Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Oooey Gooey

From our Complaints page:
  • Leslie B.   Los Angeles, CA   11/13/2015
First, the installers glued down a track that had obvious defects -- 2 scratches that I was later told must have been from the manufacturer.  However, they did not bring this to my attention before they glued it down (also the silicon oozed out from under the track). 
Peter N.   PARSIPPANY, NJ   6/20/2015
Be careful when dealing with this company they quote you one price then switch prices when they send you the order to sign. Also they promise to install the door under the carpet but when the installer arrived he claimed he didn't do that and if I wouldn't let him install it on top of the carpet they would just leave the door and charge me for the installation anyway. 

Trust Us... We won't Screw You!

That's right, there are no screws holding these tracks down, The Sliding Door Company GLUES down their tracks... well, actually they're YOUR tracks now.  They even say so this time, kind of.  

OK, most homeowners don't fully understand terms like "Finished Floor" and "Sub Flooring".  And the pictures may be a little confusing especially if you have carpet.

Why the confusion about carpet?

If you have a hardwood or other solid floor material, the pictures probably match your situation pretty closely.  So, what happens when there is carpet on the floor?  The carpet represents the "Finished Floor" in these cases.

Click to Enlarge
Clearly, the consumers above expected something different than what they received.  At least one consumer above believes he was promised the track would be installed "UNDER THE CARPET" and was surprised when it was not.  

The picture (left) shows the three different ways The Sliding Door Company installers glue the track down. 

Consumers who expected their track would go UNDER the carpet and attach to the sub floor may have been looking at "Opt. 3".  Indeed, that would be a very sensible way to install a track where there is carpeting.  The track would be attached to the sub-floor.  

I suspect customers may be surprised when "Opt. 1" or "Opt. 2" are insisted upon by the installers.  These options make absolutely NO sense when carpet is involved.

The Magic Carpet Ride

Typically there will be carpet padding underneath the carpet.  

The padding can be 5/8" or more thick.  It gives carpet a spongy feeling when you walk on it.  So, what happens when The Sliding Door Company installs their tracks ON TOP of the carpet?  Remember, the tracks are glued down... NOT screwed down.  So, essentially, the sliding door track is floating on top of the carpet.  Wherever the carpet goes, the track goes.  At the top of the sliding door system there is a channel which allows the door to float.  So the weight of the door works against the carpet pad each time the door is opened and closed. 

The track is on top of the carpet and also on top of the pad, so it will bow as much as an inch with the weight of the door, OR the weight of a person stepping on the track.  Since the track is not glued to the sub-floor, the track can be damaged or warped and cause problems.  

What happens if the carpet gets wet?  Does the idea of carpet molding underneath your sliding door track sound reasonable?

And what happens in a home where the carpet is re-stretched?  Could this pull the door out of alignment?  Of course.  But it gets worse...

What happens when the homeowner replaces the carpet?  

OK, they're screwed because TSDC literally stuck it to them...

What is a homeowner supposed to do when they replace the carpets in their home?  

Remember, the old carpet and pad are glued to the sliding door track so there's no chance of removing those, apparently.   

Are they supposed to leave a strip of the old carpet underneath the sliding door and put new carpet around it?  And if so, WTF is going to hold it in place?  The pad isn't glued down, and the carpet isn't glued to the pad.  The sliding door track's own weight is all that is holding the system together at that point.

Clearly there is something wrong with this idea.  But again, it saves the installer a LOT of time if they can simply glue the track onto your carpet.  

And, of course, at The Sliding Door Company, time is money!


You walk up to a door that looks like this.  How does it open?  Well, it has two "pull" handles on it, so that makes it obvious, right?  Well, no.

This is a SLIDING door.  If you grab one of the handles and pull as you would a swing door, you could be in serious trouble.  If you're in a hurry and pull too hard, the door could shatter.  Indeed, this is something that has happened to people who have tried to use doors like these. 

Here is a frameless "barn door" from The Sliding Door Company.  Same type of handle.  A person pulling this handle could see this sheet of glass shatter.  It's a good gag to play on Grandma when she visits.

More importantly, look at the design.  It is being suspended by two rollers at the top.  

The design of the rollers at The Sliding Door Company has been ripped off from a company in Germany but I'll get to that in another post.

There are four holes in the glass at the top.  
Rubber grommets go into these holes and bolts go through the grommets.  The bottom of the door dangles and is guided by small plastic guides.  When the door is slid open, there is momentum in the door - especially at the bottom where the door is not supported.  When the door hits the door stop at the top, the momentum carries the bottom portion of the door past its intended stopping point and that distance can be considerable.  

