Alfi Faucet Review and Rating Source • Brands Rating
Price • Origin
Business Model
Warranty Analysis
Imported
Kitchen and Bath Remodeling in Lincoln, Nebraska:  Alfi Faucet Review and Rating: China Flag
China




Updated: 9/5/17
Alfi Trade, Inc.
4831 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016
(800) 990-2534
(323) 732-4045

Brands
Alfi
Alfi Brand


$106-$320

Kitchen and Bath Remodeling in Lincoln, Nebraska:  Alfi Faucet Review and Rating: China Flag
China
Warranty Score: Warranty Stars
(Below North American Standard)
ComponentTerm
Cartridge5 Years1
FinishesLifetime1
Mechanical parts25 Years
Proof of purchaseRequired
TransferableNo

1. The company represents that it offers a limited lifetime warranty on its faucets, but a careful reading reveals that it is actually a 5-year warranty on everything except (possibly) finishes.
2. Body, spout, hoses, etc.


This Company In Brief
Alfi Trade, Inc. is a California corporation owned by Eldad Alfi and his father Aaron chartered in 2007. It is primarily a sink company that also sells faucets. Its sinks are imported mostly from Israel, Spain and Italy. It also imports faucets made in China that it sells over the internet through a proprietary website, but also as a hosted seller on Wayfair, Amazon and Build.com.

These are black market faucets, not certified compliant with U.S./Canadian standards, and, therefore, not legal for installation in the U.S. or Canada; and not compliant with the U.S. Energy Policy and Conservation Act and, therefore, not legal to import, advertise, hold for sale or sell in any U.S. state or territory.



Alfi Trade, Inc. is a California corporation owned by Eldad Alfi and his father Aaron chartered in 2007. It is primarily a sink company that also sells faucets. Its sinks are imported mostly from Israel and Italy and its faucets from China. It sells over the internet, including through its proprietary website, owned by Blue Bath, Inc, organized by Eldad Alfi in 2014. It also sells at websites that host small retailers including Amazon and Wayfair.

Its faucet manufacturers include:
• Guangdong Mischa Stainless Steel Sanitary Ware Co., Ltd., which makes most of Alfi's kitchen faucets, and
• Cae Sanitary Fittings Industrial Co. Ltd., an manufacturer that provides additional kitchen faucets and most of Alfi's bathroom sink faucets. Cae's contemporary faucets are designed in Italy by Itamar Harari of Slide design, a noted Italian design firm, but they are not Italian faucets, as Alfi agents sometimes claim. They are Italian-designed Chinese faucets. Cae is also well known for casting its faucets from DZR brass, an alloy that resists a chemical degradation process called dezincification. (See sidebar)
There may be additional manufacturers. Alfi buys some products through a Chinese broker who may represent other faucet factories. However, the contribution by other Chinese manufacturers does not appear to be significant.

Alfi's faucets are neither designed expressly for nor unique to Alfi. They are out of each supplier's , and routinely sold by Alfi's Chinese manufacturers to other importers in the U.S. and Canada. Cae, in particular, manufactures faucets for and are available from outlets that sell these brands.

Alfi's line of faucets is heavily slanted toward contemporary styles. Only a few are traditional or transitional in design. Its finishes are limited: bright chrome and brushed nickel on its bath faucets; chrome, nickel and stainless steel for its kitchen faucets. Not all faucets are available in all finishes. The available finishes depend largely on which Chinese manufacturer made the faucet.

The cartridges used in the Alfi faucets made by Cae are from Kerox, Kft, a Hungarian manufacturer of very good to excellent ceramic cartridges that are favored by a number of European faucet brands.

Alfi's other Chinese manufacturer, Mischa, prefers a cartridge from Sedal S.L.U., a company chartered in Spain, but manufacturing in China. The

China Flag Lead in Chinese Faucets


Lead is by some accounts more dangerous than arsenic. The maximum acceptable level of lead contamination in drinking water in the U.S. and Canada set by the EPA and CEPA is 5 parts per billion (ppb) — that's billion with a "b".

Yet, that may still be too much lead. According to the World Health Organization, "[t]here is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe."1 Regulators would prefer no-lead standard, But, the EPA's maximum lead level of 5 ppb in drinking water reflects what is do-able. It is about what current technology can achieve, but expect it to be set lower as technology improves.

