Don't buy General Ionics Water Filter
BEWARE... When you buy a General Ionics system, they strap you over the barrel on service costs. Has anyone else experienced this?
Yes, the product is great. Yes, it has a lifetime warranty. But, in order to maintain the system and the warranty, you need to have it serviced every 2 years. This includes having the filtration media changed. What they don't tell you when you're buying is the following: The service of your system is not a competitive industry. You can only have it serviced by them. This monopoly allows them to jack up the price. And, you have to pay it or else your system won't work and they'll void your warranty!
I bought a system in 2000. My first service in 2002 was $116. Now the same service only 6 years later is $220! That's a price jump of 90% in 6 years.
When I called to complain, they coddled me with, "All prices go up. That's inflation. Ford couldn't possibly sell cars for the same price as 50 years ago." Are you kidding me? Six years, not 50! And, 90% is a tad out of step with standard inflation indexes. Imagine the Ford Focus costing 90% more in 6 years, with no change in the quality of product. I don’t think they’d be moving to many Foci (the correct plural of Focus).
So, then they said that I bought the "Cadillac" and it costs “Cadillac prices” to maintain it. That’s when I started thinking how ironic it is that they sound like car salesmen. But, I'm not comparing the cost of maintaining a Cadillac to maintaining a Ford. I'm comparing the cost of maintaining a Cadillac now to the cost only six years ago. And, it's gone up 90%! Imagine if cost of your oil change at your Cadillac dealer nearly doubled in 6 years.
Then, they griped about the cost of gas because it is a service industry – they come to our home, instead of our taking the filter in to them. Yes, during this period, gas has gone up approximately $2.70/gallon. But, it's only a 20 mile round trip to my house (which I assume is fairly average). Assuming their vehicle gets only 15 mi/gal (fairly conservative), that only explains an increase of $3.60 over the last 6 years. Not, an increase of $104!
Next, they whined that the cost of silver has gone up. After all, General Ionics uses silver impregnated carbon. Yes, after holding steady around $5/oz for a long time, silver increased to a high of $20/oz in March of 2008. Now it has settled back down to around $10/oz. That’s a net change of $5/oz. Do you really think there is a pound and a quarter of silver in there?! That’s how much it would take to explain a $100 price increase due to silver.
Finally, after blowing through their ***, talking to three GI reps in two states (including the national director of sales), a regional director of sales admitted that the problem was that the company used to intentionally depress the service cost in order to make sales. Bull. Nobody does that because it doesn’t work. If you want to increase sales, you depress the sales cost and make it up by increasing your service cost, not the visa-versa. That is, unless they are admitting that they needed the service figures low to support their sales scam of showing you how much less expensive it is to have their product versus buying bottled water.
Nonetheless, he was admitting that the company roped me into buying with lower than sustainable service costs. Then, once they got many customers over the barrel, they jacked the costs up. Sounds a bit like the sub-prime mortgage scam, doesn’t it? Now, they’re basically saying, “Sucks to be you. Sorry. But that’s the way it is. Either pay the price we dictate, or your filter won’t work and you’ll void the warranty.” I’m stuck over the barrel. So, the only thing I can do is warn their potential customers…
Simple bottom line: Don’t buy a General Ionics water filter.
Life lesson: If buying a product that requires regular maintenance, ask if the maintenance is a competitive industry. If not, then realize the seller controls a monopoly on your required maintenance. That’s not good. So, if that’s the case, ask for price guarantees on future maintenance. If they won’t give it, don’t buy their product.