• Report: #694144

Complaint Review: Biolet

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  • Submitted: Fri, February 11, 2011
  • Updated: Wed, April 20, 2011

  • Reported By: JB — Chaumont New York United States of America
Biolet
53671 Lafayette Township Rd 508 Fresno, Ohio United States of America

Biolet Biolet Composting Toilets Stink Fresno, Ohio

*Consumer Comment: Biolet Time Tested

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I've read the other complaint about Biolet and it brought back bad memories. I thought it had just been my experience, but now realize it was not.

I purchased a Biolet Waterless Toilet from Home Depot in August, 2007. We live on the waterfront and I wanted to not only cut down on water usage, but also for environmental reasons and problems associated with a septic system. I ordered the Biolet 60XL http://www.biolet.com/html/60.html from Home Depot online and used our Home Depot charge card. I could\'ve purchased the unit right from Biolet USA but would\'ve had to pay for the unit all at once instead of spreading the payments out. The unit was $1,999.00 plus the cost of the four bags of composting mulch, shipping and NYS sales tax. The total came to $2421.24.

I had the toilet professionally installed at an additional cost of $400.00. The contractor spent hours on the phone with Biolet to make certain everything was installed exactly according to specs. This model handles up to four people (full time use) and six people part-time (temporarily). The unit is guaranteed to be odor free and very easy to use. The day it was installed we discovered the mixer motor was defective. Biolet sent us a replacement. During this time we had to have an outdoor porta-potty at the end of our driveway by the front door because we had nothing else to use. We received the part five days later and installed it.

Within one week after using it I noticed odor coming from the unit. I emptied the tray, which was already full (even though it should not have been, the tray should have been emptied once every 2 months), and figured it was simply a matter of \"dialing it in\", adjusting the thermostat, etc. Within 2 two weeks I noticed the odor was back and even stronger than before. I called Biolet after following all instructions from the manual and they informed me the outside vent pipe was not high enough above the roof. This in turn wasn\'t allowing the odor and moisture to be vented out. I ordered 2 additional sections (4 feet) along with a directional wind cap (recommended for area with heavy snow and varying winds).

The next day I thought I\'d empty the tray again just to keep the smell down until the new parts arrived. I discovered the tray was full of liquid and it began leaking all over the bathroom floor. I took the entire unit outside and cleaned it, probably one of the most disgusting things I\'d ever done. It took 3 hours, a gallon each of bleach, Pine-Sol, Dawn dish soap and Odor-Ban to clean it.

I was going to reinstall the unit but thought about the conversation I had with the Biolet rep. He told me he had people have to go as high as 12 feet above the roof in order to make certain the vent pipe was not in an area of \"turbulence\". This meant that if adding the additional 4 feet didn\'t rectify the situation I would be forced to repeat the cleaning of the unit, something I never wanted to do again. Not only that, but having an 8 to 12 foot high pipe sticking out of the roof of my house was not acceptable because we live on the side of the lake which gets all the wind, and I would have had to guywire the pipe three ways to Sunday to prevent it from being torn off the roof. Such a high pipe would damage the aesthetic value of the house., so I decided not to reinstall the unit and installed a regular flushing toilet instead, which cost an additional $450.00. This includes the cost of reactivating the water pipes, purchasing and installing the toilet.

I sent the additional parts back to Biolet and went to return the toilet to Home Depot for a refund. The store said that because the unit was purchased online, they could not accept it. I called Home Depot customer service to return it to their online warehouse and they told me I had to return it to the manufacturer. This made little sense because the base cost of the unit from both Home Depot and Biolet was $1,999.00. However, if ordered from Biolet they would have included 4 bags of mulch free and offered free shipping. Purchasing the unit from Home Depot meant having to buy the toilet, the 4 bags of mulch, pay for shipping and NYS sales tax all the while using their charge card. Upon calling Biolet, and as expected, they told me they were not going to refund the money and that Home Depot, as a reseller of their product, was totally responsible for the transaction.

I then called Home Depot again. The customer service rep said the case was going to be \"elevated\" to the next level and I would receive a call shortly. As expected I did not receive a call and called them back. A different customer service rep informed me they were going to credit my account, but due to sanitation reasons they were probably going to field destroy the unit. I was informed I would have to wait until the following Wednesday before receiving the credit and having the unit picked up. I called Wednesday and they had reversed their decision. Yet another customer service rep read through all the notes and listened with a sympathetic ear to my story, just like the others. She said she felt very badly for everything I'd been through and would send the credit request as a \"top priority\".

I waited until Monday, Oct. 1, 2007 to call them back. I was placed into a conference call with Home Depot and Biolet. Biolet told Home Depot because Home Depot was the reseller and purchased the unit at a lower cost, Biolet could not be responsible for the refund amount to the customer. Home Depot then informed me they would not refund the amount.

The unit was defective at the beginning. After that I'm not certain if the unit would have functioned properly or not with the additional vent pipe lengths. However, I was unwilling to take a chance, especially since I had been through so much from the beginning.

With the account remaining in disputed form to this day, I want Home Depot to credit the charge card for the full amount of the original sale, plus the cost of the outdoor toilet ($100.00) while I waited for the warranted part. I'm not interested in the amount I spent to install, uninstall the composting unti and install a different toilet. I am willing to accept that I am responsible for the installation of the unit and consequent replacement cost ($750.00).

I still have the toilet, cleaned up of course, in the box and stored in my shed.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/11/2011 11:58 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Biolet/Fresno-Ohio-43824/Biolet-Biolet-Composting-Toilets-Stink-Fresno-Ohio-694144. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Biolet Time Tested

AUTHOR: Time Tested - (United States of America)

I started searching for a waterless toilet for a cabin in 2002.  The basic options were composting or incinerator.  Due to the high power usage of the incinerator type I decided on a composting type.

After reading the information on line at Biolet, determined the type of installation (inside wall vent pipe), I ordered a Deluxe composting toilet from Biolet.  The toilet, composting material, and installation package all arrived in a timely manner.

I am neither a contractor, builder, carpenter, or plumber.  I read the instructions which seemed simple and straight forward to me.  All total it took a few hours to install the toilet, vent pipe, and cap.

One thing I do know is that to get from the toilet to the roof required two forty five degree pipe angles, and if a ninety was used instead the toilet would never vent properly.  The vent pipe extends about 18" above the peak of the cabin roof.

The stirring motor has shear pins to prevent the motor from burning out (same as on my snow blower).  If not installed properly or sheared off the stirring motor will not turn.

The Biolet comes with specific instructions not to use bleach or other disinfectants.  Composting requires microbes to break down material.  Use of bleach or disinfectants kills microbes, and the bleach can be absorbed into the plastic continuing to kill the microbes needed to do the work.  Then your composting toilet will not compost.

My Biolet functioned very well until 2010 (eight years) when I started to see the fluid build up mentioned that could not be resolved with turning up the thermostat.  It took me a couple of weeks to figure out the problem.  The blower motor had burned out and needed to be replaced.  I ordered the part from Biolet made a diagram of all the connections.  Once the blower motor was replaced the toilet worked just fine once again.  I understand that the heating element can also go out and will give a similar result with excess fluid.

I feel the product has performed well, and the service from Biolet has been good. 

If I were to make another purchase from Biolet I may consider the manual version that does not have motors and blowers to worry about.
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