"Most consumers know more about
quantum physics than about spas and hot tubs."
This page has save consumers thousands of dollars. I strongly suggest that you read this.
Don't read this AFTER you already bought a spa! It will just make you angry and wanting to justify your purchase.
|If you are shopping for a portable spa or hot tub, you need to be aware of the level of hype and nonsense used in the spa industry to get you to purchase inferior products at high prices. We believe that an education on spa design, manufacturing practices, and sales ethics is your best weapon against the questionable ethics that has found its way into the hot tub industry. We want you to be aware of the methods used on consumers, because consumers do not know much at all about spas. Most consumers know more about quantum physics than about spas and hot tubs.||
That is why this article is about:
•BOGUS SPA RATING SITES, •BOGUS MAGAZINES, •BOGUS AWARDS, •PUFFERY IN ADVERTISING, •BOGUS "INDEPENDENT TESTING" and •MESSAGE BOARD FORUM AWARENESS.
Copyright 2009-20013, Havenmade
|This is article about all the
bogus, fictitious ratings across the US for spas and a bit
about the so-called "awards". If there is one thing
that disturbs ethics and morals of anyone, is the use
of pure concocted nonsense to sell spas or any
product. It is specifically designed for the low
information consumer, which unfortunately is the common spa
shopper and owner.
How did the marketing people in the US get so unethical?
Do they really think that consumers are that ignorant? (Yes they do; because, you as a consumer are not educated on hot tubs and spas.) If you buy into these methods, then you are supporting these people who will do or say anything to get your money.
There is a wolf in sheep's clothing, just waiting for you in many hot tub stores. That "nice" sales person is not necessarily ethical. Sweet words do not make for a good spa product. Many people who believe they are Jesus's disciples seem to be on some form of delusion when it comes to money. Jesus made it clear that He has no association with money and clearly said that
a rich person is like trying to thread a needle with a camel when it comes to purity of heart.
Spa and Hot Tub Rating
There are no objective spa rating sites. This site is the only one that helps to educate you based upon the actual products engineering and if it follows the ANSI standard, or UL/CE standards or if it follows any engineering standards at all. The types of materials used and the cost to manufacture is a huge part of this evaluation. The prices based upon the actual value of the product are also discussed. The ethical history and ethics used in today's market of the spa company are also part of this discussion. We will discuss the use of puffery or unsubstantiated claims of superiority. This is something that the BBB's code of Advertising will not allow.
If you are a serious shopper, you will not take anything
at "face value", especially on the Internet. (On the
Internet anybody could be any sort of "expert".) It is up
to you to evaluate all the information and determine for
yourself the validity of it. You can also contact the web
site owner(s) and have them tell you exactly how the
evaluations between the brands are accomplished. If it is
paid advertising, as most are, they must tell you or they
are liable for legal action by consumers (You can sue the
crap out of them if they tell you direct lies. As a
consumer they are not allowed to directly mislead or lie
to you. They can lie to me all they want, because I am not
on the receiving end, not a spa consumer.). Most are paid
advertising or the spa company with the highest rating
owns the site. If you are led into a purchasing decision
by a so called objective site, and it turns out that the
site is owned by a spa company; then your decision is not
based upon a detailed evaluation of the spas and the
engineering, or the (lack of) ethics of the company.
( The spa industry is one of the worst industries in
terms of ethics, in my opinion.)
Claims of Superiority:
(We have not seen any spa that compares to the Super
Custom Magnum spas from Haven. Not one single spa
company has produced anything like it.)
The word "best" is considered a superlative that
has no higher value. There is nothing higher than the
"BEST". If you use the word "best", it cannot pertain to
any product, unless there is a ton of documentation,
evidence to back up the "unsubstantiated claim". (The
Super Custom Magnum spas have this.) It would be
smart if no one purchased a product from a company that
basically tells lies, however, consumers are not smart as
a rule when they buy. It is well known that people
buy for emotional reasons.
Puffery is a direct lie aimed at fooling consumers, using
emotions. Why would you as a consumer support
that? If you make a purchase decision based upon a
lie, you have a right to pursue legal action, not
just get your money back. It is false advertising.
Here is an example: "We have the best spas on earth!"
That is pure puffery. Another example: "In our expert's
opinions, our spas are superior to all the rest." The
second statement is not puffery, because it has a
qualifier, the words "our expert's opinions". The first
statement is pure puffery. Another example: "Our jets are
really some of the best around." Or "Our jets as a good as
it gets." These are not puffery, because they qualify the
statements with a comparison to other jets as being as
good as the rest and that other companies have jets that
are just as good, but not necessarily any better.