Lead has deleterious effects on human health particularly of children, attacking the brain and central nervous system causing developmental and learning disorders and, in severe cases, dementia, coma and even death.2

In China, the source of most off-brand faucets sold in the U.S. and Canada, there is no lead limit in drinking water, and faucets made in China for the domestic market often contain large amounts of lead. Lead is still prized in manufacturing in China because it is plentiful, cheap, malleable, and resistant to corrosion. Lead compounds are regularly added to plastics and vinyl to make them more resistant to high temperatures. Because lead is heavy, it is added to cheap metal products to make them seem more substantial.3

Most Chinese (including doctors) do not recognize lead as a significant hazard. As a result, few regulations have been enacted to control for lead. There is no consumer product safety commission and no laws mandating lead-free buildings. Lead contamination is not taken seriously by the Chinese faucet industry or by government regulators. Acute lead poisoning of entire towns and villages from nearby smelters and factories is common in China. Chronic long-term exposure from smokestacks, lead paint, coal burning and contaminated water affects millions of Chinese citizens.

According to Human Rights Watch, Chinese parents seeking help for children with typical lead poisoning symptoms: loss of appetite, incessant fever, sluggish and agitated behavior, are commonly arrested rather that given aid4. By some estimates, as many as 1/3rd of all children in China are affected by some degree of lead poisoning5.

China has no EPA to help control environmental pollution, and nothing like OSHA to regulate exposure to dangerous pollutants in the workplace. Chinese government assessments of contaminants in the environment are known to be wildly unreliable. A recent study by Chinese scientists of water in the reservoir that feeds 60% of Beijing households found levels of lead 20 times the maximum set by the World Health Organization.6

Chinese faucet testing standards (GB18145) do not include a lead contamination standard. Shi Hongwei, Deputy Director of Quality Supervision for China's National Building Material Industry, Inspection and Testing Center indicated in 2013 that China would implement standards for lead content in plumbing fixtures in 2014. But, 2014 has come and gone without action by the Chinese government.7

No one, not even the most experienced expert, can tell by looking at a faucet whether or not it contains a dangerous amount of lead. The only safeguard is laboratory testing and certification by an accredited laboratory that a faucet is "lead-free" to the very strict North American standards.

If your faucet is not certified, it may very well be slowly and silently poisoning yourself and your family. Something to keep in mind when choosing a faucet.


Footnotes
1. "Lead Poisoning and Health: Fact Sheet", World Health Organization. Updated July 2016. World Health Organization. Web 22 July 2016.
2. "Lead Poisoning and Health: Fact Sheet", World Health Organization. Updated July 2016. World Health Organization. Web 22 July 2016.
3. Wang S, Zhang J. "Blood lead levels in children, China". Environmental Research. 2006. Web 2 Aug 2017.
4. "My Children Have Been Poisoned: A Public Health Crisis in Four Chinese Provinces", Human Rights Watch. Web 2 Aug 2017.
5. Amon, Joe. "China Is Hurting Its Future By Not Acting on Lead Poisoning". Huffington Post, 22 Aug 2011. Huffington Post. Web 20 July 2016.
6. Liu, Charles. "Beijing Says Tap Water is Safe, but Chinese Scientists Disagree". The Nanfang. 4 May 2016. Nanfang Limited (Hong Kong). Web 20 July 2016.
7. "Taps Become Heavy Metal Content of Peremptory Norms". Huao Sanitary Ware News. 17 Mar 2016. Huoa Sanutary Ware. Web. 20 July 2016.
Sedal cartridge is a favorite of Chinese manufacturers making faucets for the European and North American markets. We judge it to be a good cartridge that should give reliable service for many years. However, if you have a choice, opt for a Kerox cartridge.

Alfi's wholesale websites, Alfi Trade and Alfi Brand are designed roughly the same way. Navigation used to be a little mysterious until you realized that the key was the link to "Menu" displayed unobtrusively about a third of the way down the page, which opens up the site's navigation links. Once you figured this out, navigation is generally intuitive. The menu has now been moved to the top of the page, which makes the whole process more obvious. Site search is effective and individual faucets are easy to find.

BlueBath.com is Alfi's retail site and its navigation is more traditional, with a menu bar across the top of the page. The site is a sanitary wares retail store selling Alfi Brand products along with a assortment of inexpensive faucets from other importers of Chinese and Taiwanese faucets and some good to excellent faucets from major brands such as

Alfi also sells some faucets at web sites that host small business such as Amazon and Wayfair. There are serious problems with these on-line hosting sites. All of them sell faucets that have not been certified safe, reliable and lead-free to North American standards. Such faucets are usually illegal to sell in the U.S. and in most of Canada.

Despite the promises made by these sites to protect customers by refusing to sell contraband products, they do not do much to investigate the legality of faucets and protect customers against the sale of potentially dangerous illegal faucets.

