A & B Marketing / No customer service at all
As first-time homeowners, we were contacted by A&B Marketing via a postcard from a “Miss Burke” advertising a free 2008 Entertainment book as a free gift for having water testing performed and filling out a quick 6 question survey. We set up an appointment and had a Rainsoft representative, Mr. Burgess, into our home on Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. After the presentation, we thought that the product was quality and decided to give it a try. We discussed the “trial” time period with Mr. Burgess. We asked him to describe the cancellation policy to us in layman’s terms, because the $7870.00 price tag is a significant dollar amount to spend, especially for people like us who do not ordinarily finance anything except a car and a mortgage. Like any cautious consumer, we wanted to be sure we liked the product and felt like it would be worth the cost before we continued with the financial aspect of the deal. Mr. Burgess said, “If you decide you do not want it, when the manager comes for the quality assurance check-up in a few days, you can tell him you don’t want it and you can have your dirty water back if you want to.” We recited this mantra back to him a minimum of four times to clarify the cancellation time period that we had to decide whether or not the system was something that would be worth the hefty financial investment for us and he continuously stated that we could “tell the manager when he comes that we want our dirty water back and we can have it back.” We trusted Mr. Burgess as a knowledgeable representative of the Rainsoft Company with the backing of the Home Depot and decided to give the Rainsoft system a trial period. We were given a bunch of papers to sign and a (3) three-business day cancellation was in no way mentioned by Mr. Burgess at any time. We also did not receive the free entertainment book as advertised after fulfilment of the six-question survey. The book was promised to arrive with the installer the next day. The Rainsoft system was installed the next day as promised, but the entertainment book was nowhere to be found. We were then told that the Rainsoft manager would bring it with him upon his quality assurance visit. We never received any information of the day or time of this Rainsoft manager’s quality assurance visit.
We reviewed other water purification systems online in the meantime. Although the other water purification systems did not claim everything that Rainsoft did and did not have the lifetime warranty that Rainsoft does, I found them to be approximately 10% of Rainsoft’s asking price. This blew my mind and definitely had my husband and I wanting to cancel due to financial reasons.
On the morning of Tuesday, June 17, 2008, I got very concerned that I had heard nothing from Rainsoft about this promised manager’s visit because I begin working full-time on Monday, June 23, 2008 and would not be available to meet with this manager if I did not get it done quickly. At that time on Tuesday, June 17, my husband and I had decided that it was just too heavy of a financial burden to take on and we were going to cancel this Rainsoft system whenever the Rainsoft manager showed up for his quality assurance visit. So then I read the contract closely and noticed the (3) three-business day right to cancellation policy that totally contradicted what Mr. Burgess had explicitly told us multiple times. I was alarmed, so I called Rainsoft immediately to discuss this matter and schedule a manager visit to discuss this issue with a manager.
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I spoke to Judy first. I explained to her what we had been told by Mr. Burgess and that I had just read the contract carefully and it seemed to say something totally different from what we had been told. I asked her to clarify for me what was in fact the truth. She then informed me that the (3) three-business day cancellation time period had expired the previous evening at midnight on June 16, 2008 and that there was nothing she could do. She said that since it was sold to us on Thursday, June 12, 2008, the (3) three-business day cancellation period would have been effective midnight on Monday, June 16 2008, since Sunday and national holidays are not considered business days. I told her that my husband and I had decided that the price was too much for us to justify at this time and she again stated that there was nothing she could do. She said that we if we cancelled outside of the three-days mentioned in the contract, we would be liable for the entire amount of the purchase. I explained again the misinformation that was given by Mr. Burgess and that I would like to speak to higher management to get this misrepresentation of information cleared up as simply and easily as possible. Judy was very professional and courteous. She was just doing her job.
Judy transferred me to a Rainsoft manager by the name of Kimble. I meticulously explained this situation to him and he asked that he have some time to review the contract material and then call me back.