Professional advertising people are highly paid for what
they do, so you need to take a lot of salt with you when
you go shopping. When all the sweet words of the salesman
are placed in your brain, you can counter some of it with
a little salt. the "salt" of knowledge. Here
is a good article to start with. ANSI
STANDARDS FOR SPAS
Here are some puffery words and statements: "BEST".
"ULTIMATE", "MOST", "SUPERIOR TO ALL OTHERS", "HIGHEST",
"MOST EFFICIENT". Terms like "most efficient", must
contain qualifiers, such as the comparisons and how the
data was obtained. There has to be qualifications on
any use of superlatives or they are lies. Superlatives
leave us to believe that something is superior but a smart
shopper will never fall for puffery. If you see
puffery used in advertising, don't buy the product based
upon these lies, even if you think that you like the
product find out all the details of construction. Become
an informed consumer. So far all of the spa companies that
use a lot of puffery are not the best value in my opinion.
I have found that the more puffery the less actual value
there is in the products. Here is an example site
with a low return for your investment. It is some
sort of rule, that the marketing people have applied.
One of my favorite examples of this is the page in
a well known spa company's brochure. It shows a
picture of "Gray's Anatomy" showing the exposed muscles in
the human back. Superimposed over the muscles are
the "bla-bla-asage" jets. The "bla-bla-asage" jets
are the cheapest jets in the spa industry. They give
this set of 14 bullet jets a fancy name. In reality
bullet jets use less water, and cost about 1/7 the price
of a real jet. (I do not like bullet jets in my back,
particularly my kidney area; feels like a pencil poking
me.) The rule is this: "The more hype,
nonsense, and puffery used to sell, the more worthless the
feature is." If you want to pay a lot of money for
very little, you would fall for this puffery in
advertising. Avoid all spas with many tiny "bullet
jets" in your back. I saw one spa with 114 jets, as
if the number of jets has much to do with the
therapy. It is the type of jets and the positioning
of the jets, as well as the water and air power applied to
each jet that determines its effectiveness and not the
number of jets.
Some of the bogus awards in the spa industry are the "John Holcomb" award from the NSPI (now called the APSP because they were sued out of existence and the same bought off , greased palm, "ethics" is now with a new name.). The last award in the spa industry was for a plastic cabinet that was not even developed by the spa company who received the award. By the process of giving out the award to a company that contributes more money to the NSPI than any other company, it invalidates itself. That spa company uses more unsubstantiated claims of puffery than any other spa company. That spa company doesn't even follow the NSPI or the ANSI on the minimum safety standards. They simply sell more cheap tubs for high prices than any other spa company, by the use of extreme puffery and many millions of dollars used in advertising. They buy off the APSP and own most of the management.
The Consumer's Digest "Award":
This is a form of "reverse advertising" and it was and is slick. It is the "used car salesman's dream". The magazine editors would contact the spa company and ask for literature on the spas, brochures, and copies of warranty, specification sheets, and a list of average prices across the US. In about a month or so, the magazine would send a letter to the spa company, announcing that they have won the "award" for the "Best Buy" on some spa model. If the spa company chooses, they could pay many thousands of dollars to have the rights to use the "Best Buy" logo in advertising. It is not a wonder that the magazine is no longer in existence (It came back, recently). It was consumer fraud. The companies that used that bogus award in their advertising were just as guilty as the magazine. It is a disgusting lie to use that in any advertising, even if the product is good.
Whenever you see any award on any spa site, with stars or "best buy", then you know it is a paid advertising. The latest is the poolandspa star rating on spas. It is totally based upon advertising dollars paid to the Long Island Hot Tubs site. If you watch the ratings they change from month to month based upon who stopped paying for the advertising. A "5 star" spa brand will drop into the one star really fast if they stop paying for the advertising. The clue is to look at the banner advertising on the web site.
The spasearch.com is owned by a spa company. Whatsthbesthottub.com is another advertising company that wants about $1 for each click through from their web site.
What I am saying to you in no uncertain terms is there
are no real awards or testing of one spa against another.
There are very few sampling of the spa companies customer
service policy or even if the warranty is honored. Most
all of the awards are paid for by the spa company. Most of
the web sites, even the ones that sound like an impartial
site are most likely attached to some form of money from
spa companies. Why would anybody put up a web site and pay
for all the time to put it up. It has to be supported by
someone, including this one.
Not For Profit Company and Organization Logos!:
"In general, advertising which uses testimonials or
endorsements is likely to mislead or confuse if:
Pretty much all of those endorsements are about money and
Advertisers should consult Federal Trade Commission
Guides on Testimonials and Endorsements for detailed
"It is sort of psychological warfare against
you as a victim who thinks that you actually won
something good in the deal."
