View Full Version : A letter from American Standard
05-11-2010, 11:12 AM
I just received a letter from Maria Chiclana of American Standard.
Here is a copy of the letter. (http://www.terrylove.com/pdf/american_standard_maria_chiclana.pdf)
In response to Maria, I will say this.
When I refer to returns, I mean returns on products that I have been selling.
I can give you copies of my invoices for credit if you like, or I can post them here.
I can also give you copies of the emails that have been posted under "Reader Review"
I've been waiting for this letter, and I have saved all the emails.
I can post those here too if you like.
There are both positive and negative comments. Do you think I'm making up the positive comments too?
I never said the the "majority" of American Standard products have had problems, those are your words.
Also, I should mention that no plumbing company, including Toto has ever given me compensation.
You will notice that I have Google Adsense advertising on this site. I have never seen a Toto ad, or an American Standard ad on it. I have never taken advertising or money or compensation from any plumbing company.
I went through this whole thing with Consumer reports too and their lawyers too.
They didn't think a plumber should write about his work either.
This is just a web site put up by a plumber that has been helping people since 1974.
05-11-2010, 12:40 PM
Who would of ever thought that someone would get in trouble for posting comments on their OWN website about a product they've had trouble with.
Quite frankly I rank Toto higher then American standard too. If someone asks me what brand of toilet they should purchase I almost always suggest Toto. How do you like that American Standard? Through personal experience
I would say that Toto has a superior product.
You're doing the right thing, Terry. You're allowed to say whatever you want as long as you believe it to be true based on your experiences. If American Standard doesn't like that
then too bad for them.
05-11-2010, 02:06 PM
I admit that I am just a DIYer with without wide experience with various brands of toilets, but it seems to me that the well known brands, including AS, have been in this business for many years. I am sure than have very knowledgeable engineers on their staffs that should be able to design a toilet that would function as we all know a toilet should. Rarely clogging, clean flushing, etc.. The also surely can figure out how to produce their products that have few flaws in construction. So when their products do not perform consistently and have frequent flaws, we must assume that the just don't care. Uninformed homeowners will buy them because of their brand name. To me, this just means the well known brands can produce and sell an inferior product, make their bottom line, and that's all they care about. I'm sure it bothers the hell out of them to read all of the negative comments, but if they wanted to, they could make toilets that were quality the same as Toto.
05-11-2010, 05:16 PM
The funny thing about getting the letter from American Standards lawyer, is that I sell American Standard (http://www.easycarts.net/ecarts/terrylove/American_Standard_toilets.html)on my web site.
And in many articles I'm quoted as recommending them. Not like a "top" recommendation, but a recommendation all the same.
I don't think they are as good as some perhaps, but for some customers and purposes they work.
I sell quite a few Glenwall toilets for baths that have wall hung toilets.
I have to say that 90% American Standard toilet that i have installed have been flawless and worked great for years. It wasn't until I joined here that I read members were not satisfied with the flushing action.
I later found out that the big hoopla was with the water saver toilets. Well, I did have a big problem with the old style 6 litre toilets, but the 13 Litre toilets worked just fine.
Since the re design of the cadets, (the bigger trap ways), I have had mixed reveiws from my customers. They are defenitly better than the old style 6 Litre, but the Toto's are more versitile
05-11-2010, 10:12 PM
I actually bought an American Standard "Champion 4" from Lowes in January 2010. So far I like it a lot but I did have some gripes (See my review on the multipage Champion Review: http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?4833-American-Standard-Champion-toilet-Review-and-comments/page25&highlight=champion (Post 374)). One gripe that I didn't cover in my review is that there's an insignificant shape defect where the bowl meets the tank (very minor but I can see it because I know where to look).
I also bought a Toto Ultramax about a month later and it was flawless.
I agree that Terry mostly recommends Totos but when people ask about American Standard, he recommends they inspect them thoroughly before taking them home. Not a bad advice for any product that would be difficult to pack up and return to the store.
