COVID-19: 5 Hot Tub Tricks To Avoid
Buying a hot tub
during COVID-19 & lockdown?
Don't get stung.
Read this first.
Here's some of the seller pitfalls and tricks we'll discuss...
- New companies with no history
- Fake discounts to mislead you
- Lying about their products origins
- Repeated scammers with new companies
Buying a hot tub in 2020
Many people have used COVID-19 and the lockdown that it's forced upon us as an opportunity to purchase a hot tub. Perhaps this is with some spare cash due to a cancelled holiday, or you just have been enjoying doing some home renovations and improvements. A hot tub is a fantastic asset to add to your home... it's a great social space for the whole family or for some private relaxation and zen in your own garden.
There's a wide range of hot tubs available across the UK with lots of options for you as a consumer (including our own range of hot tubs for sale) but with this has come a number of pitfalls and traps that you can fall into, spending money unwisely with inexperienced companies or those known to scam their customers and disappear later.
To help, we've put together this handy guide... we urge anybody considering ordering a hot tub to read this before parting with any cash. We've tried to do it in an unbiased way to enable you to make an informed decision, whether you choose to buy from us or not.
New companies with no history
One thing we've seen over the last few months is the huge influx of new companies offering hot tubs for sale. We've been in the industry for over a decade in both sales, servicing, repairs and relocations... so we've generally heard of most retailers.
But when a customer says to us "oh, we've found one cheaper at XXX" we get curious and decide look them up.
We've found loads of online-only retailers who are brand new... literally just months old. Of course, a company has to be new at one stage, but you should exercise caution... lots of people have seized upon the boom in the hot tub industry this year and are buying containers of hot tubs from overseas suppliers that they've found online... they're then flogging them through a quickly-made website (they often use a mobile number!) or Facebook.
What if they disappear in a few months' time once the COVID-19 surge has subsided? You're left with no support and no warranty. This happens time and time again in our industry.
TOP TIP: Find the company's official name on their website (eg. ABC Hot Tubs Limited), and look them up on Companies House. This is free and public information, enabling you to see the directors of a company, their trading history and their financial accounts.
If they've only just been incorporated, you'd be wise to walk away.
Buy 'em, flog 'em, disappear
There's a couple of hot tub retailers in the UK that are known in the industry (but not by innocent customers) for running repeated businesses selling hot tubs. One in particular (who we sadly cannot name for legal reasons) is currently trading under a new name, selling lots of tubs according to their Facebook page. They actually offer to build a spa in your garden for you. Looks good, right? Wrong.
The director has run four failed hot tub retailers before... one of which was on BBC Watchdog (check Youtube). He starts a hot tub retail business, take people's hard earned cash, then closes the company a little while later, running away with the money before starting again with a new name.
They've actually used the same premises each time, which is incredible. The director has actually adjusted his surname on Companies House so that you can't find him as easily, but the date of birth and company address still match up!
Do your research and check the directors.
Research the company on Companies House, also look at the directors. Look at their history, see if they've run other hot tub retailers before and, if so, what happened to them? Google those companies' names too, in case they were reported or shut down.
Look the company up on Facebook, search Google or YouTube for their names, see if you uncover any hidden surprises before it costs you a fortune.
Are those discounts real?
Yet another little trick that's been used by hot tub retailers for years but is particularly popular during COVID-19... artificial discounts. If a company is offering a hot tub with an RRP of £7999 but they're selling it for £3999... question it. Think about it, how can any company offer a 50% discount on such a high-value product? Simply, they cannot.
In 99% of cases, that discount is not real... it's called Reference Pricing and is not allowed in the UK.
These discounts are designed to mislead customers into thinking they're getting a deal... lying to people in order to get them to place an order and not take their time to make an informed decision.
If you see a company doing this, don't spend your money with them and report them to the Advertising Standards Authority who'll take appropriate action.
Made in the UK / USA
This one has been around for a while, but we spotted a new company (again, legally we can't name them online) doing it just last week. If a hot tub retailer claims anywhere on their website or social media that their hot tubs are built in the UK, exercise caution and do your research before buying.
There are only a couple of companies that build hot tubs in the UK. Others just pretend, when in fact they are having their hot tubs built in China and shipped to the UK.
This is absolutely fine, as Chinese hot tubs are considerably better than they used to be. A company with a solid Chinese factory and years of reputation has clearly shown that they manage quality control and ensure that their spas are well built.
For new companies in the UK, they're buying containers of hot tubs and shifting them at low prices as quickly as they can. One company we found claims their spas are built in the UK but we've seen their exact photos on Alibaba... a website used to buy items from China and connect retailers with suppliers.
We also see companies using names that sound American (you'll know what we mean) to try and psychologically fool people into believing they are buying a USA-built hot tub. Again, make sure to do your research, as they're probably from China.
To be clear... H2O Spa build our hot tubs in China.
We use control system from either Balboa or Gecko (depending on model) which are made in North America, then sent to our factory on the Eastern coast of China who build the spas to our specification, before shipping to our showroom & warehouse in the UK. We've worked with them for almost a decade and that's why we offer a strong warranty and are an established name in the UK hot tub market.
If a hot tub seems too cheap... walk away. Pay a little more for an established brand.
To summarise what we've learned...
- Check a company's history
- Fact-check their claims
- See where their spas are really made
- Check the directors on Companies House