Customers are not informed of this and sometimes place furniture near the door.  

Because of the momentum, the door can hit furniture placed beside it and shatter.  I have heard reports of this already having happened when a child opened the door with force into adjacent furniture.  The residential sales manager didn't want to replace the door.  The picture at the right shows how large these suspended barn doors can be.  

This isn't the size of a shower door - it is a lot of glass.

As with all the safety problems The Sliding Door Company ignores, there are simple solutions.  To be fair, they were looking into an optional handle for these types of doors that would eliminate the pulling problem.  It was a handle that looks something like this:  

So there may still be some hope - assuming they stop using the other handles.  

And for the "momentum" issue, they would AT LEAST need to document the problem within their own sales literature and inform customers of the safety hazard presented by putting furnishings near TSDC's problematic barn doors.

In the end, however, we can see that product safety and more importantly, consumer safety never enters the conversation when it comes to The Sliding Door Company's business.  Buyer Beware!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Buyer's Remorse

We've seen a lot of complaints that suggest The Sliding Door Company's customers are sorry they purchased a product from them.  Many warn people to "avoid" this company.

As their R&D manager at one time, I had to sometimes deal with customer complaints.  One that I was asked to handle was the inspiration for this blog post which discusses the issue of high heels getting trapped in The Sliding Door Company's bottom tracks.   

Case Study

This is a picture of the 10" wide track that was installed in an upscale restaurant in Los Angeles.  
The reason for the wide track is that The Sliding Door Company does not have the appropriate door design to handle this type of situation.  Somebody sold this system as if it was appropriate for this application.  The picture (right) shows the long expanse that required multiple doors to bridge.  In the sales person's mind, this just means widening the track until it can accommodate as many doors as necessary.  In this application, people are seated literally inches from the track - it isn't an obvious threshold.

It wasn't long before TSDC received a complaint that a client stepped on the track and their (very expensive) high heel shoe had become trapped (and ruined).  
As I said above, I was asked to handle the complaint.  I produced "covers" for the track so that people could walk on the cover rather than on the problematic (unsafe) track.  While it was a "solution" to the problem, I'm not sure the customer was very satisfied.  Why would they be - there are many better solutions for separating large spaces.  I wouldn't be surprised to find out they didn't realize what they were purchasing might be a safety hazard.

So, was there a better solution available?

Anyone who has ever been to a hotel banquet room knows they are able to divide up large rooms without creating a safety hazard.  How do they do it?  Bi-fold doors.  Here's a picture of the type of doors used in banquet rooms around the world.  

Notice there is no wide track to step over?  That's because all the doors are on a single track.  

This is something The Sliding Door Company does not offer.  An ethical company would have referred this client to someone who could provide a safe system for this application.  The Sliding Door Company sales person instead decided to sell their own unsafe product to this customer.  Why?  

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Another Public Relations Nightmare

American Airlines - Disturbing Video - discretion advised

Not a week has passed, and we've seen yet another airline experience a public relations nightmare.  This time it was American Airlines. 

The victim this time was a mother traveling with two infant twins.  The abuser in this case, a hot-headed airline flight attendant.  

Without thinking, the flight attendant grabbed a stroller the woman was trying to stow and hit her with it while she was holding her baby.  The woman is still crying and clutching her baby during this video.  A passenger, angry at what he witnessed demanded the flight attendant's name.  When the hot-headed flight attendant returned, the passenger unthinkingly blurted out what is going to be lost on a lot of viewers... he said "You do that to me and I'll knock you flat...".

Of course, what he meant was, "why did you do that to this woman".

But what airlines in these cases and companies in general don't understand and what will be lost on viewers is that the FIRST thing that people think of is - "this could have been ME!"  This passenger rightly defended the woman with the babies from the hot-head, but the first thing out of his mouth was very telling.  It shows that witnessing something like this impacts people even when they're not involved directly.  We will see how badly American Airlines stock drops on Monday.  The flight attendant has been suspended but not terminated.

This type of abusive hot-headed outburst traumatizes people.  I literally can't watch this video without becoming nauseous.  I am immediately reminded of my own verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of my former employer and CEO of The Sliding Door Company, Doron Polus.  

Why do people blow up like that?  It's like they get wound up and can no longer control themselves.  Their intention is to frighten and bully the people around them - using their position of power.  This sort of outburst can be very devastating.  

There is NO way for a person to know how this kind of threatening outburst affects someone else.

In Mr. Polus' case, his outrageous behavior had the support of his manager in the Human Resources department, and apparently, an independent investigator.

