Pool Thing

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Pool Thing service is horrible!
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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..
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Hugh_Jorgen on 05/18/2007:
You might want to take a dip in your pool and cool off. While I can see your point, you have to realize a couple of things. First, you are a new customer - you had no warranty and no service contract. People that DID have agreements in place planned for their service calls in early May to get ready for the swimming season. Should Phil bump one of them for you? Second, no smart company staffs for the busiest time of the year - you try to do the most with the assets you have. The alternative is to hire a bunch of inexperienced workers in April, let them learn on the job and about the time they are getting up to speed you lay them off in the fall. Would you rather wait a week or two for an experienced technician or have one come out tomorrow that is still learning? At least give them a chance to actually come out and service the equipment and get you worked into their schedule before you rush out to bash them.
Pomona Guy on 05/18/2007:
Why did you buy a warranty if you can't get anyone on the phone?
rcflyer on 05/18/2007:
rcflyer on 05/18/2007:
As for why I was going to buy the warranty, which I had a change of heart after hearing service would be three weeks out, is because that I have the unit and the investment has already been made. Assuming something major was wrong, this would be the only course, other than just ripping it out and installing a new system....The system is relatively new, and I was able to take advantage of that - really, the unit was under warranty just to the original homeowner only - the new warranty was really more of a transfer in my mind.

As for my expectations regarding service - hey, business isn't easy. I own my own business as well - seasonal at that - so, I understand fully the challenges. However, putting customers off for three weeks is not acceptable no matter how you shake it. This was still a new unit and technically under warranty - it would have been 3 weeks plus even if I had been the original home owner and the warranty was still intact. I was planning to purchase a warranty - or as I stated - really just a transfer, since the unit was still new and really just needed to be extended to me as a second homeowner. You said "people that DID have agreements in place planned for their service calls in early May"... Gee, I wish I could foreseen my system was going to break, so as you stated, I could have planned it.

As for staffing - yes - it is a challenge...again, I have a seasonal business as well. There are options, even if it involves using subs or other pool companies to assist. Supporting these systems isn't rocket science - very simple setup - a controller / power supply and the salt element. Yes, you wouldn't want just anyone touching it, but any pool professional could handle general troubleshooting and part replacements. You have to support your customers - no shortcuts here. Pool thing is a manufacturer and can leverage partners or resellers to handle much of this - it seems, at least according to my interpretation, they attempt to handle most of their own service...At some point, you have to expand your service when your install base increases. You can also offer loaner systems (for example, a cell takes 60 seconds to install and almost anyone can do it), and even the power supply unit could be changed out my many homeowners with very basic handyman skills. Granted, this wouldn't be my first choice, but it's better than blowing off a customer for three weeks! Again, several options.

In defense of Pool Thing, I think right now they are just fighting growing pains. A small company, a product they have successfully marketed, but have failed to cover all of the bases...most companies struggle or fail when in growth mode... It's too easy to focus on increasing revenues and customer base, and letting the service side slip - I see it every day. Again, my expectations may be too high... I don't make excuses, nor do I accept them.
jelman on 09/28/2007:
I have to agree with your comments had a Pool Thing system installed last yr 04/2006, and this year I've had problems with my chlorine levels, it doesn't seem to be making it, anyway, to get a live person on the phone is almost impossible and to get a call back when you do leave a message is just as bad.I finally did get get on the list for service last week and was told it would be anywhere from 5-7 days, before their service people would call to set up a house call that was 7 days ago today, so I called and now it will be another 5-7 days because they ran out of titanium to make the cells.Meanwhile my pool is turning green my only option is to spend more money on chemicals to shock it, which for me defeats the main reason, (besides the health benefits),I got the system save cost on chemicals.
Drury on 02/23/2009:
I totally agree! I am the original homeowner and purchased a Pool Thing. It worked great for about a year then slowly stopped making chorine. Luckily I live about 2 miles from the store. We took it in and gave it to the same person we purchased it from and after looking at it they said it wasn't under warranty, but they would fix it for 25% discount off the full repair price coming to $225. We complained that it should be under warranty which they denied; their logic had something to do with we didn't actually buy it from them, but from someone who was licensing the Pool Thing name? It's strange that there are blue Pool Thing pictures all over the store with signs saying home of the Pool Thing and inventor of the Pool Thing?? After arguing the warranty I was assured I would be taken care of and I should call in 2 weeks.

