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PCI: Buyer Beware


andy
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Recently, I accidentally broke the impeller housing tabs on my Gen-X 2400 pump. I called Pacific Coast up and ordered two replacements (their plastic is really brittle, best to have a spare replacement on hand just in case), for a total cost of $20 ($5 each, plus $10 shipping & 'handling'). Unfortunately, when I received the housings, they didn't quite fit my pump; they were just a tiny bit too big. I called up PCI first thing this morning to find out what happened, maybe they accidentally sent the housing from the next model up?

 

As it turns out, the parts *aren't* from the next model up; the actual manufacturer of the pump (PCI is just the importer/distributor) apparently changed the design, resulting in a very slight difference in housing sizes. PCI suggested I send them my pump so they could look at it themselves. Since I was already in for $20 to fix this $40 pump, I wasn't very enthusiastic about spending another $10+ to get the pump to them plus another $10-15 shipping (plus some 'handling' fee?) to get it back. I explained my concerns about the expense on the phone, and was told there was nothing else they could do.

 

I understand the difficulty of the situation they are in. As a importer/distributor they don't have any control over the changes the manufacturer makes. That's unfortunate for them but to pass that problem off to me, the customer, and make it *my* problem (to be fixed with *my* money) is very bad business.

 

In the end, I was able to get a promise of my money back but was told that they'd wait for the return of the parts before refunding. That's fine, certainly well within their rights but realistically, those parts cost them a few pennies. They could easily have just told me to keep them, pass them on to a friend, etc. and written off the tiny loss. Having me, the customer, spend $5+ to Priority Mail them back really adds insult to injury -- particularly when the error was theirs in the first place.

 

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. PCI sells the cheapest product in whatever category you look at, and they are cheap for a reason -- their overall quality is significantly lower than the competition. When I compare the build quality and performance of a Gen-X to one of my Eheims, it's not even close. Clearly, you get what you pay for. I was hoping that their customer service might bridge a bit of that gap, unfortunately their customer service is cheap as well. I'll be ordering a Sedra to replace the Gen-X, and won't ever purchase another PCI product.

 

Caveat emptor.

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I feel your pain! My Little Giant pump sprung a leak from over tightening the wing nuts that kept coming loose. Mfg. won't sell direct, yet the parts are shipped directly from them. I never got a call back from one parts place, someone here recommended Grainger (must have account), so I went in to pay for the $13 piece of plastic on my Visa. Didn't want to charge an account because the in-laws tend to refuse my repaying them back for things. Grainger sales guy handed me the phone for their call center for payment. Great, until the lady was charging me about $25??? At that price for upping a .74 shipping charge, I figured I could end up buying a brand new Quiet One 4000 for about $65 at Petsmart and no loose/leaking parts.

Oldbrownies gave me a similar temporary replacement Little Giant in-line pump to get me by in which wing nuts come loose as well, so it makes me think LG is a waste of funds. I'm still up in the air as for what to buy, but want a long lasting pump that is quiet and doesn't increase the tank temp by 2-3 degrees.

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I understand your concern about wanting to get something fixed that you broke. I also had a skimmer top that I broke and wanted to get a replacement for. I went directly to them to get another, and they didn’t have one. Now mind you I BROKE IT, Not there problem. They worked on it, while I was there for half an hour and fixed it for me, AT NO COST. I have had a pump with a bad power cord, Replaced on the spot. I prefer dealing with Pacific Coast Imports. I am using 5 PCX -40s between all my tanks and have 8 PCX 2400, 2 PCX 4100 , sure I have replaced impellers over the years, but that’s it. I also have 3 PCX skimmers. They are local, and they have always been there for me. I will give you my personal assurance, that if you take the pump to them, they will make it right. I feel it’s a tough call to post so much negative. They have a box full of the tops for the 2400 and others. I’ve seen it. If you take it to them, I know they will take care of you.

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I had a GenX2400 pump stop working after about 30 days. They simply wanted to send me a new impeller. I had to complain over and over and demand i did not want just a new impeller to see if it worked, and at 15 bucks. In the end, i shipped them the pump on my dime, they fixed it and shipped it back on theirs. I was satisfied. I hope things work out for you.

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Well my experience with Gen-X equipmentis a good one.........I have/had several pumps and have never had a problem. I agree with what Blaine said.........see if you can take it to them, they will most likely fix it right there on the spot. I know of more then one person who has had some sort of problem with a PCI product but all have been fixed by them when taken to them.

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IF you involve your LFS you may have better luck. They have been nothing but exceptional to me, bring your pump to me if you need help. There is a good chance Ill have the piece laying around as well.

 

Comparing Sedra or PCI to Ehiem is like saying your Volkswagon wont keep up with your neighbors Porsche 911, we are talking about two different classes.

 

PCI is here to make money, they cant do that by shipping parts for free for a pump they probably made $5 on. If you go see them, or bring it to me they will take care of you.

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Well, I wasn't looking for free shipping or parts, just the opposite; I happily paid for the parts and shipping however I do expect the parts to be the right ones and if they aren't I expect the company to make it right.

 

I appreciate your offer though, Joel. I bought the pump from Waves, I should have known to just come to you for help in the first place. That'll teach me (laugh)

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PCI is here to make money' date=' they cant do that by shipping parts for free for a pump they probably made $5 on. If you go see them, or bring it to me they will take care of you.[/quote']

I was the one who brought up pricing on parts. Not that I was looking for something free, but reasonable pricing and availability from Little Giant, like you would find on a simple car part at the autoparts store, would be nice. If I buy a spark plug, I don't fall over on the price and think about buying a new car like I am a pump. Not that I wouldn't like a nice new Porche. (drooler)

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