When Scary Isn’t Cool: Scare Tactics in the Water Treatment Industry
When it comes to water, there is plenty of scary news about water-related issues. For example, in May 2014, 670,000 Oregonians were advised to boil their water after testing revealed the presence of E. coli. Then a few months later, more than 400,000 residents in Toledo, Ohio were told not to consume, cook with or even boil their water after a toxin called microcystin was found in the water supply.
Some in the water treatment industry pounce on these scenarios, using “scare tactics” to sell their systems. Here are four ways to avoid being pushed into a purchase when it comes to water treatment products.
The truth is, municipal water in the United States is some of the cleanest and best regulated in the world. We benefit from standards put in place by the Clean Water Act of 1972 which focused on improving the quality of our nation’s waters by limiting contaminants that could be dumped into streams and rivers, and also to regulate the water that flows into our homes.
Four Ways to Close the Door on Scare Tactics
Unfortunately, some companies in the water treatment industry continue to use scare tactic methods as part of their sales presentations. Here are some ways to avoid being taken by them.
1. Educate yourself first: Water conditioning and treatment equipment is legitimately needed in many homes. But before you invite a water company salesperson to your home, read up on water softening—what it is, how it works, when it is needed. Read about reverse osmosis and ultraviolet systems, as well as common water contaminants or concerns in your area, etc. For example, say your area has repeatedly experienced “boil water advisories”. Educate yourself about available options such as reverse osmosis (RO) systems and how, if properly maintained, they can effectively remove pathogens, including viruses, bacteria and protozoa – in the short-term. The more you know, the better you’ll understand your options. A good water treatment specialist will know water very well and will be able to answer your questions without scaring you into a purchase.
2. Ask for references and read reviews: Find a reputable water specialist that truly has a desire to help you discover your needs by asking you questions and exploring WITH you the possible solutions. Read reviews on the company’s G+ page, Better Business Bureau, Yelp or other online review sites. Not only ask for references, but also ask how long the company has been in business. It’s unfortunate, but some companies in water treatment industry come and go—find one that you feel will stand behind their warranty for years to come. After all, water treatment equipment is an investment.
3. File a Complaint: If you feel you have been unfairly dealt with or have been pressured to buy due to scare tactics, you have a few options:
- File a complaint them with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- As a consumer disgruntled by scare tactics, you can report a complaint to the Better Business Bureau. The BBB doesn’t have any legal authority but your complaint can hurt the company’s reputation and future business dealings
- As a last resort, if a company engages in the deceptive design, marketing and sale of a product using scare tactics, a plaintiff can sue for a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
4. Simply Say Good-bye. A salesperson who uses scare tactics and high-pressure sales doesn’t have your best interests in mind–plain and simple. If a water specialist tries to frighten you into purchasing a system by telling you water horror-stories, they naturally lessen their credibility. Tell them good-bye. If, on the other hand, a salesperson strives to educate and inform you, the customer, about the various solutions available (if a solution is really needed), they gain your trust, loyalty and business.
Looking for a Solution?
I’ll be the first to admit that despite testing and regulations, I want the peace of mind that comes from putting an additional measure of defense in place when it comes to my family’s water. I’m not scared or frightened, but I want to have great water and have opted to have a whole-house water conditioner and drinking water system installed in my home.
If you are looking for a company that stands behind their products, we hope you’ll consider WaterTech for all of your residential and commercial water treatment needs. WaterTech has provided hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses with outstanding water for more than 27 years. Talk with an authorized WaterTech dealer near you.