To the untrained eye, the incredible Hot Tub deals you find online can look too good to be true – and they usually are. Discover what to look out for and the deals you should avoid when shopping for Hot Tubs online.
We often get people coming into store with a preconceived notion that Hot Tubs should be around £2-3k; this is all thanks to online retailers and sellers on sites such as eBay that promise a Hot Tub deal that sounds too good to be true.
The issue has become such an epidemic on eBay that they have commented themselves:
“Much has been said about hot tubs from China v USA and elsewhere. Firstly, you can get genuine hot tubs from USA from as little as £4000. Unfortunately, the cheap spas on eBay do give the perception that a big hot tub should cost around £2,000 or that you can win an auction for that amount.
In all things, you pay for what you get. If you believe you can get a quality construction, electronics, electrics, jetting, TV, radio, DVD, and all the bells and whistles cheaply and are prepared to mix your children with the water and electrics in these units then buyer beware.
Chinese hot tubs often promote themselves as ‘made in USA’ when for the most part, it is not true. The acrylic sheets for the shells are manufactured in the USA, then stretched very thinly to bath-quality and reinforced with fibreglass. These shells are further stressed by being peppered with holes for all the jets. The holes weaken the shell structure and there are even some reports of owners stepping into spas and the shell cracking apart – hardly the relaxing experience you were hoping for!
The cabinets themselves often use low quality wood which can rot with either no base or thin plastic trays to shield the tub from ground moisture. The jets can be chrome on metal or plastic which can cause dangerous injury if they start to flake off. To serve the mass of plumbing from all the jets, the hot tubs have several pumps. If you add up the electric consumption of all the pumps and the heater – let alone any lights and media – you may find your domestic power supply stretched to the limit and be prepared for a scary electric bill! Controls can be authentic Balboa but sometimes clever imitations.
Made in China
A simple search on the internet can reveal just how many companies there are in China churning out masses of spas, swim spas, saunas, steam rooms and bathrooms. The main players have hundreds of models, which are imported and then branded up with exotic names to hide their origins.
Chinese spas obviously work for a while; however, the industry is aware of rapid fails in the ‘waterproof’ media like pop up speakers and TVs. A good quality waterproof system of marine quality would likely cost as much as the spa itself! TVs require ventilation and can’t be completely sealed from moisture, plus have you tried watching TV in the garden on a sunny day? Unfortunately, consumers again expect all the typical media extras on a USA-made spa for the same price point!
Hot tubs can be described as American or Canadian if their head offices are based there or their acrylic or controls are manufactured there. Giving a spa an American sounding name can aid the myth as can producing a small part of the range in North America/Canada with the rest made in China. Another trick that some Chinese spa manufacturers use is illegally using the Jacuzzi brand to sell their Hot Tubs. Jacuzzi is a brand name; a Hot Tub is not a jacuzzi unless manufactured by Jacuzzi themselves.
The warranty for a Chinese hot tub will rarely be with the manufacturer whose duty of care usually ends at the docks. The warranty, usually only for a short period, will be with the importer or seller. A typical importer of Chinese spas often selling on eBay may have a shiny website, yet actually be a company registered at a virtual office with no actual showroom to view the build quality for yourself.
Delivery will usually be to the kerbside and spas are heavy items requiring specialist equipment to get into place, if not a crane. If the spa is damaged by uninsured or unqualified handlers, you have little chance of comeback on the seller. Any instance of potential ‘misuse’ will also invalidate what little warranty there may be. If the acrylic sheet is USA-made then there may be a valid warranty on that from the manufacturer, the rest of the build will be dealer warranty. When the dealer ceases trading or disappears, you have little redress once things do go wrong.
Chinese hot tubs state they are CE approved; however, due to the complexity of certification it is very hard to authenticate the gold bordered certificate often produced. Only gaining sight of the actual testing reports validates the certificate. Several sites found via google allow checking of CE certificate numbers; however, it is hard to verify the certification of famous household names let alone a small unit in Shanghai.
Chinese spas often bear no distinguishing names or are dealer branded so when it comes to obtaining spares or replacement filters you might have trouble. Chinese spas also deteriorate quickly so if you do need to move and resell you may have problems and the spa casing may break in transit. If your spa fails and is not covered by warranty you also face having to remove and dispose of the large object yourself.
Therefore, before bidding on a hot tub that looks too good, consider these factors. Ask where the unit is manufactured, check the company registration of the seller and location, google to check if they are an actual company or a virtual mailbox, and check who is responsible for warranty and repairs. Realise you may be parting with money for something that has yet to be ordered from China. If the information is not forthcoming or seems to conflict, beware.
A quality hot tub will have a thick acrylic shell or be rotationally moulded and will carry a manufacturer’s warranty. Remember, the more pumps and jets the higher the running costs, the more complex jetting the greater the risk of plumbing leaks and the requirement of a known spa brand to trouble shoot.”
We are proud of the exceptional build quality of our Coast Spas Hot Tubs, and truly believe that they are worth every penny. If you want to know more about Coast Spas, Download a Free Brochure today!