You’ve seen the advertisements, 888-Spa-Sale or Pool, Spa, BBQ Expo this weekend only at the National Western Stock Complex or some other event center. Unfortunately, this “Expo” is known in the hot tub industry as the Master Spa traveling circus scam. It’s put on by a hot tub store out of faraway St. Louis Park, MN with quite a bad reputation. They have a crew of commission only salespeople that travel around the country and put on these “Sales”. These aggressive salespeople know that if they don’t get you to place a deposit now, they will lose out. They are packing up and leaving town after the weekend ends. It’s now or never for them.
Upon arriving at the “expo,” the first sign that something is awry will be the fact that every single hot tub or spa is the exact same color combination from the exact same manufacturer. The domain name of the website is www.spapoolandbbqshow.com but there are no pools or BBQ’s in sight. They recently changed the name to 888SpaSale most likely to hide from their terrible reputation, but the domain name is still the same. Obfuscation is the name of the game.
The Their ads and website seem to imply that “Major Manufacturers and warehouses” are selling off inventory. You can save 40%-80% this weekend only!! They tell you that you are buying factory direct and save by cutting out the middleman. I recommend calling the manufacturer to verify this. Here is Master Spa’s Factory phone number: (260) 436-9100. The manufacturer has nothing to do with the expo other than selling spas to the store in MN that runs the show.
They contract out delivery and service to independent technicians who are not actually employed with the company selling you the product and thus have no personal investment in your experience. They often charge exorbitant fees for warranty calls. The “delivery crews” know nothing about the product and as such drop the spa off and leave without any instruction. I recommend asking the salesperson for a contact number of the people or company that will do delivery and service on your hot tub. Give them a call and ask a few questions, such as what exactly is included on delivery? Do they do an orientation? What are the service charges for a warranty call?
A quick glance at this company’s Better Business Bureau page, Yelp, or any other review site will give you a glimpse into the kind of treatment that you can expect.
Notice the frequent mentions of purchasing at different fairgrounds or event centers. They have been doing this for years. They’ve finely tuned their scheme and prey upon honest, unsuspecting folks who just want to relieve their aches and pains, and maybe get a good deal while they’re at it. The following are excerpts of some of their reviews and complaints:
On April 13, 2014 my husband and I attended a ‘Pool Spa and BBQ show’ in CA. (that is how it was advertised on TV) We were interested in the concept of an exercise spa and thought we were going to see many different brands of spas. The only manufacturer’s product there was Master Spa, headquartered in Indiana. We were met by a salesman who told us that the ‘show’ was put on by Master Spa and that buying from them “cut out the middleman”. I asked a specific question as to where a dealer/service company was located in my area. We were told that there was one in a city 7 miles from our home……..I called Master Spa to find out the address of the dealer/service company in my area. When I mentioned the city I was told they had no one in that area…..When I mentioned the ‘show’ from the previous day, the person I spoke with said that they did not put on the ‘show’, it was put on by a dealer from MN…the middleman…
…I feel this company relies on fraud to get sales…
…In researching information from other companies and dealers we found that the price was not much different then what we could have gotten one elsewhere. They are the middleman. I would recommend everyone stay away from this company unless it changes it’s business practices….
…salesman didn’t advise of contract terms on deposit and lied about receiving credit if spa wouldn’t fit. Attended traveling spa show at our local coliseum….
Attended show in Denver and bought a Master Spa. Delivered a week later, cover had forklift holes in it……Five weeks later, still waiting……
Bought a spa at an “”expo”” event from these guys. Went home and researched the product and the company and found out they are a shady business. I returned the next day to cancel the contract, but they “”refused.””
How to Avoid a “Hot Tub Sale” Scam
It definitely sounds tempting to “Save 40% to 80%” but if you look closely, that 40-80% discount is off MSRP which is an artificially inflated price that nobody actually sells for. The “sale” isn’t really a sale at all. You may actually end up paying more than you would for the same spa at a local dealer. Think about the costs involved with those expensive TV and radio ads. It’s very expensive to rent out the National Western Stock Complex as well. They have to pay travel expenses for all of the salesman, hotel costs, commissions… They spend many tens of thousands of dollars just to put the show on. Maybe even $100k! Yet somehow, they can sell these spas for half off and still make a profit large enough to keep traveling around the country. If you call other Master Spa dealers and ask the prices on the same models, you will likely find that it’s less expensive to purchase at a store where you will have a real, local delivery crew, as well as service technicians that are specifically trained on the product and invested in you, their customer.
