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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Post # 117 - Spectracide and Their Sprayer That Only Works When You Don't Want It To Work - 5/5/2010

I spent a decent amount of time trying to help Spectricide with a design flaw on their weed killer squirter. They really were terrible from a consumer relations standpoint.


Learn from my mistake--buy Weedbgone.
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Dear Spectacide,

I am extremely dissatisfied with your 1.3 Gallon Weed Stop with Crabgrass Killer. On Friday, I paid $19.99 for your product. On Saturday, I hooked everything up.

Complaint #1: When I removed the nozzle from its packaged position, the bracket came with it. I replaced the nozzle on the side of the jug, but its really loose.

Complaint # 2: A minor complaint, but the tab that one pulls to allow the batteries to complete their circuit, ripped in half. This meant I had to remove the batteries and fish out the remaining part of the tab. Annoying, but not a big deal.

Complaint # 3: I carefully attempted to gently pull the tubing from inside the handle, per the instructions. I felt resistance, so I stopped pulling. I was afraid of kinking the tubing, or accidentally disconnecting the other end of the tubing, from its port. Therefore, I only had about half of the length of cord to use.

Complaint #4: Next, I “fired” her up. The “SPRAY” and “STREAM” settings were both very similar—more of a low pressure trickle. If I were a weed, I would laugh at it.

Complaint # 5: After about three minutes of me aiming my trickle stream ten inches from each weed, the whole thing petered out. No spray. I wondered if maybe I had unintentionally kinked the unexposed cord, inside the handle. I tried several times. No stream—just the purring sound of the motor, spinning unproductively inside the handle.

Complaint # 6: Heeding your directions, I attempted to put the dial in “CLOSE” position. I wasn’t too worried because I couldn’t get anything out of the jug in the first place. However, when you say “CLOSE” position, there is no fixed indicator (arrow, paint mark, etc) to align the “CLOSE” part of the nozzle to. If putting the spray nozzle in the “CLOSE” position is so crucial, there should be a very clear indicator mark on the handle.

Complaint # 6: When I returned with a screw driver to disassemble and un-kink the tubing, I lifted the jug. Hmm…empty. I looked down and saw rust on the garage floor. Rust from the shovel, onto which the ENTIRE jug must have emptied itself. So let me get this straight: when I want it to work, it ranges from trickle, to not working at all. When I don’t want it to work, it pukes all over the garage floor. Seriously?

Complaint # 7: I decided to pull the tubing the rest of the way out, and the entire tube came all the way off. So I had to disassemble, reattach, and reassemble the handle.

I’m not really sure why I reassembled it—the jug is empty.

I’d appreciate a written explanation. Meanwhile, the weeds that I was trying to get to, have quadrupled. Why should I buy Spectracide again?

Gotta go clean the poison off of my garage floor.

Sincerely,

Jerry
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Subject: Case 998898: Sprayer
Date: Fri, 7 May 2010 17:04:22 -0400
From: monique@spectrumbrands.com

Thank you for contacting United Industries and reporting issues with our EZ Spray.

Please read through the list below to troubleshoot the problem:

1. Verify that the nozzle is either in the spray or stream position when pushing the sprayer trigger.

2. Press battery door to ensure battery connection.

3. Verify that the plastic tab has been removed from the bottom of the sprayer to activate batteries.

4. Verify that the plug is securely inserted into the cap and that the cap is securely tightened on the bottle.

5. Inspect sprayer hose to make sure it is flexible, and not kinked, worn or cracked.

6. Verify that the 4 AA batteries are new and of the same type. Do not mix alkaline with carbon-zinc, or rechargeable batteries.

7. Hold the sprayer bottle higher than the gun and press trigger.

8. The trigger may need to be depressed for up to 30 seconds to prime the product to the gun before it will dispense.

Notes:

1. The batteries included with the gun are designed to drain approximately 4.5 gallons of chemical (the product includes 1.3 gallons of chemical).

2. Heavy Duty batteries do not provide enough power to run pump.

3. When storing sprayer for prolonged periods of time remove batteries.

We apologize for the inconvenience. If your EZ sprayer does not work after reviewing the checklist, please let me know and I will send a new sprayer to your promptly. We do appreciate your use of our products.

Monique
Product Specialist
United Industries
A Subsidiary of Spectrum Brands
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Dear Monique,

Thank you for responding. I appreciate your apology, and also your gratitude.

Did you read my note?

First, I see a lot of instructions to troubleshoot the sprayer, with a full jug of Spectracide Weed Stop. My jug is empty. My jug emptied itself.

Next, it’s probably best to take your troubleshoot steps one by one:

1) Verify that the nozzle is either in the spray or stream position when pushing the sprayer trigger.

-As I stated: there aren’t clear markings on the handle, like an arrow?

2) Press battery door to ensure battery connection.

-As I stated: motor was running, therefore batteries connected.

3) Verify that the plastic tab has been removed from the bottom of the sprayer to activate batteries.

-As I stated: a) the tab broke so I had to go in and fish it out (need to design stronger tab). b) motor was running, so tab was removed.

4) Verify that the plug is securely inserted into the cap and that the cap is securely tightened on the bottle.

-This is good advice. I saw this on the side of the jug. I did this at the time.

5) Inspect sprayer hose to make sure it is flexible, and not kinked, worn or cracked.

-As I stated: the hose that you had packaged in the handle did not come out “freely”. It seemed to be tangled. I thought I had a kink. In the future, I’d recommend a different packaging method (like outside the handle).

6) Verify that the 4 AA batteries are new and of the same type. Do not mix alkaline with carbon-zinc, or rechargeable batteries.

-As I stated, I bought this on Friday, and had my issue on Saturday when I hooked it up. These were the batteries that you supplied, and they were new.

7) Hold the sprayer bottle higher than the gun and press trigger.

-Priming instructions on the side of the bottle would have been a great idea. I realized this was a priming issue, not a hose kink issue, when I found my jug completely empty.

8) The trigger may need to be depressed for up to 30 seconds to prime the product to the gun before it will dispense.

-I easily depressed the trigger for 60 or 90 seconds.

Monique, let me bottom line this. I would appreciate a new trigger. That’s probably a good idea.

However, if I have to buy more weed killer to test the new trigger out, it’s going to be Ortho Weedbgone.

Sincerely,

Jerry
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To: monique.malone@spectrumbrands.com
Subject: RE: Case 998898: Sprayer
Date: Tue, 18 May 2010 23:04:27 -0400

Hi Monique,

You've been quiet. I guess that means an ix-nay on the replacement sprayer, as well as any further assistance with the fact that the entire jug emptied itself.

Two quick points:

1) When it emptied, it was on my grill. On the wood surface. I'd like to know how to ensure that I've removed any carcinogens. Can you send me an MSDS, so I can ensure my family's safety?

2) I decided to fill the bottle with water and root cause your problem. I feel like I owe your other consumers that. Guess what? When I turn it all the way to either stop, it sprays. The "CLOSE" option isn't an option--it's a polite, soft-spoken suggestion from a non-authority figure in a Moon Bounce filled with eight-year-olds hopped up on Mountain Dew and Milky Ways. IT DOESN'T WORK.

I'm hoping this is a quality problem. Imagine how many of these things are in garages. You're depending on people to put the handle in the little counter-intuitive holster, and for that holster to always hold the handle. If that handle falls lower than the bottle, and the "CLOSE" doesn't work (as mine doesn't), you could have a very serious matter on your hands.

I realize that you don't really plan on helping me. Whatever. I hope you plan on helping the next guy--the one who put his sprayer on the garage shelf above his kids' toy barrel.

Sincerely,

Jerry
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