Water Softener Settings & Salt/Brine Grid Question.

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by John5, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I don't know that they "need" to be pissed off but I know that my site being up after June 15, 2010 did because they told me about it in an email.

    That's the day they stopped their distributors from shipping any equipment using their valves to internet dealers' customers. Supposedly they amended their distributors' contract to say that anyone selling the Clack valves had to visit the prospective customer's location in person to gather presale and post sale info and then to deliver the unit and install it in person (on site) and to service it in person through the 5 yr valve warranty period and after the warranty period.

    The original contract with their distributors did not disallow internet sales and actually said (I have a copy) that it was up to the distributor to decide if the internet dealer was 'competent' enough to be allowed to do internet sales. And if the distributor failed to do that then Clack would decide and if they said no then the distributor was to not sell to that dealer for internet sales.

    That contract started in 2000 and in July 2005 after getting many complaints from internet dealers' customers for various reasons, Clack decided to stop the complaints to them by preventing internet sales. I and I suppose other internet dealers, and my primary supplier, one of their largest distributors I found out later, 'fought' that idea and things continued as usual into the spring of 2010 when they decided again to stop internet sales regardless of who didn't like it. And they threatened their distributors with voiding their control valve contracts if they didn't stop internet sales (by preventing drop shipments).

    I was one of, if not the first, internet dealers to sell their valves online and I was the only dealer all over the internet telling everyone how great their valves were. And they said they were not getting complaints from my customers but from some of their distributors that were told there were not supposed to be any internet sales... those complaints were back in 2005. But many dealers, sales people and companies with somewhat proprietary versions of the Clack valves, among others and especially WQA members, had complained about me for all the years I had been on the internet (since Jan 2, 1997) before and after I started selling their valves on Jan 2, 2004.

    I sold and installed their valves as a local dealer until the end of 2004 when I closed my local sales and spent all my time with the internet sales and well pump work. Then I closed my well pump work in the spring of 2005 because I was so busy on the internet. That lasted until June 15, 2010 when all Clack distributors stopped internet sales and I've been out of business since.

    And there are those that still would like to see me off the internet. It is claimed that I take money right out of their wallets and food off their table etc. etc. because I tell people how to repair their equipment instead of falling victim to shyster dealers and sales people while making dealers, drillers and plumbers selling water treatment equipment look bad etc.. Now Dittohead is here joining a few others that claim I don't know what I'm doing and that I make the 'industry' look bad.

    But then you might see the number of new softener owners here that have questions about their new softeners and I didn't sell them the softener.

    BTW, I don't see any of my customers complaining about me or the equipment I sold them and since 99% of them bought from me due to my presence in many forums and especially this one, you'd think if there were unhappy customers of mine they would show up here.

    In the original Clack contract they had the power to force their distributors to prevent their internet dealers from doing things wrong and prevent their customers complaining to Clack but they didn't do that at any time over the first 10 years that their valves had been made/sold, and including over 7+ years of being sold on the internet. Or, they could have started an end user/consumer Customer Service department.

    But, in their distributor contract they also called for all their distributors to make up their own name for the valves and not to use the Clack name etc.. And the distributors' dealers were to use that distributor's name and not mention Clack or their model numbers. The first I heard of that was in July 2005. The distributor was to disallow/prevent their dealers to have pricing on their web site too; or not sell to them. Clack and their distributors I bought from all knew what and how well I was doing on the internet.

    The problem with all that is that distributors selling to independent dealers have no contract with the dealer.

    When Clack contacted me in July 2005, they kept referring to "the contract" and I kept saying what contract, I have no contract with any of three of your distributors that I order from.

    I mentioned that I paid in full for all the equipment I ordered, including the shipping to me or my internet customer, before the equipment left the distributors' docks and somehow dumb me, I thought I could do anything I wanted to do with the equipment, including smashing it with a sledge hammer if I chose to but I was not under their or any other contract.

    That seemed to go over their head and any talk about the internet did too. They kept saying they thought the internet was a great educational tool but shouldn't be used for sales... It was also admitted that they knew very little about the internet in both 2005 and 2010. I mentioned there were billions of dollars of sales being done every year and it would just get bigger because of the convenience to consumers if nothing else. But research showed that most people used the internet to compare products and hear what owners had to say about them before they bought most things costing over a $100 or so but especially big ticket items.

    They kept saying internet dealers were causing a lot of complaints to them and I told them I knew of a number of 'bad' dealers because I too had been contacted by many of their customers. I asked why they didn't talk to their distributors and somehow solve the problem or shut them off. That was before I was told about "the contract" which later I got a copy of.

    So Clack has not improved the industry or the quality of dealers and now Fleck is following their lead in stopping internet sales of certain of the their valves. Instead they have protected local dealers from some internet sales and driven up the cost to consumers while the economy is getting worse by the day and it is going to get much worse very soon.
  2. ByteMe

    ByteMe New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Midland Texas
    Ok, it seems to be as I expected. I have run into this exact issue with another large (Billion) dollar manufacturer.

    The manufacturer tries to fix the problem of complaints from end users by stopping a segment of the sales and also complaints from other sales/service companies. This segment being internet sales. From what I have seen there could be a very good court case if any of the internet sales people cared to pursue it.

    These "other" sales and service companies are only doing what human nature makes them do. All of us work to protect ourselves. It is human nature to try to eliminate competition and hence protect ourselves and family.

    These companies that follow this protectionist policy easily justify it by thinking they are helping many of their "old" distributors and not getting a bad reputation from the normally much cheaper and less service oriented internet sites (in general).

    I believe this way of thinking is very short sighted and just plain lazy. My argument can be mostly simplified down do the question, how do you make money by limiting your sales? A number of companies have tried this and failed (as in went bankrupt). From what I have seen this is a good sign of a company heading backwards. Of course a few seem to have succeeded.

