General > Beating a dead horse

Vortex spas My experience good bad and ugly? Please read and respond

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Hi I'll just start from the beginning

I was looking at vortex for awhile after seeing them on ebay (I'm a real ebayer)

I hadn't ordered right away but figured i would put in the electrical wire underground before the ground froze Nov 2014
I checked ebay just to look around and they had a special for $5000USD. I called and is turned out there were two spas and i opted for spectrum with the salt water system that doesn't require constant chemical upkeep (inclear system) tub also came with bluetooth stereo and we agreed on a price of $6704CAD I gave my credit card over the phone, I got an Invoice INV-0224 shipping was to take 5-7 business days and i asked to have it held for an additional 10 days so it would arrive when i would be home from work ( I am a rig worker so i work away from town) FYI I had dealt with salesman Brian

12/11/2014  I had emailed with brian about the delivery moving up a day or so and he said it was no problem and would land at day and ross terminal in Calgary

21/11/2014 I had emailed Brian because i had called Day and Ross and there was no shipment for me, I was looking for a tracking #
The same day brian had messaged me back and told me the tub was handled by R&L Carriers and would arrive 27/11/2014
Note R&L carriers are a US outfit

25/11/2014 I email brian for the tracking # Brian responds and tells me that he has a shipment number but i need the pro # to track the shipment, he says he will forward it to me

28/11/2014 I email Brian as I cannot track the shipment he informs me that R&L Carriers has had a routing problem

03/12/2014 My wife is pissed I email Brian and he tells me the hottub is crossing the border at winnipeg tomorrow night and should be in calgary by sunday, This seems reasonable

08/12/2014 No hottub email unanswered

12/12/2014 I call visa and discuss disputing the charges with an agent we decide to put of the dispute until 19/12/2014 i email brian and he responds "I will have it sorted out by end of day"

17/12/2014 emailed brian "no hottub" and this was his reply He also included pictures of MY HOTTUB
 Hi Noah ,
Sorry for all this , the problem we have is that when it has been transfered to the chicago warehouse they have lost the cover , since then we have been asking them to find it , Since they could not find it we ask them to compensate for the amount of the spa cover so we can send a new one directly to your attention . It is a slow process and each day we are hoping that they agree to it but they are still trying to find the cover and during that time you are waiting . I Understand that you would like to cancell and do a chargeback ... I just wanted to let you know what was really going on. If you wish do cancel let me know and we will refund the credit card .

05/1/2014 I email brian for an update this is what he sent me

Hi Noah ,
Sorry just got back . Heres the situation : the spa is in a warehouse in chicago , our logistic company is Delmar international . Delmar bill us for storage etc.. Since they cant find the cover we asked them to either pay you a new one or deduct the cover cost from the storage bill . If we pay the balance and ask them to credit us in the futur we know it will never happen and since we sold that spa at our production cost we are not willing to loose 500 $ . We have sent an email today to them and are expecting a positive answer by the end of the week .

13/1/2014 I emailed Brian to inquire as to the resolution with the shipper No Response

26/1/2014  I tried calling vortex today i have called before but they ARE TOUGH to get on the phone.

Here's the deal

I got an excellent price on the hottub, I want the tub but credit cards have a 120 day policy on disputes and we're running close to that timeline actually I have set a date for FEB 18th to allow the paper pushers time to process. I don't want brian to lose money on this deal but I do expect him to deliver as agreed. If feb 18th comes and goes I expect that he will honor the price we have agreed upon and deliver me the spectrum spa with the inclear system that I can write a real review about and this review can turn into a happy ending, either way I will post the updates.

I am going to email Brian now

Your probably going to wonder why all I got out of your post is, what makes you think you got a "excellent price" on a hot tub?


Your experience with Vortex so far, as difficult as it may seem, has been better than mine!

I ordered one of the large Vortex swim spas from Brian in mid-September.  It was supposed to be delivered in 5-6 weeks.  Based on some threads about delivery issues with Vortex, I asked Brian about this - he said that they have had some delivery issues in the US, but not to worry in Canada.  He said that there was a very small possibility that there could be a customs hold, but absolute worst case it would delay by up to 4 weeks, and that this was highly unlikely.  I also spoke with Gecko, their electronics supplier, as well as some spa repair and service companies in Eastern Ontario and Quebec, and they confirmed that Vortex Canada was for real, and that they built a good product.

