I was brought up to always do the right thing. That philosophy has made it into the way I have run my businesses, and how I interact with customers, suppliers, and even competitors. Good customer service pays for itself many times over — in loyalty, customer value, referrals, brand equity, and reputation. Conversely, poor customer service, substandard values, and unethical business practices are sometimes looked at by some business owners as the corners that can be cut without much impact. This could not be further from the truth. There will always be a reverberation of your actions — bad reviews and the associated negative SEO value, the loss of reputation from the negative word of mouth. But more importantly — in this day and age doesn’t it feel better to just treat other human beings the right way and do the right thing. The universe will thank you for it.
How does my philosophy on customer service relate to online pool supplies?
The point of this website is to share my personal experience looking for great prices and selection on pool supplies (specifically I needed to buy a pool cover), and how horribly I was treated by one of the seemingly larger online pool supply stores – Poolweb.com. I won’t put much time into this, but I do need to help other customers looking for online pool and spa supplies to avoid bad experiences. I think it’s the right thing to do.
What was on my pool supplies shopping list?
In this case I needed a pool cover, but in the spring maybe I’d need some pool chemicals. In the summer when my pool gets dirty from the rain and leaves, maybe I would need one the best pool vacuums. I definitely need to check my pool chemistry and need the supplies for that. Not to mention that I also run a handful of pool filters that need to be cleaned and maybe even replaced at some point. Ultimately, I want to ensure my pool safety is covered.
Poolweb.com caused my family a lot of stress. Are they a leader in online sales and promotions for pool supplies and spa supplies? I don’t know. But I do know how badly they dealt with my situation, and I hope that I can educate others, who enjoy spending time in their pools with their families, to help them search elsewhere for the best pool supplies and for their pool safety.
It’s important to share stories about our experiences with businesses who rip us off, like this online pool equipment store, Poolweb.com, did to me. They take advantage of the friction of returns, of calling, of spending the time to remedy a poorly handled situation.
We ordered this great MeycoLite pool cover. Our pool company then informed us that we needed to get this cover customized with anti-tear padding for the spa so that the cover wouldn’t tear. The first rip off was when I called to process a “hassle free return” – as stated in their return policy:
If your item is listed as “in stock”, we accept returns within a 30 day period. Our online return system will generate a pre-paid shipping label for your convenience to return your order. Your refund will be reduced by the amount of the return shipping costs. If you do not use the label to return your order or one is not provided to you, your order will be subject to a 25% processing fee.
This is a standard size cover, it was in stock, it was shipped right away. Poolweb.com fraudulently deducted 25% “restocking fee” and claimed it was a custom pool cover.
Then the real drama happened…
My Poolweb.com Custom Pool Cover Fiasco
We ordered the same 20×46 pool cover but with the custom anti-tear padding. The sales rep confirmed this. We had several phone conversations. We reviewed in detail the specs of the spa so the padding would be in the right place. Check, check, and check. So far so good. Then, the sales rep took it upon herself to change the pool cover size to 20×45, because that is the size of the pool. This mistake by Poolweb left me with a pool cover that didn’t fit, a bill for $1,500, and all sorts of excuses for why it was not their fault. Seriously!? What a cop-out. Even the pool cover manufacturer was left scratching their heads on this one. This is what I get for trying to save some money and buying from Poolweb.com. Shame on Poolweb. Shame on their president Andrew Worcester for not giving a damn about your customers — not to mention the value of all the referrals that could have come your way. I will certainly be buying all of my pool equipment elsewhere, and I hope that other customers looking for pool supplies, pool cleaning equipment, pool filters, etc shop elsewhere too and avoid these types of problems.
If you want to email Andrew a message to express your disappointment you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
In my experience this company has zero integrity, and a customer service policy that only protects them and does no service for the customer.
Pool supplies at great prices?
I live on Long Island in New York, and many homeowners here have pools. We need pool accessories, pool supplies, spa supplies, pool filters, pool covers, pool chemicals, and cleaning equipment. Our local providers are sometimes a little on the expensive end so many of us buy these products online. We seek honest companies with a wide selection of pool and spa supplies and equipment, good prices, quick shipping, and good customer service. And that is what we expect from the companies we choose to do business with.
In my experiences with Poolweb, they do not live up to this standard – in fact very far from it. I don’t know if they are struggling financially but their behavior seems like that can be the case. Why else would they blatantly try to cover up a mistake of an employee over a $1500 pool cover? It seems so petty and so short sighted.
The pool cover was a MeycoLite 20×46 pool cover, with custom anti-tear padding for our spa. The same rep took it upon herself to change the size to 20×45 since that is the size of my pool. But nobody ever asked her to do that and this cover in fact does not fit! The president of Aquatic Technology dba Poolweb.com in Augusta, Maine, Andrew Worcester, refuses to honor the company’s responsibility for this mistake.
My pool company couldn’t close our pool for the winter as a result of not having this cover. Fortunately there are plenty of places to buy this MeycoLite cover. Now I have to scramble, as we are already entering the winter season to find another quick way of getting this cover.
My hand was forced into creating this blog, which is focused on the eCommerce companies that sell pool and spa supplies. I wanted to objectively share a particularly horrible experience I had with Poolweb.com, who tried to dodge their responsibility and accountability when one of their sales reps made a blatant mistake and sent me the wrong size custom pool cover. They refuse to accept the responsibility and remake the cover, which is just mind boggling. I look at this as directly stealing $1,500 from me (not to mention the waste of time, which is actually even worse for me). Apparently I’m not the only one with a bad experience with Poolweb.com.
Buying my pool cover from Poolweb.com …
It’s certainly not about the money – but rather the blatant and bold lack of integrity that I am observing – all the way up to the President of the company, Andrew Worcester. Typically these values and this type of behavior are role modeled at the top, so it’s no surprise that every interaction has felt like I was being taken advantage of for what otherwise would be an honest mistake — but nonetheless one that should be owned by Poolweb. I’ve been wondering why they would take such a counterproductive stance on their own mistake. I can *maybe* understand the sales rep trying to cover her mistake, maybe her pay is docked for mistakes like this? But I can’t understand how the president of the company would dodge the responsibility to do the right thing for his customer.
Beyond them being ethically unscrupulous, could this behavior be any more short sighted? I’m a homeowner with a pool, and ongoing needs for pool supplies, with dozens of friends and family that are homeowners with pools with ongoing needs for pool supplies. And this stuff isn’t cheap! What a poor business decision to violate the trust of a potentially valuable customer and advocate – for what, the wholesale value of a $1500 pool cover that your sales rep screwed up? Shame.