A little over a week ago, I asked the question, "Is Home Depot’s Water Test from RainSoft a Scam?" A few people were interested on my ongoing efforts to get healthy water in my home, so here's a brief update.
We called up the RainSoft representative and explained that we weren't looking for the highest quality product at the highest price (which was his marketing pitch). I said that we were looking for more of a budget solution. Of course almost anything would be a budget compared to the $4888 EC4 unit he was trying to sell. That price didn't include an $1200 reverse osmosis system under the sink for cooking and drinking water.
The RainSoft representative said he'd talk to his boss and see if there's anything he could do. He called back 5 minutes later and said that by happenstance his boss was calling him about something unrelated. He was able to negotiate us an EC4 system at the price of their TC4 system, which is the same filter, but with a time-clock instead of their $1000 computer managing the water filtration. That's a complicated way of saying that he took $1000 off of his original quote. As I wrote in my original RainSoft article, there were reports of people getting $2200 off when they balked at the price. So I can confirm that even if you want RainSoft system, it pays to negotiate on pricing a bit. This sales tactic made me want a RainSoft even less.
What may be more interesting is that I had the idea of taking a trip to Lowe's and telling them that Home Depot will only connect me with this shady RainSoft company that they've partnered with. They weren't willing to show me a range of filtration systems from various manufacturers and explain the strengths and weaknesses of each. The Lowe's representative in plumbing was shocked. He took me to the wall where there were at least 4-5 different types of water softeners and 5-6 different types of reverse osmosis systems. He asked if I have city water or well water. I told him that I have city water. He said that most likely either a PUR faucet water filter or a Brita water pitcher would be fine. Since have both and have been using both that was pretty comforting. He suggested that I buy a $25 PurTest Home Water Analysis Test Kit (I don't know why Amazon charges so much for it), find out if anything is a problem, and if so, buy an appropriate product for it. Makes sense right? If something is broken you fix it.
While I was there, I noted the prices of the water softeners and reverse osmosis systems. The cheapest water softener was around $250 and the most expensive was $499. The cheapest reverse osmosis system was around $100 and I think that went up to around $250. The combination of the two most expensive products and Lowe's installation was just a shade under $1000. I told the Lowe's employee how much the RainSoft system was and he almost fell over. He couldn't even imagine what would be in $5000-6000 system.
Now I'm sure the RainSoft people will say that it isn't apples to apples and that the EC4 does more than soften water. That may be true, but if it does their salesperson failed to explain it and instead tried to focus on the magic tricks and bad logic on how it would save us money as mentioned in the previous article.
I still feel the same way about RainSoft. Their product does appear to work, but the price is so excessively high that they can give people a $1000 discount and offer $2700 in free soap (hint, that's the retail price, not the price you would probably pay for it)... and even then it still seems high. Is that a scam? Given their sales tactics (claiming it will save me thousands when it won't), I'm leaning towards yes, but you are free to make your own decisions.
Before this, I really liked Home Depot as a company. For most things, I still do like them. However, I can't believe they'd choose to partner exclusively with such a partner rather than present its customers with a range of afford options that suit their needs.
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