Thread Number: 16173
Filter Queen / Heartland Health Systems . . .
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Post# 172479   3/8/2012 at 11:30 (2,942 days old) by venson ()        

I got a news alert for the first time ever regarding Filter Queen. The manufacturer of Filter Queen is still Health-Mor isn't it. I have no idea who Heartland Health Systems is but it's upset a sheriff in Omaha. Article follows.


Post# 172481 , Reply# 1   3/8/2012 at 11:44 (2,942 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

Heartland Health Systems may be a local vendor.

This is an all-too-familiar story; DTD vacuum companies get aggressive, and sometimes greedy, pricing their wares beyond all reason, and targeting "vulnerable" consumers, such as the elderly.

I personally would like to see DTD companies work to end shoddy practice in the field, by stating M.S.R.P. (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) in their literature, and aggressively monitoring franchisees for shoddy sales practices. In particular, one practice should become zero-tolerance: The salesperson who will not leave the consumer's home when asked. This should be grounds for instant dismissal for cause, and law enforcement should be notified.

If you cannot make a profit selling a product ON ITS MERITS, at a FAIR PRICE, then something is wrong with your business plan, your ethics, or both.

Post# 172487 , Reply# 2   3/8/2012 at 12:17 (2,942 days old) by gsheen (Cape Town South Africa)        

gsheen's profile picture
We sell allot of dysons vacuum's and a few time the customer will ask me to bring some round to there house.

We will take 3 or 4 models but when I get there I am able to with my experience narrow it down to two models. my best seller is the dc25 because it cleans fantastically and is super easy to move.

This is my sales technique and it worked every time. get to the house on time, accept the cup of coffee offered, plug in and set up the vacuums. switch it on , hand it to the house owner and let them go around vauuming there house , sit drink my coffee.By now they have taken a liking to one of the models and want it. Now I just show them how to maintain it were to look for blockages how to clean filters and give them an invoice and get paid. If the machine is any good and not just a over priced gimmick it will sell itself simple

Post# 172488 , Reply# 3   3/8/2012 at 12:56 (2,942 days old) by danemodsandy ()        
One More Thing:

There is one more thing I think should be prohibited: Referring to a vacuum cleaner as an "air purification system" or saying that it will confer health benefits on the user.

First of all, it's a blankety-blank VACUUM CLEANER, not a miracle machine of some kind. And the only "air purification" it can do is entirely dependent upon the user, who has to get behind the thing and push if it's to remove any dust at all. How MUCH dust and how MANY allergens it removes is, of course, absolutely contingent on how frequently and vigorously the appliance is used and how fastidiously it is maintained. Every collector here has seen vacuums sold as "air purifiers" in absolutely filthy condition, due to lack of maintenance.

I also feel it's very suspect advertising to say that a vacuum's removal of dust and allergens will help most people. You have to go out of your house, you have to go to work, you have to open your door to go get your mail. Every time you do those things, you're exposing yourself to allergens all over again. Normal cleaning is, of course, an excellent health measure. But scaring the bejabbers out of people that there are sub-microscopic "cooties" all over their houses that only the Fireball XL-500 Home Air Sanitizer, Rug Shampooer, Knife Sharpener, Hedge Clipper and Personal Vibrator can capture - and that consumers will be glowing specimens of health if only they'll buy it - is ridiculous, and should be illegal.

Post# 172521 , Reply# 4   3/8/2012 at 17:26 (2,942 days old) by kirbylux77 (Orillia, Ontario, Canada)        
Sandy, I totally agree with your statements!!

kirbylux77's profile picture
As a matter of fact, I'll go one step further....the DTD manufacturers should have a policy similar to what Miele has for their dealers....they have to buy the product at a certain price, & they are only allowed to sell at the price THE MANUFACTURER dictates, with absolutely no higher or lower price. Make the price reasonable, like say $1500 per cleaner the customer has to pay, & the dealer tells consumers that want to dicker to look elsewhere then. This makes for a reasonable price for consumers, without gouging left right & center, & the distributor & manufacturer still make a healthy profit.


