|Source • Brands||
Price • Origin
Cosmo Products LLC
542 Monterey Pass Rd.
Monterey, Park, CA 91754
(Far Below North American Standard)
This Company In Brief
Cosmo Products, LLC is a Nevada company with its principal place of business in California. Its primary business is the sale over the internet of cooking appliances; primarily wall ovens, ranges, cooktops and vent hoods imported from China. It also sells inexpensive Chinese-made kitchen sink faucets.
Read our full report on Illegal and Black Market Faucets.
Cosmo Products, LLC is a Nevada limited liability company formed by Steven and Irene Law in 2014. Its primary business location, however, is in California. Its principal activity is the importation and sale over the internet of cooking appliances; primarily wall ovens, ranges, cooktops and vent hoods, mostly from China. It also sells kitchen sink faucets and protective kitchen gloves.
The company trades as Cosmo Appliances, Cosmo Kitchen Appliances and Premium Appliances. None of these are registered trademarks. It has registered the Cosmo logo (see above) as it applies to "[a]pparatus for cooking, namely, cooktops; Cooking ovens; Electric stoves; Exhaust hoods for kitchens; [and] Gas stoves," but not as it applies to plumbing fixture or fittings, such as sink faucets.
The company maintains two web sites: CosmoAppliances.com and PremiumAppliances.net. The former is its wholesale site, directed toward dealers. Premium Appliances is its retail site, selling to the public. It also sells on sites that host third-party sellers including Amazon, Houzz,Overstock and Wayfair; and as a hosted seller on BuildDirect.com, Walmart.com and HomeDepot.com. All of these sales venues are on line. We have found no source of the faucets in any brick and mortar store.
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."[Note 1] Regulators would prefer a no-lead standard, But, the EPA's maximum lead level of 5 ppb in drinking water reflects what is do-able — about what current technology can achieve. But, expect it to be set lower as technology improves.
Lead hazardous to 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.[Note 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 for the domestic market often contain large amounts of lead. Lead is still prized in Chinese manufacturing because it is plentiful, cheap, easy to form and shape, and resistant to corrosion. Lead compounds are regularly added to plastics and vinyl to make them more resistant to high temperatures; and to cheap metal products to make them seem more substantial by increasing their weight.[Note 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 aid[Note 4]. By some estimates, as many as 1/3rd of all children in China are affected by some degree of lead poisoning[Note 5].
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.[Note 6]
Chinese faucet testing standards (GB18145) do not include a lead limit. Shi Hongwei, Deputy Director of Quality Supervision for China's National Building Material Industry, Inspection and Testing Center announced in 2013 that China would implement limits on lead content in plumbing fixtures in 2014. But, 2014 has come and gone without action by the Chinese government.[Note 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 U.S. and Canadian 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.
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. "Toward a Mandatory Standard for Heavy Metal Content". Huao Sanitary Ware News. 17 Mar 2016. Huao Sanitary Ware. Web. 20 July 2016.
The faucets are Chinese, imported through Li Seng Household Product Limited, a Hong Kong broker that deals primarily in sanitary ware exports from China. They are manufactured in Kaiping by Haoju Sanitary Ware Industrial Co., Ltd..
The faucets are, for the most part, indistinguishable in design, quality or price from the hordes of largely unexceptional sink faucets made in China and Taiwan. They are selected right out of the Haoju and are available to any distributor that chooses to sell them. Haoju faucets are also sold in North America as brand faucets by Home Product America, Inc., a Canadian internet retailer of imported kitchen appliances and inexpensive Chinese faucets.
As is typical of Chinese faucets, Cosmo products exhibit no particular design originality. Chinese designs 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 electroplated and not the more durable (physical vapor deposition) finishes. Nonetheless, plated finishes are robust enough for most kitchens. Although Chinese finishes sometimes get a bum rap, it has been many years since "China chrome" could be scraped off with a fingernail. Chinese electroplated finishes are now as durable as those of any other country.
The Premium Appliances website is well designed with intuitive navigation based on the traditional drop-down menu format. Information about Cosmo faucets is fairly complete. The site lists the faucets' base material (brass or stainless steel), finish (chrome or brushed nickel), flow rate (1.5 gallons per minute), and other important metrics.
Descriptions are not always consistent, however. For example, on the Amazon site, Cosmo describes its COS-KF501C Pull-Down Kitchen faucet as chrome plated stainless steel. On the the company's proprietary web sites, it is identified as a chrome plated brass faucet.
Cosmo does not identify the material from which its spray heads are made, but our inspection disclosed that they are plastic. Plastic spray heads have, unfortunately, become more-or-less the norm, found on even upscale brands like because plastic does not transmit heat like metal, and therefore does not get too hot to handle, and it's inexpensive. However, plastic is not a suitable material for faucets, and plastic spray heads in particular seem to experience a lot of failures. Spray heads made out of insulated brass or stainless steel are much more robust, and to be preferred.
The "Additional Information" tab does not link to much of any additional information. This is where we would expect to see links to downloadable .pdf specification sheets, parts diagrams, dimensioned drawings and installation instructions. Cosmo provides none of these.
The website describes the faucets' cartridges as "ceramic" but does not identify the source of the cartridges — information useful in determining whether the cartridge is one of the better brands on the market. The ceramic cartridges in the Cosmo faucets we examined were clearly Chinese but there are no markings on the cartridges identifying the actual manufacturer. In our experience, Chinese manufacturers that have gained an international reputation for good quality ceramic cartridges generally mark their products. The absence of identification marks usually suggests a lower quality component.
