My experience with my RainSoft dealer is, generally, a separate issue. However, I would say that the sales representative was, perhaps deliberately, unclear on several things:
1) The annual cost of consumables. For anyone thinking of purchasing a RainSoft system, the consumables run us about $300/yr for two R/O complete filter exhanges; one replacement R/O membrane; and salt.
We were left with the impression that the main cost would be the salt for regenerating the ion exchange column in the water softening tanks. My notes from the presentation say "Only salt needed. Approx. $40 per year."
2) The effect on existing equipment. We were told that the softened water would have a positive effect on our equipment.
Perhaps because the dishwasher we have is rather old, but it has started to rust out much faster than it used to before the installation of a salt-based water softening system. Ditto for the in-sink disposal unit. More modern equipment, such as our clothes washer, seem to be unaffected.
This is not just an issue with RainSoft. I suspect it is an issue with most salt based water softening systems.
That has to do with the trustworthiness of salespeople and not RainSoft itself. However, I think it's endemic to the industry to glide over the unpleasant facts.
On to RainSoft, the equipment.
Our RainSoft equipment is the most trouble-prone thing we own. In the four years we've owned the RainSoft system, we've needed repairs every year. On a scale of 1 to 5, I would rate the system a 3 for reliability. One service call a year isn't bad. It just isn't good. I don't like to worry about things. I just want them to work.
On to RainSoft, the company philosophy.
The biggest issue for me is the company's strategy of proprietary design, intended to lock you into a tight relationship with your local dealer. It will be hard to find replacement consumable parts, such as the R/O membranes, for your RainSoft system. Expect to pay at least twice as much for them through your dealer as you would online, or if you had a generic system.
For people in this news group, who tend to enjoy and be good at fixing things, you will not be able to find repair parts if anything goes wrong. A $5 part will cost you a $70 service call because parts are proprietary and available only to dealers.
This can also become awkward if your relationship to your dealer isn't good, or even if they're just busy.
My RainSoft system does a good job of providing me with clear, tasty water. However, next time I would pay more to purchase a system that was more generic. I pay too much for my consumables, and I don't like being at the mercy of my dealer.