Post# 172608 , Reply# 5   3/9/2012 at 05:57 (2,941 days old) by venson ()        
Price gouging . . .

Actual cost of manufacture for a D-T-D brand is no where near what consumers are being asked to pay other end of the line. Beyond the cost of making and shipping, the bucks you finally shell out cover the distributor's mark-up and then the vendor's.

D-T-D industry sounds a lot like the clothing industry. A shirt doesn't cost all that much to make but for every pair of hands it passes through the price is upped x-percent 'til the day you find it on a hanger in Macy's.

The first rule of business is to never pay anyone any more than you just have to and the second (buy low, sell high) is to go for whatever the market will bear. I am not against looking to sell what you make at a profit. However, I'm all for the idea of fair profit -- a term that obviously doesn't wash well with industry or people in general, I guess, as most of us are undecided as to what "enough" is.

The resulting push for profit can go either way. A salesman may show up asking the sky then do a turn about to rock-bottom pricing once he establishes you're not going to be an easy sell. It's better to make something than nothing. Such selling decisions however do nothing to the company or distributors because, as far as either's concerned, you have to pay to play.

Nonetheless, boorish and intimidating sales practices should never be and have to be brought to a halt wherever they're being exercised.

Though they have little control over their product once sold to distributors, I would think more known companies like Filter Queen, Kirby and Rainbow would use whatever influence or leverage they may hold to keep distributor's AND vendors closer to some script. Without debating worth, prices asked of the public for products by these companies are high and the only thing to help a pill like that go down is a little integrity.

I notice however these companies are at no loss regarding protecting their own interests. Should you manage to legitimately land one of their machines but not through a recognized vendor -- they won't fix it.

Post# 172610 , Reply# 6   3/9/2012 at 07:07 (2,941 days old) by Trebor ()        

the entire vac lineup at the Big Box Retailers are a ripoff. How much material is in a typical vacuum that costs 59.00? About 89 cents of plastic beads, a 3.00 motor a 50 cent switch. Where is most of the cost, ADVERTISING. The home demo is advertising.

Most print and media advertising is deceptive, and plays on the subliminal desires to be successful, well-liked, respected, have influence and authority, (and get laid)

Read Edward Bernays book "Propaganda" written in 1928. Public opinion is shaped by forces behind the scenes, and people are led to believe what those pulling the string behind the scenes want us to believe.

Picking on a few vacuum cleaner salesmen who convince some people to spend money on a product is the same psychological manifestation as the housewife who won't spend the money on paper bags, or actually empties them and reuses them-it makes her feel virtuous. It makes no rational sense, and it makes no real difference in her budget, but it makes her feel thrifty, just like it makes some feel virtuous to bash a vacuum cleaner salesman for making a few bucks.

WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT WE CHOOSE TO BELIEVE AND BUY. PERIOD. WHETHER IT IS PRINT, RADIO, TV, OR IN PERSON, WE ARE RESPONSIBLE. We want so badly to make someone else responsible for our mistakes and screw-ups, but it is not so. As Walt Kelly's character Pogo so aptly said "We have met the enemy and it is us."

Post# 172611 , Reply# 7   3/9/2012 at 07:50 (2,941 days old) by venson ()        
@Trebor . . .

I in no way claim all salespeople are cut from the same cloth and I've certainly no problem with anyone trying to do anything to earn an honest living. However, stories of salespeople appearing at homes, refusing to leave and badgering people to buy are nowhere new. They continue to go on and on. That leaves me quite surprised that the more notable makers don't appear to do more to keep renegade reps reined in.

Buying for me has always been a simple issue. If I want it and can afford it, I'll have it -- if not, I won't. And, if I decide to buy, I use whatever resources at my avail to find and obtain it at its best price. Been there, done that with little problem.

However, it's not just about what I'd do. Some people actually do get taken advantage of. Because we're all not the same, there are people such as seniors and vulnerable others that may often find the hard sell approach not an easy thing to deal with and they should be protected.