    The issue and arguement about avoiding the bad reputation is better eliminated by WORK. Use the service and training department to aggressively pursuse and train the internet sales companies and when that fails, train the end user.

    Would you rather have a bad reputation and make some money or an excellent reputation with selling nothing?

    One of the good things about this free market is that us end users and massively influence this. If you disagree with a companies policy, don't buy from them. A letter telling them so can also help. I guess I won't buy a Clack and should send a letter to Fleck. Yea I know, a fart in the wind.


    *edit* I type like crap.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  3. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,265
    Location:
    Maine
    It's all about the money. If their decision was not making them money, they would not have made it.
  4. ByteMe

    ByteMe New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Midland Texas
    Of course that is true idea. Do I have to google companies that have failed with policies like this? Or companies that have been sued and lost because of policies like this?

    But this also gets into the problem of letting accountants run a company. And no I will refrain from boring everyone.
  5. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,906
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Companies are allowed to sell who they want to, to price products as they feel fit, and to lose to the competition if they want to, unless Obama deems the companies to big to fail...

    Clack made a good choice when they went after the companies that were not following their contracted rules. We have had to cut off several companies, and honestly, good riddance to them. These companies would constantly try to send end user customers our way for technical support, or they would try to send them direct to Clack. Just like Culligan, Kinetico, Rayne, and many other water systems companies, their equipment can only be sold and installed by licensed dealers. If Culligan catches a small dealer selling their stuff online, the supply chain gets cut very quickly. I have contracts with most of my major suppliers, this is normal business practice. So long as there is an alternative source to a product, the competition will keep the price in check. Unless we are talking about Monpolized industries, which Clack is not, there are over a dozen valve manufacturers that compete with Clack, then they can legally chose where and how they want their product sold.

    Do you think Kmart can sue Gucci to get their products into their store? Not likely.

    This is all a dead issue anyway, this was over a couple years ago, and Clack has done extremely well since then, far better than they did prior to this decision. And they dont care about someones website bemoaning their decision, actually, it is quite the opposite. They probably use it to their advantage if it is ever even brought up. It shows that they stand by their contracts.
  6. ByteMe

    ByteMe New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Midland Texas
    Dittohead,

    With all due respect, your statement is only about 50% correct. With that said, it is as everything in life much more compliated. Even our supreme court has gone back and forth on issues concerning this. In the 90's I worked for a big company that was sued and lost on exacty this issue (the issue being whom the manufacturer would and would not sell to because of "protected" territories).

    For anyone that cares to read more;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resale_price_maintenance

    It looks as if since 2007, the supreme court has allowed more of this price fixing idea. As far as "standing by their contracts", I think it shows they are too lazy to address the real problems that would result in making even more sells.

    But let's get back on subject, this is a water softening section!

    Do you have a document that explains the technical advantages/disadvantages of using a packed resin bed?
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Clack is a family owned corp founded in 1946. They are huge in manufacturing and distributing all types of products and materials for all sizes and types of water treatment and very large in blow molding parts.

    I was told that the owner said he didn't care how much business he lost in valve sales, he wanted the complaints etc. to stop. They thought initially that they may lose about 300 valve sales a month. My primary supplier actually counted 375 to 400 lost sales per month based on their internet dealers' sales history. And that was based on only 75% of their total number of internet dealers. So I don't know how many they came up with as a total.

    I have no idea how many distributors were selling to internet dealers. I knew of a number of drillers and plumbers that switched from Autotrol and Fleck to Clack valves because of the positive information about Clack valves on the internet. And by 2010 most all internet dealers had started selling Clack.

    Most local dealers seem to not have web sites so it's hard to get much of an idea of how many sell Clack but I hear from people that have bought from local dealers some are calling it a Clack, and hasn't sized or programmed their valve correctly. And some are selling to DIYers.

    Applying that to dealers...

    I never worried about competition, just my reputation with my customers and prospective customers. I learned about the competition's products and compared what I was selling to theirs and explained the differences to my prospective customers and became as different from the competition as possible. I became their competition.

    I explained every facet of the equipment and the processes. That was very different than the competition. Being different included repairing a lot of equipment the competitors wouldn't even think about; including their older equipment. I also did a lot of troubleshooting over the phone. That really brought me a sizable service income, mostly from word of mouth referrals and that made me a lot of new equipment sales and decreased my advertizing needs.

    I have had many people, customers and others, email and call Clack to tell them how unhappy they were with the decision to stop internet sales but it has made no difference as far as I know.
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Clack did nothing to contracted "companies" except to threaten them, their distributors with "the valve" contract, of not being allowed to sell their valves if they didn't stop drop shipping.

    The problem was the distributors' dealers that didn't know what they were doing, or didn't care that they were selling equipment without doing proper sizing or programming and then refused to help their customers that then contacted Clack for help.

    You do not sell to dealers so I take it the companies you mention are your distributors or field rep companies.

    Culligan is a franchise, Kinetico uses exclusive territory dealers, as I think Rayne does. There is no licensing, just approval or disapproval by the company of the applicant that wants to be a dealer for them.

    Clack has no dealers and no stores and they do not sell to the public or to anyone that does sell to the public so you've used an entirely lame example.

    They stand by their contracts... wrong.

    I can send you a copy of the part of their 2000 contract that dealt with them allowing internet sales. And until you read it, frankly you don't now what you're talking about.

    They had no contracts with any independent dealers (local or internet) that sold their valves purchased from a contracted Clack distributor. We aren't talking about any national brand company that sells through their exclusive territory or independent dealers like Hellenbrand, Water-Right/WaterCare, General Ionics etc. etc..
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