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resolved to the customer's satisfaction
Pinch A PennyFalse advertising


On October 9th 2004 I purchased a heat pump for my pool. Aquatherm manufactured it.
In August of 2006 I discovered oil in my pool. The heat pump had malfunctioned and caused this mess.
I call Pinch a Penny and they had a repairman from Aquatherm come out when I wasn’t home. He left a repair invoice (No. 15750 dated 8-14-06) It said something about the compressor heat exchanger being damaged.
I call Aquatherm in Fort Myers Fl. To find out if it was going to be repaired. The said the water in the pool wasn’t right and it caused this damage and wouldn’t be covered under warranty.
I was led to believe the Titanium exchanger was covered under these conditions.
Come to find out my unit doesn’t have a titanium exchanger in it.
The heat pump I bought from Pinch a Penny Has the Titanium sticker right on the front of it and that is what I thought I was getting.
It looks like the ole bait and switch happened to me and I am really disappointed.
My father was diagnosed with a terminal illness and I couldn’t pursue this completely until now.
I recently called the store I purchased this from and filled them in on what was going on.
They checked their records and it shows I bought an AT600, which has a copper nickel core. The only thing my receipt says is porp digital and I didn’t get any other paper work. I explained that it has the titanium sticker right on the front of it.
I emailed photos to them and they were going to check with Aquatherm.
Today I received a call from Alex at Pinch a Penny. He stated that they talked with Aquatherm and they looked thru their records and said it was indeed an AT600 unit and how it got the titanium sticker on it they didn’t know. They also said the unit is not repairable.
I was offered another unit at a discounted price. That is not what I want. I want what I was led to believe I was buying in the first place. I shouldn’t have to shell out $2, 200.

January 15, 2009
After emailing the above to Pinch a Penny corporate offices, I just got off the phone with Chris from Pinch a Penny out of Clearwater Fl.
She thought me buying another one for $2, 000 was a good deal. They don’t sell Aquatherm any more.
I wont buy anything from Pinch a Penny anymore.
It is now May 2009 and I still have a boat anchor in my back yard.

False advertising
False advertising

  • Updated by Craigallen · Sep 25, 2017

    Owner Lisa rude and non-empathetic nor responsive


  • Cr
    Craigallen Sep 10, 2018

    45 days without a heater or pump

    0 Votes
  • Le
    Le Roy Sep 16, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Personally, I would not deal with a franchised business if I could help it. Why?, because they are in the business to MAKE money! They NEVER see the side of the consumer! Franchised motels never give you your money back if you are unhappy with the room, yet some corporate ones will insist on it! Corporate ones have more money to back them up so they can afford to make things right! I also had some work done with Pinch A Penny in Brandon Florida and could not resolve it so I will not be doing business with them again and I plan on reporting it to tne BBB!

    0 Votes
  • Lc
    lc76779 Aug 12, 2010

    I know I am posting this QUITE a while after the original post, but I just had to put in my two cents...

    I personally DO have vested interest in Pinch-A-Penny, and I am always sorry to hear when a customer faces unexpected problems with equipment he/she may buy from one of the stores. I can, however, vouch for many Pinch-A-Penny owners, since all the stores are individually owned as part of a franchise. These stores are family-owned, and current rules allow each owner to only own two stores at any given time. Also, many stores are run by the owners themselves, with husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, and every other type of family member, helping to do their part to keep things running smoothly. Because Pinch-A-Penny is the means of living for these people, they are deeply devoted to their cliental and regular customers, because those are the people who are going to pay the bills and put food on the table. Pinch-A-Penny store owners and employees are NOT swindlers who try to get one over on a customer and shortchange them just to make an extra buck. They know that if there IS a problem, the customer will return to the store looking for an answer, solution, and help, so why would the employee act in a way that would potentially create an even bigger problem and required use for even more resources? I know many employees and owners who go out of their way for customers to honestly help them in any way, explaining things they can do to have a pool that runs more efficiently and while increasing their savings, and informing them of upcoming sales on big ticket items, and even smaller ones, where they can save $100 next week instead of paying full-price today. I also know Pinch-A-Penny service men who will do work at one house and then run to the neighbor's house to check out a problem, because he/she heard they were having some issues too. The men and women I've had the pleasure to know through this franchise are hard workers and really value their customers, because, like I said before, they are who keeps everything going - their support and patronage.

