• Report:  #90614

Complaint Review: Esther Williams Pools - Olathe Kansas

Reported By:
- Lenexa, Kansas,

Esther Williams Pools
12535 Rogers Rd. Olathe, 66062 Kansas, U.S.A.
At the age of 45, I have never been so horribly treated by an established business. Here is my story:

We went to a Home Improvement event in downtown Kansas City and fell in love with a beautiful Coast Spa. The salesman was very informative and helpful. He sold us the floor model "as is" at a nice price. As we were signing the contract, we found out it was Esther Williams selling the spa and the salesman, a Coast Spa representative, was only helping. We found out later that Esther Williams has been in business here for over 30 years.

If we had met any of the 5 Esther Williams employees I have since met, we would never have purchased the spa.

Delivery was smooth until they placed the spa on the ground. They said to fill it (350 gallons) to check for leaks. We did and they disappeared. We assumed they went to get the cover and stairs that had been forgotten. The office is only 10 minutes away, but it took them 5 hours to return.

We were away by the time they came back. When we returned there were no messages, but we did find a partially assembled cover and lifter, and a small set of stairs (not what we ordered) and a plastic bag of spa chemicals to use. The cover had three holes in it where it was obvious the lifter parts had gouged it.

We called and it seems they don't take messages. It was Friday evening and they are open on Saturdays so I called the next morning and no answer.

Monday I called and finally talked with Susan. She said she forgot to call me Friday to say we needed to empty the spa so they could finish installation. She admitted her crew had asked to fill the spa, but nothing could be done about it. I asked about the damage to the cover and she said it would be fine. I asked how long before they could replace it and she said that was not possible. I asked where the stairs that I ordered were and she said nobody gets those without paying more. When I explained the saleman said we would, she said it was a mistake.

We called the Coast Spa representative and he contacted Esther Williams to clear things up. They agreed to replace the cover, install the lifter without dumping 350 gallons, and deliver the correct stairs. This was to happen the following Thursday.

Friday came and not a word from Esther Williams. It ended up taking three and a half weeks to get the cover and proper stairs. The lifter was never installed properly.

During this time the spa blew a fuse while we were in it. Scared my wife and I to death. We called and they couldn't get anyone out for 4 days (remember they are 10 minutes away). I asked if it would be OK for the spa to be down that long and they said not to worry about it as long as the chemicals were in it. They were.

Come to find out, stagnant spas, chemicals or no, develop bacteria. When the spa was fixed, water tested, and warmed up, we used the spa. The next day we developed strong skin irritations which became infected. Seems we were ill advised and contracted folicule infection (foliculitus). Other spa dealers in this area could not believe we were not warned and advised properly. They looked at our chemicals and that is when we found out no chlorine to kill the bacteria was provided. It took three full weeks to recover.

A week after they finally fixed the spa, it broke again. This time I submitted a complaint to the Better (ha!) Business Bureau.

They repaired it and it seems to still be working so far. Their reply to my BBB complaint was obnoxious. They played me out to be some whining customer that they bent over backwards to accommodate. That they had done nothing wrong at all. They never addressed their ill advice or have never offered any compensation for any of the troubles they have given us.

I contracted an electrician to inspect the spa and without flat out accusing Esther Williams, he let me know the problem was from the Esther Williams installation and repair earlier. He also informed me of the Esther Williams reputation in the area. Advice: Never pay in advance. Hold your next payment until Esther Williams makes their repairs or you are put at the bottom of the list. And never, like I did, pay in full.

So now we go back and forth with the BBB complaint. Reply within 10 days or the complaint is considered resolved. You can't find record of my complaint on the BBB web site. Esther Williams is listed as "no complaints".

I know there are many people out there who have had much worse experiences and total ripoffs, but what is this world coming to if you have to fight a company just to get what you paid in advance for?


Lenexa, Kansas

3 Updates & Rebuttals


Shame on Esther Williams - Olathe KS

#2Consumer Comment

Wed, November 03, 2004

Dear Rip-Off Report Editor, Thank you for letting me know there was a rebuttal to my complaint. Although the rebuttal sounds very logical, it does not accurately reflect what really happened. The communication they claim was non-existent until the final days of this whole ordeal. More importantly, James - Minneapolis, Minnesota says it best. "Are you ever responsible for anything?" This was my impression of the company throughout my experience with them. On a side note. I have never submitted a complaint on a company to anyone before. This is my first and only to date. I get the impression Esther Williams is very good at responding to complaints. They seem very good at downplaying the important issue of customer satisfaction and picturing themselves as "doing their best". It heartens me that this is the only company I have ever dealt with, that has treated me this way. Good on your website for letting me share my experience with others. You are five star in my book! Sincerely, Terry Lenexa, KS U.S.A.


Jay, are you ever responsible?

#3Consumer Suggestion

Tue, November 02, 2004

Jay, Are you ever responsible for ANYTHING? Is it always POOR ME, and this situation happened to ME, with you? Give me a break guy, you are ultimitaly responsible for EVERYTHING that happens in YOUR life including your business buddy. Good job on your 35 years in biz, something tells me you didn't earn it yourself!