Though some of us may need no aid as to telling when it's safe to cross a street we still have traffic lights, signs, etc., in place for the protection all.

Post# 172613 , Reply# 8   3/9/2012 at 08:03 (2,941 days old) by gsheen (Cape Town South Africa)        

gsheen's profile picture
You are both right to a degree, but remember one thing, turning that raw material , a few plastic beeds into a hood or handle is the real expense not advertising. 10 years ago when I worked for Electrolux in SA the cost of a new injection moulding machine to make a hood for a new vacuum was $ 200 000 yes that's right. a simple hood, and that's 10 years ago. We had to change a wheels design by ading in more structural ribbing to and existing design and it cost us around about $10 000 just to alter the design.

You can't sell what people won't buy its simple business and as long as there are people willing to buy a $ 3000.00 vacuum there will be company's selling them, even if it should retail for half that price. My problem is not with what they charge but with the cost cutting that gets done, take a sentria nozzle and strip out all the brushes clips and so on and do the same with a G5 now feel the difference, its lighter much lighter because its thinner and not made from the same grade aluminium . That's why they split and tear now.

I am not a big fan of rainbow vacuums but given the choice between a Kirby or a rainbow I would take the rainbow because you are getting more value for your money, more equipment and overall a more useful machine. T hats just my opinion though

Post# 172617 , Reply# 9   3/9/2012 at 09:16 (2,941 days old) by venson ()        
@gsheen . . .

Your opinion sounds fine to me.

There's all manner of things to be considered in the cost of putting a product together including the man hours paid to get it on and off the line. But I'm not so much debating cost as I am sales tactics.

It's unthinkable to me that I'd allow anyone to stay in my home unwanted for four seconds much less hours. Yet, not knowing what to do other than physically eject them -- which she wasn't strong enough to do -- someone's harried spouse did.

The stories continue with elders feeling so harangued and unnerved they agreed just to get rid of the vendor. I accept that we don't all have the same physical strengths and thus accept that also we all may not possess the same emotional strengths. In this case, for some people, it must be almost like trying to deal with a push-in robbery which is also unfortunately coming into vogue.

It doesn't happen just here but everywhere. I've read reports of the same from as far off as New Zealand.

It's that kind of "selling" I object to.

Post# 172618 , Reply# 10   3/9/2012 at 09:35 (2,941 days old) by danemodsandy ()        
Stated M.S.R.P.....

....In advertising and on packaging would do more good than anything else, I think. Even then, you'd have vendors trying to do a run-around by packaging services into the deal, like maintenance protection plans. However, with a price for the unit clearly stated up front in advertising and on packaging, this tactic would be much harder to pull off, especially if it was listed like this:

Suggested Retail Price: $1600
Three-Year Limited Warranty (excluding bulbs, brushroll, belts and rear wheels)
Optional Lifetime Rebuild Program at consumer's expense with additional One-Year Warranty for each rebuild; Suggested Retail Price: $175

THAT would pretty much take the bushwah out of the deal.

Post# 172639 , Reply# 11   3/9/2012 at 12:54 (2,941 days old) by kirbymodel2c (Nottingham, England)        

kirbymodel2c's profile picture
Umm When it comes to salesmen (male and female) you are always going to get good and bad sales people not just in the DTD vacuum cleaner industry but in windows sales,fascia board sale etc etc. You always hear about the bad experiances and very really hear the good stories.
There are plenty of people who want to take advantage of others out there not just in sales either.Builders etc...

We was told that when I was in a large retail shop over here.
"Do one thing right the customer might tell one person or two at the most. Do one thing wrong and the customer will probably tell 8 or 10 people."

Also in Kirby when your in the trainning they point out people buy from people they like. If you become pushy and agressive they more than likely wont buy off you or recommend/pass you to there friends etc. I'm sure other DTD vac sale companies share the same sales theology.There was other good sales ethics I was told. Also when you go to the factory in Cleveland OH you can see for yourself what high quality goes in to the Kirby.