    Like I said, I am sorry for your misfortune, but there are so many factors that can go into a piece of equipment to malfunction and the responsibility of the problem can fall into several sets of hands. It is always difficult when a big ticket item that costs a pretty penny fails to work. I know you pointed out you weren't home when the repair man came, but in all fairness, many people work all day and pool stores and different company- or equipment-specific or repairmen they utilize only operate during the hours of about 7a-7p - the same hours you may be at work during the day. In the case of pool equipment, it is sometimes beneficial for both the repairman AND the equipment owner because the pool and its equipment is usually easily accessed, making it a situation where you don't have to wait at home for a repairman who said they would be there between '10a-5p' (I think we've all heard something like that before). They can go through the gate, look over what they need, repair what is necessary, drop off an invoice, and then go on their way. When you get home you may find an invoice or work order explaining what took place or what was wrong in addition to the possibility of everything being in working order (without you having to take off work and wait inside all day).

    As "B" said, water chemistry that is left unattended can get out of whack very quickly, and a seemingly "crystal clear" pool can often be an extremely acidic environment in which the more regular types of algae cannot grow. If in fact the water conditions were too acidic, it can break down the internal parts and cause malfunctions. If you look at many warranties as well, you'll find that warranties stand in cases where something malfunctions under normal conditions. If water harsh water chemistry causes the problem, it's due to the owner's inability to hold up their end and maintain the condition of the pool that may have caused the problem. Consider it like a cell phone with a warranty - if you stop being able to hear the people are calling this is something that you did not cause and should be covered; if you drop your phone in the water, however, its your fault the phone has water damage and you will more than likely have to pay for a replacement.

    The basic message behind this post is that I really am sorry that you gave up Pinch-A-Penny like that. There are a variety of other pool stores in the state of Florida (one in particular that starts with a "L" and rhymes with "Beslie's, " which is totally corporately owned, brings in employees who have absolutely no experience and continue to have no idea what they're talking about based on poor training, and their prices and services are usually more expensive then the majority of their competitors - they are basically interested in making the most for as little as possible. Other large home stores and even grocery stores who sell products are selling products that are usually more expensive, but even if they do cost less, think about the huge distribution centers these chemicals and parts sit in for extended periods of time before they are dropped off at their respective stores (certain chemicals, such as liquid chlorine, do decrease in strength as time goes on because the gas Cl, which makes its sanitizing power, escapes over time and reduces potency - the same is similar for other chemicals. Like I said before, Pinch-A-Penny has done so well as a franchise in Florida because of it's family-oriented attitude and relationship with the community, rather than taking in as many customers as possible while just worrying about the dollar and blowing off quality customer service and products like certain corporately owned stores. I really hope that you reconsider where you go for your pool care needs - I would try another store if you weren't happy with the one you purchased your heater from. Like I said, no owner can own more than 2 so you will most likely be dealing with a whole different set of individuals and owner if you went somewhere else.

    0 Votes
  • Mr
    Mr. McFunnyName Feb 13, 2010

    Couple of things:

    First, bad water chemistry will trash a heater of any kind.
    All heaters have metal heat exchangers, and bad chemistry (really, just a low pH)
    will corrode metals. In the future, entertain a heater with a "sacrificial anode" which is a piece in the heat pump which is a soft metal (usually copper or brass) that will corrode quickly, and cause a leak if low pH conditions exist for a little while.
    It never ceases to amaze me how many people spend $3-4k for a heat pump, to use the pool more, and have terrible chemistry. In all fairness, though, many of these folks may have a pool service, and be totally unaware of their chmistry.

    Perhaps you could carify the sequence of events before I blast you,
    but it seems as though the complaint goes seomething like this:
    I bought unit A, and when it was installed, it had a sticker from unit B, and then later I was unhappy when it performed like unit A. Allow me to elaborate:
    Rarely do pool stores keep fully functioning heat pumps on the floor, so if you looked at (a display unit of), and (more importantly) paid for an AT600, then you have no right to complain about your cupro-nickel heat exchanger, as that is what you paid for. If they did in fact provide you the unit from the floor, than I can understand seeing the TI sticker, and expecting it, but I would guess that the unit they actually installed was not the one from the floor. I can understand thinking you got a free one when you saw the "Titanium" sticker on the heat pump, but at that point, you thought YOU were getting one over on them (getting more than you paid for) and there was no problem then, right? But later when you found out you got exactly what you paid for, now there's a problem. After all, you did not (I assume) call them up, and offer to pay the extra money for the Titanium heat exchanger you (thought you) received.

    I have no vested interest in either AquaTherm, or Pinch a penny, but I have worked retail for years, and it never ceases to amaze me how nobody complains when they get more than they paid for, nobody offers to pay the additional money, but they will be the first to jump on you if their freebie is not as good as they thought...


    1 Votes

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