Box of bad valves. What to do?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by lyonsprinklers, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. lyonsprinklers

    lyonsprinklers LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Back story:
    In March, I got an entire box of new valves, and installed all of them (across 3 sites) before the water was turned on this Spring (Where I work, we have a secondary water district that most homes and offices use for irrigation. The mains are off from October to April.) When the systems were turned on, every single valve failed. They are a great dirty water valve (I may or may not be talking about the Rainbird PESB, but if that is what you want to use in your mind to paint a picture, you have a good picture). Luckily, I used Action manifolds with the installations, so swapping them went much quicker than if I had to cut each one out. After returning the lot, my supply house told me that the manufacturer put out a recall on the valves a few days after I returned mine (sounds like I wasn't the only one that got bad equipment).

    I guarantee my work, so I didn't bill the customers to replace the defective valves. The thing that sucks is that I lost time during my peak season, the time when I can charge the most. But maybe even worse, it made me look like I don't know what I am doing (and almost all my work comes from referrals).

    So here is my question: How to hedge against manufacturer defects? Do I put in a clause in my my bid/ estimate that states that I will bill labour to replace defective parts? Can I try to bill the manufacturer for their mistake (the rep for this valve told me "no" on that last point)? What do you do?
     
  2. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 46,494

    It's up to you to make good choices when selecting equipment. If you don't like Rainbird customer service, tell them so, and find another brand of product to install.
     
  3. lyonsprinklers

    lyonsprinklers LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    I always try to use quality parts. That is a best practice that I got used to years ago. But let's say that I only install the very best, with the lowest failure rate and the highest ratings. It might still fail. Do you write in a clause to your contracts? Maybe a mason jar that you put your change in each night with a label that says "in case of failure, break glass, visit Coin-Star?"

    Plus, I have never had a problem with this valve in the past, have put in about 30 more since then, and plan to continue using it in the future.
     
  4. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 46,494

    You just have to write the time off, if Rainbird isn't going to help. Certainly your customers aren't going to pay your labor on warranty work. Why should they?
     
  5. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,619

    The factory is worried about more liability. If you are really pissed, I'd keep hammering the branch, the REP and the factory. Tell them you're going to badmouth everyone until the situation is clarified. How did the valves fail? In the past, RB has comped me the parts AND labor for their screw-ups.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2012
  6. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    I would b!tch to the local/regional Rainbird rep about it. Even if it gets you some free schwag. I went to lunch with my Ewing manager, and the RB rep last year. Told him all my issues from the bad DV solenoid o-rings, the failures of the 3500, the MV Err issue with older ESPm controllers, the old T-Bird failures, and the DVs that slam shut and cause issues in high pressure situations. I received a good size credit at Ewing, and a tackle box of nozzles and RB rotator nozzles, all courtesy of RB. Now, I can't say they will do that for you, but it doesn't hurt to try. And if they don't impress you, move on to another manufacturer.

    RB used to pay me good money to replace the TBirds.
     
  7. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 46,494

    At least try to get some free product from them. A case of 5004 heads or sump'in
     
  8. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,619

  9. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 46,494

    (I wonder if I can get Toro to comp me for those Super600 heads with the bad wiper seals)
     
  10. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,533

    Rainbird came through for me once. Not cash but product voucher that I used like a check at my distributor.

    It was another back panel in an ESP-M issue as I recall. Not the MV-Err issue, but several live zones when the controller was supposed to be off.

    Replacing the back panel fixed it, but they also came through to compensate for my labor. I would emphasize to the rep how much of a loyal customer you've been and how you're sure they'd like you to continue to buy their products in the future.
     

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