On Sept. 28, Zodiac Pool Systems announced that effective Jan. 1, 2019, it would no longer allow its Jandy Pro Series equipment to be sold online. The company will not provide a warranty on products purchased online and requires equipment to be installed and/or serviced by a qualified pool professional. The only exception will be valves, parts and accessories.
“Trade professionals are the backbone of our industry with the training and expertise, the knowledge and the know-how to prescribe to consumers the solutions that are pertinent for their particular pool,” says Michelle Kenyon, vice president of marketing at Zodiac/Fluidra. “We truly believe that the pool professional is the right choice for our brand and our product line and for our company.”
The policy addresses a longstanding issue for pool professionals.
“We get calls on a pretty regular basis asking us, well telling us, I can buy this on Amazon for this amount,” says Bryan Banta, second generation owner of B&B Pools, a pool service, remodeling and repair company in Pompano Beach, Florida. “Usually it’s less than I can buy it for in distribution. At that point, I’ve lost credibility with the customer. I really think that Zodiac and Jandy get it. They realize that service companies need support in this area and they’ve been designing their programs in such a way to help us and give us ways to be successful.”
Jandy launched its Trade Series Exclusive line in 2014 with two products that could only be sold through the trade, not online. Each year it added more products to the Trade Series. In 2018 it was up to 31 skus. “And once we turned from ’18 into ’19, we made the decision to go all in,” Kenyon says. “This has been something that our core team has been developing and working on for a number of years.”
All Jandy equipment is branded as Jandy Pro Series, so all Jandy equipment is included in this new policy.
“I absolutely feel the new Jandy policy will help me,” says Jason Broswell, owner of Pool Service by Jason in the Northridge, California. Broswell has worked in the pool industry for 11 years. “The pool owner can not go online and price shop and ask for a better price because this website has it for this much less. I strongly believe this new policy will help the pool industry. Zodiac’s stance to promote the professional may even carry over into other industries as it gains more notice. Team work begins by building trust, I fully trust Zodiac supports me and my company with their decision to remove Jandy products from internet sales.”
The company is working on getting all warranty information changed in all of its packaging. It also is putting a yellow caution sticker on all Jandy boxes that reads: Important notice: No warranty if purchased online. This is not a DIY product. Installation by a qualified pool professional is required.
Jandy has also started informing consumers of the coming change. “If you go to Jandy.com right now this moment we’re already declaring to the consumer,” Kenyon says. “We’re already taking the position with consumers to drive them to the pool professional. We’re telling consumers that there is not a warranty if it’s purchased online.”
“The key to enforcing will be the warranty part of it where if you cannot provide a bill of sale from a licensed contractor that this was installed properly then there’s no warranty,” Banta says. “That’s where they’re going to have to put their foot in the ground and say no more. That’s the crux of the whole thing. But it’s going to help us continue to be the expert and provide a warranty that homeowners can’t get elsewhere.”
Kenyon says they are asking for patience and support from the industry.
“We also know that there’s always going to be violators online that aren’t following our policies,” Kenyon says. “But any Jandy equipment sold on the internet next year it’s without our support, without our warranty program and without our backing. We will actively be looking to who the violators are.”
A dedicated team will monitor and seek out companies that are in violation, and Jandy says it will reserve the right to refuse to sell product, as well as withhold loyalty and rebate incentives, to those companies in violation. They’ve also set up a dedicated phone number and email address where people can report any violations they see.
“I think it’s no small task [to enforce the policy], but if anyone can do it Zodiac can,” Broswell says. “I commend them and applaud Zodiac in its decision and commitment to promote the pool professionals who have been getting beaten up by internet sales for the last decade.”
Kenyon says they aren’t planning on rebranding a second range of equipment to be sold online.
“There’s going to be skeptics, there’s going to be people who tell us we’re not going to be successful, and there’s others who find it hard to believe,” Kenyon says. “We believe that investing in the trade and in the industry is the most important facet to success for our business. And there’s no question that we’re asking for dealer support and that we would like to have it, there’s no doubt about it.”
To read the entire policy and to download a list of the products included, visit Jandy.com/Strong.