Following Rob Carlin’s interesting piece, in the last issue of Hot Tub & Swim Spa Scene, I wanted to add my own take on things, writes Richard Hart of the Aqua Warehouse Group. The article centred round the rise of the Chinese spa manufacturers versus American producers. Now Rob was very polite and careful with his words and I agree with most of what he said. But in my right of reply, I plan to be a little more blunt and to the point!
I don’t have a problem where a spa is made. Rob is correct that the Chinese have vastly improved their quality and production methods. Some spas made in the USA are also dreadful, flimsy and sold as top of the range.
We sell a product called Covana which is an electric roof for spas and swimspas. Our engineers are often called out to a Covana fault which turns out to result from the fact that the swimspa has bowed out with the water pressure which in turn causes the roof to go up crooked! Yet, the customers have paid top dollar for what they thought was high quality spa that is so weak it is flexing under the weight of water.
So, irrelevant of where the spa is made, I do have three issues that really bug me.
“THE CHINESE HAVE VASTLY IMPROVED THEIR QUALITY AND PRODUCTION METHODS. SOME SPAS MADE IN THE USA ARE ALSO DREADFUL, FLIMSYAND SOLD AS TOP OF THE RANGE. ” – Richard Hart, AquaWarehouse
Firstly, I object to pulling the wool over customers’ eyes to make them think a spa is USA made when it clearly is made elsewhere
I’ve seen USA logos over websites, prominent mentions of the term USA just because the spa has USA controls or acrylic but no mention of the true location of the factory of origin being China. This is bad practice verging on illegal.
If you are proud of your spa and its build quality then say it. In fact shout it from the rooftops but call a spade a spade. Reveal where it is actually made.
Secondly, we should ensure every spa has a serial number plate and also that it has relevant and useful information. I’ve seen spas with no markings whatsoever and I’ve seen spas with a fake serial number plate. No! You scream! Yes indeed. This spa (quite well known in fact ) had a plate with the word “Hot Tub”. Well that’s a lot of use. It had the size of the spa! Not sure how useful that would be. And that was it! No manufacturer name, no contact, no serial number or model name. Absolutely useless. In fact, I use the term FAKE as it was put there to look like a serial plate but wasn’t. That is telling me that this company has no interest in supporting its customers in the future. Thirdly, put in place a decent support plan to be able to deal with warranty issues and long term parts supply.
This is also sadly lacking from some spa importers. One dealer recently told me he’d given up trying to claim for warranty parts from his supplier as they either side stepped the claim, ignored him or just failed to send the part. Not just a one-off; this was on multiple occasions. What surprised me was the dealer continued to buy from them. I would have left them pronto! So if you want to import spas, from whatever origin, please follow these three rules and I’ll play nice. But if you can’t follow those rules, then I will continue to slag you off rotten! Is that blunt enough for you?