In August of 2000, I purchased a Super Custom Fallsburg spa from Jim Arjuna, owner of The Spa Specialist. This was a wonderful choice. The spa was delivered in November, just as Jim Arjuna said. Out of many hundreds of brands of hot tubs, Haven spas Jim Arjuna and the Spa Specialist really stand out. The spa has been working very well with a lot of use, now for close to 7 years.
I was one of the fortunate ones who actually took the time to find out the facts about James Arjuna and The Spa Specialist and the great reputation they have with their customers. I highly recommend that you get in touch with customers as I did.
I have searched all over the Internet to see if there are any real complaints on James Arjuna the Spa Specialist and have found none. There are a couple in which these guys tried to extract money from Jim by threats, but they both got their money back and lost all possiblities of ever owning a really great Spa Specialist hot tub , because of their own greediness. Jim will not put up with ethically challenged and people who try scams on him. I know him and he has come by my house. Maybe that is not to his benifit, but I have found Jim Arjuna to be one of the most (if not the most) honest of all the hot tub people in the country. He even will tell you the problems with his own spas that have shown up. Check out what another ethical spa company says about Jim Arjuna
I also have been on most of these message boards, and I have never seen anyone ever complain about poor customer service but these two ridiculous guys and a bunch of fake posts by angry spa sales people. Some people don't know when they have a good thing. I find the spa industry to be lacking in ethics as Jim Arjuna points out, so you are not going to get any good reviews from within the industry that Jim critisizes so much for its total lack of professionalism. Jim Arjuna is very outspoken against poor spas being sold to consumers who know nothing about hot tubs.
Jim Arjuna has also been very active in trying to get the industry to follow the ANSI and UL safety standards. That does not make him popular either. I feel that you need to know what you are buying and you need to read all the articles on The Spa Specialist website.
I put togther these few pages to help you to understand the amazing integrity of Jim Arjuna and The Spa Specialist. The Spa Specialist, Havenmade Inc, are extremely good people with the highest regard for their customers, but with no qualms about telling off a con artists and sleazy spa professionals, as these two guys Eric and Andy appear to be. Read this very informative article about credit card scams on the net, used on unsuspecting merchants. It was clear to me that Erik wanted to have the Super Custom Fallsuburg pretty badly, because of all this effort he went to to correrce Jim into giving him one.
My Story (long version below)
The Super Custom Fallsburg is the most amazing therapy spa I have found!
My story (short version):
If you are looking at spas, you owe it to yourself to find out about Jim Arjuna and Haven Spas.
- I spent many months doing research on spas and was fortunate enough to find Jim Arjuna and The Spa Specialist.
- I read the articles and the "book" written by Jim Arjuna; then go shopping for a spa.
- Spa Testing and meeting Jim Arjuna's customers.
- I talk with Jim Arjuna on the phone for several times and feel very comfortable with him on the phone.
- The Spa Specialist Spa is a real value compared to other spas.
- If you are looking for real therapy, the SCF is the strongest.
- Jim Arjuna's attitude towards the competition.
- The spa and the service is wonderful.
- The water treatment systems that Jim Arjuna recomends are really great!
- This letter keeps getting longer.
- You can't go wrong with Jim Arjuna a Haven Spa.
One of my customers in NC who owns a Super Custom Fallsburg CC'd this, a responce to a shopper with this email. I asked him if it was OK to post it. Jim
Here is the Email. Take time to read all of it.
I'm sending you a copy of a message that has gradually grown and expanded over the time we have had our spa. I'm basically a lazy person but am endlessly willing to tell people about really good products and services. I was rewriting the document so many times responding to potential Haven customers that I finally decided to save it and just expand and correct it as needed. Some of the things in the document address specific questions that I have responded to and have chosen to leave in the document even though they may be more info than you wanted. Some of it is out of its logical place in the document because I haven't taken the time to edit it lately.
In response to your question about really deep tissue massage, I have the Super Custom Fallsburg and yes, those jets are really strong. Not all the Havens have jets as strong as those in the SCF so if that is what you are looking for you should discuss the models that might suit your purpose with Jim.
We love the company, the people, and the product. You won't regret doing business with them, as the message will make clear.