When somebody is in a position of power, it becomes very easy to abuse that power.  Abusively browbeating employees, yelling at the top of his lungs as Mr. Polus openly admits he has done, takes a strong emotional (and I'm finding, physical) toll.  And, of course the witnesses who heard Mr. Polus exploding at me?  Were they thinking "this could have been ME"?   

After being verbally abusive, Mr. Polus broke the law by retaliating against me - by putting me in a physically abusive environment... and he and his son-in-law emotionally abused me by spying on me and possibly my family at home.  They made my private conversations PUBLIC!  Needless to say, my family and I have suffered tremendously because of Mr. Polus' hot-headed outburst and subsequent physical and emotional abuse of me.

Hot-headed abusers like this kind of power.  You can see it in the flight attendant's eyes as he's challenging the passenger to throw a punch at him.  He was hoping to provoke an altercation to have the passenger arrested.  

This is not unlike what Mr. Polus kept trying to do to me through physically abusing me and by having his son-in-law spy on me and my family.  Instead, it turns out he broke the law by doing so and he and his son-in-law may be facing a felony.  Why?  Because the hot-head HAS to win no matter what.

Well, I don't like hot-headed abusers... so, I'm not going down without a fight. 

Sure, we're going to be in court soon enough, and there is no doubt I will prevail there, but in the mean time...

The Sliding Door Complaint Blog has had over 32,000 views as I'm writing this.  Let's do some quick math.  Let's say 97% of those views clicked on this blog by mistake... or are employees checking out the blog... and only 3% of those viewers were actually going to buy something from The Sliding Door Company.  So, 960 people, if I've done my job right, after reading this blog, decided NOT to purchase from them.  In reading through the comments, it seems like their cheapest sale is around $4000.

960 Lost Sales @ $4000/Sale = (carry the one... ) $3,940,000.00
and still going...

Hey, even if it's only a quarter of that... the decision to be an abusive employer was VERY costly to Mr. Polus.  And it will only cost him more as time goes on.

As I said... I don't like abusers so I'll take some minor comfort in knowing I cost The Sliding Door Company some money.  Mr. Polus may have to cut corners on his 35c brackets to make up for it... and I'm sure he will.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Customer Service Failures

Chances are you've seen the video of the brutal assault on Dr. Dao by representatives of United Airlines.  Passengers who witnessed this horrible event each wondered if they could be next.  United issued several apologies each one trying to express that they understood the outrage customers were feeling at witnessing their customer service policy in action.  Not too many people believed them - especially because their own apologies repeatedly demonstrated that they DID NOT understand the problem.

United Airlines stock dropped as much as $1.4 billion as this event went viral.
This is, of course, exactly the type of public exposure companies try to avoid.  And certainly, this must be a worst-case scenario for a company like United... except maybe for the time they broke guitars.  Making companies famous for this sort of abusive mistreatment of people is a good thing.  

And naturally, this brings us to The Sliding Door Company.  

Customer Service is mishandled by the Operations department - headed up by Bob Delia.  We've read a lot of complaints from their customers about the service they received and particularly about the service they DID NOT receive.  And while there are no known cases of The Sliding Door Company physically beating up their customers, we have seen many cases of abusive treatment of customers who simply want what they have paid for.   And for customers just coming in to browse, even racially offensive remarks directed toward them aren't out of the question when customers are viewed as a necessary evil.

Let's face it - addressing customer complaints costs money - and that impacts company profits.  And really, most of these pesky customers won't be buying from them again anyway, so why make good on what they promised?  Customers typically pay 50% up front - and TSDC leverages that to give them less than they purchased.  Additionally, their customers regularly complain about hidden charges and surprises when the installation is being done.  There are more than a few examples of surprises in charges and what was installed on our complaints page.  But what do these complaints directly say about The Sliding Door Company's Customer Service department?  I've cropped out the other parts of these complaints and only produced stuff directly mentioning Customer Service.  Let's see if this paints a good picture - or if potential customers of The Sliding Door Company might be wondering if THEY will be next:

