Should I Buy My Hot Tub At A Big Box Store?

Where can you purchase everyday items in bulk at tremendous savings? Why Sam’s Club, or Costco. These retailers have revolutionized shopping, especially for larger families. Membership clubs serve a definite purpose, actually helping customers stretch their monthly budget that much further. With quality products, brand names and great discounts, you really can’t go wrong with these merchants.

But, we do have word of caution. These big box stores aren’t the wisest decision for every purchase. Buying milk, eggs and cereal is one thing, but you really need to take a long hard look at what these juggernauts are selling when it pertains to hot tubs.

If you’re considering purchasing a hot tub and you think you’ve found the deal of a lifetime through one of these membership stores, you owe it to yourself to look a little bit closer at the details.

Yes, locally Sam’s Club and Costco do offer a pretty decent selection of spas. On the surface, the pricing seems to be very competitive, too, but let’s find out why.

Quality

Do some research on the quality of the hot tubs listed by Costco and Sam’s Club. We are in the business, providing only the best products from quality manufacturers. Please don’t misinterpret this point; but there is a lot involved in creating a first class spa. It’s more than the size, the tub material or the size of the stereo speakers installed. What about the jets? How many gallons per minute do they circulate, not to mention the durability of the controls? The last thing any spa owner would want is malfunctioning dials and touch pads due to over use, forcing a call to the manufacturer for replacement parts. The majority of the public simply doesn’t have any experience performing these repairs.

Delivery

These retailers will have you believe delivery is a simple process, even incorporating shipping in the retail price. What does this reveal about the actual cost of the product? Even the smallest hot tubs need to be shipped via a freight carrier at considerable cost to someone.

And while we’re on the topic of delivery, with an investment like this, you really need to inspect the disclosures listed in the shipping and terms section of Costco’s website. (Sam’s Club’s site states that a delivery service will call to set up an appointment!) Certainly customers appreciate that Costco is at least transparent with their delivery guidelines. The buyer (that’s you) must “acknowledge that the following conditions are required for curbside delivery”.

What does that mean? It means that there is a list of 11 items that you, the purchaser, must agree to in order to have your spa delivered…..curbside! Unless you have a small militia of friends or family that don’t mind carrying this purchase to where it needs to go, your spa is going to sit on a pallet in your driveway or on the curb. Yikes!

Warranty

Digging even further into the warranty information provided regarding spas sold by these two popular stores was really an eye opening experience! One point that must be noted is the majority of these warranties “do not cover any defects, malfunctions or damages that result from improper installation, commercial use or improper maintenance.” How should a consumer interpret that? Our understanding is that if you don’t hire the manufacturer to install your spa, and there is a problem, the warranty is pretty much voided!

We’re willing to bet if you install your hot tub the manufacturer won’t even look at it if a claim is needed, stating that it was installed improperly from the beginning. “We didn’t install it. Whoever did failed to do it right. Sorry, not covered”.

You purchased your hot tub for relaxation purposes, not to have to argue with the manufacturer if you require warranty repairs. Just our opinion, but it would appear that don’t they don’t have much confidence in the quality of the product with the fine print listed in the example above.

Permits

It’s been our experience that the issue of permits for the installation of your spa is never addressed by a big box retailer until after the purchase has been made. This means the responsibility falls on you, the consumer, to acquire a permit in order for your new item to be installed.

Permits are required everywhere based on the simple fact that hot tubs involve water and electricity. Safety and proper installation need to be addressed. Failure to do so can result in fines and punitive measures as well as putting your health at risk.

We take care of the permit process for our customers, included in the price. Just one more reason those retail prices appear to be like such a good deal.

Electrical Requirements

Still considering purchasing your dream spa from a membership clubs? Your cousin is a licensed electrician and you’re comfortable with him doing the installation? Have all your bases covered, willing to roll the dice on the warranty? Ok….

you may want to look at the electrical specifications regarding your hot tub. will it be energy efficient? after all, you have heating elements, jets, filters….quite a bit of parts moving in tandem that need electricity. do you think these mass-market retailers are concerned about how much your electric bill will be each month, or are they more interested in making the sale?

We always provide as much information as possible before the purchase, including what to expect from your utilities bills. Do you think anyone at Sam’s Club is able to realistically provide this information?

Again, these membership clubs are great for everyday purchases, but when it comes to an investment like a hot tub, you really need to look a little closer. We enjoy taking the time getting to know you personally. We ask questions in order to understand your needs, providing education regarding all options. We take care of the tasks involved with your purchase including obtaining required permits, delivery and installation. More importantly, we’re locally available for all of your needs, including any warranty work necessary, after the sale.

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