I think the only question I didn't address in it is whether I have ever had a message deleted from a board other than Jim's. The answer is yes. I tried to post our positive experience with the company one time to one of the boards and it never appeared. But don't forget that Jim Arjuna isn't doing business in the traditional way and is a direct competitor to each and every one of those guys. Since he has an internet business it is nationwide/worldwide. He is able to put more into his spas for the same or less money because he doesn't have the long distribution chain or the overhead of many different stores all over the place. I think it is the future of big ticket marketing and Jim is ahead of the curve.
I can tell you with as much certainty as I think can exist that there are no unhappy Haven owners out there. Zero, zip, not one.
Jim has picked two spas up and taken them back, refunding the customer's money in both cases. Both were trying to extort him into practically giving away the spas. One had a website out there and it may still be there. I read the whole story before I bought my spa and it was easy to see what was going on. It certainly didn't make me uncomfortable in dealing with Jim. In fact it actually had the opposite effect. He did say that Jim wouldn't meet his demands so he got his money back. OK, there was a problem and he got his money back. What was so bad about that? He made it all sound so horrible, but I just didn't see it as more than whining because things didn't go exactly the way he wanted them to. He didn't get his spa at half price. I do mention that one in the message.
Here is the message:
We love our Super Custom Fallsburg from the Spa Specialist. We took delivery of it the first week of November, 2000. If they want it back, they had better bring guns!
We spent over a year researching and looking at various spas before we were ready to buy, partly because we were moving to a new place we bought and partly because we didn't want to buy a spa and then find later that we wanted to "trade up". When we first started looking at spas we thought we'd spend about $3,000. I had discovered the Havens on the 'net and decided that they were priced well above what we wanted to invest. It didn't take long to find out that there were no spas in that price range that we would be happy with and Lowe's and Home Depot didn't have any spa in the store that we wanted.
The first high dollar spa we looked at was, predictably, a Hot Spring. We have friends who have a HS and they swore by it. The dealer offered us a "real deal" on a last year's top of the line (can't recall the name) showroom sample spa if we wanted to take it right away. That set off warning alarms in my head since they had already asked if we had looked at any other spas. I turns out it wasn't really such a good deal, but more on that later. We were still, we thought, more than 3 months from any possibility of having things ready for delivery of a spa, no place to put it, no safe place to store it. It turned out to be much longer than that, but we were naïve concerning construction and site prep. By the way, the friends who have the Hot Spring spa won't come back to soak in ours since their first soak because it blows theirs out of the water and they don't want to replace it right now.
We had found Jim Arjuna's site fairly early in the search and I read everything on the site and ordered the book "How Spas are Made". This was well before the email version was available.
When we started looking at other spas, we figured out very quickly that the Hot Spring spa was very weak in therapy compared to most of the others. Since we were specifically looking for a machine with lots of therapy we never went back. Besides, the "special deal" they offered turned out to be more expensive than several other spas with much better therapy.
After long shopping we had finally decided on an Emerald Cygnus (7009 I think). I had talked with Jim on the phone when I ordered the book and so I knew that he can sell Emeralds to people who don't have a dealer within 50 miles. Our nearest dealer is over 90 miles away so I called Jim to get a price comparison. His price was better by the time you included the steps, cover, lift, and chemicals. Not a lot, but enough. He suggested that before I order the Emerald I should try a Haven and gave us contact info for a customer not too far away from us. One Saturday we went back to the Emerald dealer and wet tested the Cygnus again, then we drove up to wet test the Springville less than 45 minutes later. Wow! What a spa! Jim claims to have never lost a wet test comparison and I believe him. Nothing else comes close. We have yet to sit in a spa that has comparable therapy to our SCF.
Besides the super therapy, one of the first things I noticed about the Springville was that I didn't tend to float out of any of the seats. The jets in the Emerald had a tendency to push me out of the lounge and I had to brace myself to stay put. Not very relaxing. There is something called a float buster that will cure this. I'm told it is a small plastic pillow type thing full of sand that you hold in your lap. I don't need it with our spa.
The people who had the Springville told us all kinds of nice thing about their dealings with Spa Specialist. They were very happy with the spa and with the company. They had gone through some problems with the original delivery and the spa had been damaged in transit but it was quickly replaced with a new one. Their problems were the reason Jim bought his truck and trailer and started doing the deliveries himself. They loved him and the company.
I called Jim and we talked about the fact that I wished I could have seen a Fallsburg. He told me he would be glad to bring us a Fallsburg and if we didn't like it at least as well as the Emerald or the Springville, he would exchange it for either of them with no service cost and refund the price difference.