I called about a dozen times, before getting someone to return my call. Joe explained to me the cells had gone bad and that it wasn't under warranty but they would take care of me and offered me 25% off the repair price for a total of $225?? Exactly, what they said in the first place 5 weeks earlier! I explained to him that it should be under warranty and that we had a receipt that said it was purchased in 10/2006 and he took a few minutes and said $181 was the best he could do? but they had the nerve to say they would warranty it for a year; as if I would believe they would actually honor the warranty.

I liked the unit when it was working, but their unethical business practice will steer me away from repairing it. I would rather buy something new and trash their unit then give them another dime not to mention with the slow economy and the way they do business they probably won't be around much longer.
Larry520 on 04/09/2010:
I purchased the Pool Thing about 2 years ago from a company here in Texas, when problems started after about 12 or 14 months of use, I have gotten nothing but excuses from APJ Corporation. Now they are saying they didn't even manufacture my unit! The Pool Thing worked just fine the first year, the unit came with a 5 year warranty so I now I am stuck with a useless chlorinating unit. I have no idea how APJ Corporation can stay in business selling such a poor quality unit .
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Pool Thing Warranty
Posted by on
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA -- My experience started on April 14, 2008. As of today June 23rd I am manually chlorinating my pool. I cannot seem to get repaired my cell back. Service is terrible. After leaving multiple messages I have never had a returned phone call.

As of Friday Heather could not assure that I would have my unit repaired this week. I asked for a manager and was told that she was it. I told her that I was amazed that they could stay in business with service like this and she said they were selling record numbers of units.

I asked if they were members of the Better Business Bureau and she said no.
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KevinT on 07/07/2008:
I bought a new Pool Thing in May 2007. It has never really worked correctly, and I've had nothing but poor customer service from APJ ever since. They repaired it in Jan 08, and now it's shutting off after about 30 mins, and all they'll do is offer 45% off on parts/labor after a $150 trip charge to pick up the unit. No guarantee on repair time either! I can't believe this place!
nangia on 07/28/2008:
I fully agree with Kevin. I have the same experience. There are untrustworthy people at Poolthing. Never do business again with the,. I am taking them to a small claim court.
DK on 07/20/2011:
I agree completely. These guys are horrible. They do not want to warranty anything and try to charge you prices of new units elsewhere to repair your Pool Thing unit. My pool guy highly recommends Compu Pool. I am buying a New CPSC36 which has more features and will work half as hard to chlorinate my pool. Can find online for $650 or so and APJ wanted to charge me $760 or $890 for a repair. They are a JOKE. DO NOT BUY POOL THING or ANYTHING FROM APJ.
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Should have done my homework....
Posted by on
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA -- I hired a Pool Contractor to refurbish and remodel my pool to the tune of $45,000 two years ago. He highly recommended using Pool Thing for the Salt Water Chlorination system. The second summer into it, we began experiencing algae and other problems and was finally told this summer by my pool service that the salt cell was bad in the system. Good news, there is a 5 year warranty. Bad news, the company is out of business. Had I done my research, I would have seen they were a relatively new company, but I trusted the contractor. Expensive lesson. I am now having to replace the entire system for another $1,500 because there are too many faulty items with Pool Thing as a whole. What a nightmare.
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Anonymous on 09/24/2009:
We have had our pool for 8 years and NEVER had algae or any other problems until THIS summer. We use Baquacil instead of salt or chlorine. The point is that there was a lot more acid rain, pollen, humidity etc this year than we normally see, therefore we had problems. Just maintaining the pool was a nightmare.

Your problem may not be your chlorinator at all. It could be simply mother nature wreaking havok. I would wait another season and see if it straightens out. You may have to recycle your pool (go through the motions or closing and reopening it) to see if that helps. THAT is what we ended up doing. Good luck.

PS...I just checked and Pool Thing is still in business...I would double check your warranty.
azspots on 09/24/2009:
A "remodel" for 45 GRAND??? Good heavens.
MSCANTBEWRONG on 09/24/2009:
Wow, for that amount of money you could have installed a brand new pool. Good luck in getting your issue resolved.
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