Here is a detail of this issue.
On 9/30/2011 we dropped off our SCUBA equipment to have the annual maintenance performed. This maintenance includes: Various service kits for the first and second stage of the regulator, service kit for the air source 3; which is used for inflation while diving and emergency air, also included in the annual maintenance is labor and adjustments to ensure all equipment is working properly. The total for this work to be performed was $350.25.
While diving the following weekend, the main regulator one breaths from while diving, began to leak severely. In addition, the air source 3 was also leaking air, however not as bad. We immediately took the equipment back to Underseas SCUBA to find out what the issue was with the equipment. It was not leaking prior to taking the equipment into Underseas SCUBA.
The Equipment was dropped off to Underseas SCUBA on 10/10/2011 for further adjustments and repair (from the original work that they performed imprecisely). The equipment was picked up again from Underseas SCUBA on 10/14 and we were assured that they made the proper adjustments and all was working properly.
On 11/05/2011 we left for a SCUBA diving trip in the Lesser Dutch Antilles for a week of diving. On the first day of diving we had a number of issues:
1. One of the mouthpieces came off the primary regulator while diving: which was replaced and not properly install
2. The nut holding the Air 3 air source came loose and began purging air; which shows a lack of detail in their workmanship
3. The regulator was leaking severely as it was before when Underseas SCUBA performed the annual maintenance (as stated prior, this was not leaking prior to taking the equipment into them for service).
After ending the dive early (the dive had just begun, so no emergency ascent was required), we had the equipment specialist and the captain of the Live aboard Vessel check the equipment. While checking the equipment, they stated that we should have our equipment serviced (I.e. Annual Maintenance) performed at least once a year on our equipment. They based this comment on the fact that there were NO NEW SERVICE kits installed on these regulators and showed us the old o-rings; which were horrible smashed and worn. Luckily they had service kits on board and proceeded to install them and perform the maintenance that we had paid Underseas SCUBA for just week prior ($350.25). While we were able to continue our trip and begin diving again, we did miss a number of dives due to Underseas SCUBA not performing the maintenance request and paid in good faith. Further, in recent letters from Undersea's SCUBA, they have mentioned that they had talked to the captain of the vessel and he had no memory of the specific incident or of us (Phil Niccolls and Tim Hedrick) even being on board. While on this trip there were a number of issues with the vessel; which the captain was working to rectify. In others words, it is not his fault as he (the captain put it-in previous letter from Underseas SCUBA) " I really do not remember them."
A Statement from Underseas SCUBA, "Any failure after that would be caused by something passing through the regulator and causing a free flow. This could be caused by particles in the air supply" is a complete fallacy! First, there are multiple filters within the first and second stage of a regulator to keep these issues from happening (if the maintenance kits were indeed installed), Second, air used in SCUBA diving is regulated by federal government to ensure that the air is indeed 21-22% O2 (or higher based on the Nitrox Mix), the air is dry (no humidity), and finally, the air is free of debris and other hazards. The first time we used the equipment after the maintenance was supposed to have been performed, the air came from DJ's SCUBA Locker. A well know and respected dive organization within the Chicagoland area. DJ's also supplies area fire departments with air along with organizations such as the Brookfield Zoo. The second time we had issues with the equipment, while outside the US, the company that owns and runs the vessel is located in the US and falls under the same high standards for air. Lastly, even if bad air was a possibility, it would be my professional opinion that is would take much more than just a couple dives to build up these so called "particles." Again, if it was the air, howis it that no one else who purchases air from DJ's has had an issue and why then, did no one else on the vessel in the Lesser Dutch Antilles have any issues?
We have since had our equipment checked by DJ's Scuba Locker and have been given the OK on the work that was performed on the vessel during our trip. While we understand that DJ's SCUBA is not an authorized service center for this brand of equipment, they are qualified and licensed to work on ALL TYPES of regulators. While I do understand Bruce Hootman backing up his technician (incidently his wife also), they are other complains that have been registered with Aqualung regarding this dive shop.
While our experience as professional PADI divers and years of diving averted any major or deadly issue; which could have happened with less experience divers, it is our opinion that Underseas SCUBA should not be repairing equipment for Aqualung. At this time we have opened a case with Aqualung to investigate Underseas SCUBA for possible fraud and re-training of their staff on Aqualung Equipment. In addition other cases with the following agencies have also been opened:
"¢ Better Business Bureau
"¢ State of IL Chamber of Commerce
"¢ IL Attorney General
Overall, Underseas Scuba did not perform the work correctly the first time, the equipment had to be taken back to them for further work a second time. After the second time, the work still was not performed and was not performed correctly; which is what we paid for them to do. This is the reason we are requesting a full refund. The details do not matter; it boils down to the work for which we paid was not performed.
We appreciate your help in resolving this issue and remain ready and willing to discuss this issue at any time.
Phillip A. Niccolls and Timothy J Hedrick
Review about: Scuba Dive Shop.