So, I ordered the item and paid ~$4500 down.  At the end of September, he sent me a picture of a spa and said that this was mine, and the balance of the ~$17,000 purchase price was due - I paid immediately.

As we got closer to the originally delivery date in late October, communication became increasingly infrequent and vague.  There were numerous unsuccessful attempts at communication in between the dates listed below, but these were ones where I got some response:
 - October 30, I was told that it had been held for customs inspection and it would be delayed by 5 to 27 days. 
 - November 10, I asked Brian for any documents to support the status, but nothing was provided.
 - November 12, Brian told me that customs inspection was scheduled for no later than November 25th, and it would be put on rail immediately after that.  He told me it would be delivered to my house in Ottawa on between Monday December 1 and Wednesday December 3.
- November 13, I asked Brian for a contact person at his broker, Delmar, to receive some confirmation of the status.  This was never provided.
- November 25, Brian advised that the customs inspection was complete, and that the unit would be sent back to the terminal and put on rail.
- December 1, Brian said that he expects the container to be put on rail on December 4th, and delivery should happen around December 11 or 12.  He said that he could not provide any other information, all paperwork was confidential.

I never really spoke or corresponded successfully with Brian again.  Numerous emails have gone answered, voicemails not returned.  I managed to catch him twice using a phone with caller ID blocked, but both times he said he would pull my file and call right back - he never did.

I had always kept Amex in the loop on this purchase, which is what they suggested.  They wanted to be informed of any significant delays in the delivery date.  In late November I was getting very concerned about the lack of any independent confirmation or paperwork, so I asked Amex to see if they could help get the information.  I was clear - I don't want to dispute the charges YET, I just want some evidence that my $17,000 purchase was truly on its way to me.  They immediately sent Vortex a letter asking for information.  After several weeks with no responses from Brian and on the recommendation of Amex, I reluctantly opened a dispute right before Christmas, and my purchase was refunded by Amex - they said that there had been no response from the merchant to any of their communication.

Despite my refund from Amex, I am out several thousand dollars in site preparation that was done specifically for this spa.  The electricals have been run, the pad prepared, and a deck built around the spot (with the last few feet around to be completed).  We never imagined that the product wouldn't arrive at all.

I have left Brian several VMs and emails advising him that I would still like to complete the purchase, assuming that my spa actually exists (you would think that if this is the case, he now has a $17,000 item sitting in inventory, and should be eager to turn it into cash).  I want to believe that this is very bad communication and planning, and not something worse... but every day that goes by without any response from Vortex, I have stronger belief that the latter is true.

Of course, any transaction now will have to be cash on delivery, and I expect a material discount as I have little confidence in the warranty.  Brian/Vortex will have to work hard to turn this around, but some transparency and delivering on commitments can go a surprisingly long way to turn a bad experience around.  Brian, I hope you are reading this and have the courtesy to contact me - you know who I am.

Dr. Spa™ Ret.:
I too used to be a real ebayer, as a seller.... I loved it. I had a product I sold all day long for ~$150 plus shipping. On my regular website, I sold it for $129.95, delivered.


--- Quote from: Tman122 on January 26, 2015, 07:28:43 pm ---Your probably going to wonder why all I got out of your post is, what makes you think you got a "excellent price" on a hot tub?

--- End quote ---


I've read your posts on the other thread about Vortex, and your advice to stay away.  I shopped quite a bit before making the decision to go with Vortex, and what I found was that EVERY single store or distributor I spoke to bashed, like really bashed, ALL competing products.  When I looked on the internet, every brand available locally had very negative reviews.

I'm not a repair technician or an industry insider, I'm just a consumer.  And generally, a well-informed one.  But with all the bullsh!t in this industry, it's very hard for a consumer to determine which company is worthy of your dollars, and will stand behind what is a quality product.  As I mention in my other post, part of my research involved speaking with repair technicians (partly based on comments made by you and another on the forum); but they confirmed that Vortex was as well-built as any other, and all of the parts were generic and readily available.

Another major factor in the decision was the design - Vortex Aqualap was one of the only ones I found available in Canada that gave me a 19.5" single cavity pool with some hydrotherapy seats in the back, which was specifically what we were looking for.  The largest alternatives offered only 17', so 2.5' shorter; and typically not as full featured in the seating.  We also really liked the dark grey colour they offer, which works well with our home.

And of course, for most people money is always a factor.  However, in our case it was not the most important one.


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