Hindustan Unilever Pure (bullsh) iT

UPDATE – 9th Oct ’09 : A visit from PureIt sales guy, and a promise of replacement.

UPDATE2 – 16th Oct’09 : Another visit from PureIt. We received a complete replacement of the battery kit, for free.

A consumer battle WON!

—————————————————

Read these words of caution before you decide to buy Hindustan Unilever’s water purification product – PureIt.

We bought our PureIT water purifier around 3 and 1/2 months back, a month after I came back to India. A sales rep had promptly landed at the door within a few hours of us asking for the demo. He went on to demo the features of the purifier and we were told that PureIt’s main mechanism worked on a :

Mesh+Battery kit combination  – The kit consists of

(i) a cloth like mesh (called Unique Microfibre Mesh) right at the top to collect large particles when you pour water into the purifier. This is largely a pain to maintain since it gets clogged up very easily. The rep had told us we would have to clean it up by turning it inside out and rubbing it slightly, every couple of weeks. You have to do this more frequently else you’ll be pouring water at the rate of a drop every second. Imagine yourself standing with the water container for 5 minutes just to pour water into the purifier.

(ii) A black, brittle dome of carbon (called Unique Compact Carbon Trap) immediately below the mesh(middle chamber) supposedly removes other bacteria, dirt and parasites. If you watch closely, you’d be able to see small particles of this very carbon crap floating around during the first few  uses. We scratched it slightly in front of the rep and scratched off some carbon with that. To that, the rep added that the first round of water dished out must be thrown away.

(iii) a Chlorinator (called the Unique Germkill  Processor) at the middle chamber which also houses the battery indicator(more on this advanced feature later). If you stand close enough to the purifier, you’d be able to smell the chlorine strongly. I see no reason for further chlorinating water that was already treated with chlorine by the water supply board.

(iv) Unique Polisher at the bottom(lower chamber) apparently removes odor and more impurities from water. This seems to work since we’ve never tasted any odor with water dished out by this purifier. But the fact that a couple of litres of water are lost in this hidden area raises doubts if this area is being used as a sediment area for particles not purified by the stages before and probably also for those added by the carbon trap. Add to that, you may never be able to clean this hidden storage area.

(v) Unique Battery Life Indicator indicates if this battery kit needs replacement. It works by displaying a white powder like substance that (should) slowly turns red as the battery’s life nears its end. For us, it worked as mentioned for the first 3 months, during which I saw the indicator 1/4th red. But then, the indicator quickened its reddening and changed to a complete red within a span of around 15 days.

From their website:

The ‘Germkill Battery Kit’TM has been designed to give typically 1500 litres of water at a water temperature of 25°C, in moderate humidity conditions.

Now, why should humidity affect water purification? If humidity were to kill the purifier, isn’t water humid enough to do so? Anyways, the city of Hyderabad is seldom humid. And we had almost no rains this year either.

Advanced Auto Switch Off – is so advanced, we had to wipe off our floor a couple of times before we could understand what the problem was. Apparently, this advanced mechanism works by cutting off supply of water to the lower chamber. Yes that works. The problem is that water continues to flow to the middle chamber from the top and with nowhere else to go, water leaks out by overflowing from the middle chamber storage. Very advanced indeed.

Kudos to Hindustan Unilever for their ‘Unique’ naming, their overuse of TMs and their advanced mechanism. We tried calling PureIt to lodge a complaint. The response to this complaint was a call from another sales rep asking if we wanted a new battery kit (Rs.500). We say no and that we want someone to resolve our issue. Rep disconnects immediately. Other responses to our calls include : “Please give us one day, we will resolve this issue”; “No, please don’t use the email facility, we will look into this issue immediately”; another call from sales rep for battery replacement; “It depends on the usage”(favorite line); “Do you keep it beside the fridge, or do you use it under the sun”?; and so on.

-Near a fridge? The demo representative never told us that. Anyway, its not beside the fridge.
-Under the sun? No seriously, who would do anything like that?
-Depends on usage? Okay, for two persons, (one at office), do you expect the usage to be (1500 litres/105) 14 litres per day? We don’t use this water for cooking or any other purpose other than for drinking. We boil 3 litres per day after  PureIt stopped working.

If this ain’t enough, you should take a look at the One Crore Challenge. It is the most ridiculous challenge ever. Give it a read.

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) agrees to pay Rs 1 crore to any claimant who can bring to it any Indian commercially manufactured and marketed in-home drinking water treatment unit (water purifier) which, after passing through the defined process of the Challenge, and under these terms and conditions, has all the features specified below, which HUL believes only the Pureit water purifier has: …….

If you were even remotely considering buying this expensive piece of junk, this post should have warned you sufficiently against it. Bad mechanism, poor customer care, misinformation and false promises make up for a pathetic product. PureIt? No. Pure  Bullshit.

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2 Responses to Hindustan Unilever Pure (bullsh) iT

  1. Anoop says:

    Well we use a home made purifier, My mom has her servant to always draw drinking water for four of us from our own well by hand using a clean bucket, Then about ten litres of this water goes into our fifteen year old water filter, The resulting water is poured into a stainless steel vessel and boiled for about 20 minutes, three litres go into our fridge for two of us and for my mom and my three year old son there is no chilled water , It is kept warm by keeping in our five litre flask, The perfect purifying mechanism , We never had any water borne disease in our home ever

  2. Nav says:

    The reason they dont want you to send an email is because it creates a paper trail which can be used in a consumer court. Please write online reviews about these bad products. Even I bought an advanced 14L Pureit and even the construction workers to whom we gave the water, refused to drink it. Surprisingly, even the two technicians who came from Pureit refused to drink the water. Although they replaced the germkill kit for free once, the water still continued giving stomach problems.

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