It’s unfortunate that some companies use deceptive sales tactics, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Here at Colorado Custom Spas, we carry legitimate brands so you really can compare different major manufacturers here in our store under one roof such as Artesian Spas, Bullfrog Spas, Tuff Spas, and Tidal Fit Swim and Exercise Spas. We are also having a big hot tub sale with floor models, overstock, and “scratch and dent deals” available, though our sale goes through the entire month of May and Memorial Day weekend. There is no pressure to buy this weekend because we aren’t packing up and leaving town on Monday. Our award-winning service and delivery department will provide a full tutorial and they actually care about your well-being and experience. We are here seven days per week and our phone number is (303) HOT-TUBS. If you do a google search for “Colorado Custom Spas Reviews” or check out our BBB and Yelp pages, you will find that we have an excellent reputation for customer service and support. We practice the Golden Rule!
There are also other local hot tub stores in Denver that have a reputation for taking care of their customers too. The Denver market is a great place to shop for a hot tub. Do yourself a favor and check out some of the other fantastic hot tub stores in your area. Buy local! Support the Colorado economy. I promise that you can get just as good of a “deal” yet have a local small business owner who you can speak with face to face should a problem arise. If you do decide to do business with Colorado Custom Spas, we promise to do our absolute best to make it a pleasurable experience. You won’t have to “haggle” to get a good deal. We provide a low fair price up front. We won’t give you some artificially inflated MSRP price to make you feel like you are getting a special deal. We will however make sure that you get a fair price and great service. If for any reason we don’t live up to this promise, call or stop by the store and speak face to face with the owner or manager. We will make it right. Our reputation depends on it.
They’re back in town this weekend at the National Western Stock Complex. In honor of their return, I decided to post some new reviews for their company that have come through since I last updated this post. See below for new Yelp reviews for Master Pool and Spa in St. Louis Park, MO who puts on the “888SpaSale” or “Pool, Spa, BBQ Expo”.
“We meet Brad & Gregory at the “Spa Swim Spa” Alameda Fairgrounds. It was all going okay while we spoke with Brad, until we started asking about prices & maintenance/services IF something goes wrong…that’s when Mr Gregory came in with his gold chains, gold bracelets, and matching gold rings, stinking of cigarettes, with his pushy selling attitude. We told him we were not about to make a decision and hand over thousands of dollars without 1) researching the company, 2) researching the product 3) pricing 4) if it fits in our home. For a few minutes there it almost felt like a hostage situation when he wouldn’t let us leave for about 10 mins & told us we can talk to each other right there at the Fairgrounds, That’s when my kids freaked out a lil & i knew this was a bad idea.
& now, after researching this place… we are counting our blessings.
These guys are simply gipsy dealers throughout the country for Master Spas. Their business cards are very deceitful, look up all their phone numbers. Do your research before deciding anything with these people. Plus, they are able to hide well cos of their original location outside of California. (Mind you the commercial is extremely deceiving when they say “100s of spas!!!”)
Dishonest, pushy business. “
“I went to a show and was very interested in a Spa I spoke to a salesman Ryan Johnson after talking with him I told him I wanted to make sure that my wife who was away at the time and also I wanted to make sure that the space would work where I had the plan to put the hot tub. Ryan was very pushy about getting me to put a down payment on the tub after reading the contract it said no refunds I was apprehensive about signing the contract and Ryan is shored me that if the tub didn’t work out I could get my refund back. So I believe him and went ahead and gave them $2000 never ordering the tub at the time when I realized that the tub was not going to work in that space I informed the company that’s when things started getting ugly. This is been an ongoing situation since April and today they refused to give me my money back they told me too bad you signed the contract. I spoke to the manager/owner whoever he was very cocky arrogant all about money and didn’t care about customer service whatsoever. He told me if I ever wanted order a tub my $2000 would be there.”
