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Aquarium, faulty filter, dead fish, damaged floor - Need help please


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Hi

 

Bit complicated but will try to explain.

 

I bought a fish tank and external filter from an online company at the end of November last year. Stocked it with Discus fish which are very sensitive fish, and very expensive.

 

About a month ago on a Saturday night, the filter started to leak. It leaked onto my wood floor, damaging the floor by making it swell. Also the cabinet sucked up water and became unstable.

 

Due to this I had to empty the tank, and put the fish into an unused tank I had spare. I also had to use a smaller internal filter that has been unused for quite some time.

 

***Info bit - when you have fish, you need a matured filter with enough bacteria in it to consume the waste and excess food from the tank. The bacteria eats ammonia and nitrite which are both poisonous to fish, so a matured filter takes care of this and keeps the tank/fish healthy. Using a new or unused filter means there is no bacteria in it to eat the ammonia/nitrite, so the tank goes through a cycle of ammonia growing, being converted to nitrite (poisons and cause diseases) and then nitrate, which is safe for fish***

 

My unused filter I had to use had no bacteria, so my tank with the Discus in it (tank I had to move them to) started a cycle, creating ammonia etc. A cycle with fish in the tank is very dangerous to the fish, even the hardiest of fish struggle. Doing this with a tank of Discus is much worse because they are so sensitive.

 

Anyway, even though I did water changes daily to keep poisonous levels of ammonia/nitrite down, it wasn't enough and my fish died. I am an experienced fish keeper so I did everything possible to save the fish, but putting them into a new tank with new filter = disaster.

 

When this originally happened, on the Saturday I emailed the company hoping for a reply on the Monday. No reply by mid morning so I rang, but was told the number I rang was only for sales, and that any complaints/problems have to be done via email. It took them 6 days to get a new filter and cabinet to me. By this time the good bacteria inside my old leaking external filter had died, so I had to basically start again with the new filter and the tank had to run the cycle of ammonia-nitrite-nitrate.

 

As I said, over the next couple of weeks my fish died from various diseases caused by the water quality, which was due to the new filter.

 

My problem is, if they would have let me speak to someone on the Monday morning when I rang I could have had a new filter and cabinet the following day(they do next day delivery), which would have meant I could have been set up, the bacteria in the old filter would have still been alive so I could have used the materials inside in my new filter and all would have been great.

 

Making me wait 6 days, with 24 hours between emails from them caused a disaster and I have lost at least £350 worth of fish (I have photographic evidence).

 

I emailed the MD with my complaint and asked for a reply within 7 days, he ignored my email, so I sent a letter registered post and received a reply today. There is no mention of my new damaged flooring which has swollen and lifted, but generally says...

 

***I would like to offer my personal and sincerest of apologies for the inconvenience. There is a trouble shooting process which is used to resolve product issues effectively. He is truly regretful that this experience was not a positive one for me and to compensate for my livestock loss (fish) he would like to give me £60 store credit to spend with them***

 

I have to email the customer service manager to spend this credit...

 

Im not very happy at all, I dont expect the earth, and I never complain about anything, but this was my Christmas present and I had always wanted to keep Discus fish.

 

Due to them not letting me explain the issue on the Monday morning, and making me wait 6 days for replacements, my fish died, and it wasn't my fault, I did everything possible to keep them alive, as I said I am experienced and know what I am doing, so their delay in helping me caused the entire problem.

 

Im not sure what to do or what my rights are - if any.

 

Does anyone know if there is anything I can do?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Darren.

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Hi, I paid with a debit card.

 

Have emailed them since my original post and are now offering store credit of £120, and I either accept or see cab or similar so not sure what to do.

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Hi DMG

 

Write to your Card provider explain the situation. Ask if you can claim for consequential damages after the faulty filter failed. Explain that the company are will to pay £120. You might have to send them receipts for the purchase of the fish.

 

Hi, I paid with a debit card.

 

Have emailed them since my original post and are now offering store credit of £120, and I either accept or see cab or similar so not sure what to do.

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Do you think I should accept the store credit of £120 then? It will pain me to do so. As I said, if they would have sorted this out on the Monday by phone nothing bad would have happened, yet they made me wait 6 days for a resolution.

 

Regarding receipts, its not really something you get when you buy fish, unless you go to Pets at home. Also, its not something you keep after a couple of weeks, as long as the fish are ok by then you tend to recycle them.

 

I was thinking of taking them to the small claims court but wasn't sure if I could, or how to go about it. I told them today that the offer of £60 store credit (which to them is probably £30-£40) isn't acceptable, due to losing around £350 worth of fish, and the damage to my floor, so I told them id be happier nearer to my figure and they offered £120 and said I can either accept it or see CAB which makes me a little angry.

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Hi DMG123

 

I would write to your card provider, you've got pictures of the dead fish and floor. You can get a quote for replacing the fish to show the cost.

 

Do you think I should accept the store credit of £120 then? It will pain me to do so. As I said, if they would have sorted this out on the Monday by phone nothing bad would have happened, yet they made me wait 6 days for a resolution.

 

Regarding receipts, its not really something you get when you buy fish, unless you go to Pets at home. Also, its not something you keep after a couple of weeks, as long as the fish are ok by then you tend to recycle them.

 

I was thinking of taking them to the small claims court but wasn't sure if I could, or how to go about it. I told them today that the offer of £60 store credit (which to them is probably £30-£40) isn't acceptable, due to losing around £350 worth of fish, and the damage to my floor, so I told them id be happier nearer to my figure and they offered £120 and said I can either accept it or see CAB which makes me a little angry.

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Thanks for your replies, I am very grateful.

 

I have just checked online and it says this can only be done with credit or store cards, not debit cards, is this correct?

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Hi

This is just my thinking and could be wrong so:

 

The seller was only liable for the faulty product unless they knew that there had been issues with the kit prior to purchase. If (for example) they had been informed that there was a faulty batch and continued selling them then they would be liable for the consequential loss. I would be contacting the manufacturer to see if they knew anything.

 

If it turns out that the faulty kit was a one off, they have replaced it so they have done the right thing there. As to your loss of fish. If there was nothing you could as an alternative which would have kept the fish alive then they could be liable. If there was something you could do then I would say not.

 

With the store credit offered, why not see if they can negotiate for some new fish at cost price?

If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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I have checked on the net and this has happened before with the product, so it isn't a one off, yet it probably isn't a wide spread problem.

 

My main gripe is, if you phone to buy something, you get the best service imaginable. If you have a problem/issue, you ring and they will not speak to you, no matter what the issue is. It isn't a large company so only one office. I had to email my problem, and wait 24 hours each time for a reply. If they would have allowed me to sort this out on the Monday morning, I would have had a replacement on the Tuesday, so the problem would not have occurred and all would have been fine. It was 6 days before they replaced my filter head and cabinet.

 

Regarding anything else I could have done. I had to buy a 2nd hand tank on the Sunday morning to put the fish into. I then did everything possible to keep them alive. I am an experienced fish keeper so did everything possible, it just wasn't enough. Discus are very sensitive to water quality, and a new filter isn't able to give them what they need. It has to be a mature filter full of good bacteria to keep the water ammonia/nitrite free and you can't do this with a new filter. That part is difficult to explain, but honestly I did all I could.

 

Sadly they do not sell fish, only tanks/filters etc so its not even as if there is anything I could buy with the store credit because I have all of the kit I need. I just wish they would have helped me on the phone on the Monday, instead I had to wait till the following Saturday for replacements.

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