Saturday, April 09, 2005

Click - Buzz - Click, Part One

Go to the hot tub to turn it on.

Click - Buzz - Click. No joy.

Hmmm. Power's going through the control pack (the box with the electronics, relays and other controls) to the pump, so likely it's the pump. I can repair interocitiers and flux capacitors, but stooping down in a Jeffries tube to deal with pumps ain't my metier.

So, how do you pick a hot tub mechanic, on a hot tub not bought locally? Went to USENET as is my wont, and found only one experience, positive or negative, for Portland or Oregon hot tub or spa repair in seven years of search.

So, then, I hied off to the OR-WA Better Business Bureau. I quickly found four spa repair firms who are BBB members. Called them all, found actual human beings at three of them on a Saturday afternoon (!) and am waiting for callback from techs at all of them. Stay tuned for more info.

All the firms met these OR-WA BBB specs:
All participate in the Membership Identification Program and agrees to use mediation and/or arbitration if necessary to resolve disputes.

To have a Satisfactory Record with the Bureau, a company must be in business for at least 12 months, properly and promptly address matters referred to it by the Bureau, and be free from an unusual volume or pattern of complaints and law enforcement action involving its marketplace conduct. In addition, the Bureau must have a clear understanding of the company's business and no concerns about its industry.

Reports as of April 9, 2005.

Classic Pool & Spa Distributors Inc 503-656-0021 17875 SE 82nd Dr, Gladstone
Original Business Start Date: 12/79
Incorporated (OR): 12/79
File Open Date: 1/80
BBB Member since 1/03.
One complaint has been processed by the bureau in its three-year reporting period. Although the customer disputed the company's response, based on BBB experience the company properly addressed all the issues of the complaint.
Booked out a week in advance, so I tried Spa Outlet.

Spa Outlet 503-655-2900 10560 SE Hwy 212, Clackamas
Additional DBA Names: The Hot Water Doctors Inc, The Spa Outlet
Original Business Start Date: 4/94
Incorporated (OR): 1/94
File Open Date: September 1997
BBB member since 9/04.
Complaints processed by the Bureau in its three-year reporting period have been resolved. The number and type of complaints are not unusual for a company in this industry.
See my post of Tuesday, 12 April.

Neptune Swimming Pool Co. 503-659-1335 13785 SE Ambler Rd, Clackamas
Original Business Start Date: 1/59
File Open Date: 1/70
Principal: Mr Ronald W Nelson, President
BBB member since 5/76.
The Bureau has processed no customer complaints on this company in the last three years.
Well, sadly, these folks don't do above-ground hot tubs. They sounded like the most competent of the four.

Pellet Stoves & Spas 503-252-9606 repair 503-632-7674 21553 S Hwy 213, Oregon City
Original Business Start Date: 1/81
File Open Date: 1/81
BBB member since 4/97
The Bureau has processed no customer complaints on this company in the last three years.
Fellow I spoke with sounded nice, but by the time I found him, I'd already booked another one of the service firms.


Well, Portland.Citysearch.Com claims to evaluate local businesses, too.

So I asked for their list of top 15 firms in Spa Repair after reading their fine print (paraphrased for brevity):
Citysearch uses the online popularity of a business to determine an initial index value. We only assign values to the top businesses across the country. Next, and most important, we evaluate the member and editorial recommendations for all businesses. Positive recommendations score a business higher towards 9.9. Negative recommendations score a business lower to 1.0. If a business receives many more negative recommendations than positive, it does not receive an identifier.
• Popular (P)- If a business has lots of online traffic and very few recommendations.
• Recommended (R) - If a business has only a few positives, or has a mix of positive & negative recommendations.
• Highly Recommended (HR) - If a business has an overwhelming positive response from many members & editorial staff.
So, I looked into the current top results for "Pool & Spa Service" in the tri-county area at Citysearch.

None earned 'Recommended' or 'Highly Recommended', so it looks like ratings are all or predominantly popularity-based, which perhaps bespeaks more to the quality of their web designer than their skills at repair. Therefore, I looked up the top two firms from Citysearch in the BBB files, and the results were very interesting:

8.4 Geiger Pools & Spas, 6767 SW Macadam Ave, Portland: BBB reports complaints have been processed by the bureau in its three-year reporting period, & one complaint is unresolved.

8.1 Rose City Pool & Spa Service, 7235 SE Milwaukie Ave, Portland: Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau due to an unanswered complaint.

Gee, is there any other reason to look at the Citysearch lists, when the two top rated firms have unsatisfactory records with the BBB? Well, if you must....

7.6 Northwest Spa Maintenance, 6505 SE Needham St, Milwaukie
7.5 Brightwater Pool & Spa, 15685 SW 116 Ave #101, Portland
7.5 Hot Water Doctors, 10560 SE Hwy 212, Clackamas
7.4 Caldera Spas Service, 3095 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton
7.4 Spa Doctor, 11642 SW Pacific Hwy #B, Tigard
7.2 Algreco Pool & Spa, 1515 SE Claybourne St, Portland
7.2 Carefree Pool & Spa Supply, 14801 NE Airport Way, Portland
7.2 Soak Tubs Spa & Pool Parts, 31544 SE Bluff Rd, Gresham
7.2 Willamette Spa Service, 31100 SW Unger Rd, Cornelius
7.1 Pool & Spa Medic, 29909 S Hawthorne Ln, Colton

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