The rules of some of the company's sales venues such as Amazon, require a 30 day no-questions-asked return policy. Otherwise, the company offers a 14-day return provided the product has not been installed and is in its original packaging. The buyer pays shipping unless the faucet was received damaged. The company changes a 15% re-stocking fee.
After the return period, defects in the facets are covered by the company's written warranties. There are two warranties and it's not clear which one actually applies. The Premium Appliances website claims a lifetime warranty with a conspicuous "Lifetime Warranty" logo (see image at right), but clicking on the warranty tab displays a 1 year warranty with what appears to be an optional 2 year extended warranty available for purchase.
On the Cosmo Appliances website, a different warranty is displayed (in very small print — we had to copy it and move it to an off-line application to read it carefully). This Warranty is a prime example of why you should always read any warranty before making a purchase. It is legally a lifetime warranty in that it does protect some parts of the faucet for the original buyer's lifetime. It is not, however, a very good lifetime warranty in that it excludes from lifetime coverage all of the parts of a faucet most likely to fail.
Cartridges are guaranteed for just three years and spray assemblies and "other functional components" for one year. A "functional component" is defined by the company as one that is critical to the faucet's "essential performance."
The "lifetime" part of the warranty applies only to the "non-functional" or "cosmetic" parts of the faucet — those that are not critical to essential performance. These include "knobs, other metal bodies/surfaces, etc." So, if it's a moving, functional part that is at risk for failure in normal use, the warranty is one year (unless its the cartridge, which is guaranteed for three years). If it's a non-moving, non-functional part that is most unlikely to ever fail, it's guaranteed for the lifetime of the original owner.
This is what we call a Barnum Warranty in honor of the famous huckster, showman and philanthropist, Phineas Taylor (P. T.) Barnum, who reputedly sold a train car of canned white salmon by guaranteeing it would not turn pink in the can — something that white salmon cannot possibly do. A Barnum Warranty is a warranty that appears to guarantee a lot, but actually guarantees very little, if anything.
The warranty also requires a faucet be installed by a "fully insured licensed professional" or the warranty is invalid. The attorneys who examined the warranty language were highly amused by this restriction, observing that the warranty is valid if a faucet is installed by a "fully insured licensed" insurance salesman, hairdresser, CPA, stock broker or clinical psychologist. Probably not what Cosmo had in mind, but that's how the warranty reads.
Whichever of the two warranties is the actual warranty, we rate it "far below" the U.S./Canadian standard lifetime faucet warranty in which all parts of a faucet are included in the guaranteed for the lifetime of the original buyer.
Getting parts under warranty can be trying and time consuming. You have to pack up the defective parts and pay to ship them to the company before it will send you replacement parts. After the first year, you also have to pay the company to ship the new parts back to you. All of this process takes quite a bit of time, so how long can you do without a working kitchen or bathroom faucet? Contrast these penny-foolish requirements with the warranty claim process to better understand the difference between first class and other class warranty service.
Moen recognizes that a person who does not own a broken Moen faucet is very unlikely to make a warranty claim. It may happen from time to time, but the piddling cost of providing parts to a few scam operators is nothing compared to the massive loss of repeat sales by further aggravating customers who are already plenty annoyed that their faucet broke in the first place. To get a warranty part from Moen, all you need do it identify the faucet and the broken parts over the telephone, then you get them in 2-3 days. No proof of purchase, no paying shipping charges, no bureaucratic nonsense of any kind.
It is a process designed to turn disgruntled customers into repeat buyers, and it works. The loyalty of Moen customers is legendary. It is nearly impossible to talk a Moen customer out of a Moen product. Cosmo 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.
We have to figure that a company that goes to such extremes to protect itself against warranty liability does not have much faith in the durability or longevity of its faucets. It does not want to bet its own dollars that it is selling good, robust faucets; but it is more than willing to bet yours.
If the company has such little faith in its faucets, perhaps that's a warning that you should heed.
As part of the description provided for every faucet on its proprietary websites and on the hosting websites where its faucets are sold is the claim that the faucets are UPC and cUPC certified. We can find absolutely no evidence that the claim is true. IAPMO-RT, the testing service of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials that owns the UPC and cUPC marks has never heard of Cosmo brand faucets. IAPMO-RT does not list the Cosmo brand as certified and, according to an IAPMO spokesperson, has not approved Cosmo's use of the trademarked UPC label.
Cosmo hopes to shield itself from any problem with lack of basic safety and reliability certifications by disclaiming in its warranty document as follows:
Cosmo appliances makes no implication that products comply with any or all local building or plumbing codes. It is the consumer's responsibility to determine local code compliance.This is a tactic that has never worked in the past to shield a faucet company from liability where it has misrepresented the certification status of its faucets. We don't expect it to work for Cosmo. The false representation violates at least two federal statutes, one of them criminal. It also violates the deceptive business practices and false advertising statutes of most states and provinces. Additionally, Cosmo does not comply with pre-sale availability rules required by 16 CFR §720.3 on any of the sites on which its faucets are sold. So, there is no reason to assume that any potential buyer would notice or have an opportunity to read the disclaimer prior to or at the time of sale — a legal requirement for a disclaimer to be effective.
The fact that Cosmo 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 Cosmo has not done.
Chinese and Taiwanese faucets that have been fully certified and proven safe that are comparable to Cosmo include:
If you are in the market for an inexpensive Asian-made faucet, one of these suppliers might be a better choice than Cosmo. 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 that is more straightforward than the warranty provided by Cosmo, many offer an lifetime warranty on all the parts of its faucets, functional and cosmetic.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Cosmo faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.