I've also heard plenty of BS out of retail shop staff/owners mouths about various vacuum cleaners/appliances about how well they are built/clean/light to handle/maneuver they are etc.
Adverts/commercials on tv can come out with some outragous claims and because it's on TV people believe them.

You have some people going around saying they will service you Dyson for £15/£20 just to get the job. Then charge silly prices for things it may or may not need on top.


Post# 172647 , Reply# 12   3/9/2012 at 13:16 (2,941 days old) by kirbysthebest (Wichita, KS)        

kirbysthebest's profile picture
DTD have different methods, and working prices.
I, though some have had a different experience,I think Kirby is pretty straight forward. They have a price, they offer a discount for trade, and then you can play with the dealer's profit.

When I worked for Kirby our distributor purchased the Tradition from the factory for $125, as a dealer my cost was $395 with MSRP of $595. (machine and basic attachments) If there were a good "trade" say a fairly new DTD machine not of the Kirby pursuasion. I could call my distributor and he would authorize dropping the price by $XX amount, where I would receive my commission, and he would retain the trade for resale.

This is the way that most Kirby dealers I have done business with have worked. You also have, as a consumer, room to deal if you are at the end of a promotion period or month where the dealer may drop the price to no margin, or even going in the hole on a sale just to get the sales number to move them to a higher level in bonus. You move that 12th machine in a week, it was worth it.

Then you take the set price, no budge machines--Rainbow, Filter-Queen. You can't get a break on the price unless you give them your first born child and the names of 12 friends and relatives. In the case of a Rainbow demo, they won't even show you the entire attachment package unless you have already committed to the purchae. So you can't try the powerhead, or carpet washer, unless you have committed. I think this limits the salesman as well as consumer. Because you are forced to buy a pig in a poke, or you pass the sale because you dont' have the opportunity to be fully informed.

Filter-Queen, though I have not experienced it myself, I have heard stories where the salesman gets abusive, refuses to leave, basically stalks you for days afterwards; worse if you happen to exercise the three day right of resention-OMG some of the stories. Then they blames you for the fact that their machine is over-priced and out of reach.

In both of these cases I feel they could make better profit by lowering the price, and moving more volume.

Rarely, rarely, OK never do I see a DTD in my neighborhood anymore. Most sales are either done cold call appointment setters on the phone, or referrals from home shows and fairs.

As for me, high pressure never works. If you want an answer now, then answer is no.

Post# 172659 , Reply# 13   3/9/2012 at 14:08 (2,941 days old) by venson ()        
@kribymodel2c / kirbysthebest . . .

Thanks for being so forthcoming. I purchased a new Tradition, tools and all, for $350 way back day. Your info now assures me I got the good deal I thought I had.

While I lived in New York, D-T-D wasn't done much, if at all. Electrolux/Aerus as I recall did phone solicitations or mailings but did have at least one shop in each of the five boroughs. But, I think they had an edge because the brand was well-known. When the name came to mind all you had to do was look in the yellow pages. Rainbow, Filter Queen, AirWay and Kirby you had to go looking for more so than them coming to find you.

Unfortunately, the sad thing is I don't often have occasion to meet with many experienced vac reps as I might have in past -- especially those meaning to make a career in the field.


Post# 172662 , Reply# 14   3/9/2012 at 14:21 (2,941 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

Recision laws aren't going to work until vendors are required to do three things:

1) No argument. This is not an "opportunity" to work on the consumer further; it's a considered refusal of the merchandise or service. Shut the hell up and give back the money.

2) Immediacy. The consumer handed you payment immediately; you have to hand it back on the same basis.

3) In cash or in kind. You have to refund exactly the same way the consumer paid - cash, credit card reversal or check. Right then. Really. No excuses.

If a sale goes South during a recision period, it is nearly always the fault of the vendor. They oversold, trying to saddle the consumer with an unaffordable item, or they pressured too much, leaving the consumer angry, or they failed to pay attention to signals that the consumer wasn't ready to buy, and pressed on anyway. If a salesperson has done his job with qualifying the customer and matching the customer's needs to a product, and has treated the customer with courtesy, recision shouldn't come up too often. If it does, that's an industrial-strength clue that something is wrong with the sales program or its execution, whether at the corporate level, or locally, or with the individual salesperson. A recision means YOU GOOFED. Act like a grown-up and deal with it.