Now who could resist a deal like that? We ordered a Fallsburg with fiberoptic lights and sent a deposit. While reading the message board one day there was some discussion of the Fallsburg vs. the Super Custom Fallsburg and how they compared to the therapy of the Springville as well as some discussion of the merits of the fiberoptic lighting. I called him back and asked if it was too late to upgrade to the SCF and leave the fiberoptics off. No problem.
A couple of weeks later Sandy called back and said that the factory had built the SCF but had not left the fiberoptic lights off. She offered to build a new spa for us or give us the fiberoptic lights at cost. We wanted to soak! We elected to take the lights. We don't use them much because our spa is under the stars in a fairly dark (for the eastern US) location completely surrounded by woods. With the lights on the focus is inside the spa. With them off the focus is outside. We still like the lights though, and they are great for when we are entertaining. If you have kids, especially teenagers who will be using the spa, you'll probably want the lights because it makes it easy to see what they are up to. They'll love the lights, too.
Our spa sits outside on a small (8X12) slab that has no footings. We will be building a house and it will be moved onto the patio at that time but we didn't want to wait until the house was built to enjoy the spa. We live in NC and the spa keeps the slab warm enough that frost heave isn't ever a problem. I didn't want to do more than that for a temporary placement. We have 4 foot entry area for the step, etc in front of the spa since the slab is 12 ft long. Electric service is buried and comes up through the slab. The slab has a control joint outside where the spa sits so if it cracks it won't be under the spa.
I must say that Jim's attitude concerning other dealers/sales people turned me completely off at first and made me very leery about buying a spa from him. After spending over a year reading the posts on various lists and talking with him on the phone a couple of times, I concluded that he is just very vehement in his beliefs concerning the way spas should be built. Since a lot of it made good sense and since I could only find one dissatisfied customer (if you read his site it is easy to see that he had some very unrealistic expectations and tried to force Jim to practically give away the spa) I decided to go ahead with the SCF. I haven't regretted it. By the way, I thought the way Jim handled that complaint, by refunding the money and picking up the spa was the best response to a no win situation and was fair to everyone, despite what the guy says.
Don't forget that Jim Arjuna does almost all his business over the internet. If he wasn't treating his customers very well, there would be a lot more negative information from his customers on the 'net. All my dealings with him have been very satisfactory. He knows very well that happy customers are what keep his business growing. I'd rather have a spa designed by and for someone who is "eaten up with it" than one that the bean counting accountants had a hand in designing. You can find lots of negative info about him and his spas on the 'net, but NONE of it comes from people who have actually done business with him. Interesting!
We haven't had any major problems with our spa. Right after it was delivered it kept hitting the high temp limit and tripping the heater off. I called Jim and he offered to send someone or to talk me through a simple check for the most likely problem. I elected to try it myself because there will come a day when the spa is out of warranty and the more I know about it the better off I'll be. I'm reasonably handy if it isn't too technical. It turned out that the temperature probe had shifted during shipping and I simply had to reposition it. It took about 1 minute with Jim on the phone telling me exactly what to do. The only other problem has been with the ozonator. The SCFs don't seem to like the solid state ozonator that they were using when I bought mine. This seems to be a problem with all of them so Jim has changed the type of ozonators used on these spas, no charge. Again he offered to send someone out to make the change but I had looked at the system when I changed the original ozonator chip and restained the redwood and had all the panels off. I saw that it was very simple so I elected to do it myself again and do it at my convenience. It took 5 minutes or so. It is sort of plug and play with one hose to hook up to the injector and a plug to plug into the box, just a straightforward replacement, very simple. I know that should I ever need service from a tech I can get it, but I like to do the non technical stuff myself if possible. I have met a local tech in our area and would likely call him to do any work if needed. How many manufacturers will allow you to poke inside the product without voiding the warranty?
There is something additional that is very nice about Spa Specialist spas that isn't available anywhere else as far as I know. That is the copper/silver ion sanitizer system. There are other systems that have ions but you can't measure the ion level with them so how do you know if they are still there? The nice thing about this system is that there is never chlorine or bromine in the water while you are actually using the spa so you don't get that funny feeling that something is wrong with your skin when you come out. You feel like you just stepped out of a shower instead. No chemical feeling. You add the shock and chlorine after you get out and it is gone before you get in again. It is great! It has gotten to the point that we don't use hot tubs much when we go on vacation because we don't like the bromine skin that results from going into them.
