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HOT TUB ALERT - CHINESE HOT TUBS COULD BE BAD FOR YOU
July 29, 2011
By Betty Carter
Las Vegas, NV USA
First off, we want to completely state
that this article is in no way racist. We love the
Chinese people, and certainly love the low cost products
that they manufacture. We also love the fact that
for some reason, they continue to lend money to the
United States, when in actuality, there is absolutely no
way that we could ever pay them back ! We also
love the fact that we can all buy their great big-screen
TV's and their high quality clothing. So let's not
make this either racial, nor political, because it is
Now to the facts.....we have recently noticed a large
surge in the purchase of hot tubs that are made in
China. Now let's get the record straight....not
all Chinese made hot tubs are bad at all.
But....for numerous reasons, unfortunately, many
Chinese-made hot tubs are not so good, and many
consumers worldwide have been taken advantage of by
purchasing (or trying to purchase) Chinese made hot
tubs. While some are great, and have quality
aftermarket support in North America, many are not.
Period. After all, we are sure that there are some
Nigerian Princes that have recently passed on, and need
your bank account number to simply place $50,000,000
into your bank account just by giving them your Social
Security Account Number and your Bank Account PIN
Number. But that is not the norm (or so we are
Many Consumers Are Being Taken Advantage Of
Quite frankly, many North American and European
consumers are being taken advantage of. There is a
serious problem with many Hot Tubs being
Manufactured in China. To make matters worse, some
North American parts suppliers are feeding these China
Companies with American made parts, assisting them in
the training and knowledge of how to manufacture a Hot
Tub and allowing these Chinese made Hot Tubs to be sold
Worldwide. The problem is, these Chinese made hot
tubs - Frankenstein-ed together with various unregulated
American made parts, are wreaking havoc across the
globe. There are no safety inspections, there are
no "UL" approvals, there are no import restrictions or
inspections, and for the most part, there are no
In other words, many North American parts
suppliers are causing legitimate hot tub sales to be
taken away from the legitimate Canadian and U.S. hot tub
manufacturers and dealers - and passing off these lesser
quality hot tubs to the unknowing consumer. And
hey, these tubs are not cheap. Sure you may get
what you think is a $9000 hot tub for $6000 - but let's
be real here - it is still $6000 freakin' dollars.
You should demand and expect a certain degree of quality
and product back-up for $6000, no ?
For many North American Hot Tub Manufacturer's and hot
tub consumers, they are completely
unaware of how serious the problem has become! Many
local hot tub dealers dealers worldwide are purchasing
these China Hot Tubs, and they base much of their
decision making in that the equipment and Acrylic sheets
are from very high profile American Suppliers.
This gives both the dealers and the consumers the
unfounded confidence that these are, in fact,
high-quality hot tub units - where in fact nothing could
be further from the truth.
And that's the good news ! The real bad news is
that many hot tub dealers (as well as their unsuspecting
customers) have given HUGE deposits to some of these
Chinese companies - without ever even receiving the hot
tubs at all ! Remember, there is no Better
Business Bureau or Department of Consumer Affairs in
China. There is no Underwriters Laboratories.
There is no Consumer Reports or Best Buy Awards programs
there. There is certainly no Poolandspa.com Best
Of Class reporting system in place for Chinese-made hot
Let's look At Some Facts:
If you do a Google search on any China
made Hot Tub and you will find suppliers everywhere.
Chinese companies are quoting specific hot tub equipment
manufacturers and specific Acrylic sheet manufacturers
that are being used in their tubs. Furthermore,
they are passing off that these Hot Tubs are exactly
like North American made Hot Tubs. You have to
realize that it is estimated that there are between
30,000 - 40,000 Chinese Hot Tubs manufactured each year
for the past few years - and that total keeps going up
and up. These Hot Tubs are not certified by "UL"
and some even show markings of "CE" approvals, that are
either non-existent or completely self regulated in the
majority of cases.
For example, right now, there have been
thousands of Chinese Hot Tubs sold in the past year,
through various popular online shopping sites.
When you view many of these websites you realize that
none of these Hot Tubs have absolutely any approvals,
and many have Chinese Motors and Chinese equipment...but
of course, many boast that Acrylic Spa Shell is "Made in
To make matters worse, if you do more Google searches,
you will find that hundreds of consumers worldwide have
given deposits for various amounts, to some of these
Chinese companies and have received nothing - nada -
zippo. And obviously, there is no
inter-continental hot tub police authority that you can
file a report with. We doubt that calling Interpol
will help you ! In England alone, there are
hundreds of thousands of dollars in un-refunded deposit
monies still due to consumers who never received their
"great bargain hot tub".
Not All Chinese Hot Tub Manufacturers Are Bad
Once again, not all Chinese hot tub manufacturers are
bad. But be aware that due to the
current international economic climate, China will sell
their Hot Tubs to anyone with American dollars, whether
you are an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer),
Distributor, local hot tub dealer, or a consumer.
