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This Company In Brief
Mico is a Marketeer and Specifier of imported faucets and associated sanitary wares from Taiwan, Italy and Israel. There are a few Mico-designed faucets in the collection, but most are off-the-shelf faucets. Mico's warranty is far below the North American standard lifetime warranty.
Mico is a
of imported faucets and associated sanitary wares made in Taiwan, Italy and Israel. The company began in Illinois in 1999 as Mico Designs, Ltd., a corporation formed by Michael Stuart Isaacs with an
inclusive business model that combined in-house designs of both classic and contemporary faucets with European manufacturing, using the very best components and processes. Early designers included Mr. Isaacs who designed the Hex faucet, and
the designer of several faucets, including Mico's Ula series.
Until recently the company referred to "our design team" in its literature, vaguely identified as being located somewhere unspecified in the foot hills of the Italian Alps. There is, in fact, no design team. Recent Mico designs, such as they are, are the product of the overseas factories that make the faucets. We have not seen a known designer name associated with a new Mico faucet in over a decade.
Gone too is most of the European fabrication. In 2002 Mico claimed to own "over 50 molds" and to manufacture in Europe, "mostly Germany and Italy". We can find absolutely no evidence that Mico ever manufactured faucets in Germany. If it once did, it does not now. Some Mico faucets were still being made in Italy by Ottone Meloda Manufacturing S.r.l. and in Israel by Hamat Group. Both are full service
manufacturers with design and engineering capabilities. Hamat manufactures its own line of very good faucets that it sells in Europe and Israel. It used to sell in the U.S. and Canada, but withdrew from the North American market several years ago. However, it still manufactures faucets for U.S. importers that sell them under other brands, including
Ottone manufactures a few components for RSS Manufacturing, a company in Costa Mesa, California that is famous for its specialized motorsport and automotive products, and which also manufactures the luxury faucet brand,
Mico Designs, Ltd. was voluntarily dissolved in 2016 and a new limited liability company, Mico Designs, LLC created in Arizona to continue selling the Mico line of faucets. At about the same time Mr. Isaacs founded MCN European Enterprises, Inc., Mr. Issacs' newer faucet company that also sells Italian faucets in North America.
A company spokesman indicated to us that the change in ownership will have no effect on warranty claims. Mico Designs, LLC will continue to honor claims on faucets sold by Mico Designs, Ltd.
Most Mico faucets are now off-the-shelf Taiwanese designs owned and manufactured by Stream Tapware, a Taiwanese company. These are not faucets designed exclusively for Mico. They are right out of the Stream Tapware
and are distributed all over the world. The Mico Intel 1106-IL single handle bathroom faucet, for example, is the Stream Rome Single Lever Lavatory Faucet. The Mico Grand Dame 1200-L3 widespread lavatory faucet is the Stream Flora 8" Lavatory Widespread Faucet.
Other faucets added to Mico's lineup recently are from Ottone's
including the Mico Dual 3805 faucet sold by Ottone as the Dual faucet. We have not seen a truly original Mico-designed faucet since 2004.
On the plus side, Mico does sell some striking faucets in collections that include showers, tub fillers and accessories for a coordinated look. It offers a variety of finishes, including
in chrome, nickel, bronze and gold. Not all faucets are available in all finishes. The finishes offered for each faucet depend primarily on the finishes offered by the faucet's manufacturer.
The company suggests that its faucets are reasonably priced because the buyer is not paying a premium for a designer faucet name. Our research shows they are indeed priced somewhat lower than better known designer brands like
but only because they are, with a few exceptions, not true designer faucets, but off-the-shelf Taiwanese and Italian faucets with a sprinkling of Hamat's catalog faucet made in Israel.
Mico's warranty is less than it appears to be. Too many people have read the bold print "Lifetime Guarantee of Quality" but failed to read the fine print. If they had, they would find that Mico does not actually guarantee much of anything. The warranty on finishes is just two years. Cartridges are not guaranteed at all. "Mechanical defects" are covered, but the length of coverage is not specified — it may be for a lifetime, or it may not be.
We judge the warranty to be grossly substandard for the North American market where the standard warranty covers the entire faucet and finishes for the "lifetime" of the original buyer, defined "for as long as the buyer owns the faucet".
The Mico web site was collapsed sometime in 2016 to two pages that display Mico catalogs and a price list available for download, and a blurb about the company. More information may be available to distributors who much log in to view it. We don't know because we are not a distributor. Tthe catalogs are old. The bath catalog was last updated in 2010, and the newest price list dates from 2011. At one time the Mico web site was a model for other faucet companies to follow: easy to navigate and rich with information about each faucet. No longer. Some faucets sold by Mico are also being sold by Mr. Isaacs's new faucet company, MCN European Enterprises. For example, the Mico 7753-SN Simone kitchen faucet is also the MCN 7753-SN Coastline.
Mico has stopped submitting its faucets for testing and certification to North American standards, as required by law that, for confirmation that they are safe, reliable and free of lead and other toxic materials.
Beginning in 2008 we began to see an high level of complaints about Mico, primarily failure to honor its warranty, provide replacement parts or respond to customer concerns, often after several requests. By 2010, Mico, which does less than 1.0% Moen's volume of sales, was generating more complaints than Moen and Delta combined. Mico's customer service was the most frequent subject of complaints. We asked the company about it in 2010 and were assured by a company spokesperson that the company was hiring more personnel and that the problem would soon get better.
It got worse.
The wait times to speak to a customer service representative averaged 12 minutes in our test calls in 2016, and as long as 21 minutes. Once we were able to talk to a representative, many of our questions needed referral to a supervisor, adding more delay to the process of getting help, and indicating that the depth and breadth of product knowledge among the customer service agents needed improvement. When we asked for a call back about an issue, we usually did not get one. E-mail requests and postal letters went unanswered. Of the three instances in which we were told that company owner, Michael Isaacs, "would get back to us", with an answer to our questions, he has gotten back to us exactly never — but at least he is consistent.
In one of our more recent tests, Mr. Isaacs answered the telephone himself. However, he refused to respond to any questions about the company or its products using language that will not be repeated here. Customers have often characterized Mr. Isaacs as "harsh, crude and rude". During another contact he was extremely helpful and charming.
Mico at one time stated on its website1 that buyers "should expect nothing less than the highest standard of quality, design and customer service from Mico Designs" (emphasis supplied). You should indeed expect good customer service, but, frankly, you do not always get it.
American made or assembled faucets comparable to Mico that are certified to North American Standards include
all of which offer high-style, high-quality products and good to excellent customer service. Some are price at about the same level as Mico, some are a bit higher.
We believe that Mico is coasting on a reputation for design innovation and quality earned in the first years of the 21st century — a reputation that is being frittered away. It is not taking care of business. Mr. Isaacs' attention appears to be focused on his newest endeavor, MCN European Enterprises, Inc., also selling faucets as part of coordinated collections. Mico's prices are relative high for what are predominantly standard catalog faucets from Taiwan and Italy. Its warranty is weak and confusing. Customer service is spotty. We have down-rated Mico Designs substantially from its high of 6-7 in 2007.
If you have had an experience with a Mico faucet, — good, bad or indifferent — that you would like to share, please contact us or post a comment below.