Post# 172665 , Reply# 15   3/9/2012 at 14:43 (2,941 days old) by venson ()        


What you say is true but the bad apples usually are never concerned about the product as much as they are about getting paid. As for return of payment. Many places have mandates for a "think window" -- my term -- of a few days but it is then upon the customer or his/her own representative to track down a salesperson/dealership that may not want to be found before that time expires.

Post# 172669 , Reply# 16   3/9/2012 at 15:12 (2,941 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

Yep, that's what I mean. Consumers shouldn't have to track someone down and argue with them to exercise a consumer right.

Anyone wanting to hide from a customer wishing to return something should be glad they're not dealing with one of my elementary-school teachers. She had bought a record player from W.T. Grant's, and wanted to return it, and the salesperson (whom she knew well) was giving her a hard time over it, doubtlessly wanting to preserve his commission.

Well, Miss Cox wasn't having it. After the poor guy finished up all the reasons why she should keep the item, she looked him in the eye and said, "I told you I didn't want it. Now ACT LIKE A DAMN MAN."

I assure you, she got her way. They don't make ladies like that any more. ;-)

Post# 172683 , Reply# 17   3/9/2012 at 17:19 (2,941 days old) by Trebor ()        
Advertising vs mfg costs...

I bet Hoover spends 5x or more on advertising than they do on new tooling. The mold is a one time expense, advertising is ongoing, and companies spend $$$$ on advertising to recoup the expense of bringing a new model or line to market. Advertising costs are not normally linked to the costs of product launch, but considered as simply the cost of doing business.

Post# 172698 , Reply# 18   3/9/2012 at 18:42 (2,941 days old) by sarasvacshack ()        
My take..

on the story...since much is missing, much can be assumed.

Old Mrs Jones sets an appointment to get a free gift for taking a look at an air filtration and home cleaning appliance. Salesman shows up, does a demo, Mrs Jones likes the salesman, likes the product, and buys the machine for x amount. Mrs Jones' kids find out about the purchase, blow a fit (after all, mom doesn't need clean air...we're just waiting for her to die for chris'sake). Kids convince mom she did a bad, was taken advantage of, (after all, who in their right mind would spend that kind of money on a vacuum?), and assist with sending in the cancellation notice and calling the office. OF COURSE, the business and the salesman are going to try to save the sale (freaking duh! Wouldn't all of us that are in the business of sales?), the salesman probably attempted to drop price to keep the sale ('cause the kids were ranting about how their mother doesn't have the money to buy a new vacuum), kids get mad that the salesman is trying to save the sale (heck, the salesman may even have tried to redo the demo for the kids so they could see the benefits they missed by not seeing the demonstration), kids get mad... call the sheriff. My guess is there was probably nothing "heavy handed" about the tactics, and no independent office would intentionally target the elderly (in fact, most hate demonstrating to old folks).

I think the warning issued by the Sheriff in the paper may have been heavy handed, unnecessary, and targeted to a business he just didn't understand.

Post# 172700 , Reply# 19   3/9/2012 at 18:56 (2,941 days old) by venson ()        
@saravacshack . . .

Regarding the example . . . I think it doubtful the kids were waiting for Mom to croak but were probably ready to keel over themselves on learning she'd spent not $100, $200 or even $300 or $400 but more than a grand.

I know lots of seniors who are perfectly capable at managing their affairs and even they would question why?

The situation should not be taken lightly because it does happen and happens too often. It should be also considered by all of us because none of us are getting any younger. I feel perfectly capable now but wonder where my strengths may or may not lie in x-years from now.

