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post #1 of 38 Old 10-06-2011, 09:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys, looking for some advice and ideas as I am fairly new to home automation and the options out there. The story below is crazy to me, since you pay quite a premium to put in a system like this, but for some reason here in Michigan the dealer network is corrupt and Savant does not seem to care very much.

About a year ago I had a Savant system installed into a new home. Sadly the dealer and rep firm assigned by Savant that did the install was shady and flat out lied to me as to their experience with Savant, among other things.

They (the rep firm and the dealer) had told me they were the 'experts' and I later found this was the 1st system they had done. The rep firm even went so far to tell me that this dealer was the only one in my area that could do this work. Needless to say, they overcharged me, double charged me, etc, etc and I had no choice but to fire them about 80% into the project.

How much was I overcharged? Well, that varied, but the worst of it was the 300% markup on hdmi cables... yeah 300%. And when I caught them, they dropped to regular price in 5 seconds.

Another example is they had 3-4 techs on site programming Savant for 2 weeks, which I later found is complete overkill, but it makes sense because they were literally learning on the job.

After firing this 1st dealer, we talked with the rep firm, and they then assigned another dealer who was supposed to be amazing and very experienced, etc. So we brought him in to finish.

This dealer ended up being a 1 man shop, subcontracting out the actual work, and seemed to have little working knowledge of Savant. This guy would bill me for 2 techs doing work, when his subcontracted tech would do 90%+ of the work. He also insulted me, the equipment I have in the house, among other lovely things. He was actually worse than the 1st dealer!

So here we are about a year later, the rep firm has been fired by Savant, there are only 2 remaining dealers in Michigan now (the 2 I worked with!) and my concerns to Savant are pretty much unanswered.

I actually found 2 other dealers in Michigan, but now they are no longer Savant dealers, so there is no one in the state that can do this now.

Savant's position to me is "we sell the equipment to the dealer, we're sorry for your dealer experience, we've run out of dealers(2)". Meanwhile this last dealer is badmouthing me to Savant and it sounds like they're happy to side with a dealer rather than a customer.

I have spent a TON of money on this house (remodeling a spec home), and this Savant business is the the only thing that has been a major problem.

Alright, so I'm at the point where I am ready to rip the Savant components out and replace with another system. Even though it is a total waste of 10s of thousands of dollars, it is worth it to me because Savant doesn't seem to care enough, and even if I get it finished, what am I to do when something goes wrong or I want to upgrade/add on?

Since I have limited knowledge of the other options, I am hoping y'all might give me some ideas... I know there is Crestron, Control4, ElanG, AMX, etc., but I don't know what would be the easiest to plug and play after taking out Savant.

The main thing for me is that it works with iPads/iPhone/iPod because I have already invested in all those devices and is the main reason I chose Savant in the first place (back then the iDevice support for other systems was fairly limited).

I have 9 displays, several rack sources, hdmi runs to all displays, conduit with cat5 up the wazoo, lutron homeworks lighting system, sec system, hvac, cameras, etc.

Any help is greatly appreciated...
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post #2 of 38 Old 10-06-2011, 10:20 AM
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Two options I see.

1. Stay with Savant, using an integrator from another area, who programs/troubleshoots remotely. Don't know how feasible this is with Savant. I know it's done with Crestron commonly, and I would guess it would be an option with Savant. You'll pay another local installation company for any additional legwork.

2. Find an outstanding local integration company, and replace Savant with what he recommends. Don't shop by brand - the install is only as good as the integrator. All of the iPads, iPhones, and iTouches can prob be re-used easily, for most systems. And, most systems will use the same cables you already have pulled.

Your original installer made the mistake of handing you an itemized bill. Discuss total costs up front. Check references. Find an integration company you're comfortable with.

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post #3 of 38 Old 10-06-2011, 12:41 PM
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post #4 of 38 Old 10-06-2011, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, yeah I think the option is to find a respectable and honest installer/dealer and put in a diff system, since Savant is down to 2 dealers locally and they are absurd.

