Buying hot tubs online and from big box stores
The internet offers a world of manufacturers to choose from. In search of good deals, most of us purchase things online. But for big-ticket, mechanized goods, like hot tubs, is it risky to “proceed to checkout?”
Consider the buying experience of a Long Island, NY, businesswoman, Crystal Philipou. She wanted a hot tub, took to the internet, and found some great prices.
Before making a final decision, she noticed a local hot tub dealership as she drove along a Long Island thoroughfare.
“I went in and met with Best Hot Tubs’ owner, Bill Renter. After getting pricing for their Bullfrog Spas, I told him about the ‘better’ deals I had found online,” says Philipou.
“In response, he asked me a simple question. ‘What if something goes wrong? Who will fix it?’ I realized that with so many things today being made in China, parts might be difficult to get and be expensive.”
Philipou had first-hand experience of such problems. As owner of Long Island’s Salon Nouveau beauty parlors, not long ago, she had wanted to get special shampoo chairs that also provided a massage. The Italian chairs she initially liked were very expensive. But she found another version online made in China that would save her thousands of dollars.
“They even had an office in Queens where I could test the chairs, which I did,” she says. “But I didn’t understand the difference between materials made in the U.S. verses overseas. After purchasing the made-in-China ones, within three months, there were electrical problems. Plus the massage mechanism got very loud.”
When Philipou contacted the store, the company wanted to charge her for fixing them, which would have been very costly. This left her with very expensive shampoo-only seats that couldn’t be used for massage.