J P.   Marina del Rey, CA   3/29/2013
I am surprised by these high ratings.  The doors arrived late (from China) and on top of that were the wrong size.  Customer service treated us as if it were our fault and initially did not want to compensate us for the inconvenience.  In the end, we canceled our order.
  • Anya Z.  New York, NY  9/9/2016
As soon as the sale was done, I was no longer important to the company.  A year before I ordered 7K worth of closet doors from them as well and will most likely have additional projects in the future so this is a very short term way of thinking.  I am really surprised at the low quality for the price and the total lack of solutions offered and customer service. 
Hanna Y.  Midland Beach, Staten Island, United States     8/12/2016
Super shady company. Run for the hills!!! After a horrible experience with Joe the sleazy salesperson, Dahlia the "customer service manager" stepped in to assist. What a joke!
Meera S.   Chevy Chase, MD   12/27/2012
Decent but expensive product, TERRIBLE TERRIBLE customer servic
e. I dont think I will use them ever again --nor would I recommed them to anyone else.
    lisa l.  Manhattan, NY  9/11/2011
    When i received the incorrect order after 12 weeks the customer service Manager Tyesha was sooo rude sarcastic and acted as if i was bothering her, she spoke to me as if i hadnt paid 4000 for an order . My experience with Sliding door company was horrible they should train their customer service how to speak to people how can this person be a manager an be allowed to be rude to customers...
    Fiona H.  Manhattan, NY  5/25/2011
      Agree with all the reviews I've read. To say the least -  customer service is not their thing - In fact they have horrible costumer service that does not live up to the standards of their expensive prices - this is infuriating since their product is not cheap at all.
      Naf D. Menlo Park, CA 2/15/2017
      Customer service has the audacity to blame the customer (us) for not doing the necessary modifications so the doors will fit!
      Gee B.   Pinole, CA  2/5/2012
      I was saddened to see that others had similar/same problems I had with customer service and installation years ago. While I love my doors and would like to have similar doors placed in a few other places in my home, I'm not yet ready to go through the difficulty of dealing with their customer service people and installers, which was a royal pain in the... Perhaps this company still has some kinks to work out.
       R B.  Palo Alto, CA   11/22/2014  Updated reviewThis company has a very broken perception of problem solving that trickles down from the top, and again, their core issue is that they have no quality department.  For sure, do not trust your time and energy on Jimmy/James Homan.  His initial instinctive approach to customer service is to reiterate all the ways a customer is clueless.
       Robert K.   Lacey, WA   7/3/2013
      This is the first time I've ever posted a review, and wouldn't have but for one final issue:  I decided to write the company president and let him know how I was treated.  Unfortunately (though not surprising considering everything else), they wouldn't give me his contact information.  Finally, after a bit of research I found and confirmed it.  I sent a letter explaining everything, asking for nothing, just hoping other customers would be treated better.  It's now been several months and I still haven't had a reply.  I just want other potential customers to know the level of customer service to expect from this company.
      Chad A.  Brownsburg, IN  9/5/2013
      I called and left a message, as customer service had already closed.  I received a call back the next day.  These people had the nerve to imply I was the inept one, because "the wheels come in a small box"; surely there packaging and shipping personnel did their job by including the wheels with the doors.  Then they act like I shouldn't expect to get the missing parts any time soon, because, hey, we already have your money.
      I would recommend buying from someone else!!!  Yet another company without customer service.
      The pricing is outrageous and the company lacks customer service. From beginning to end, it took 6 months to get the doors installed! 
      • I don't even know where to start. I've had the doors now for over a year and still to this day after several emails and possibly 30 phone calls the job is still not 100% complete. ... I finally gave up on this horrible company, customer service is terrible! 
      Kathleen C. Washington, DC  7/24/2014
      Similar to the other posts we have had a terrible experience with the Sliding Door Company.  The product is good however the customer service is abysmal.  ...  However, Alex and Sliding Door Company charged our debit card on record for the final payment even though the job was not completed.  It is now two months of trying to get them to come back out to finish the job.
       JR Markham Joined Jun 04, 2014
      I would like to comment on this company's poor after-sales service - considering the expense of this product, the installation was left incomplete and after many follow-ups, I just gave up and now whenever someone comes over to visit and sees the sliding door, I make sure they are told about the poor performance of this company to provide customer satisfaction.

      Clearly, Customer Service is "not their thing" and they don't really care about repeat customers, but are they breaking the law?  Well I'm not a legal expert, of course, but it appears to me that in some cases, they collected money for projects that were not complete - sometimes even billing a credit card without the customer's permission.  Is that legal?  

      In other cases, they seem to misrepresent their product (glass cleaning and seal failure issues) not to mention lead times, and don't mention hidden costs and charges until it's too late for the customer to decline them.  Is that legal?

      Of course, we must leave it to the customers to work out their own issues with the Sliding Door Company, but at least by identifying the problems in the area of Customer Service, potential customers will be fore-warned.

      And seriously, if running a business, to you, means being rude to your customers and insensitive to customer's complaints... maybe running a business is not YOUR thing.