So what about North America? Are there Chinese Hot Tubs
lurking in our backyards? The answer is an outstanding
Within the Hot Tub Industry, there have been
large booths at the Industry Trade Shows
with Chinese Hot Tubs on display. Believe it or not,
many of the Hot Tubs they displayed were all European
models (50 Hz electric, not the 60Hz we use in North
America), and therefore were not capable of operating at
all in the USA or Canada. Also many of the Hot
Tubs shown in these various Trade Shows were not even
We have to ask.....where are the Consumer Protection
Agencies ? Where is "UL" ? How is
this even possible? Even children's toys from China that
are found to be containing lead paint are immediately
removed from store shelves nationwide. Yet, hot
tubs, that mix water with electricity, are freely
allowed to be sold worldwide with absolutely no
regulation ? This is unbelievable.
But let's put safety aside for a moment (if you can).
All hot tubs break eventually. Poolandspa.com's
E-Commerce store sells millions of dollars of hot tub
parts each year directly to consumers who need to fix
their aging spa. Well, we hate to tell you, but
Poolandspa.com does not have access to many of these
Chinese manufacturered parts. Poolandspa.com does
not have access to the OEM instruction manuals for these
hot tubs. Poolandspa.com does not have access to
the exploded parts-views for these tubs.
Every Day, Consumers Are Being Disappointed
And you must understand, we receive parts requests EVERY
SINGLE DAY from consumers who thought they were doing a
good thing by buying a Chinese hot tub to save some
money during the Recession, only to be told "No, we do
not have access to those Chinese parts". Wow, does that
piss people off. We feel for these customers,
because they earnestly thought they were getting "a good
deal" on their family's hot tub.....only to be told that
they have to sink another grand into a whole new
equipment pack for their "new" hot tub when something
This is so unfair. It is unfair to the unknowing
consumer, it is unfair to the legitimate North American
Hot Tub Manufacturers and it is unfair to the untold
numbers of parts suppliers worldwide who are being
yelled at because the replacement parts are unavailable
to them from the so-called Chinese Hot Tub
Even very legitimate "Big Box" retailers are falling
prey to this situation. Major retailers such as
Home Depot, Sears and Kmart (many of which are
advertisers on our Poolandspa.com web site - just to be
provide "transparency" here) are also unaware that the
units they are offering for sale could cause potential
problems to their customers.
Who Is To Blame ?
So who is to blame here ? Well,
unfortunately no one particular party - in our opinion.
Consumers are looking for "good deals" during this
troubling economic time. The 'Big Box' stores are
just looking for low-cost products to sell them.
The equipment suppliers are just looking for new markets
to sell their parts to. The Chinese are just
looking for things to sell to consumers.
But who are the casualties of this ? Well, the
consumers who get a tub that needs parts - and can't get
them. The stores that sell these tubs and receive
no after-market support from the Chinese manufacturers.
And the high-quality North American and European hot tub
manufacturers who are trying so very hard....to keep
their heads above water during these troubling economic
What Is The Answer ?
So what is the answer ? Well, like all times of
progress and change, unfortunately it is the end-user
who ultimately gets screwed in the short run.
Because at this point, no one can fix your hot tub, no
one can get the parts for your hot tub, no one will
warranty your hot tub, and there is no international
consumer protection agency who will help you if you feel
you were "wronged" by a Chinese hot tub manufacturer.
Again, this article is in no way a racist
point of view. We are just stating the facts as we
see them coming in day after day. The
Poolandspa.com Parts Department is on the "front-line"
of this battle. And we hear it day after day.
Consumers who feel taken advantage of. Hot Tub
dealers that have been screwed out of products they have
paid for. Hot Tub service companies who are being
screamed at by consumers for not being able to repair
the tubs they have purchased.
So our current recommendation on this whole situation
is......Caveat Emptor......wait........we will give you
the time to Google that........OK, it means "Let The
Buyer Beware". Just be aware of what you are
buying. Be confident of the company and dealer you
are purchasing from. Buy a brand name that you can
trust. Do your research on Poolandspa.com,
SpaSearch.org, APSP.org and other consumer-oriented hot
tub web sites before you make a purchase.
And finally......if you think you are getting "the same"
$9000 hot tub for $3000, you may want to think about
that. As your mother always told you...."If it
sounds too good to be true, it probably is." In
this case, you might want to believe your mother.
Special thanks to Don Elkington from
Coast Spas Manufacturing for providing additional
information and quotes for this article. To Dan Harrison
Master Image Productions for conducting many
telephone surveys and interviews for this article. To
Parts Product Manager for Poolandspa.com for
information regarding parts sales. To LeShawna
Washington at the Poolandspa.com Call Center for
reviewing Consumer phone reports, to Ethan Johnson, for
his reviews of Consumer complaints and comments from the
Poolandspa.com web site. And to the many
Canadian and USA based Hot Tub Manufacturers for
their specific input and support for this article.
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