Review & Rating
1530 E McDonald Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230
Footnotes:1. "[F]or as long as the original consumer purchaser owns their home.... "This warranty is valid only for faucets purchased after June 1, 2015. All faucets purchased prior to June 1, 2015 will be covered under our previous three (3) year warranty".
This Company In Brief
RGM Distribution is a New York corporation organized by Robert Gavartin that began business in 2006 selling bathroom vanities and consoles. By 2010 it had expanded its offerings to include faucets, sinks, toilets, showers, linen cabinets, medicine cabinets and accessories such as towel racks and soap dishes. Its products are made in China, imported and sold under the Fresca name. RGM sells Fresca through a variety of on-line retailers and through its own e-tail store, Decor Planet. Both Fresca and Decor Planet are registered trade names owned by RGM Distribution.
Fresca does not sell kitchen or bar faucets. It offers bathroom sink faucets as a part of coordinated collections that include showers, tub fillers and accessories like towel racks and bath tissue holders. It also sells vanities and other bathroom furniture. Most of its faucets are single handle mixing faucets. We count only three widespread faucets that feature two handles. So, while suitable for a contemporary bath, they may not fit a heritage restoration.
The ceramic cartridges in the Fresca faucets we examined were Chinese, but not marked with a manufacturer's stamp. China has some excellent ceramic cartridge manufacturers that have gained an international reputation for quality products. Most of these proudly put a maker's mark on their cartridges. The fact that these cartridges have no mark suggests that they are not from one of the better quality manufacturers. From inspection we believe these are probably Sedal of KCG cartridges: good, but not the very best.
Fresca sources from a variety of Chinese suppliers. In addition to faucets, it buys sinks, vanities and accessories, so it is not always possible to determine which supplier is a source for faucets. Our information gleaned from customs and certification records indicates that Fresca's faucet suppliers include:
The faucets are straight out of each manufacturer's and are neither designed nor manufactured expressly for RGM. In fact, many of the faucets sold by RGM are also sold by other vendors in the U.S., and both of RGM's known faucet manufacturers sell at least some faucets retail under their own brand names in other parts of the world.
The designs are conservative for the most part, but some Fresca faucets are striking. By selecting its suppliers carefully, Fresca has tapped into the minor design revolution that is now going on in China.
Generally, OEM/ODM manufacturers in China profit from selling mass-market faucets and, to reach the widest possible number of buyers, keep their designs well within safe styling boundaries. There are, however, an increasing number of Chinese faucet manufacturers are designing faucets that are becoming competitive with European and American designs.
Yatin, is one of these new-wave Eastern manufacturers. In 2007 Yatin's Power faucet created by Yatin's in-house designer Yu Qing, won the prestigious German IF design award using oriental motifs. The judges observed that:
Power conveys the Oriental spirit, synthesizing fashion with science. The simplest curve creates a harmonious appearance — a classic fusion of East and West.Six Yatin faucets were nominated for the Designpreis Deutschland (German Design Award) in 2012.
These awards and mentions suggest that design creativity at Yatin Bath is starting to bloom. It is still a long way from competing toe-to-toe with European and American designers. But, it demonstrate clearly that a Chinese design no longer necessarily means a dull and uninspired product.
All Fresca faucets are available in bright chrome, some are available in brushed nickel. These appear to be the only finishes provided. If your sense of design requires oil rubbed bronze or some other rather special finish you will need to look elsewhere. For well over 80% of buyers, however, these two finishes do the trick.
The Fresca web site is clean, crisp, and well-organized, with intuitive navigation and a product search function that is easy to use and accurate as long as you enter a model name. For descriptive terms it fails miserably, especially for multi-word expressions such as "single handle" or "three hole".