Terry and the other professionals here provide a great service for average site visitors like me. Yes, there are occasional posts that slam AS (and other brands) when someone, who's considering buying one, is looking for advice. An example is the recent post about the Champion 4 that's not sitting level. The first response in that post wasn't that helpful but ... I understand why the plumbers who post here prefer installing something that doesn't eat up their time with call-backs and returns. That sentiment is expressed several times in these forums.
Another source of confusion comes from the American Standard Champion Review thread where I posted my review of the Champion 4. It's a very old and long thread containing both the original Champion reviews and the new Champion 4 reviews. There were some big changes in the Champion 4 design and the negative posts there don't always acknowledge which one they are complaining about.
Both the Toto and the American Standard I bought and installed are both working great. No clogs in either but it's been less than 6 months for both so only time will tell.
The internet is filling up with more and more misinformation, it's nice to have a site like this where people can state their observations and opinions and others can either challenge them or agree with them. I do notice fairly obvious leaning towards Toto on this site, and I consider that in forming my opinion of the posts but after owning both a relatively new AS and Toto toilet, I think the positive opinions of Totos are justified.
American Standard should be more concerned with why the professional plumbers here are unhappy with AS products rather than paying their lawyer to threaten Terry (and I did read it as a threat) for hosting a public forum that often shows their products in a bad light. On the bright side, it shows that Terry's forum has some influence on the market.
05-12-2010, 02:48 PM
...pretty ridiculous. American Standard just went down another notch in my book, one more and I will drop them completely from my product lines.
05-12-2010, 03:08 PM
I think we all know where I stand on American Standard. I have a Cadet 3 and IT RULES!
So many years, with such faultless service.
And I have posted that suggestion many times on this site too.
Is nobody reading my delicately crafted posts?
I learnt to trust the opinion and craftsmanship of dedicated DIY homeowners over plumbers a long time ago. And many of the mails I receive from other members in support of my high performance, modified Cadet 3 attest to that.
05-12-2010, 04:23 PM
I find it hard to believe that a senior VP of American Standard would raise the issue of Terry being paid, either directly or indirectly, by Toto without having proof. As an attorney I doubt she would do so unless she knew it as fact. I welcome her to provide these "facts" in a public forum. Otherwise she may STFU.
05-13-2010, 08:13 AM
I like how she called you a liar but added words so legally she didn't actually come out and say it.
In addition, your practice of posting comments critical of American
Standard and attributing them to .•email and phone call comments sent in by
readers" raises suspicions that the comments are invented or, at the very least,
are twisted as a result of your own bias against American Standard.
in the past you were unwilling to engage in any real discussions
about our products and may have edited or even removed from your forum
comments posted by consumers that were favorable to American Standard.
Moreover, we are aware that you are compensated by Toto, albeit indirectly, for
promoting Toto vis-a-vis Toto competitors. This fact should be clearly disclosed
on your Web site.
Not even sure what she means by this? If she means Co-op then every supplier i know does the same thing.
i think they don't like the negative responses because a lawsuit was filed and they used postings to back up their claims as in
STEPHEN LANEY vs AMERICAN STANDARD COMPANIES, INC.
Congratulations Terry. You must have reached the "big time" if you rankled a company like A/S enough to even show up on their radar screen, much less warrant a coercing letter. Either you pricked someone's sensitive spot, or someone at A/S does not have enough work to do. The next thing she should do is follow Porsche's lead, (they sued Croc's shoes for using the word "Cayman" and might sue the island next, or the island may sue Porsche), and go after everyone who uses the word "Champion" in their product's name.
05-13-2010, 12:38 PM
I have never received any Coop advertising money.
In fact in a conversation with Gunnar Baldwin of Toto years ago, he said they would never be able to pay me anything.
It kind of sucks, because I'm sure other plumbers get coop money.
