Pool Thing service is horrible!
TEMPE, ARIZONA -- Pool Thing, located in Tempe, Arizona, is a provider of electronic salt chlorination systems. This system provides sanitation for the pool, eliminating the need to manually add chlorine / sanitizer products.
I am the second homeowner, and the product was installed on our about September 2005. My chlorination system started having issues on or about May 12th, 2007.
First of all, contacting service was extremely difficult. Their phone number, ironically, is 1-877-no worries. The only worry you will have is getting someone to answer the phone and return your call! I started leaving voice messages and e-mail messages on 5/12/2007 and never did receive a return phone call. I finally left a message for the sales side, and one of the salesman actually returned my call, and was also helpful and pushed me over to service. I explained to the salesman I have been leaving messages for a week with no response, and his response was such that implied this is a common problem and "I am one of the few who will actually return your call". I had also called the receptionist and asked for a point of escalation, since service wasn't returning my call - she said there was nothing she could do but put me through to their voice mail and log notes in the system. She was very apologetic, and stated "I have been hearing this a lot lately. I am sorry sir, there is nothing I can do" in response to my statement that service is not returning my calls.
I finally get in contact with service (Phil). We had to work out some details, since the warranty wasn't transferable to a second home owner...frustrating, but understandable - I am not complaining about this piece. We discussed some options as to how I could extend the warranty and get the unit serviced with minimal cash outlay - Phil was helpful in this area. I finally agreed to purchase an extended warranty, which would at least cover any failed item due to manufacturer defect.
The next discussion point was getting someone on site. Phil advised me the next available service date would be three weeks or more out! I was completely shocked. In Arizona, where summer temps exceed 110 degrees, daily chlorination is a necessity. Waiting three weeks for service is unacceptable! I could manually chlorinate the pool, but this defeats the purpose of purchasing and utilizing a salt system - it also "contaminates" your pool with the very chemicals you hoped to avoid using. A couple of days isn't a big deal - but three weeks is huge!!
Phil went on to explain how they are slammed in the summer, which is why the service date is pushed so far, and also explains why getting in touch with service was difficult. This is a huge point of frustration..Phil was making their staffing problems my problem - I am the customer, just provide me with prompt and excellent service - staffing is an internal problem that I don't care to hear! As for summer being busy - is this really a surprise? This is Arizona where almost everyone has a pool, and starts using it around May timeframe..isn't this something they should plan for?? It doesn't take a genius to figure out you need to staff up in the summer to support your customers! Excuse my lack of professionalism here, but the excuse Phil provided represents extreme ignorance and stupidity on the part of the company (Pool Thing). Phil is justifying poor customer service (not even returning a customers phone call!), and delayed service by outlining the fact they are busy....frustrating! Reminds me of a restaurant apologizing for the slow service because they are understaffed on a Friday night...common sense tells you to staff up!!
Bottom line - the Pool Thing product, when you compare price and other products (such as the Auto Pilot system) is very average from a feature standpoint. The thing that differentiates this from other products you can buy online is supposedly the service... If you buy certain other systems online, you may not have the local "on site" support...so, you pay a premium for their system. Well, when the service is horrible like what I experienced, the one benefit they provide no longer exists. You are now paying a huge premium for an average product where service is non existent! The auto pilot system sells online for about the price they quoted me for a replacement system - there is no comparison between the products....again, other than the service, which for many consumers is huge!
I took the time to write this because I am fed up with companies providing poor service and hiding behind excuses that are irrelevant to the customer. Yes, summer is busy...plan for it!! You can't use summer as an excuse to not support your customers! I don't expect same day service, but something far more reasonable than three weeks! It isn't everyone - I was able to get other service on my pool with one or two day turnaround, which is acceptable. Spread this message around... I am adding this review to RipOffreport.com, and several other discussion groups...Amazing that companies spend thousands of dollars in advertisement, only to provide poor service and have word of mouth kill them...when will companies learn that providing excellence in service and referrals will keep them in business for the long haul..