Imagine driving into a Ford dealership; you are looking to buy a new car…
After taking your new Ford home and driving it for a couple months you have a problem with it. No problem you think, I’ll go to the dealership and they’ll fix it under the factory warranty right? Away you go and the dealership looks at you and says, we’re sorry, your warranty was for only 30 days and 30 days has passed…we can fix it for $X,XXX.xx.
You stand there in disbelief, saying wait this is a Ford dealership, I bought the car from you and have a factory warranty. The service manager says no you don’t, we warranty the car but only for 30 days after you buy it. So you call Ford and say hey I bought a car from X dealership and they say there’s no factory warranty available, what’s up with that?
The rep on the phone says, oh yes that Ford dealership, yes, we sell them the parts to assemble into a car with the Ford badge on it but there’s no factory warranty…they just warranty it on their own, we have nothing to do with it. You ask them to have a Ford rep look at your car because you see that other people are having similar problems with this dealership from your searches on Google and Yelp! etc. The rep comes over, reluctantly, and looks at the car and says yeah there’s a couple problems, but it’s not to bad and all they need to do is polish the paint…and you are thinking wait, the paint? No it’s the engine that’s no good…and off the rep goes telling the dealer to polish the paint and you he’s very sorry but it’s not Ford’s problem.
You’d probably never buy another car from Ford and you certainly will never be back to this dealership advertising that they are a Ford dealer. No one can blame you…but meantime you’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars and have a POS car.
Now what does the above have to do with waterproof decking? Nothing except as an example to set the tone of this story. Ford would never allow the above scenario, where a dealer buys parts, assembles the parts, calls it a Ford and sells it as a Ford. Ford doesn’t know if that dealer might have bought made to fit parts from someone else that looks real but isn’t, and leave it’s reputation in tatters because of an unscrupulous dealer. Ford is a brand everyone associates with quality, durability and backing up their product.
Enter Crossfield Products, AKA Dex-O-Tex, a well known and trusted pedestrian traffic coating manufacturer in the Los Angeles CA area. Long known for high quality walking deck systems, Dex-O-Tex has made it’s name by building a network of trained and factory authorized applicators to install it’s signature systems. I myself was a Dex-O-Tex applicator and I can tell you that it takes a craftsmen to install their slip sheet system. Done properly, a Dex-O-Tex system properly maintained can last 50+ years-I saw a project in LA some years ago that was one of their first large projects, and it needed repairs but not replacement and it was around 40+ years old. Crossfield has in the past basically required their contractors to register their jobs with the company and that way knew where their products were and could easily see what the warranty was, when it expired etc. Customers are happy to have factory warranties as it gives them assurance and peace of mind that they have a waterproofing system installed in accordance with the manufacturer specifications for a certain time period and even of their contractor goes out of business, Crossfield has other approved applicators who can perform warranty and maintenance work. Just like Ford does…
In my chain of logic thinking, if I’m a contractor and can say I’m an authorized Dex-O-Tex applicator; that carries weight. Crossfield has put a lot of time and money into building their reputation, and consumers recognize the brand. Generations of applicators have put down millions of square feet of Dex-O-Tex. As an authorized applicator I am in elite company. For instance at World of Concrete some years ago I attended a Dex-O-Tex event with contractors all over the US. Consumers know that authorized factory applicators are a better choice. There’s always that Ford dealership right heh heh?
Of late however, one Dex-O-Tex authorized applicator appears to be following a strange business model and uses the Dex-O-Tex name to sell consumers deck waterproofing jobs. The company’s contract states Dex-O-Tex will be installed, inferring to that consumer that a brand they know and trust is going to be protecting their property. Is that what they put down though? Clients trust that they are getting genuine Dex-O-Tex products, but how do they know of they are?
Then, fast forward into the future-3 months, 6 months whatever it might be…you have bought the Dex-O-Tex job from this contractor, and now there’s some problem-a crack, peeling, chipping, outright failure in some areas. You call this contractor and tell them what’s happening and they basically say sorry, not our problem it’s out of warranty. Read your contract they say…so you do and you realize it says 30 days from substantial date of completion (CSLB says 4 years minimum for performance) . Bewildered you call Crossfield and the rep comes out to look and says it’s ok but a few things “need correction”. Pressing them, you ask about the warranty…and the Crossfield rep tells you that Crossfield only has a “materials only” warranty for your job, that it wasn’t registered with them and as such, unless it’s shown that the materials installed were defective in manufacturer, you are out of luck because they won’t replace materials installed improperly. So this contractor installs the Dex-O-Tex system wrong, leaves the customer hanging and Dex-O-Tex good name gets hammered on. What’s wrong with this picture?
So now you go out and find a consultant who knows waterproof deck systems and the many codes and requirements for their installation. They do an inspection for you. Their findings are not good. retry much everything that could be wrong, is wrong. Months of time, hundreds of thousands of dollars spent, to find out that you got screwed.
Turns out that this contracting company does this time and time again. Customer has a problem, waterproofing company exerts pressure on customer via their illegal contract and customer calls Crossfield to get the news that their deck isn’t factory warranted; that the contractor warrants the work and there’s nothing they can do. Customer is now probably lost and will not use Dex-O-Tex again.
Two contractors of Crossfield Products have told me they are moving away from bidding jobs using Dex-O-Tex and instead substituting with like kind systems or refusing to bid a project when a certain San Diego and Palm Desert based contractor is bidding, because they know they won’t get it because they are bidding full factory systems and the other contractor isn’t. I spoke with several clients of this company who uses Crossfield’s name to sell jobs but doesn’t register the job with Dex-O-Tex, one of whom gave us the reports you can read down below. Two others asked not to go one the record and remain anonymous but both told us the same similar story of problems with their job, calling the contractor, getting shined on and then calling Crossfield to find out Crossfield can’t help them. One said he felt betrayed and was not likely to use Dex-O-Tex contractors again.
I also spoke with Justin Watt at Crossfield a while back and he said that they know that this contractor buys their materials but doesn’t generally registers the job, that they warranty it themselves. Justin also admitted that they have had other clients call about this contractors work and have to send a rep to look at the job. The clients I’ve spoken with have told me that they feel the rep for Crossfield is trying to protect the contractor. Why? Unless this customer, no wait, scratch that…there is no excuse to cover the tracks of bad apples.
It is my opinion that our industry needs to clean itself up; stop selling material to any contractor just to sell material. Find, train and retain excellent contractors who are committed to customer service, repeat business and high moral standards who will represent your brand well. It will pay dividends now and in the future. Companies that use your Brand’s name and products without providing factory backed warranties are conning people with their sneaky tactics.
For the consumer who found out how badly he had been screwed over, it was the equivalent of buying a new Ford without a Ford factory warranty and having no recourse due to Draconian and illegal terms in the contractors contract. Read the worst construction contract I’ve ever read right here…and tell your friends, tell everyone.
Read the reports on this San Diego project here from a consulting firm here.