And the president of Kohler understood that point too. We even laughed about it at lunch.
I've been meaning to get advertising money from other places, I would love to say
"Terry uses Dewalt power tools"
and get paid for that. That wouldn't worry anybody.
Or James suggested toilet paper sponsorship?
05-13-2010, 04:00 PM
I haven't seen a penny out of my Cadet 3 modified version either.
With a Korky fill valve and flapper, a Toto seat, a new flush handle and a brass fill tube it's the new big boy on the block.
Seriously, though, I too am a little surprised to see a mega-company like AS deciding to pick a quibble with a couple of old American men who like middle-of-the-range Japanese toilets (i.e. a bunch of crazies).
I'd call her. It might just be an elaborate (but fraudulent) hoax.
It's just not up to standard unless it's American Standard.
05-13-2010, 07:22 PM
Write back and as her for her home address...
We'll ship any defective AS product to her house... ROFLMAO
Was the return address on the Fed X package from south of the border?
The only Champion I'll ever own
05-14-2010, 10:16 AM
Chalk another failure up to American business who thinks they can strong arm people into silence
I might have considered them in the past, but no longer will
Anyone who stoops to such threats is not worthy of any American's business
My (2) toilets are Kohler, not sure what I had at the last house
05-14-2010, 11:10 PM
When I refer to returns, I mean returns on products that I have been selling.
I can give you copies of my invoices for credit if you like, or I can post them here.
Oh yea post em here...
Maybe Maria should get Hector in QC to put down the tequila and com back from his siesta, then she wouldn't have any reason to write letters...
Of course she should also realize that Ian is from the UK and is used to toilets that look like this...
So of course a Cadet3 would be the greatest toilet he has ever seen... ;)
05-15-2010, 09:39 AM
Well, I've been lurking on these forums for a little while now and finally decided to join up after reading this A/S letter. Quite frankly I'm still stunned at how many large corporations do this kind of stuff and don't have a clue how the internet works and how this will affect them. While I agree that Terry has a Toto bias I've never felt that somehow A/S was a sub-par product and after much research including this site, I still ended up buying new A/S toilets and two new sets of A/S faucets. Within the last 4 weeks I've purchased a new Cadet 3 and a Champion 4 and I think they're both fabulous so far. They've replaced two A/S Plebe's that I bought 10 years ago and have renewed my faith in A/S. I can't begin to tell you how crappy (pun intended) those Plebe's were but that's a story for another time.
I personally think the Cadet 3 is the better toilet of the two (or at least the better bargain) and I might have bought the Toto Drakes if they weren't so ridiculously expensive in my neck of the woods but I digress. This is Terry's website and if he has a personal bias then so be it. As long as he is not making totally ridiculous claims against A/S (and I agree he never has) then it's all fair game. The very nature of the web means that I can check many sites and many reviews before making my decision and this site was only one little part of the research that I did. I've seen comments good and bad here for A/S and I've seen comments good and bad for Toto. Ultimately I ended up going with A/S as they seemed to be good bang for the buck but I can tell you, if that letter (http://www.terrylove.com/pdf/american_standard_maria_chiclana.pdf) had been posted before I made my purchase then A/S wouldn't have seen another nickel of my money especially after my experience with those piece of junk Plebes.
American Standard, seriously, get a grip and maybe it's time to hire some marketing specialists that truly understand the internet and how it works in this day and age. You've now joined the ranks of such charming companies as Monster Cable Inc. and trust me, you don't want to be there. This letter has done nothing for you but draw attention to an issue that wasn't there in the first place in my humble opinion and it accomplishes nothing other than making you look seriously paranoid and vindictive. Sheesh....
