We hate to cause headaches but, effective immediately, all customer phone calls and emails concerning product failure on what they believe to be our Step-1 swimming pool step must be accompanied by a photo of their step.
This swimming pool season, as has been the case over the past few, we’ve received numerous emails and phone calls from consumers telling us that the mounting brackets and handrails of their swimming pool steps split this past winter or during setting into the pool.
We have found that in almost all of those cases, it’s not our product. A few years ago a competitor — Asia Connection — copied our model Step-1’s look and product design (except for the sole patented item on the treads). It’s their products that are failing.
Their steps are produced overseas and do not mirror the rigid quality standards that we use here at Confer Plastics, where we make our products in the good ol’ US of A.
How do we (and you) tell them apart?
If your pool step has WHITE treads, it is not a Confer Plastics pool step — and our treads are not compatible as replacements. We’ve always made ours with grey treads and with a different means of assembly.
But in 2016, just to add to the confusion and rip-off of our line, Asia Connection has also introduced grey treads and blue treads (the latter being a special color that we’ve manufactured for one of our suppliers).
Related to these treads, you can also tell them apart by how they attach to the side panel. Our treads are inserted into a rectangular slot in the side panel and held in place with a patented wedge system. Our competitor’s treads are popped into a circular hole in the side panel, which is then finished off with a circular cover to dress it up.
There is another way to tell them apart…you will notice in the photos below that their step has a more-circular, spindle look in the side panels, another tell-tale sign. Ours side panels’ vertical waterflow slots are straight-edged.
We regret having to make you go through the process of submitting photos when it comes to customer service issues, but it’s how we help pool owners to properly identify their steps when we talk to them on the phone or share an email with them.
We apologize for any inconvenience these nearly-identical products may cause. We never expected to have our product copied. We do look at it this way, though: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We just wish the competitor had better quality standards, as we don’t like being confused with such a low-quality product.