Chapter 4 Topics

4-K: Questionable Brand Name Labeling


   Don’t trust the badge.

Some hot tub brands are solid when purchased fom an official dealer, but what they’re selling online and through big box stores often  isn’t the same product.

I bought a surprisingly inexpensive Husqvarna chain saw from Canadian Tire.  Having worked with “huskies” as a forest firefighter back in the day, I trusted the name brand, but this one broke down after only a few uses.  When I took it in to a Husqvarna repair shop, they told me they couldn’t get parts for it, and asked where I got it from.  When I told them, the burliest one of them looked disgusted and scoffed, “that stuff’s garbage – get a real saw”, without any hint of humour.  He didn’t care about my feelings. 

I had a similar experience with a John Deere tractor that I bought from Home Depot.  I know the guys at Langley John Deere – they took over the space I used to rent many years ago.  They rolled their eyes when I brought in my unit to get fixed, and said “No, please, not one of those!”.  

Same with hot Tubs.   I was a dealer for Birch Bay Spas (now defunct), and they began selling their stuff online through Costco for less than I paid wholesale.  When I complained, they reassured me that although it was the same shell, it wasn’t the same product – the frame, cabinet and equipment were lower quality versions of what they sold through their dealers.  Nice. Thanks for that, Birch Bay. 

We’re currently a dealer for the Canadian Spa Company (made in China, by the way).  It’s one of those cheap brands, and we sell a slightly higher quality version of what’s displayed at Home Depot.  Because the products look identical and have the same badge, clients expect us to match Home Depot’s pricing.   I don’t blame them, because all they see is spec sheet and prices.

To ensure you get the real thing or at least the best version of it, it’s best to go through an authorized dealer at a proper storefront location.