|Source • Brands||
Price • Origin
Home Product America, Inc.
170 Chemin de la Grande-Côte
Rosemère, Quebec J7A 1H4
Asia Manufacturing Solutions, Inc.
2013 Rue Cunard
Laval, QC H7S 2N1
(Far Below North American Standard)
This Company In Brief
Home Product America, Inc. and Asia Manufacturing Solutions, Inc. are Canadian importers and distributors of Ancona products that include kitchen and bath faucets, sanitary wares and accessories as well as patio furniture, range hoods, cooktops, freestanding ranges, towel warmers, mirrors, lighting fixtures, bathroom furniture, kitchen sinks and door hardware — all from China. Ancona is sold through general merchandise internet venues that host small businesses such as Amazon, Overstock and Wayfair. The faucets are not available at regular plumbing supply sources nor at retail from the Ancona web site at this time, but it looks like the site is gearing up to sell directly to consumers in the future.
Read our full report on Illegal and Black Market Faucets.
Home Product America, Inc. is a Quebec corporation organized and owned by Yves Bourret. Its official address on file with the Quebec Registraire des Enterprises is a private residence. Its actual operating address is 2013 Rue Cunard, Laval, Quebec H7S 2N1, which is also the address of Asia Manufacturing Solutions, Inc. founded in 2006. It is owned by the Bourret Family Trust and managed by Mr. Bourret who is identified in official documents as its president.
The company regularly trades as AMS; AMS, Inc.; Asia Manufacturing Service; Asia Solution; Olive & Co.; KBL Liquidation; and Solution, Inc. Some of these aliases have been recorded with the Registrar of Enterprises as required by Quebec law, most have not. It is this company that actually handles the importation of the Asian products. Home Product America, Inc. appears more involved with the distribution end of the business. The two companies operate as a single enterprise under common management from the same address, sharing warehousing and customer service.
Home Product identifies itself on the "About Us" page of its website as having "over 30 years of experience in the manufacturing . . . . of home hardware and accessories". As the business has existed only since 2009 and as it is registered with the Registrar of Companies as an enterprise in the "wholesale trade", specifically in "import/export", we doubt the claim.
Likewise, AMS customer service rather insistently characterizes Asia Manufacturing Solutions as a manufacturer, and specifically as the manufacturer of Ancona faucets. But, it is identified in its incorporation documents as being organized for the "importation, exportation and distribution of manufactured products".
We have found no evidence that, in the years these companies have been in business, either has ever operated a manufacturing facility of any kind, and certainly not one with the means to manufacture faucets which involves the use of hazardous materials and processes that require environmental permits in order to be conducted in Quebec. We have found no indication that either company has received any such permits or even applied for them.
Shipping and customs records provide additional confirmation that the companies are importers, not manufacturers, of a wide variety of home products manufactured by a diverse collection of companies, mostly in China, including kitchen and bath sink faucets, that they distribute under the Ancona brand.
The principal manufacturer of Ancona faucets is Zhejiang Yuhuan Kingjoy Metal Products Co.,Ltd., a well-established Chinese manufacturer of sink faucets, shower components and bathroom accessories, generally known as "Kingjoy Metals" and "Kingjoy Home Design". It is largely a manufacturer of faucets for the export market, sending faucets to the UK, Canada, the U.S. and Australia.
AMS also imports faucets through Shenzhen Haifa Import & Export Co., Ltd., a broker that acts as a middle-man between Chinese factories and foreign buyers. Our research indicates that one of these factories is probably Kaiping Haoju Sanitary Ware Industrial Co., Ltd. also an manufacturer of faucets and shower components in China. There may well be other sources of Ancona faucets that we have not yet identified, but we do not believe that these suppliers make a significant contribution to the Ancona line of faucets.
The faucets are, for the most part, nondescript Chinese faucets, indistinguishable in design, quality or price from the hordes of largely unexceptional sink faucets made in China and Taiwan.
Although Home Product describes itself as "responsible for the entire process from initial product design to after sales service," there is no indication that Ancona faucets are designed by Home Product or AMS. They are designed in the Chinese factories that make them. Nor have they been created exclusively the Ancona brand. The faucets are purchased right out of the of the Chinese factories that make them and are available to any distributor that chooses to buy them.
Many similar, if not identical Chinese faucets are available from other North American importers. For example, Kingjoy Metal Products also provides faucets to Clawfoot Supply, LLC., which sells the faucets under its brands through Ferguson plumbing supply stores throughout the U.S., Wolseley stores in Canada, and through its wholly-owed websites: Build.com, FaucetDirect.com and eFaucet.com.