“Worst company and General Manager ever. Purchased a spa from them on Saturday February 11, 2017 at a Spa and BBQ show. l gave them my credit card (big mistake) and learned that I could not install it because of a safety issue the same day. The salesman told me it was not necessary for me to return to the show as my credit card would be reimbursed on Monday. Cancelled the transaction the same day but still no refund on my credit card for $8000.00!!! The General Manager is a piece of work and is dishonest. Do not buy anything from this company. You will regret it.”
5/16/2017 Better Business Bureau Review
“I am a retired widow and live in the city of La Puente, Ca. I recently had been in the market to buy a spa. I visited a couple of store in the Los Angeles area. The staff was always very helpful and decided I would buy a spa with a 110 power usage so I could use an existing plug I already had in the back patio. I visited the Spa EXPO on Sunday, May 7, 2017. They had many spas to choose from. A salesman by the name of Patrick helped. I told him that I would like a spa that was a 110 powered. He showed me a couple that weren’t to my liking. He showed me a nicer one that was powered by 220. I told him that I did not wish to upgrade my existing electrical. He assured me that he could send a reputable electrician and it would only cost about four hundred dollars. I thought it was reasonable enough so I bought the bigger spa and took a picture of it. He assured me an associate from the store would call the next day if I had any questions and electrician would get in touch that day too. When I got home that evening I had questions about if was too large to fit through opening it needed to go through to get to the back patio. I have a carport it must go through first. I called master pools and spa the next day and asked if they could send over someone from their local store to measure for me. I was told I could do the measuring myself. I didn’t believe this to be very good customer service. I called Patrick and left 2 messages on his voice mail, but he has never returned my call to date. I called a local electrician and was told it I needed a whole new electrical box for an additional 220 outlet at the cost of four thousand dollars not four hundred. The next day I called Master Pools and Spas the next day and asked to speak to a Supervisor. She denied me the opportunity to speak with someone of authority and had a very smug attitude. I told her the story and she said someone would call me back. I went on the company’s website the next day, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. I emailed customer service with the account of what happened. I asked for a refund. They did not email me back. I then called Visa and asked them to dispute the charges. I was told not to call them. Kevin has called on May 12, 2017 stating they were going to deliver the spa in a couple of weeks. On Monday, May 15, 2017, I called his office and got his voice mail. I left a message and told him about the problem with the 220 and size. I also told him I wanted a refund and no longer wanted the spa. Under California state law a person has 3 day right of revision. There Principal location is in Minnesota, which gives me that right for a refund, since they are not located in California. I never received the product. They are Crooks and do not do business in good faith. Beware”
9/2/2017 Better Business Bureau Review
“My husband and I purchased the twilight model Master Spa at a sale at Jackson County Fairgrounds, Central Point, Oregon. When we set up the hot tub it immediately started to leak. I called the dealer in MN and was told that a local repair company would come out to look at it. I was told by the… repair company that it would be at least two months before they could even fit us into their schedule. I have spoken with the warranty department who promised on 8/23 that we would be given a new spa. I called today (8/28) to find out an approximate date of when this would happen. The person who called me back was extremely rude. He first told me the excuse that the delivery person had been hospitalized because of bee stings, then told me it could be 6 to 8 weeks for the manufacture of a new spa and ended up hanging up on me when I continued to question him about his variety of excuses. I would like a new spa and I want to know when it will be delivered”
Well, they’re back in town again this next week so in honor of their return, I’ve gathered some new reviews and discussions about 888spasale’s dishonest business practices:
“So far the experience is the worst!!! When they delivered the Spa, their delivery service said they don’t remove the trash!! WTF!! After the install and set up we have had nothing but issues… it’s always throwing over heating codes and it shuts off every 10 minuets. The skirting around the tub was cut to short and looks terrible. It’s missing one of the main water flow pieces at the bottom of the spa. Their service department never returns calls or responds to emails. This place has the worst customer service I have ever seen. We have had the Spa now for 2 months and the problems still exist!! Its kinda funny because on their website it says how they have excellent customer service!! Yeah right!! Good luck if you ever try and call them, you will always be forwarded to a voicemail…!!!”