Wanted a pool heater for a backyard, in-ground pool in the shade. Had received an estimate from this company in September 2003. Decided to revisit and purchase in March 2004 following a telemarketing call from Fafco.
The sales rep quoted a price that was over 30% higher than the Sep price, with financing set at 48 payments of $51.10 upon credit approval. They were to install the system within 3 days as long as credit was approved. We put $1000 in cash down on the $4400 system at that time, March 30, 2004.
I telephoned the company in order to speak to the rep I had met with in September to find out why the costs had risen, and if the price quoted was accurate. After being notified that that rep had been fired, I was given to Chris Otto, the sales manager. Mr. Otto used profanity and literally screamed through the phone that the price was right and if we didn't like it, "You can just go away! I have so much d*** business I don't need your whiny complaining!"
Following nearly 15 minutes of verbal abuse, and perhaps the worse commercial experience I have ever had, I called the corporate office in Chico, CA and lodged a complaint. The system was working exceptionally well, and I wanted to keep it, but did not EVER want to deal with Fafco, Tampa again.
Within a day, the General manager, Ron Brewer, called to apologize and see what he could do to keep my business. I agreed to accept his apology and he gave me his personal cell number if I had any further problems.
Company installed the pool heating system on our roof April 1, 2004. In doing so the workmen blew a circuit breaker and crushed an intake valve on my pool filter case. They also failed to get the system operational through 3 successive visits and over 2 and a half weeks.
Finally, the installation was completed. During the last week of April Fafco agents called to set up a night to bring finance papers for us to sign. When the gentleman arrived the following evening, the paperwork did not have the name of the lender, however the loan was for 48 months with payments of $97.00! I showed him the signed original estimate. He crossed out the $97 figure, wrote in $51.10 and initialed the change. We then both signed the credit document.
Note that installation was made and completed with no call or mention of any changes in financing from the signed estimate.
A month later I mailed a $51.10 payment to FAFCO as had been requested by the rep, to cover a payment until the loan was in place. Around that same time, the last week of May, Fafco again called to send out a rep to get the paperwork signed. The new salesperson brought the same orginal $97 paperwork only it had been rewritten so the initialed changes were missing.
We showed him the two previous signed agreements, and he tried to call Chris Otto, his boss. Otto was unavailable so I asked him who the loan was with, and requested to speak with them. The salesman refused to give me the name of the lender, and refused to call them saying Mr. Otto does not permit any of the salesreps to speak with the lenders.
The rep left, agreeing we should be only paying $51.10 a month, saying he had never seen any of these documents before (although they were in his file. I looked when he made a rest room visit.) and agreed to get an answer.
I called Ron Brewer the next day on his cell phone and explained the problem and asked for his help.
Again, at the 60th day I mailed a payment to Fafco.
During the early June, I was called by an office employee who told me not to send them checks. They were to go to Equity One, the lender. I called Equity One, and they had no record of any loan in my name or my wife's. I called the corporate office to find out what was going on.
A day later, I was called by Mary again, about the "problem" of her not having a signed contract. Chris Otto jumped on the line at my first question, cut her off, and she left the conversation. Chris said we would have 6 months same as cash, and that any money we paid in those 6 months would be deducted from the loan amount so that our actual payment "could be as low as $40 even $30".
When the paperwork was dellivered, it was the original $97 payment paperwork which specifically stated that this was the payment amount. PERIOD. It also said payments were due immediately. The sales rep gave me the phone number for the company contact at Equity One, even though he was told not to by Mr. Otto.
I spoke with a young lady at Equity One who said, specifically, the loan was to start immediately, the payments would be $97 from payment one till the end with no adjustment regardless of how much I paid early (in that case it would just be paid off quicker.) She said the agreement with FAFCO was that all customer questions were to be personally directed to her prior to signing the agreement. And that all of Chris Otto's statements about the loan were lies.
Again I called California and spoke with the Executive VP Alex Watt. I gave him details, names, and phone numbers. I told him I did not want to talk with FAFCO Tampa again, and I would find my own financing.
The next day, Ron Brewer called. He spent the first 5 minutes of the call telling me I had lied to his boss in CA about calling him regarding the financing problem. I acknowledged the fact that he was calling me a liar, and was lying himself. He said he would send a new finence agreement for me to sign to try and get the originial deal as promised.
It is July 21. I have yet to see any agreement from FAFCO. I have been told that FAFCO will accept $51.10 for the next 10 years as payment but that they will not absorb the costs. They will make me pay.
I am in the process of exploring going to court to hold them to the original agreement.
This company, and in particular, Ron Brewer and Chris Otto in Tampa are dishonest and willing to do anything including lie and misrepresent costs and financing to get you to sign. It is a great system but do not do business with them in Tampa. They will have you fill out generic loan applications for containing fraudulent information and try to force you to accept the altered terms when completed.