Ancona faucets exhibit no particular design originality. Chinese designs rarely do. They tend to be middle-of-the-road and to follow the pack rather than lead it. The goal of Asian faucet manufacturers is to sell as many faucets as possible, which means keeping their designs well within the mainstream to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. Few design adventures take place in China. Designs are often adopted from Europe and North America. A design that sells well in these major markets will often be imitated by Asian factories. The lag time is usually 3 to 5 years, so by the time a design appears in a Chinese faucet it is no longer new.
The faucets are available in polished chrome and brushed nickel. The finishes are plated and not the more durable (physical vapor deposition) finishes. Nonetheless, plated finishes are durable enough for most kitchens. Although Chinese finishes often get a bum rap, it has been many years since "China chrome" could be scraped off with a fingernail. Chinese electro-plated finishes are now as robust as the plated finishes from any other country.
The faucets are protected by a limited warranty, but it is hard to tell precisely what warranty applies. The Ancona AN-4107 Palermo kitchen faucet (pictured above), for example, is offered with a 1 year warranty on Wayfair, but the Ancona web site states that the faucet has a 2 year warranty. The paper warranty packaged with the faucet provides a five year warranty on the cartridge and finish with a two year warranty on the manufacturing defects in workmanship and materials. Which one is the actual warranty? We're not sure.
The five-year (or two year or one year) warranty provided on Ancona faucets is far below the U.S./Canadian standard warranty that offers limited lifetime protection to the original owner of a faucet. The lack of a strong warranty suggests that management has less than complete confidence in the durability or longevity of its faucets, or only a limited ability to provide parts and warranty support for a longer term warranty, or both.
Ancona customer service is hard to reach. You can't just call the toll free number and get a question answered. The call is routed to an answering service that identifies itself as "Ancona Verification" that will take your name and number and promise a call back from the company within a day. In fact you will get a call back within 24 hours (weekends and Canadian holidays excepted), but 24 hours is a long time to wait if your faucet is leaking and you need to get the parts to fix the leak.
We have found it quicker to call one of the direct AMS numbers published above. You will get a live person to talk to who can usually help with your question or problem. Once you get a live person on the line, the service is quick and courteous from agents who seem to know quite a lot about their faucets. We rate the service "very good".
The company website is unfinished, and has been unfinished for a while now. Navigation is spotty. Some of the main tabs across the top of the site produce unexpected results. The two Shop tabs (one for the U.S. and one for Canada), do nothing.
Information about each faucet is insufficient to make an intelligent buying decision. Links are provided under the manual & Warranty & Dimensions tab to a dimensions page that is just that, a dimensioned drawing of the faucet — maybe. Often the requested page "cannot be found". Other than the dimensioned drawing and the brief description of the features of the faucet on the web page, there are no detailed faucet specifications.
The link to the faucet warranty registration page resulted in a "page not found" during our first set of tests. In later tests it functioned properly. The installation manual link displays a .pdf set of installation instructions in French and English that is usually easy to follow. Our plumber had no problems installing our test faucets.
The site displays a "My Cart" tab, a "View Cart" and a "Checkout" link indicating that Home Product intends to sell faucets over the web, but at the moment there does not seem to be any means to buy a faucet directly from the website. The "Buy Online" link takes you to one of the retail sites that actually sells the faucet — primarily a general merchandising venue that hosts small businesses such as Amazon, Houz, Overstock and Wayfair.
Home product also sells some faucets at Costco (Canada), the Better Homes & Gardens online store and, of all places, Staples office supply. All of these are on-line sales. We have found no brick and mortar store that sells Ancona faucets. Nor are they sold by any regular plumbing supply distributor that we could find.
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 not 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, therefore, illegal to sell or install in North America. The fact that most of these illegal 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 China (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.
Home Product states in some of its installation manuals and on the websites at which it sells its faucets that Ancona faucets are certified to comply with the joint U.S./Canadian safety and reliability standards (ASME A112.18.1/CSA125.1) and the North American lead-free standard (ANSI/NSF 372 and ANSI/NSF 51). We have found no indication from third party sources that the statement is true.
There are seven organizations approved for testing and certifying faucets for compliance with U.S./Canadian standards, and not one of them has heard of Ancona faucets. When asked for a certificate, AMS customer service was unable to provide one or even the file identification number of a valid certificate.
The fact that Ancona faucets are made in China, where safety standards in general are very loose, and where safety standards for toxic materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic exist not at all, heightens the concern over the potential hazards of these products. No one, not even the most experienced expert, can determine whether a faucet contains dangerous amounts of hazardous substances just by looking at it. Only extensive testing can do that — the very testing that Ancona has not done.
Imported Chinese and Taiwanese faucets comparable to Ancona that are certified to U.S./Canadian standards include
If you are in the market for an inexpensive Asian-made faucet, one of these suppliers might be a better choice than Ancona. 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. Most also offer a warranty for a term greater than the five-year (or two-year or one-year) warranty offered by Ancona, many offer a lifetime warranty.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Ancona faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.