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ISINGS (an isolated Culligan Franchise) Complaint - Isolated Culligan Franchise

Review by Make a Difference on 2006-08-09
LIVERMORE (ONLY!), CALIFORNIA -- As per a nice gentleman’s feedback on my previous Isings Culligan review, via my3cents.com, (he is a proud Culligan employee!), it has come to my attention that the Isings Culligan franchise is an isolated customer service nightmare. I believe my problems with the water softener units are also isolated to Isings.

I was told by an Isings repair man that rental units, such as ours, are not new units, yet units that were previously used. This may not be the case with all Culligan franchises.
Please keep in mind, this review is not to bash Culligan as a whole, strictly a complaint with my particular dealer.

We have had problems with the water softener system (salt unit and the tank) since having it installed. Too often, the system doesn't work at all, leaving my family with hard water for several days. It was obvious when the unit wasn't functioning, because I have a painful skin condition, which worsened when the unit didn't work.

The salt bridged constantly and we had to baby-sit the salt unit, hitting the unit exterior daily with a rubber mallet so the salt would fall into place. Other times, we had to pour warm water over the salt to allow it to fall down into place.

The tank was completely replaced on one occasion, shortly after it was installed.
Another time, it had to be repaired because it leaked an enormous amount of water.

Having the unit serviced in a timely manner has been a nightmare! It has taken up to two weeks to get a repair man to our home. Keep in mind, this is a rental unit…we are still obligated to pay the rental fees even when the unit is not in working condition. I dealt with one customer representative, Dawn, who obviously didn’t like me. She was rude every time I called regarding my non-functioning softener unit. She’d tell me a service man could not visit my home for 2-3 weeks. Interestingly, on a couple occasions, when the service technicians noticed my name on their repair calendar (a few of them had to gotten to know me well), they’d call me, informing me they could indeed service my softener usually the following day because their schedules were slow. So, it was obvious Dawn wasn’t concerned with providing quality customer care. Please keep in mind, I kindly told her about my painful skin condition and that the hard water worsened it.

On one occasion, she sarcastically and rudely told me maybe it was time to find a new water softener company…well, isn’t THAT good public relations?! I called her back the following day and left a message for the manager to call me. I thought he’d be interested in hearing her very disturbing exclamation to me. He didn’t call and I am sure she never gave him my message.

Actually, several times, I asked to speak directly to the manager because I was not willing to deal with their customer service folks. On most occasions, he never returned my phone calls. I am guessing he may have never received my messages.

I have been over billed several times and it's been a battle resolving the overcharges with their office. They do not document information in our file as per our telephone calls therefore, forcing me to completely repeat my issues/complaints to a different employee every time I call.

They have also shown up to deliver salt on non-scheduled delivery dates and opened my locked gate by reaching over my privacy fence to unlatch the lock, and then maneuvering another locking system by squeezing their had through the fence and gate. I call this trespassing. I have told them repeatedly that I want to know when they will be making a delivery. It would be great if they’d follow the calendar dates they provided to me in writing.

The last straw was when they charged me for salt delivery (and fuel charge)...and I am pretty darn certain they had not even made the delivery, nor could they cough up a receipt verifying the delivery. They are supposed to leave a copy of the receipt at my home when a delivery is made.

I called their office on July 31st, 2006 and spoke to Mary regarding the salt delivery, which I didn’t believe happened. I spent 20 minutes explaining the situation and had told her Lonnie, of their office had called me a month prior and together, Lonnie and I agreed that we were not using a lot of salt, and therefore, I would call their office when a salt delivery was needed.

Mary promised she’d send a copy of the delivery receipt that afternoon. By Friday, Aug. 4th, I had not received a copy of the receipt and once again called the office. Mary answered and I told her I had spoken to her on Monday. She said no, it wasn’t her I spoke to. I then told her that yes; I had documented the call and her as the contact.

Unreal, she had absolutely no recollection of our conversation, nor had she made any notes regarding the 20 minute conversation. I had to completely repeat the situation again…more time out of my busy self-employed schedule!

Mary then said she’d speak to Leah (another employee) that afternoon and Lonnie on Monday, when she returned to work (she was out of the office that day). Mary said they’d talk about the situation and get back to me via telephone on Monday. Well, Monday came and went and I received no call or a salt receipt via mail, which I truly don’t believe exists.

I took a photo of my salt unit along with a ruler as a guide. The salt is an entire eight inches from the container top. Sure doesn’t look it was recently filled to me!

The nice Culligan employee who wrote me (as stated in my first paragraph) was extremely helpful and kind enough to offer me a direct phone number for Culligan headquarters. I called immediately and explained my story to the representative, who listened whole-heartedly. She said she would contact Isings and have their manager or owner call me. Sadly, I still have not heard from anybody at that office.

Important note: the sole reason I put up with the sad customer service treatment is because I could not find a local dealer who offered rental units. Renting was an affordable option for us, as the units are expensive.

Yet, my husband and I recently decided we could no longer put up with this frustration with Isings and purchased a water softener unit from a reputable company. No doubt, it cost us a lot of money, and will strap us financially for a long while, yet I truly believe we will be happy with this decision to not be an Ising’s customer.

Our new water softening unit offers a full ten-year warranty. A tidbit; purchased Culligan water softeners offer a one-year warranty and warranties on limited parts thereafter.

In the event our new system works great and I am treated respectfully (so far, so good!) by the customer service department, I will post a happy review via this site. I absolutely believe in positive feedback as well! Thank you for your time to read this. Peace.
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