My primary conflict with Eco Smarte is their outright dishonesty and deceit, and my secondary conflict is the disgusting quality of their customer service. They outright misled me (specifically the sales rep. Mike Dewar) in order to get the sale.
I placed an order for an electronic swimming pool ionizer/oxidizer unit (Model# EcoPT) on Aug.09, 2005. The total item cost was $1,895.00, and was paid for via check# 1308 on the installation date of Aug.11, 2005. The order was placed in-person at the Eco Smarte store located at 1600 East. 78th St. Richfield, MN. 55423 (PH# 612-866-1200).
While placing our order, the sales rep, Mike Dewar and his boss, Larry Couture recommended that we replace the current media in our swimming pool filter (sand) with their new filter media (Zeolite/ZeoSmarte). They informed us that the "Zeosmarte" filter media only costs 50% of the weight (in pounds) of the current filter media. I informed them that I believe my filter weighs 400lbs, and they promised that the "Zeosmarte" replacement of a 400lb. sand filter media would be $200. They also clearly informed us that the labor on the filter media install is completely "FREE OF CHARGE" because we are buying the pool ionization/oxidization system. Hence, we would only pay the cost of the filter media. I called back on Aug.10, 2005, and informed the sales rep, Mike Dewar that the front panel of my filter clearly states that the media weight is 400lbs. Mike refused to believe me. He insisted that the weight is 500lbs, and that it would cost us $250 for the media replacement. I disagreed to pay $50 extra for something I don't need, and Mike refused to approve the installation at the promised rate of $200.
Therefore, I informed him that I found the "Zeolite" filter media at a much cheaper rate from a 3rd-party source. I asked if he would simply honor their promise of "no labor charge" and have the media replaced when they come over to install the pool system. He immediately backpeddled! He said "well, we have to pay our service techs something for the labor. They're not gonna do the job for free." To which I replied "that is not my problem, Mike. You and Larry promised me that you would replace the filter media FOR FREE with the purchase of a pool system!" Of course, Mike couldn't give me any reasonable explanation, and outright refused to authorize the job.
The service tech, Andy, came over and installed the pool system on Aug.11, 2005, but he did not have an approval to replace the filter media. He noted that my filter was 400lbs and agreed that I should only be charged $200 for the new "Zeosmarte" replacement. Later in the conversation, he also recommended that we install a seperate system to sanitize our whirlpool. He informed me that Eco Smarte will discount 50% on the purchase of a Spa system because we just purchased the pool system.
The next day, Aug.12, I called Eco Smarte and spoke with Larry Couture about the issue with the filter media replacement. I informed him that they failed to install the "Zeosmarte" filter media due to Mike Dewar's refusal to honor his/your promise. Not only refusing to install my own purchased media, but also their own media at the promised rate! I reminded Mr. Couture of how he and Mike clearly told me that the cost to replace a 400lb. sand filter to a new "Zeosmarte" filter would only be $200. Mr. Couture was in 100% agreement with me, and told me that he will place a work order for a service rep to come install the filter media on the following Thursday. I then disclosed my interest in purchasing a new spa system to Mr. Coture, and he agreed that he will sell it to me for $600 because I purchased the pool system. At the end of the call, he told me that he will figure out the details and call me back within a couple of days. I never heard back from him.
On September 1st (around 2PM), I called Eco Smarte again to speak with Mr. Coture, but I got Mike Dewar on the line in stead. He told me that Larry is "busy with a long-distance call". By this time, I was completely repulsed by the idea of dealing with Mike, but I went ahead and explained to him how we could not get the filter media replaced because of his insistence on unfairly charging me more than $200, and I asked him if he could send a service tech to finish the job. Here, Mike completely backtpeddled! Yet AGAIN! He told me that the job would now cost LABOR and the trip charge rate (some total amount of $350+)! I was appaled. Here I am dealing with this completely dishonest, deceitful, and greedy salesman. I reminded him of how they promised "free labor", and he backpeddled by saying that they would now have to make an exclusive trip just to replace my filter. I pointed out to him that he was the one who refused to authorize the filter replacement at the promised rate of $200.
Nonetheless, he had the audacity to blame me for no replacement of the filter! He backpeddles some more and tells me that if I would've just "agreed to get the replacement for $250, then we would've refunded the extra charge later on". Wow.
I had had enough at this point. I requested for him to have Larry call me back ASAP. This was around 2PM, yet I received no return call from Larry all day.
I called back around 1pm on Sept.02. Mike answered the phone as usual. I immediately asked to speak with Larry. Mike tells me "Larry is speaking to you through me" and that "he doesn't wanna do the job or speak with you". I felt completely insulted. I told Mike that I don't want anything to do with him or his company. I would like to return the item I've purchased and I would like a FULL refund. Mike tells me that there will be a "15% restock fee" and an "installation charge"! I told him that is completely unfair. Especially in light of their horrid customer service. We haven't even had this item for a full 30 days, and they claim to have a "60-day money-back warranty"! Plus, they said that the installation of the pool system is FREE. Even the installation work order shows it to be free-of-charge, so yet again, they are trying to charge me for service that they claim to be FREE. I have the work-order to prove that installation was free. Mike refused to budge nor would he give the phone to his boss, Larry.
I informed my mother of the situation, and she called Eco Smarte after a few minutes. Mike answered the phone as usual. This time, he tells my mother that Larry is on a very important "international long-distance" call. Hmm...Larry goes from an important meeting to yet another "long-distance call" within minutes. My mom called back after about 30 minutes to get the same phone-call story from Mike. So, from Mike tells me, Mr. Larry Couture is such an extremely busy man that he cannot spare a 5 minute telephone call out of 2 days for a paying customer!
So, as you can see, these people (especially Mike Dewar) don't seem to care about anything else but $$$, and they surely have no respect for their customers. Not to mention, the blatant dishonesty and deceit that seems to be an everyday custom for them. I feel that this Mike Dewar should really be disciplined/terminated from employment for the way in which he treats customers, and I'm hoping that Eco Smarte learns a beneficial lesson from this.