      Dr. Dao's attorney delivered a poignant speech regarding the United Airlines incident above... It applies to The Sliding Door Company in many ways:

      "I think corporate America needs to understand that we all want to be treated in the same manner, with the same respect and the same dignity that they would treat their own family members."

      Sunday, April 9, 2017

      Playing God

      Doron Polus, CEO of The Sliding Door Company has a LOT of lives in his hands.  Certainly, employees at The Sliding Door Company depend on him for their livelihood.  
      He likes to employ "family" people so not just his direct employees but their families too often depend on Mr. Polus' business decisions.  

      Like any employer, Mr. Polus has a legal and moral responsibility to his employees - to ensure their safety and well-being while they work for him.  Safe working conditions are essential to businesses and regulatory agencies like OSHA are available to help employees and employers to maintain a safe environment.

      Mr. Polus' responsibilities don't end there, however.  He must also accept responsibility for the safety of his products and how they are installed in the homes of consumers.  Customer safety is absolutely HIS responsibility.  And when his business decisions sacrifice customer safety, that puts not just customers at risk, but the entire company - the employees whose livelihood depends on their paycheck - at risk. 

      You have to wonder what goes through Mr. Polus' mind when he puts his customers and employees at risk with a profit-over-safety decision.

      So, let's take a look at one of Mr. Polus' reckless business decisions that impact the entire company negatively.  Below is a picture of a corner connection for one of TSDC's products.  Underneath the top of the post is what they call an "outlet connector" - a structural piece that holds the beams that support the system.  This happens to be one of their goofier products - it installs over and in front of an office cubicle which customers may already own.

      The following was part of a directive by Mr. Polus which was forwarded by the Technical Integrations Manager:

      "To Sales, Operations and Management Teams, and Affiliate Management
      As you all read in the last manual update, we have discontinued the connector parts for workstations.  I am referring to the Side Outlet L and T, Single Outlets, Straight T connectors etc."

      Side Outlet - L Configuration - Now DISCONTINUED

      So what does this mean?  
      The "Side Outlet" components were very sturdy structural components that supported the corners of office cubicle systems for The Sliding Door Company's products.  

      More importantly their engineering documents were based on this component.  The image of the "L" configuration (right) is directly from their engineering documentation.  As you can see, this is a VERY sturdy component intended to be structural.  

      Notice the engineer's note recommending "Stainless steel" rather than the painted steel outlet connectors that TSDC used.  That notwithstanding... they replaced this connector COMPLETELY.  

      And what do you think they use to replace it?  From the same email directive:
      "L Connectors are replacing all outlets and connectors – see manual for diagrams."

      Cheap knock-off bracket replaced Side Outlet Connectors.
      That's right... our old friend, the non-tested knock-off bracket of the engineered Simpson A23.  At 35 cents each to produce in China, these brackets save a LOT of money for TSDC, according to Mr. Polus.  You can buy engineered and tested brackets from Simpson for 50 cents, but hey, 15 cents savings is 15 cents.  Additionally, by replacing the far more costly outlet connector with these 35 cent brackets, Mr. Polus expects to make a ton of money, apparently.

      So, does this replacement impact the validity of the documents provided by an engineer which suggest this system may be safe?  OF COURSE! 

      Gaskets leaking chemicals NO
      concern for CEO. 
      This is, of course, only one example of Mr. Polus "playing God" with the safety and well-being of others.  I blogged recently about another safety issue that Mr. Polus is aware of - leaking gaskets.  No concern, apparently that a child might ingest the chemical residue his product emit.  His Chinese wood products emit a chemical smell that also doesn't seem to concern him.  

      His own employees have reported a tripping hazard with high heels sticking in his sliding door tracks.  Why doesn't he address this design flaw in his products?  Or issue a warning?  Instead, he sues people who have improved on his product.

      Safety First?  Not in this case.
      We've also seen how this attitude transfers to other "A Players" and even sales people and installers.  Sherly Hai Ami is happy to put her customers at risk and violate ADA laws in order to save money.  Employees sell and Operations installs unsafe systems like this one. 

      And don't even get me started on employee safety with regard to Human Resources and SPYING!

      It's easy to see that this is a company that is dangerously neglectful in their safety policies and that has developed a very sad attitude toward their own employees and customers.  This attitude is easily traced back to the CEO, Doron Polus, and his eagerness to "play God" in areas he doesn't fully understand regarding both product and employee safety.  His reckless attitude toward safety regarding the disabled and even children demonstrates profoundly the profit-over-safety attitude his entire company has embraced.