#4UPDATE Employee

Mon, November 01, 2004

This report was only recently brought to our attention after being posted on May 7,'04. We absolutely would have responded quicker if we were made aware of it earlier. We find it offensive that such a complaint can be launched by this website without so much as a notification of such. Having said that, this customer is off base. I will respond to this customers "problems" point by point: 1. "it took them five hours to return"--While our office is indeed close, the delivery crew had several "work orders" and other customers to complete per the schedule and continued to the next customer. The cover and stairs were not necessary to fill the spa with water and returning with these items five hours later did not hamper the installation and start up of the spa whatsoever. 2. The cover had three holes, and he felt the stairs were smaller than the ones he was to receive.--When informed that the cover had holes in it, Susan, our service coordinator, did in fact say that there was nothing she could do about it. Her responsibilities do not authorize her to give new spa covers without being given approval. When she learned of the holes, she passed this information along to me for evaluation and handling. It was determined on that very day that a new cover would be ordered. As spa covers are specific to the spa we did not have a cover in stock to replace their cover. Unfortunately, the reorder time on the covers is 3 to 6 weeks, and is not in our control. It should be noted that the "holes" on the cover were three small snags in the vinyl and in no means affected the performance of the cover. Yes, they can be disappointed that their purchase was not in perfect condition. We were disappointed as well. But once again, the snagged spa cover did not prevent the customer from using the spa. As for the size of stairs, our service coordinator Susan was only reading the contract specifications as the signed contract between the customer and the Coast Spas factory representative provided her. The contract disignated that "steps" would be included with no further notation. A set of 6-foot steps is an upgrade option and would normally have been duly noted. The steps that the customer received was a two-step, three foot wide set of steps--by no means an inadequate step. Remember, the contract was drawn up by a Coast Spas' factory representative, and until this point we had no contact with this customer. Our only information was the signed contract, and the order was filled per the signed contract. When the Coast Spas' factory representative was contacted about the discrepancy, he informed us that he failed to note the 6-foot step upgrade on the contract and apologized for his omission. Once we were made aware of this, we informed both him and the customer that we would honor the verbal agreement. However, as these are not our standard steps and not in stock, they would also have to be ordered. The steps would be arriving on the same truck as the replacement cover, and would be delivered when they both arrived. 3. "It took three and a half weeks to get the cover and proper stairs."--This is correct and we conveyed the time period to receive both items to the customer. As they are not stock items we had to order both. Again, the cover had three cosmetic tears on the surface and fuctioned properly. He was allowed to use this cover until the replacement could be delivered. The steps were also left with the customer and were used until the larger steps could be delivered. Both worked properly and did not hamper the ability of the spa to function correctly. 4. The spa blew a fuse.--Once we were contacted, this customer was placed on our service list in order of their call. At that time, our service calls were four days out. The customer was informed of this and we showed up and fixed the problem in four days as promised. We make and take service calls as they are received. As standard operating procedures, we do not make special exceptions for customers "10 minutes away" or an hour away. We must convey to the customer, how would they feel if they were an hour away and we told them that we would be there in four days because we had other customers closer to us to service! The 10 minutes to get to his house is not the problem. It is the order of the service call and the hours allotted for fixing a very technical problem. 5. They developed a skin irritaion.--This customer blames us for this skin irritation after they were instructed how to maintain their water. Once we have instructed a customer on how to maintain the chemicals, we cannot be responsible for mistakes they make. They may have added too much or too little or none at all. As long as water is properly balance, 4 days of inoperation would not cause health risks. This was verfied by Charlette with Bio Guard chemicals, our chemical supplier. If he was worried about his water, he could have taken advantage of our free chemical water testing service that we offer to our customers. This customer also claims that we did not provide chlorine to kill bacteria. This is true because the water treatment chemicals that he received does not require chlorine, as he was instructed. Once again he is only providing half of the story. We placed this customer on the Soft Soak system by Bio Guard. This is a biguianide based system that does not use chlorine to kill the bacteria. It uses another type of chemical altogether. It is a well established proven method that has been used for many years. For further information on this product, you may look it up at www.spaguard.com 5. He spoke to an electrician that told him "never pay in advance", and that the problem was from our installation and repair.--First, in the previous paragraph of his statement, he states "They repaired it and it seems to be working so far." He admits that we fixed the problem, so what exactly is he referring to here? We fixed the problem, so I am not sure what his electrician is looking at here. Moreover, the problem was a defect in the operating equipment of the spa. It was an unforseen problem that came from the factory, which we diagnosed and rectified in a timely manner. As far as our reputation in the area, our 35+ years in the Kansas City Metro area speaks volumes to the service and products that we provide. From time to time we receive concerns from customers and those concerns are addressed to the customers' satisfaction and most often more so than what the original contract called for. At this point, his spa is working fine and we wish him well. He was provided with a new cover and larger stairs at no extra charge. The cover lifter works fine, and to our knowledge the spa has experienced no further problems. All of the problems were fixed within one and a half months of the spa delivery. The total amount of time the spa could not be used was 4 days. We apologize if this customer feels that we did not provide him with adequate service. It was absolutely not our intention. However, we feel that we responded to his concerns and rectified any problems that he may have had. As you can see, we did not try to rip this customer off. At no time was he invoiced for the service provided after the delivery nor did we ask for any more money. We provided him with everything his contract stipulated plus more, and we fixed the problem his spa experienced in a timely manner. In the future, your company, ripoffreports, should make these complaints known to the companies that have been reported. Coast Spas made us aware of this report because our competition was using it against us. This would certainly lend more credibility to you as a company to have both sides represented prior to posting the rants of a disgruntled customer. Shame on you.

Reports & Rebuttal
Respond to this report!
Also a victim?
Repair Your Reputation!