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Italian Faucet Warranties
Of the major Italian faucet manufacturers that sell faucets under their own brand names in North American, Gessi actually has the strongest warranty along with Paini S.p.A. Rubinetterie which sells the La Toscana line of faucets in the U.S. and Canada.
MGS Progetti makes only stainless steel faucets, so there is no applied finish for these faucets, but it warrants its stainless steel parts for just five years and cartridges for two years.
The best warranties in North America on Italian faucets are not from Italian faucet manufacturers, but from North American importers of Italian faucets that sell the faucets under their own brand names.
Lacava Designs, a boutique Chicago faucet company imports designer Italian faucets mostly from Rubinetterie Ritmonio S.r.l, and guarantees them for "for as long as the original consumer owns his or her home."
Montreal-based Aquabrass Inc., imports well-designed Italian faucets from IB Rubineterie S.p.A. and Rubineterie 3M Srl. Aquabrass guarantees the mechanical parts, cartridges and chrome and nickel finishes of its Italian faucets for the lifetime of the original owner, and all other finishes for five years.
Jewel Faucet Company in Surrey, BC, sells Paini faucets with a much better guarantee that Paini offers on its La Toscana faucets sold in North America. Jewell faucet are warranted for a lifetime with the exception of finishes which have a 5-year warranty.
Gessi North America, Inc.
704 North Valley St.
Anaheim, CA 92801
(714) 808 0099
13037 Serravalle Sesia
(Below North American Standard)
We have long suspected that it must be a criminal offense in Italy to manufacture or sell an ugly faucet. Gessi's stylish contemporary faucets are a case in point. If you are looking for a faucet with the finesse and verve of Italian design, Gessi would be a good place to start. But, the good design and sturdy construction of the faucets are offset by one of the weakest faucet warranties of any European faucet on the market.
Founded in 1992 by Umberto Gessi, the company moved into a small factory in the Piedmont region of Italy the next year, then built a larger production facility on the same site in 2004, turning the original plant into a showroom and offices. The factory was expanded again in 2010 resulting in a facility nearly twice the size of the original factory.
According to the company, great care was taken to minimize the impact of the facility on the environment, and to protect the quality of the water used in production. A virtual tour of the Gessi factory is available, composed of six videos showing the various states of faucet production.
Gessi bathroom faucets are arranged in collections that include showers, basins, toilets, mirrors, accessories and bathroom furnishings even towels and fragrances. Not all of these are made by Gessi, of course, and import records show that many are made in Asia. And, not every collection includes all of these accessories. Some collections include very few, while Goccia, the most complete collection, even includes bathtubs..
The kitchen collection, simply named "kitchen", is much less involved and includes, in addition to faucets, lotion and soap dispensers. Gessi does not make or sell kitchen sinks.
The company's designs are created in its own design studio featuring designer and sculptor, Prospero Rasulo, and are largely original with Gessi. Some Gessi faucets have won design awards, and these are identified on the company web site. But, some of the designs are aging, and have been around ten years or longer — long enough to be widely copied by other, less creative, faucet manufacturers.
A designer faucet company like Gessi has to keep producing new designs at a fairly rapid pace to keep ahead of copy-cats and outright counterfeiters. Protecting a design is very difficult. Most countries allow only very limited copyright or patent protection for the design elements of a faucet. It is not hard to reverse engineer a successful faucet design, make subtle changes to avoid patent infringement, and then manufacture knock-offs in great quantities for a much lower price than the original designer company can possibly afford. As a consequence, the life span of a successful faucet design is about five years, after which time it has been so widely copied that the design is no longer fresh or new.
Many of Gessi's designs have reached this critical stage.
What is not well designed is the Gessi web site. It, thankfully, does not have a lot of "Flash"-y media, a "feature" that is so very irritating about many Italian web sites, but while snappy and visual, it is sometimes difficult to navigate.
We often found ourselves with no clue what to click on next. To display a list of kitchen facets, for example, we clicked on [products] in the main menu then [kitchen] on the drop-down menu. This displayed a picture of a pretty faucet and the kitchen sub-menu which offered one choice: [kitchen]. So we clicked on that which displayed two identical pictures of the same faucet, a large picture at the top and a small picture below the large picture (out of sight until we scrolled down the page).
Only by poking around, and trying this and that, did we discover that to display the rest of Gessi's kitchen faucet collection, we needed to click on the small picture. Not at all obvious or intuitive. After some experimenting, we were able to navigate fairly well. But, it was a moderately long learning curve, and we have to wonder how many prospective customers are going to spend the amount of time we did figuring out how to navigate the site.
Gessi's faucets are very contemporary, and wholly unsuited for anyone trying to achieve a period look. They also come in just a few finishes. All are available in polished chrome. Some bath faucets are also finished in satin chrome, gold, satin gold, finox and white or black powder coatings. Kitchen faucets offer a still more limited palette. All are available in polished chrome and some in finox. No other finishes are available although there is a persistent rumor that Gessi plans to introduce new PVD finishes in the next year or so.
For those who don't know what finox is (and we didn't until we looked it up), it is a nickel-chromium alloy usually used as an electrode in welding. The only source we can find for it is Kjellberg Vertrieb GmbH of Brandenberg, Germany which makes three different varieties. Whether the Gessi finish is really welding-grade finox or just nickel given a more interesting name, we don't know. In any event, it looks a lot like satin nickel.
Most Gessi faucets are designed for traditional wall- or deck-mounting, but some mount to the ceiling and some to the floor. It is a creative and interesting look, and not available in North America, as far as we know, from any other manufacturer.