The information provided about each faucet includes its finishes, spout reach and height and valve type (always "ceramic cartridge", but no mention of manufacturer such as "Sedal ceramic cartridge"). Installation instructions are downloadable in .pdf format, as are specifications. These usually include a dimensioned scaled drawing — useful for determining whether a faucet will fit your bathroom or kitchen, and a trouble-shooting guide, but not a parts diagram, which would help if something on the faucet breaks. To view a sample installation sheet (.pdf) for a Fresca faucet, click here.
Certifications are stated on each faucet's installation instructions, but we would also like to see them as part of the overview information supplied on the faucet's web page. The fact that these faucets are fully certified where so many of its competitors' products are not, is a strong selling point and should be emphasized.
RGM has a good record for handling post sale customer issues and warranty claims. It has earned a rating of A+ on a scale of A+ to F from the Better Business Bureau for handling complaints in a manner that the BBB finds to be in good faith and satisfactory. RGM Distributing has been accredited by the BBB since March 18, 2015, which means it has been thoroughly vetted and has agreed to do business under a strict code of ethics enforced by the BBB. In our customer support and technical service tests, the company essentially aced everything. The former problems we found with long hold times seem to have been cured. The company web site still urges contact by e-mail, and does not provide a contact telephone number (but see above), but if you do telephone, you will be helped courteously and promptly.
Since our extensive criticism of Fresca's original three-year faucet warranty in our initial report on the company in February, 2015, Fresca has upgraded its warranty and removed some of the provisions that we thought were excessive, including the requirement that a warranty issue be reported to the company within "14 days" of discovery.
The new warranty, applicable to faucets purchased after June 1, 2015, is as straightforward as a warranty can be:
"All Fresca faucets come with a Limited Lifetime warranty, which covers the original consumer purchaser for as long as the original consumer purchaser owns their home, warranting that this faucet will be leak-free during normal use and all parts and finishes of same will be free from defects in material and manufacturing workmanship."
Formerly RGM Distribution required installation by a licensed professional for the warranty to be valid, but the requirement has now been removed. We especially applaud the promise that all Fresca faucets "will be leak-free during normal use", which means that Fresca faucet cartridges are guaranteed for a lifetime against failure. While we have not been able to positively identify the cartridges used in Fresca faucets, that provision, which evidences a great deal of confidence by the company in the quality of its cartridges, suggest that they are, at very least, reliable and durable.
The faucets are widely available on the internet, but we have not found a brick and mortar plumbing supply house that carries them. In addition to the company's captive web site, Decor Planet, the faucets are sold at Build.com, Cymax, Faucet.com, FaucetDirect.com, HomeDepot.com, Supply.com, TheMine.com (a Lowes company) and Walmart.com. They are also sold by Decor Planet on sites that host third party sellers like Amazon, Houzz, Overstock and Wayfair.
The web site has a "Where to Buy" tab, but its list of retailers is not complete.
Imported Chinese and Taiwanese faucet brands reasonably comparable to Fresca include:
Our overall impression of the company is favorable. It acts like a business that takes extra pains to ensure that it is selling a good, reliable product and that its customers are completely satisfied. We like the faucets themselves for exactly what they are: well-made, inexpensive imported faucets. They are manufactured by suppliers with international reputations for making exceptional products, and we like the crisp, clean, carefully chosen designs. They are by no means cutting edge and the design glitterati may find them boring, but we think they would be an attractive addition to any bath.
The cartridges could be better, but the company's lifetime warranty against leaks tells us that at very least the company is satisfied that they are durable and reliable over the long term, so much so that it is willing to risk its dollars, not yours, that they will last for a lifetime of use. The faucets would be a good choice for a guest bath or powder room where an attractive but inexpensive faucet would well serve, and we are confident enough in their quality that we would have little hesitation installing them in a busy family bath. They should give years of trouble-free service, but if something does go wrong, the faucets are backed by a strong warranty and very good, very professional and very prompt customer service.
We judge Fresca faucets to be a very good value. It would be a formidable challenge to find a better faucet for the price.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Fresca faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.