Plus if I need to expand in the future, Savant doesn't seem to care about the customer as much as the dealer.
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post #5 of 38 Old 10-06-2011, 03:32 PM
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I have the same situation with an élan system. An integrator from the vas forums sent me a pm and they will remote support the system. Keep looking you will find someone. I have an HAI system in my house and it's very solid.
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post #6 of 38 Old 10-06-2011, 03:38 PM
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I have PM'd you with some questions

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post #7 of 38 Old 10-06-2011, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks Dahwoo...pm'd you back
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post #8 of 38 Old 10-07-2011, 12:43 AM
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Savant is a newer control system so it is not surprising at all to hear your first installer had not done an install before. What is surprising is that I thought Savant offered direct help to make sure the first install goes well.

If you have a ton of Savant equipment, I would stay with it. Call Savant and asked who they recommend outside of your immediate area. Call them and find out how many installs they have done, do some reference checks and then have them come and finish the thing. It will cost a ton of money to replace the HDMI switcher with other brands and such.

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post #9 of 38 Old 10-07-2011, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey Amir, thanks, I have called Savant several times but they just put the onus on me and say that "I've ran out of dealers" and that they can't find a dealer.

Apparently no one wants to finish a system and they care more about their dealers than their customers sadly.
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post #10 of 38 Old 10-07-2011, 10:12 AM
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I feel bad for you in this situation that you had to go through the process.

But in the end it sounds like you are completely unhappy with both the gear and Savant as a company, so my suggestion would be to give them a call, say you are 100% not happy with the service and support of the product and you would like to return the gear and get your money back. I know it's a stretch, but if you get the right person (and the right tone level) it could happen.

The good thing is if you were to switch to a Crestron system, they are tried and true, and have thousands of installers and programmers across the country who are fighting tooth and nail for work.

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post #11 of 38 Old 10-07-2011, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpoulos View Post

Hey Amir, thanks, I have called Savant several times but they just put the onus on me and say that "I've ran out of dealers" and that they can't find a dealer.

Apparently no one wants to finish a system and they care more about their dealers than their customers sadly.

We are not a Savant dealer or I would offer to help . We have been looking at the system seriously though as of late to see if we should offer it. One of our best reps is now in charge of the line. Would you like me to ask him to see if he can get this situation in front of the right people at Savant? I can't predict what they can do but lack of resolution of your problem is an issue for me personally signing up to carry their product.

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post #12 of 38 Old 10-07-2011, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
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He Blowne and Amir, I have talked with Chuck Parrelli, VP of Sales... he is the only guy that will actually return my calls/emails from Savant. And I did bring up the idea of sending the equipment back.

His stance is "we sell the equipment to the dealer, and it would do no good to send it back to us, we'd just have a bunch of your used stuff". So again, they don't seem to care, which is really too bad.

Amir, anything you can do is greatly appreciated...maybe someone besides the VP of sales cares enough to make this right.
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post #13 of 38 Old 10-07-2011, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey another thought, does anyone know when they stopped selling the Rosie stuff? That's what I have, and I think it is obsolete now, so yet another frustration is I don't even have the latest stuff because I have waited a year for them to support the old stuff!
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post #14 of 38 Old 10-07-2011, 01:57 PM
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I am pretty sure they won't take the equipment back as they sold it to the dealer for less money than the charged you and used gear has even less value. And it is the dealer who screwed it up, not that the equipment was broken.

My thought was that they would find a way to make the system work through their own resources or force the other dealers locally to do it. If you want to go that path, I can give them a nudge. I am less hopeful now that I hear you have gone up as far as VP of sales but it may not hurt.

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post #15 of 38 Old 10-07-2011, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey Amir, they are basically telling me to work with the last dealer I fired... he was the nutcase I mentioned in the original post.

And the only other Michigan dealer decided not to work with me, mostly based on that nutcase's trashing of me to him. Dealers apparently stick together here, at least these guys.

Yeah anything you can do is greatly appreciate of course!
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post #16 of 38 Old 10-09-2011, 06:02 AM
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I am very sorry to hear this sorrow story. Would you like to ask for some consumer protection?
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post #17 of 38 Old 10-09-2011, 07:19 AM
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Where are you located in Michigan? I am a Savant dealer, I am willing to help if I can in some way (whatever that may be) and I have a 10 year reputation here, plus references.

I am very, very sorry to hear this absurd story; no customer should ever be treated this way- period. Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help.