That is clear enough. But people are emotional buyers and
once the desire to own outweighs the reasonableness,
consumers are lost in BS and then subject to sales tactics
that are psychologically proven to sell anything. It
is sort of psychological warfare against you as a victim
who thinks that you actually won something good in
With young men it is particularly bad, because their egos
will not allow them to admit they made a mistake,
especially when buying something for the wife out of love
Just to show you how bad this gets: I had a woman with
arthritis call me and ask questions about a certain brand
of hot tub. She said that the salesman told her that
only H#t Sp###g spas are "approved by the Arthritis
Foundation". It seems that the salesman
took the Arthritis foundation on the brochure and used it
to deceive customers. That is how bad this
sort of deception is today.
Message boards and spa forums:
Message boards can be enjoyable and a good place to ask
questions, but for the most part, the forums I have seen
are the worst place for spa shoppers. There are a few that
are operated with ethics, but those are very few. They
often have a slant that may or may not be to your
benefit. They are edited for content. The Spa
Shopper guide is only edited for vulgarity and for insults
and we don't allow spa professionals to post with
fictitious names or to pose as spa shoppers or customers.
Read what is written, but take a huge salt shaker with
you when you go on those boards. Usually the fellow with
the correct information is the guy that gets slammed the
most. That is because the spa industry is generally pretty
sleazy; due to two things: 1/ spa shopper's ignorance on
the subject of spas, and 2/ the lack of any regulation in
the spa industry. THE SPA INDUSTRY IS TOTALLY
Any "Joe Blow" can build hot tubs, and make death traps if he wants to. There is no law against it right now in most states. The only hope for the industry is for you as a consumer to find out as much as you can and don't fall for the sales pitch. Never buy a spa without doing research. The number one selling spa is one of the worst engineering pieces I have ever seen. The only reason for it's existence is money. The dealers are supporting greed and lies, but it feeds their family, so on it goes, until you as an educated shopper put an end to it.
Right now on most message boards there are people posing as spa shoppers and owners, who are actually spa sales people. When you see a post like: "I am looking for 4 person spa for under $3000. What do you recommend?"; Then you see an answer that looks like it was all ready set to go, you know that both messages were from the same person. 95% of the people on message boards are spa salespeople.
If you want some real one on one you need to get a list
of spa customers from dealers and ask them all the reasons
why they bought and ask them about the spa's performance
and the customer service from the spa supplier. If you
find a post on a message board by a "spa owner", you may
want to find out for sure who that owner is. Email them
and get their name and phone number so you can talk to
them in person. If they post a fake email address, that is
a good clue they are sales people. If they use a
fictitious name and can't be identified, most likely they
are sleazy spa people. We do not allow any professionals
to post with fake names on our site. If we even suspect a
professional posing as a spa shopper, we block them until
the poster is identified. No identification, no
posting. You will notice that the board has very
little action, because we do not allow this. If you
as a consumer want to post, it is a good place to share
information, without unethical sales people.
Even the message forum here has the possibilities of fakers, as we call them. We publish the IP's in an effort to identify them, and we require posters to register, but that doesn't stop people from using two separate services for the post and the answer. When you see a message board with a post from a spa shopper, and a post from a sales guy, either posing as a spa owner or as a spa salesman, just be aware of this. It may be what we call "seeding the board". It is unethical, but it is done all the time.
On some message boards you will see the same person using
up to ten different and who knows how many really, board
names. One fellow I came across on a message board
used six consistently. Makes you wander what
his motivations are.
Wind, snow, humidity and the use of the jet pumps
when you get out to add chemicals are not accounted for in
this, so called independent test. It is a contrived
sales pitch and that is all. It doesn't follow any
standard ethical procedures for testing. The only
real test is out side with people actually using the spa.
Challenge) If you take a 120V spa and set it
outside in Chicago in winter, you will never get a 10
minute soak, much less 30 minutes as this spa company
implies. The starting and ending temperatures are
never discussed in this test of a 120V spa. Add some
wind and lets see how fast the bathers run inside for a
hot shower to get rid of the chill! One of the major
flaws in this test is the lack of people and real ambient
conditions. It is one of the worst forms of
advertising I have ever seen.
As the temperature goes down, below 5 degrees the
temperature differential is much greater and the heat loss
is tremendous. That spa could not be used for 30
minutes ever in a Chicago winter, even worse if you start
at 102 degrees. Back in the old days, the owners of
these spas would take an allen wrench and bypass the 104
degree limit on the thermostat. They would set it to
110 degrees, just so they could have a few minutes of soak
before the temperature dropped below 100 and they had to
get out. It is not ANSI safety standard to have a
thermostat set above 104 today, so a 120V spa is a real
waste of money in a cold climate.
Anyone with any scientific background can see that what I am saying is true.