Post# 172728 , Reply# 20   3/9/2012 at 23:22 (2,941 days old) by Kirbysthebest (Wichita, KS)        
3 business day right of recention or "cooling down perio

kirbysthebest's profile picture
In our state any product that is sold to any consumer where it is not purchased from the seller's physical place of business, office, store, dealership qualifies for the cooling down.

This applies to Avon, vacuum cleaners, even cars if you happen to buy at a tent sale and not on the regular lot. At the point of sale the sales person is required to give the buyer a copy of the revocation form, along with the mailing address, phone number, and physical address of the seller.

The buyer has until midnight on the third business day after the sale to recend for any reason. They can trigger revocation by simply calling the place of business at 11:59 P.M. and leaving a message on the answering machine. (Though this is hard to prove) At this time the seller must return the trade, deposits and original contracts marked void as well as any cash, credit card slips or checks used for the purchase. The buyer must return the merchandise in good condition and can be charged for usage and damages.

There are some very stiff fines if the seller does not comply with this law, one of which the merchandise becomes their property free and clear. I have only heard of two companies locally that got burned by not complying, one was a car dealer, the other a water treatment company.

The main reason consumers gave, though they are not required to give a reason. "We/I was high pressured and just said yes to get rid of them" So as deamonsdandy said, qualify the buyer, and make sure it's a good sale before you leave, or risk getting the now used merchandise back.

Of all the Kirbys I sold, I never got one back from a recention. A couple because credit wouldn't go through, a couple because their checks bounced, but none because of a bad, or high pressure sale. I may have sold fewer that some of the hotshots, but I had less returns.

Post# 172732 , Reply# 21   3/10/2012 at 00:35 (2,940 days old) by billybud21 ()        
Honey, guess what I bought today ...

I think Trebor makes an excellent point about advertising. Bernays' book is a wonderful read and really speaks to the unseen and often times artificial demand that is created by advertising. It may not seem fair, people who sell products might be greedy and unethical, but ultimately, we are all responsible for the decisions we make -- even if we do not want to be.

Add this to Lloyds point about the whole story probably not being conveyed in this article -- come on, let's face it, DTD gets a bad rap in our internet, information driven world and an elected official, like a sheriff, is going to do what is in his best interests, and playing the concerned official -- and we have the perfect storm.

Now, as to fair price, we are all for a free market, until we get screwed. It seems to me, but I am no expert, that most of the people in the DTD business are younger folks looking to make a living, sometimes a fast buck, and have themselves been overwhelmed by the advertising Leviathan of the distributor they are working for. Does that excuse price gouging, rude behavior, pressure sales or that damn Kirby shampoo demonstration, no. However, ultimately, the price a product is sold and bought at is what the market will bear. If you buy a machine for more than your friend did, that is not your friends fault or the salesmanís fault, it is yours.

Finally, I think Kirbysthebest has a very good story to tell on the sales dynamic of vacuums and has some great insight into the whole process of selling in general. I have never sold vacuums, save a few on craigslist, but I did sell cars as my first job out of college. Crap job, but I learned a lot about life, people and selling/buying. What are the best cars to sell? Well if you didn't know, itís used. Why? There is far more margin -- even taking into account holdback and manufacturer incentives -- in a used car than in a new one. If you made it seem like you are working to get a person the best possible deal, and you still know you have, say $2000 dollars in profit, then it is a win, win for everybody. From what I have read, it seems the same is true of high-end vacuums, if the salesman leaves with more money in his or her pocket then they started out with, and the consumers feels like they got a good deal, then life is good.

I wonder if they ever had problems like this in Mayberry?

Post# 172740 , Reply# 22   3/10/2012 at 06:30 (2,940 days old) by venson ()        
@kirbysthebest . . .

Thanks for the info. Kansas sounds great AND fair-minded.


Post# 172753 , Reply# 23   3/10/2012 at 09:42 (2,940 days old) by kirbysthebest (Wichita, KS)        
I wonder if they ever had problems like this in Mayberry?

kirbysthebest's profile picture
Oh, Yes. Remember the Used Deep Freeze. Andy had to watch Aunt Bea and Clara something fearce or they would have give away the farm.

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