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post #18 of 38 Old 10-09-2011, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey Dan! I am about 30 min north of Detroit... pm me if you want to chat via email/skype... not sure if you would travel for this, though I do have a fair amount of work to still finish on the system.

Coincidentally, I talked with Pecar here in Michigan who I think reps that state? Great guy...

thanks,
Rob
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post #19 of 38 Old 10-09-2011, 10:40 AM
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No, Pecar is not my rep ( Momentum Group ). Honestly, since signing up as a dealer I haven't spoken to the rep. I deal with Savant directly.

I will PM you later in the day and we can discuss particulars.

Dan

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post #20 of 38 Old 10-11-2011, 10:53 PM
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Good evening. So sorry to hear of your predicament. If you have not yet found a solution to your installation gone bad, let me know.

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post #21 of 38 Old 10-13-2011, 02:08 PM
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I would find a reputable Savant dealer (or two) and have them come out and assess the situation. Not a 30 minute walk thru. 2 guys for a week who are documenting EVERYTHING in the system. These documents should allow them to create a plan that will get your system finished.

If you are told "The system is designed properly, the wiring looks good and the installation is okay" then you should stick with Savant. It will cost you to fly people in and have them finish the system but at least it will be done. Hopefully you can find someone local. Make sure that a plan is created for tackling the completion of the project. Don't just bring another guy in and wait to see what happens.

Create short deadlines for the completion of specific tasks in a logical order. Like "all devices and wall plates in rooms terminated and labeled". Make sure this is done before proceeding to the next task. Second task is complete installation of all hardware at the control room and various cabinets around the house. At this point all hardware should be installed. Third task will be product configuration & programming. If you want you can break those sections up on a room or floor basis depending on the size/scope of your project.

If you have a Savant dealer come in and he tells you "this whole thing is wrong. i have to start over".

Second list everything on ebay @ a huge discount to move it.

Third contact a dealer for Crestron or Control4 or whatever is the right choice for your project.

This time around do this...

Before you do anything else... Get a set of blueprints that documents every wire in the house. Get the wires labeled at both ends. One that documents every pair of speakers, TV, Access Point etc in the house. You need these documents so you that you know exactly what you have in the house. Hire a company to do this for you. The documents will pay for themselves 10 fold.

Next you will need to create a complete wish list for everything you expect. At this point you should have an idea of where you want tv's speakers etc so this should go pretty quickly. For the most part you are just documenting what you have and adding anything that you thought of after you lived with the system for a while.

Now you are prepared to begin interviewing new dealers/installers. They have plans and a wishlist so the dealers should be able to give you a real proposal for completing the system.

Ask to see their website, marketing material if they have any and a tour of a recently completed project. If you get to a house that has 10 year old remotes and TV's then you know its not recent. You want to make sure that this company has been doing what they tell you they have been doing. The recent project tour is the most important. No one can "photoshop" a customers home. Test drive the remote controls. Check behind TV's and in cabinets to see if wiring is labeled and neat. If it isn't ask "why is this like this" and pray they don't say "thats just temporary". "Just temporary" really means "it will be this way for 10 years and then we will charge you to fix it when you notice it".

"Clean up" projects are always very difficult. Budget has been exhausted and now the client has to spend more money. Family members are tired of having installers around and dealing with partially working electronics. Clients are skeptical of everything we tell them because the last guy had the same confidence when leading them the wrong direction. It's a nightmare all around.

Contact CEPro about this and have them run the story in the magazine. This might help pressure the manufacturer into getting the support you expected/paid for and deserve. Good Luck.

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post #22 of 38 Old 10-13-2011, 03:01 PM
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Clean up" projects are always very difficult. Budget has been exhausted and now the client has to spend more money. Family members are tired of having installers around and dealing with partially working electronics. Clients are skeptical of everything we tell them because the last guy had the same confidence when leading them the wrong direction. It's a nightmare all around.

100% True and really the 2nd Dealer (if good) will most likely get the short end of the stick... The rewards from being good as the 2nd installer are never really reep'd until a referral is dropped or 5-10 years when the client want's to update their system.

Clean up work is the hardest work in the industry BY FAR. Hopefully anyone who comes here looking for help because of "the last guy" will see this and take that into consideration.

