Author Topic: S#!T customer service with Better Bottle  (Read 1734 times)

Offline jcpilot

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S#!T customer service with Better Bottle
« on: April 16, 2015, 03:34:31 AM »
I have five better bottle fermenters. I also have better bottle stoppers, racking adapters, simple flow valves, dry tap airlocks, and hose adapters for all of them. After fermenting a batch of pale ale I disassembled the valve and racking port for cleaning only to discover that the racking port base had cracked almost 270 degrees around. In early January of 2015 I emailed better bottle to see what might cause this, and if this would be covered under warranty. The racking adapter was only three months old at this point. I received a response from Walter saying "That is very odd. Are you getting your carboys and fittings clean between batches. How do you clean and sanitize?" I detailed that I disassemble the valve and clean all components with warm pbw and slosh a cotton rag around the fermenter to dislodge any solids, and then rinse thoroughly. Before use, I sanitize with Star San I received no response to my email. I send another email to the same address on January 23rd and that gets bounced back to me as a bad email address. On February 26th I send an email to a different address I found on their site detailing my experience with pictures. No response. I called them in early April to get an answer to this and we played phone tag a bit. I finally got someone on the phone and the first question he asked is "How do you clean it?" As soon as I mentioned pbw he essentially said "That stuff is caustic and you ruined the part". "Directions on how to clean our products are on our website." I had to dig to find them, and yes they do warn about prolonged soaks with pbw. They do not however say not to use pbw. He also said it would be more expensive for them to send a replacement than it would be for me to go buy one. Am I missing something here? More expensive for whom? Their accessories are expensive! This guy changed the subject to tell me about how their phone lines went down and they had a flood that ruined very expensive equipment. You just lost a customer buddy and I don't give a F@#k about your phone lines or flood, that's what insurance is for. I told him he just lost a customer and I would be replacing my fermenters. He asked me what I would replace them with and threw me a sales pitch about the dangers of glass and expense of stainless. I will be selling all of my unused BB components on ebay shortly and buying a stainless conical or going to glass carboys. I haven't been this mad at a manufacturer in a long time. Don't expect Better Bottle to be any help if you have a problem. Rant over.


Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: S#!T customer service with Better Bottle
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2015, 05:05:53 AM »
Yea, I never use better bottle or similar products with PBW.  I read that quite a while back, but they should do a better job stating that cleaning products can cause harm with the plastics used.  Just like extremely hot water can cause issues of warping....
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Offline Stevie

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Re: S#!T customer service with Better Bottle
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2015, 05:30:18 AM »
Sorry to hear about that. I have been using better bottles for about five years now and I too use pbw/oxiclean. I only have the fermenters and have no experience with the other kit. I have read that high and prolonged concentrations are bad, but I often soak mine for upwards of 12 hours after racking.

To me it sounds like they are using the "cleaning regimen" as an excuse to get out of fixing problems. I hope this isn't true.

Offline theDarkSide

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Re: S#!T customer service with Better Bottle
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2015, 12:57:33 PM »
I've been using Oxyclean on my better bottles for years with no problems (and some soaks have been weeks) but I don't use any of the accessories.

Competitor to BB?  Just about everyone offers a BB-like fermenter these days, including Northern Brewer who has one with a wide opening. 

Sorry for your frustration.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: S#!T customer service with Better Bottle
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2015, 07:09:33 PM »
I've been using Oxyclean on my better bottles for years with no problems (and some soaks have been weeks) but I don't use any of the accessories.

Competitor to BB?  Just about everyone offers a BB-like fermenter these days, including Northern Brewer who has one with a wide opening. 

Sorry for your frustration.

My experience is the same as yours.  Long soaks, no problems.  No pbw, but I soak with oxy clean and cascade.

Looking at the NB "Bubbler" I have to think that whatever patent Better Bottle had has expired.  The Bubbler is the same exact thing.
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Offline JT

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Re: S#!T customer service with Better Bottle
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2015, 02:03:12 AM »
After ranting about glass carboys for awhile, I find myself going back to them.  The key to using glass is to have the right equipment.  Aerate with pure o2 (no shaking), clean with Mark's Keg Washer or equivalent DIY system, utilize a carry harness and a 4 wheel furniture dolly for any moving when full.  With these in place I no longer feel unsafe in the least bit with my glass carboys. 
Sorry about your experience, it sucks being a loyal customer and not getting any love back. 

Offline dkfick

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Re: S#!T customer service with Better Bottle
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2015, 02:32:15 AM »
I use a vacuum pump with my glass carboys. Basically means I never need to move them when they are full. I put them where they will sit and transfer to them. Transfer out of them in the same location as well.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: S#!T customer service with Better Bottle
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2015, 11:40:02 AM »
I'm not a expert in any way on plastics but that looks like a stress fracture to me. 

It's hard to imagine soaking in a cleaning agent could cause that kind of crack.  My first thought when I saw the picture was that they must have had a problem in the mold that left a section weaker than normal or the part was abused in some way (not throwing stones, just thinking about it like a tech).

For their customers sake I hope there contract manufacturer figured out what was causing this to happen and fixed the build process.  Not cool to blame your customers though.

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Offline Pinski

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Re: S#!T customer service with Better Bottle
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2015, 02:59:59 PM »
I'm not a expert in any way on plastics but that looks like a stress fracture to me. 

It's hard to imagine soaking in a cleaning agent could cause that kind of crack.  My first thought when I saw the picture was that they must have had a problem in the mold that left a section weaker than normal or the part was abused in some way (not throwing stones, just thinking about it like a tech).

For their customers sake I hope there contract manufacturer figured out what was causing this to happen and fixed the build process.  Not cool to blame your customers though.

Paul

That's what I was thinking too Paul. I just can't see how PBW would cause or accelerate a fracture like the one in the photo.  Looks like a stress fracture or a manufacturing flaw to me.
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: S#!T customer service with Better Bottle
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2015, 04:18:28 PM »
I've absolutely ruined Better Bottles with PBW (I know you don't believe me Leos but that's for another time) but as others have said that is nowhere near the kind of failure I'd expect from it.