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hlabar

Bullfrog Spas & Short Warranty on Ozonator

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We are in the midst of researching hot tubs.  We found a 'scratch & dent' 6 person tub at a Royal Spa that fits us well but is $9,950.  We both really liked that the sales person was extremely knowledgeable, patient, and not salesy. And they are only half hour from our house in case we need to have service.

However, we then discovered Bullfrog.  After sitting in the A7 (not a wet test, at that time) my husband felt that it was the most comfortable (he's 6'2") and there was plenty leg room, which is a struggle with most tubs for him.  We don't really need one that large so I called the closest place to us (that's an hour and fifteen minutes from our house) and that is having a sale & got quoted on an A6 at $8,500.  For the $1000 price savings I would DEFINITELY prefer the Bullfrog. 

HOWEVER, two things I wanted to ask.  I noticed that the Bullfrog only offers a 1yr warranty on its ozonator and the replacement cost is around $600!!!  Yikes.  Does anyone know WHY these things go out so frequently?  Also, I read that some think you don't need it if you don't mind using more chemicals.  How much should I expect to be spending on chemicals IF the ozonator is actually working vs is not working? 

Secondly, am I getting in bed with the wrong dealer here by choosing someone who is 1hr 15min from my house?  The dealer said they WILL service the tub but they also want to charge me $250 for delivery since it's so far.  Hm.  Gives me a bit of a pause.  Would really love to know your thoughts & opinions!  If the quality & reliability of the tub is truly amazing then maybe the distance of the dealer for servicing is not a big deal and I should just take that risk to have a Cadillac of the industry?  In my research, it seem that they are the only manufacturer who includes labor as part of the warranty coverage so that gives me a little bit more comfort.  However, I have not inquired yet whether they would charge me for labor like they are for delivery...I'm planning to do that when I go in person to do a wet test in a couple days.

So, PLEASE share your thoughts on & experiences with Bullfrog Spas. 

MUCH THANKS!!!

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First of all,  the most important consideration is the reputation of the dealer.  You want someone who is proven to be responsive to their customers.  I'm an independent service company and I get a lot of business from customers who are just fed up with the retailer they bought their tub from.  Lack of returned phone calls, long waits for appointments, and salespeople who resent having the pick up the phone and arrange service for a customer AFTER they've sold them the tub and gotten their commission are common complaints I hear.

I wouldn't buy a scratch-n-dent hot tub unless I got a HUGE discount.  First of all, how did it get scratched - n- dented?  It's not like someone put it in their shopping cart and pushed the cart too close to their car in the parking lot.  It was likely dropped off a truck, hit with a fork-lift, or dragged on it's side through doorways.  A new tub comes wrapped in carboard, plastic, Styrofoam, etc.  They don't get "scratched" unless someone is not being careful.  Who knows what other damage it has?

Additionally, some retail stores cannibalize floor models for parts; not necessarily bad but a part time teenage stock-boy who really doesn't know what they're doing may be pulling out pumps or heaters to service their other customers.  I would have real concerns about quality control. If it's a return from another customer, it's not scratch-n-dent, it's used.

Enough of that tirade.

Most ozonator's are basically an ultraviolet bulb.  Lifespan on the bulb is about 2000 hours.  That's why they don't warrantee it past a year.  Google "ozonator" and look at on-line stores and you'll see the price is considerably lower than $600.   We've been using an aftermarket ozonator that has an MSRP of about $100 from a company called Dynozone.  One failure out of about 50 installs in two years.

About 75% of the hot tubs we service are out of warranty.  We can argue about whether an ozonator should last 2 years or 5 years, but let's face it, at 10 years it's not functioning.  So, most people we encounter do not have a working ozonator in their tub and are none the wiser.  Most people, when they find out they've been getting along without it for 7 or 8 years, say "why bother replacing it now?"

Distance from the dealer is a major consideration.  First of all, how many service techs do they have?  Year round or just during their busy season?  When your hot tub dies in the middle of the winter and you need service, are they driving two hours in the snow to get to your house? 

When we get calls from customers who are far from our shop,  I always tell them they should find a service company closer.  Let's face it, if I can service 3 tubs that are within fifteen minutes of me, or drive 90 minutes each way to your house to do one service call, what am I going to do? 

Parts-only warranty, at least in the first year, is not typical in the industry.  We provide warrantee service on 4 different brands, and they all cover parts and labor, at least for the first year.  Several for longer.  

Dave 

 

 

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