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The Water Test Scam

Unscrupulous agents using the precipitator or Jam Jar scam to sell reverse osmosis water systems are knocking on doors in Kimberley again.

A honest company or sales agent will never use cheap gimmicks to sell their products. If a sales agent is trying to con you it tells you a few things about the kind of people running the company. So, if you want to be sure you buy a quality product and with good after-sales service you better look somewhere else.

Water Filter Scam The Precipitator

The Precipitator

The Scam

Typically it runs something like this:

A sales agent calls you or knocks on your door and offers to test your water quality for free. Because it’s free, you don’t mind the demonstration. In this scenario, the sales agent comes to your house and asks for samples of your tap and bottled drinking water.
He produces a device with rods, plugs it into a power socket and immerses the rods into the samples.

Another version of the testing device

The Testing Device

Seconds later, the colour of both water samples turns a yellow horrid brownish black with scum drifting to the top. As the water colour changes before your disbelieving eyes, the agent warns you that your water is highly contaminated and and potentially life threatening.
The best solution, you are told, is to buy their water filter system. To illustrate his point, the agent proceeds to do the same test with a sample of water filtered by their company’s product. And guess what, the water colour remains largely unchanged.
You’ve just been conned by one of the oldest tricks in the chemistry book.

The Truth

Harmless minerals like calcium and magnesium in the water react with the electrodes which breakdown creating the sludge.  Reverse osmoses remove these minerals from the water thus no pronounced reaction.

Turn the tables

Water Filter Scam The Precipitator a Pinch of Salt

Add salt to the “clean” water and it fails the test.

Next time the con is tried on you, wait till the demonstration is finished.  Then add a teaspoon of salt into the filtered water while the device is still running.  Sit back and watch the sales agent’s face when his water suddenly starts producing sludge. Beware though, some scaly agents have caught onto this and will try to switch the device off while distracting you.

If you have been conned, do no feel bad.  Most of the agents are highly trained and practise their craft daily. They are VERY convincing.

This is filtered water with salt added.

This is a glass of filtered water with only salt added, after the test.

Has this happened to you? Drop us a mail to info@kimberley.co.za and tell us your story.

The lesser used TSD scare tactic.

Another devices is the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids)

TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) Tester

A sales agent will use a TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) tester and try to convince you that as the reading is lower with their water, you should buy their product.  TDS only measures the amount of dissolved mineral salts in the water which have no relation to the safety of the water.

The problem with the sales people is that they say that the TDS meter is showing you that the water is dirty, impure (in the sense of unsafe to drink) which is simply not true.

Companies Opposed

Some of the companies who have come out against using these tests to sell water or water purifiers are:
The South African Bottled Water Association (SANBWA)
H2O International SA and H2O USA
Rand Water
BioCrop Laboratories

Kimberley’s municipal water has been tested multiple times by Sol Plaatje and 3rd parties and found perfectly safe to drink.
Municipal water does frequently contain harmless sediment particles which can discolour the water.

If you do not want to take any chances with the safety of your drinking water then a good quality reverse osmosis filtration system is an excellent choice.

  • Purchase your filter system from a reputable company.
  • Have it regularly serviced
  • Purchase a filtering system with re-mineralisation, as prolonged used of de-mineralisation water do have health risks.

The truth about Precipitator water tests

Credits And Sources

Waterscam.co.za – Was jy gekul?

Vaal Triangle Info – Testing the water and getting cheated


The Jam Jar water scam

From the The South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA)

Aeon Computer Kimberley

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