Our resident architectural historian tells us that floor-mounted sink faucets were fairly common in the late Victorian Era when floor-mounted clawfoot tub fillers were simply adopted to feed lavatory sinks. Some early 1900's Hajoca catalogs show floor-mounted sink fillers. But, it is not a design that has been seen very often since the 1920's, so kudos to Gessi for reviving an interesting architectural design feature.
Floor or ceiling mounting will not work in every bath, but where they will work, it would create a unique design statement.
It appears that at one time Gessi manufactured at least four faucets for but this relationship appears to have ended.
The Gessi warranty is vary substandard. As a group, the italian faucet companies like that migrate their products to North America tend to retain their European-standard 5- and 10-year warranties. Gessi, which offers a 5-year warranty in Europe and most of the rest of the world, has upgraded its warranty slightly for the U.S. and Canadian markets, offering a "lifetime" warranty on the mechanical parts of its faucets and the cartridges of its two handle faucets. But, it has retained the 5-year limit on its single-handle cartridges and finishes. We don't think that is enough warranty for this market and where a manufacturer, especially a manufacturer of upscale faucets, chooses to offer less than lifetime protection on any major part of what is supposed to be a lifetime product, we feel it should be noted.
A warranty is the company telling you exactly how much confidence it really has in its products. It can go on and on in its sales materials about how it carefully fashions the world's best faucets in its state-of-the-art factory using the highest quality materials and latest processes. But, this is all hot air that does not cost the company one red cent. Only when the company has to talk with its money does its true opinion of its products emerge, and that true opinion is contained in the company's faucet warranty.
What Gessi's Italian management is telling you with its warranty is that it is not willing to bet its own euros that either its finishes or its single handle mixer cartridges will last more than five years. If they do, great. But, if not, Gessi does not want to pay for it. So, if six years down the road your finish starts to flake or your mixer cartridge starts to drip, the problem is yours and yours alone to deal with. Gessi will do no more than sell you the parts to fix it, if they are still in inventory.
Producing a lifetime faucet finish is something most faucet makers can easily accomplish. If a down-scale, economy faucet like can guarantee the finishes on its $40.00 faucets "for as long as the original consumer purchaser owns their (sic) home", why can't Gessi do the same for its $400.00+ faucets? The relatively short term of the Gessi finish warranty makes us wonder what it is about Gessi's finishes that makes the company want to limit its guarantee to just five years.
Similar thoughts occur about its choice of single handle cartridges. Dozens of manufacturers make mixer cartridges that are lifetime or near lifetime products. If Gessi's cartridge is not a lifetime cartridge, why not use a different cartridge? Cartridges widely used in upscale faucets that will easily support a lifetime warranty are available from Flühs Drehtechnik, GmbH, a German firm, Hydroplast S.r.l., an Italian cartridge manufacturer that supplies cartridges to and Kerox Kft, a Hungarian manufacturer that specializes in single handle mixing cartridges. Its cartridge is the heart of a faucet. A finish may fail and the faucet will still work, it may be discolored, corroded and ugly, but water still flows. But if a cartridge fails, the faucet is out of business until it is replaced.
The process of making a claim under Gessi's warranty is unduly complicated and not very clearly explained.
You have to return the faucet along with proof of purchase and a "pertinent description of the problem and of your claim" (presumably written) not to Gessi, but to the place where you originally bought the faucet. Then a Return Goods Authorization (RGA) must be "requested and submitted to Gessi USA with an approved RGA number assigned by Gessi USA along with proper documentation…" Apparently you must also send the faucet along with the RGA and "proper documentation" to Gessi USA — although the warranty never actually says to do so. We don't know what Gessi USA is, or the nature of its relationip to Gessi North America, Inc. It is referred to throughout the warranty document, but nowhere identified or defined. This involved, cumbersome, ill-defined process seems designed to leave you puzzled and without a working faucet for weeks at a time, especially if the faucet has to be sent back to Italy for repair or refinishing.
Compare this unwieldy overly bureaucratic procedure to the simplified process of getting replacement parts under warranty to better understand the difference between first class and other class warranty service.
Most warranty writing is awful, but this one is especially baroque. It reads like it was literally translated from the original Italian. We think the warranty needs to be more clearly stated. It has a number of obvious defects, including failure to identify Gessi USA, and failure to define what is meant by the terms "lifetime" or "mechanical parts" (a term of art understood by most faucet industry insiders, but not necessarily by consumers). In many places the warranty language is contradictory, vague and ambiguous. To avoid unexpected consequences, a warranty, which is a legal document imposing potentially stiff legal liabilities on the manufacturer, should be written by a lawyer (and then translated back into English for the benefit of consumers). If this warranty was written by a lawyer, he or she needs to go back to law school for a little refresher.
The warranty is not available on the company's web site. You have to ask for it from customer support, which will immediately provide you with a copy by e-mail, but why not post it on the web, making it more readily available?
We judge Gessi faucets to offer a fair and adequate value that is at least equal to and often somewhat better than the value you will get from the other major Italian faucet companies that sell in North America — — and worth consideration by those looking specifically for a stylish, contemporary, Italian-designed and Italian-manufactured faucet with North American certifications and U.S.-based warranty and parts support. You may, however, get equally good design and customer support with a better warranty from some of the North American importers of certified Italian faucets such as
We have not evaluated, and therefore have not formed an opinion of Gessi's customer service. The Better Business Bureau has not created a file for Gessi USA. This generally means that it has not received any complaints about the company, which is very good news, but it also means that the company is not a business acredited by the Better Business Bureau, which is not such good news.
Imported faucets comparable to Gessi include:
Comparable North American-made or -assembled faucets include
If you have had an experience with a Gessi faucet, — good, bad or indifferent — that you would like to share, please contact us or post a comment below.