Mr. Kimble called me back and did not acknowledge or even apologize for Mr. Burgess’s error in information or offer any kind of reasonable solution to this situation. Instead, Mr. Kimble stated that the contract stands and there is no way to cancel. I explained to Mr. Kimble that I feel that Rainsoft is a good product and I feel that the product itself was well-represented by Mr. Burgess, but that the cancellation policy was misrepresented entirely by Mr. Burgess. Mr. Kimble did not offer any type of customer service and automatically assumed that my husband and I were lying to him. He asked me if the cancellation was based entirely on price and I told him that is the main reason and it just does not make financial sense for us at this time, even though we did like the product. When I persisted about the cancellation, he accused me of changing my story about the reasoning for the cancellation, changing it from financial reasons to the fact that his salesman misrepresented his policy. I again explained to him that it is a good product, but it is too expensive for us and I am honestly feeling a whole lot worse now about the purchase because it seems like we are being lied to from his Rainsoft representative and he is bullying us into keeping something we don’t want. I explained to him that the 2007 Florida Statutes state in Title XXXIII, Chapter 501 for Consumer Protection are the guidelines for home solicitation. I read to him 501.047 for Home Solicitation sale; Prohibited practices that says, in conducting a home solicitation, no person shall misrepresent the terms or conditions of a sale, lease, or rental. I made it clear to Mr. Kimble that Mr. Burgess had violated 501.047 and had misrepresented the terms of that sale, specifically the cancellation policy. He got very angry and asked if he could talk to me person to person and continued on to say that a judge would just look at that contract with my signature on it and not deal with a he said/she said case like this one. The conversation ended on a sour note, but Mr. Kimble did understand that we did not want the system in our home. We maintained the manager’s appointment for 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 18 that I had made earlier in the day because we thought it could not hurt for my husband and I to at least try to settle this without having to seek help from the judicial system by trying to talk to a manager about this predicament face to face in hope of developing an understanding. We had no intention of signing any financial papers at the scheduled visit, just to have a conversation and possibly remove the equipment at that time.
At 2:00 p.m., I called Home Depot customer service and spoke with Barbara. I explained the problem to her in great detail in a recorded conversation. She recorded my entire complaint and filed a formal
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complaint to Home Depot’s corporate office. The case is currently being reviewed and she guaranteed that there would be resolution of this dispute. The Home Depot case manager is to follow-up with us in 3-5 days.
On Wednesday, June 18, 2008 at 9:00 a.m., I called Rainsoft to cancel the manager’s appointment because I felt that having a discussion with the manager would not be fruitful at that time. I tried to schedule an appointment for removal of equipment at that time and was refused. I spoke with Judy and she told me that she could cancel the quality assurance appointment, but could not schedule a product removal outside of the (3) three-business day policy. I explained to her that we would like for the product to be removed as soon as possible and will not attempt to remove it ourselves, so there would be no liability on us if damages should occur.
I reviewed the contract again. I noticed that the date entered on the Notice of Cancellation form was incorrect. The date to cancel the contract was written as Sunday, June 15, 2008. The previous day, Judy had told me that Sunday was not considered a business day since nothing could be postmarked on that day. Therefore, since the date “6-15-08” was written by Mr. Burgess on the cancellation date line the contract is void. It is not possible for a (3) three-business day cancellation to occur on a Sunday.
I informed Mr. Kimble of the invalidity of the contract and he said he had it reviewed and his people say it is valid. I also explained the action that Home Depot had planned to take and Mr. Kimble explained to me that Home Depot cannot tell Rainsoft what to do. The conversation was abruptly ended when Mr. Kimble hung up on me and I called Barbara at Home Depot Customer Support and explained to her that Rainsoft would not remove the equipment and that I had tried all ways possible of solving this issue with no help at all from the people at Rainsoft. I explained to her that if there was nothing Home Depot could do to intervene, I have no other option than to go to the Better Business Bureau, Attorney General, and a court of Law to resolve this dispute.