Do you know what a Porcher toilet is?
I didn't either until mine started running. Recently, I purchased a new house that had been completely remodeled by a developer. The developer had hired a designer from the Home Depot Expo Center and essentially given her a blank check. She did an amazing job and used very high-end products in all areas of the house, including Porcher bathroom fixtures. To me, the Porcher toilet looked exactly like any other toilet I had ever installed myself, although it did have a unique flush mechanism that used a push-button on the top rather than a handle.
When my toilet started running, I opened it to find one of the most foreign-looking flush mechanisms that I had ever seen. Here is a picture of it:
I was astounded at the inside of my toilet and did not even know where to start troubleshooting. Of course, I went to the Internet and searched for "Porcher toilet" on Google. I found that Porcher toilets are imported and sold by American Standard and that they are extremely high-end (read expensive). I also found that the official Porcher site had no toilet parts explosion nor did it have a listing of replacement parts (not that I would have known what I needed to replace).
Feeling frustrated, I Googled "Porcher replacement parts" and this A-Ball Plumbing site popped up, showing me a picture of the inside of my toilet and the two parts that commonly wear out. Armed with the knowledge of the part I needed, I attempted to find the part locally to no avail. I even called the Home Depot Expo Center since I knew the toilet had been purchased there, but the Expo Center does not stock repair parts for European toilets. Finally I broke down and called A-Ball Plumbing. Why did I call, you might ask? Because I was tired of turning on the water supply on every time I wanted to flush the toilet and off after flushing, and the A-Ball commerce site didn't let me select overnight shipping as an option.
When I talked with the gentleman at A-Ball and told him my toilet problem, he told me exactly which of the 2 common parts that wear out I needed. I related to him that I could not find the toilet parts anywhere in my area and he told me that he shipped these parts all over the country. Following that statement, I asked him why Next Day Shipping was not available as an option on his site; I pointed out that it was likely that most people looking for the part probably had an immediate problem and were not looking for preventative parts. He related that he had never thought of it that way.
End result: $25.00 for the part and $20 to ship it overnight, and one of the easiest toilet parts replacements I have ever completed.
1. Good European toilets, though expensive at the outset use very simplistic and easy to repair mechanisms. Given the choice, I would probably install one in the future.
2. Even 5 years ago I probably would not have been able to find parts for this toilet very easily. Why? Because the Internet was not as pervasive, and it was not cheap enough or easy enough for plumbing supply companies to list their products and allow them to be sold over the Internet.
3. Lots of commerce sites need to think more about the actual customer experience. In an industry like plumbing, an especially when supplying a very hard to locate part, companies need to understand that customers are not looking for these parts to store them in their cabinet -- make it easy to ship these items overnight. I seriously did not need to talk to the guy at the plumbing store; they had provided enough information for me to identify the malfunctioning part, but made it very hard for me to feel comfortable I would receive it the next day without talking to someone.
4. I should go into the business of importing these parts and selling them; I cannot believe how hard they are to find.