Note: Please accept Jim's recommendation regarding the sanitizer systems to use in your spa. I believe Jim is currently recommending another system. I haven't switched over because I have lots of supplies and the system I have is working well. I haven't felt the need to go to the trouble to flush out my spa and switch to the new system. I would definitely follow Jim's recommendation without any qualms though, because he is always looking for the best for his customers.
As for actual therapy, I don't think there is another spa on the market that comes anywhere close to the Super Custom Fallsburg's therapy, except, perhaps, the Springville, another Haven model. My wife, Debra, and I both credit the strong therapy available in our spa for eliminating the need for surgery in her arm. She had constant pain in her arm and the doctors wanted to do a nerve release in her upper arm. She used to put the arm against one of the jets in the lounger when we first got the spa and within 3 months it was so much better that she told the doctor to forget it. I don't think it would have worked with a spa with weaker therapy.
If this is your first spa and you do buy a Haven, get them to bring some pH Magic right from the start. It makes the chemistry a snap. Other than shock and chlorine the only routine chemicals I have to add is Alkalinity increaser, which is just baking soda. I never have to adjust the pH unless I've ignored the spa too long or done something stupid (only once, thank god). It just stays right in the zone as long as the total alkalinity is somewhere within the range. Super simple. I fought the learning curve the first three months we had the spa. Alkalinity up, pH down. PH getting too low, pH up, alkalinity up, etc. When you change the total alkalinity it affects the pH and when you change the pH it affects the total alkalinity. When I replaced the water I used the pH Magic and the difference was absolutely amazing. It is a bit expensive, but when you consider that it lasts until you change the water and it saves a lot of other chemicals and a lot of time, it isn't really that much.
The complete package is well worth getting unless you have already owned a spa and have a cover and steps left from that. There is nothing in the package except, perhaps, metal gone, that you won't use. It is a very carefully thought out package. The only change I would make to it would be to substitute something else for the metal gone if the customer doesn't need it and to add pH Magic to it.
Jim's message board goes through periods of what I call the dealer wars when a new dealer comes along and baits him. I mostly ignore those posts and, once I've identified those threads, don't read the messages in them, though I occasionally can't resist. I still think he could be a little more diplomatic and it would have a favorable effect on his business but I don't really care. He builds a superior product at a good price. As far as I know he has never treated a customer or potential customer the way he does those sales people. In fact it is strange, but he never really tried to sell me a spa. I ordered a spa from him and he listed some alternatives, but there was no "making the sale" on his part. He comes across completely different on the phone than he does on the board. Very laid back. No one else that I found spends nearly as much time educating consumers as he does. I quickly found out that because I read his book and website, I knew more about spas than some of the sales people I talked with. It was so obvious that I had a hard time not laughing out loud about it.
Have you asked Jim Arjuna if there is a Haven owner near you? Many of us really love to have people come and wet test our spas so they can see the difference for themselves. If there is someone near you, don't be shy about calling them up. Jim doesn't give out phone numbers of customers that don't want to be bothered. You have to try it to believe it. Besides, you shouldn't buy any spa without wet testing it unless they are willing to exchange it if it doesn't work for you. Different seats fit people differently and the spa that works best for us may not work well at all for you. We have one friend who is so small that she would drown in the captain's chair (my favorite seat) or the 6 jet seat. She needs a spa that isn't nearly as deep as ours. Another (male) friend is so big through the shoulders that the captain's chair isn't comfortable for him. Don't buy a spa that both you and your wife aren't comfortable in EVERY seat in it. If there is a big difference in size between the two of you, discuss it with Jim. I'll bet he knows of a spa that will work for you.
You are very welcome to come and try out our spa. We live near Mt. Airy, NC. If I can answer any other questions, just let me know. You can email or call me at 336-351-7092. Best time is usually between 8 and 10 PM Eastern Time.
I don't think you can go wrong if you buy a Haven. I'm not the only owner who spent months doing research before buying one.
-----Original Message----- From: tim ####### <A HREF="mailto:[mailto:tXxxxxx@yahoo.com]">[mailto:tXxxxxx@yahoo.com]</A> Sent: Saturday, January 29, 2005 7:23 PM To: Jerry Miller Subject: haven spas
Hi I'm looking at Haven spas and asked for references and was given your name. I would appreciate any info you could give me about your experience with your spa and Jim. Are the jets strong enough to give really deep tissue message? Thank you Tim Xxxxxxx