This lack of vigilance makes these sites attractive to black market sellers. Well over 70% of the faucets offered for sale on Amazon are uncertified and,
Black Market Faucets
For more information on black market faucets and how to avoid them, visit Illegal and Black Market Faucets in North America.
therefore, illegal to sell or install in North America. The fact that most of these black market faucets are Chinese in origin makes them of heightened concern because China has very loose standards in general and no lead standards at all. Lead poisoning is epidemic in the Peoples Republic (see sidebar), in part because the government denies that lead poisoning is a problem. Uncertified faucets have not been tested for lead, so the likelihood that that these black market faucets contain dangerous levels of lead is very high.

The Alfi warranty is below par for North America. The company promises a limited lifetime warranty "against manufacturing defects in materials and workmanship", but takes it away again in the very next line that reads: "Mechanical components are warranted against defects for 5 years from the original purchase date." What part of a faucet is not a mechanical component? There are several ways of interpreting this language, but none augers well for the buyer. The warranty does not apply to "the replacement of components where damage is caused by . . . lime scale [or] aggressive water conditions. . ." We don't know what constitutes an "aggressive water condition", and the term is not defined in the warranty.

We view the warranty as a limited 5-year warranty with some suspicious language and rate it "far below" the North American standard "limited lifetime" warranty. It is certainly not a ringing endorsement of Alfi's faith in the durability or longevity of its faucets.

There are essentially two approaches to warranties in the faucet business. The first approach tries to reduce the cost of warranty service to its irreducible minimum and insulate the company as much as possible from liability for a failed product. This is the bean-counter approach, the tack favored by accountants and chief financial officers. This describes Alfi's warranty exactly. The other, and better, approach is to use the power of a good warranty to drive sales figuring (correctly) that any additional cost of providing a first-class warranty will be more than offset by additional sales revenue that a first-class warranty generates.

This is the Moen approach. Moen, one of the first major faucet companies in the U.S. to offer a lifetime warranty on its products, figured out early that a good warranty and strong back-end support would substantially increase sales on the front end. It worked. Its warranty helped boost Moen from a little-known bit player in the 1950's to the second largest faucet company in the U.S., behind Delta Faucets, by the 1970s. (The companies are now neck and neck for the top slot, each having about 30% of the U.S. faucet market.)

The loyalty of Moen customers is legendary. It is nearly impossible to talk a Moen customer out of a Moen faucet, shower or tub filler not that we try. Alfi needs to take a leaf from Moen's play book and start looking at its warranty as an opportunity to build sales and forge customer loyalty rather than strictly as a nuisance liability to be minimized as much as possible.

All of the various telephone numbers used by Alfi and Blue Bath route to the same automated answering system. Customer service is sometimes hard to get in touch with. Long hold times are typical. After about three minutes, the automatic answering computer will give you a choice of leaving a call-back message. If you leave a message you will get a call back, usually within 24 hours. Once you get a customer agent, you will usually get your question answered. Agents are knowledgeable about Alfi faucets and generally cordial and helpful. Most of the representatives we talked to have an excellent command of English but with a definite Chinese accent which can sometimes make them hard to understand.

The company is not BBB accredited. It is, however, a member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

Alfi routinely describes its faucets as compliant with the joint U.S./Canadian mechanical safety and reliability standards and the North American lead-free standard. However, none of the seven accredited organizations that test and certify faucets as compliant with North American standards have ever heard of Alfi faucets.

A faucet certification is an actual document that to be valid contains the following minimum information:
  1. A unique identification number,
  2. The name of the faucet company being certified,
  3. The brand name of the faucet line (if different),
  4. The faucet's model name and/or number,
  5. The standard or standards to which the faucet is being certified,
  6. The organization issuing the certification, and
  7. The expiration date of the certificate.
(View an example certificate.)

The certificate allows a faucet to be positively identified. A plumbing inspector or interested homeowner can look at a certificate and tell without question whether a particular faucet appears on the certificate. If it is not listed on the certificate by manufacturer and model name or number, then the faucet is not certified no matter how fervently the faucet company insists that it is. It's as simple as that. An uncertified faucet is not compliant because compliance requires certification.

When we telephoned Alfi about the apparent lack of certifications for Alfi faucets, we were initially assured by a customer service represent that they were fully compliant with all North American standards, but when we insisted on seeing the actual certificates of compliance, then, after a lot of hemming and hawing and being placed on hold for a while, the agent finally admitted that the faucets were "not actually certified", but Alfi was working on it. Alfi has been "working on it" for a long, long time.


Fully certified, safe and lead free faucets made in China and Taiwan that are comparable to Alfi include
If you are in the market for an inexpensive Asian-made faucet, one of these suppliers might be a better choice than Alfi. All sell faucets that are known to be certified safe, reliable and lead free, and authorized for use in U.S. and Canadian water supplies. Some may not be especially good faucets, but they are at least safe faucets.

We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Alfi faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.