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post #23 of 38 Old 10-19-2011, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the reply 39centstamp... don't know if I want to get into legal battle... just sucks the time out of ya... but it may be warranted because these guys are still giving me the run around.
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post #24 of 38 Old 10-19-2011, 07:39 PM
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100% True and really the 2nd Dealer (if good) will most likely get the short end of the stick... The rewards from being good as the 2nd installer are never really reep'd until a referral is dropped or 5-10 years when the client want's to update their system.

Clean up work is the hardest work in the industry BY FAR. Hopefully anyone who comes here looking for help because of "the last guy" will see this and take that into consideration.

It really is the biggest issue with the industry. How many times have we heard of a bad system install. The client way overpaid and was left with a poorly implemented system. This leaves the client frustrated at the experience and with very little to show from their system. They now must hire a second firm to get everything going but have already blown their budget and are completely skeptical to unload more money into the project since they've been burned once.

It all comes down to quality control from the hardware providers (Crestron, Savant, Control4) but it is a herculean task and unlikely to ever get to the required levels of quality control.

I speak from experience. I now DIY my home Crestron system and while my skills are elementary to say the least, I can support my system, add to it as I see fit and ensure that I get what I want for the cost (time invested) I feel appropriate.
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post #25 of 38 Old 10-21-2011, 03:12 AM
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It really is the biggest issue with the industry. How many times have we heard of a bad system install. The client way overpaid and was left with a poorly implemented system. This leaves the client frustrated at the experience and with very little to show from their system. They now must hire a second firm to get everything going but have already blown their budget and are completely skeptical to unload more money into the project since they've been burned once.

It all comes down to quality control from the hardware providers (Crestron, Savant, Control4) but it is a herculean task and unlikely to ever get to the required levels of quality control.

I speak from experience. I now DIY my home Crestron system and while my skills are elementary to say the least, I can support my system, add to it as I see fit and ensure that I get what I want for the cost (time invested) I feel appropriate.

There is some degree of QC as these (or most of them) don't make their deveopment software available to the public. Non of them have control over how a person or firm conduct themselves. I like you do my own and have for many years now. In all those years, I have never provided one line of code to someone else for a fee or for free for that matter. I was entrusted with the software to do the right thing with it and I keep my word. I hope you do the same.

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post #26 of 38 Old 10-22-2011, 09:33 AM
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There is some degree of QC as these (or most of them) don't make their deveopment software available to the public. Non of them have control over how a person or firm conduct themselves. I like you do my own and have for many years now. In all those years, I have never provided one line of code to someone else for a fee or for free for that matter. I was entrusted with the software to do the right thing with it and I keep my word. I hope you do the same.

I would never give away the software I got. I wasn't supposed to get it but was accidentally included with my source code. I was able to Live Update to the latest versions but once Crestron switched over to Master Installer I couldn't update it again. It still seems new enough to support me for many years to come. I can't install any new equipment that was made after around 6/2010.

The thing that is too bad is that there isn't a good solution for people who do want to do this themselves or to have somebody set up their system but then support it themselves moving forward. You either have to go full professional or something incredibly basic like Harmony.
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post #27 of 38 Old 07-01-2012, 03:10 PM
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SAVANT
Can you give an update ? Is there a qualified savant home security/smart home installer in south east Michigan or southern Ontario? In windsor & Essex County they're all over this kind of technology I've heard.
If I decide to install myself, what security systems are compatable?
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post #28 of 38 Old 07-01-2012, 11:14 PM
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You generally can't DIY pro HA systems. For DIY, CQC is the most advanced option.

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post #29 of 38 Old 07-06-2012, 02:48 AM
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I would use instead Creston automated system Its 100% compatible with Apple, their hardware is better and they have been in business for a long time
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post #30 of 38 Old 07-06-2012, 04:59 PM
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I would use instead Creston automated system Its 100% compatible with Apple, their hardware is better and they have been in business for a long time

pretty silly to say it's 100% compatible with apple.. especially to insinuate that it's better with apple then Savant which is COMPLETELY apple based. Crestron even ripped off their iPad UI design because they couldn't figure out the orientation issue. I like crestron as much as the next guy but lets be honest... Crestron's iPad UI has been horrible for quite a long time and it only recently made some strides.

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