01-02-2012, 07:59 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
| | Re: Don't Buy Marineland Products
I thought about it for a while before deciding to weigh in here. Full disclose: I'm the buyer in a mom and pop, full line pet store. I've been in the industry as a whole for over a decade, and into aquatics since about 2007. I've worked sales and retail, so I've been on 'both sides of the counter.' I became a hobbyist when I started selling the product. Before that I was not aware there was an alternative to pink plastic pirate ships. I say all this just so you know where I'm coming from. This is my own humble opinion, and it's not worth any more than the next guy's.
First of all, as to Marineland and parts. It sucks. Time was that parts were made very available, and were stocked in every aquatics shop. Since then, Marineland was swallowed by Tetra, which was in turn consumed by Rayovac. Now it exists as the nebulous United Pet Group alongside Aquarium Systems and the grave of Jungle Laboratories. To the eyes of an overlord, it's way easier to concentrate on "mass" (i.e. Walmart, Petsmart, Petco, etc) and internet accounts (DFS, Marine Depot, et al.) than independent stores. It's a numbers thing. Suddenly, things like a dealer parts support network begin to look costly and unnecessary. IIRC, it was trashed around '06 or '07 and the 1-800# the OP called sprang into the picture.
Now OP, I'm going to make an assumption here. You bought said canister filter from an online vendor? If not, I would be consulting the store that sold you the thing. 99% of the time, the store can handle the warranty claim for you. Shelf models can be cannibalized, or the whole unit replaced. The return is handled at the distributor level and everybody goes along their merry way. Including your fish. Some brands don't work that way, but UPG (err... 'Marineland') does. The poor performance of the Marineland parts network is well known (it doesn't work for us either). My distributors provide me good service, so that I can provide good service. Quite frankly, that is why the pet store charges more, and is entitled to more, for the same product. The extra money you spend is for back-end support. If you can shake a guy's hand, you can punch him in the face. That brings a certain honesty to the game. If you 'save money' online, you opt out of support. Caveat emptor.
The bottom line is this: every product is built to a price point. Each price point brings with it a given failure rate. Fact of life. I'm going off nothing but emperical evidence here, but it seems like as the price point has come down in recent years, so has the quality (i.e. the Stealth heater redesign fiasco...). Even equipment made of unobtanium can break. Rare or not, it sucks if it's you. Either have a plan B ready 'just in case,' or spend your dollars in an LFS that is willing to do some legwork to keep their customer (YOU!!!) happy.