05-15-2010, 09:56 AM
I think many of us have missed the point when we jump on AS. Their problems are not whether they work well or not, but rather the high percentage of factory defects that are put on the market. Those that do not have flaws seem to perform satisfactorily. Those who complain the most are professional plumbers who can ill afford repeated trips to the supplier to exchange flawed products. Homeowners still have to waste their time, but that is usually only a bother, not a cost factor. Our friend Ian is a good example if a consumer who did not buy a flawed AS and is very happy with his Cadet, but we can also read the stories from the professionals who have wasted half a day or more running back and forth to the supplier to find an acceptable unit. It is a company problem that in my mind is not connected to the country in which the product is manufactured. Toto has toilets made in several foreign countries that meet the same high standards as those made in the USA.
05-16-2010, 10:59 AM
Yea Gary you hit the nail on the head...
When we install a product for a customer the first time we make money...
When we have to go on a callback for a product defect we lose money...
Not only the time that we spend going to the customer, pulling out the defective product, returning the defective product, reinstalling the replacement product and the additional items required for the install, but our reputation with the customer suffers.
Years ago I got bitten on the Champion where they have a patch they place over a hole they have on the back of the trapway. Evidently this hole is something from the casting process. I had several in a row leak and then I had several more where there was problems with the original flush tower design...
As a result the only American Standard Products that I install are customer supplied. I always state to the customer that I am fine with installing their supplied product but my liability on that product is limited to installing it correctly and if the product is defective I get paid for installing it still. It works for me! Sadly I have been paid many times for installing bad toilets and faucets but it is not my problem. I do state to customers also that I have had a higher defective product ratio with Am. Std. than many other manufacturers and that is true in my opinion.
The thing is they know it too! They see the defects coming back! They also have products like the Champion "4" and the Cadet "3" companies don't redesign for the hell of it! They redesign because they have to! Is there a problem when I go to a customers house and out of 3 AS faucets I install one has a defect causing a leak? Is there a problem when I install a toilet and the patch on the trapway leaks, they pick up another and it leals as well?
Is there a problem when you go to Google and type in "american standard champion complaints" you get 48,700 results?
Is there a problem when you go to Google and type in "american standard cadet complaints" you get 18,500 results?
Is there a problem when you go to Google and type in "american standard faucets complaints" you get 20,000 results?
Maria (http://www.terrylove.com/pdf/american_standard_maria_chiclana.pdf), let me ask you this one question, Do you have any past or, current class action lawsuits involving products made by your company?
Maybe these are what you should be looking at rather than who comes up on the top of the Google results when searching for adverse results about your company...
Go crawl back under your rock! If you are not solving the problem you are part of it!
05-16-2010, 08:22 PM
The last time I checked this is a Country that still allows free speech, If am standard has a problem with people trashing there product they should fix the flaws and not try and silence the people who are complaing about them on web sites to try and warn other consumers about the problems associated with there products. After this I will need to think twice about recommending am standard to any of MY CUSTOMERS
05-17-2010, 08:44 AM
I'm sorry, but a "Senior Vice President and General Counsel" sending a letter like that is ridiculous. It must be hard to get good help these days. Doesn't she have a clue about what would happen if she sent letter like that?? All she did is more damage, and reinforced any negative perception about the company. Don't they understand anything?? Are lawyers so disconnected for reality that they don't understand the consequences (direct and indirect) of their actions? Do they actually read and comprehend what they are reacting to, or is it just willful misrepresentation? Neither is attractive for American Standard. Basically they look ridiculous, and they will loose more customers due to that letter than they will from the comments on this website.
If I were the CEO of American Standard and my "Senior Vice President and General Counsel" sent a letter like that, I would fire them. But then, I suppose it's the CEO that sets the tone for the company, so he's at least indirectly complicit in this. American Standard is an old established company with a long, distinguished history. However, they need to realize that this is 2010 and companies need to behave differently than they did in 1965. They need to get with the program, and understand how markets work today, how consumers consume today, and the power and speed of information and its dissemination. There are a lot of models out there for modern, consumer-oriented companies. American Standard needs to adopt one and transform themselves in to a company that will thrive in the 21st century.