should you believe them?
    Whose to say they can look at your records and intelligently help you?
    They will- but can you believe them?

    When you spend good money for quality artificial Christmas trees buy it from someone that will be able to help EVEN “after” Christmas too.

    Search for “Best Artificial Christmas Trees” and DO NOT CHOOSE Treeclassics.com!

    Reply

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