Review & Rating
Yosemite Home Decor
4250 West Shaw Ave.
Fresno, CA 93722
Footnotes:1. Ten years, or until the faucet is discontinued, whichever is sooner. Once Yosemite runs out of a faucet model, the warranty on all of the faucets of that model expires.
This Company In Brief
Northern Central Distributing, Inc. is an importer of Chinese-made faucets that it sells at internet venues such as Wayfair and ATGStores, at Lowes and at its retail store in Fresno, California. The company was formed in 1986 by Rockie Bogenschutz to sell zero-clearance gas fireplaces, primarily to home builders. Subsequently Mr. Bogenschutz partnered with Farshid Assemi and added household appliances to the company's wares. Mr. Bogenschutz is no longer associated with the company which is now managed by Mr. Assemi.
In 2006 the company again expanded its wares, delving into lighting, fireplace mantels and home decor items. It registered Yosemite Home Decor as a service mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2006, but the registration was cancelled in 2014 for failure to file a "continued use" declaration stating that the name was still being used in commerce. The company still owns the name as a common law trademark, it just cannot claim that the name is registered or use the ® symbol with the mark.
The company also regularly trades as Central Distributing, and frequently uses this name in its literature and on the signage outside its office/warehouse in Fresno. This mark, as far as we can determine, has never been registered.
According to its various trade mark applications, the company sells pergolas, fireplace mantels, hearth products; granite sinks, water fountains, and countertops; bathwares including faucets, sinks, and toilets; lighting fixtures, electric luminaries, ceiling fans, and lamps; cabinets, including bathroom vanities, kitchen cabinets, and medicine cabinets; chairs, benches, wine racks, and decorative accent pieces including wall art, clocks, vases, statutes, and mirrors; outdoor furniture, bamboo huts, planters and flower pots.
Yosemite continues to sell appliances along with lighting, fireplaces and its home decor products out of its large retail store in the Highway City district on the west side of Fresno, California. It also sells just about the same wares (excluding appliances) through a large number of internet retailers such as Amazon and Wayfair as well as through brick and mortar retailers such as Walmart, Home Depot and even Target. Most of its merchandise is made in China, the rest in other parts of Asia. The company does an impressive volume. We tracked over 60 large shipments from various Asian suppliers in just the past twelve months.
Faucets are just a tiny portion of its sales. In fact, of the 60 or so shipments received from Asia in the past year, only five were from faucet suppliers. Nonetheless, due to a sweeping exposure on the internet, Yosemite faucets are widely available, and have generated dozens of inquiries over the past year.
All Yosemite faucets are made in China. The company's known suppliers are:
Yosemite also imports faucets through other brokers. A broker is a company licensed by the Beijing government to put Chinese manufacturers in touch with foreign buyers and expedite exports. They help small Chinese companies that do not have in house expertise to attract buyers and are an important part of the Chinese export economy. The brokers used by Yosemite to purchase faucets include
Yosemite faucets are nondescript Chinese faucets of average to good quality — stylish but by no means extraordinary in any way. Chinese designs are rarely cutting edge. They tend to be middle-of-the-road. The goal of Asian OEM/ODM faucet manufacturers is to sell as many faucets as possible, which means keeping their designs well within the main line to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. Few design adventures take place in China. Chinese designs are largely adopted from Europe and the U.S. It does not take long for a design that sells well in these major markets to be imitated by Asian factories. The lag time is usually 3 to 5 years.
Yosemite prices are comparable to similar faucets sold by other importers of Chinese-made faucets (See list below).
The faucets are off-the-shelf items straight out of each manufacturer's and are neither designed nor manufactured expressly for Yosemite. Many of the faucets sold by Yosemite are also sold by other vendors in the U.S. Kainping Promise, for example, is also a major supplier to All three manufacturers sell faucets under their own brand names outside of the U.S. The Yosemite YP2812-PC centerset lavatory faucet, shown above, is, for example, sold by Kaiping Promise as the Promise 2812-01 in China and other countries, primarily in Asia.
The mechanics are about average or a little above. While the faucet bodies are typically all brass, handles are often the less expensive zinc or a zinc/aluminum alloy called ZAMAK. One of Yosemite's suppliers, Kaiping Promise, advertises that its faucet waterways are all low-lead brass, but that parts not in the waterway, including handles and escutcheon plates, are often less expensive metals or even plastic.
The ceramic cartridges in the Yosemite faucets we examined were Chinese, but not marked with a manufacturer's stamp. China has some excellent ceramic cartridge manufacturers that have gained a worldwide reputation for quality products. Most of these proudly place a maker's mark on their cartridges. The fact that these cartridges have no mark suggests that they are probably not from one of the first rank manufacturers. There are literally dozens of Chinese cartridge manufacturers. Without maker's marks, they are often difficult to identify from appearance alone. It is also highly probable that each of the Chinese manufacturers making faucets for Yosemite uses a different ceramic cartridge, which makes identifying them even more unlikely.
All Yosemite faucets are available in bright chrome, some are available in brushed nickel and "oil-rubbed" bronze. These appear to be the only finishes available.
The Yosemite web site is well-organized, with intuitive navigation and a product search function that is easy to use and accurate. Some faucets have what is called a "Spec Sheet/Manual" on line, and some do not. The information provided in the spec sheet includes a faucet's available finishes, flow rate, and standards to which the faucet is certified (more about this below), and installation instructions. They typically do not show other information that would be useful to a buying decision including spout reach and height, valve type and manufacturer, a scaled drawing or a parts diagram. Spec sheets, for those faucets that have them, are downloadable in Adobe Portable Document Format (.pdf) format.
Northern Central Distributing has an excellent 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 having had no consumer complaints in three years. Central Distributing has been accredited by the BBB since December 6, 1996.
In our customer service and technical support tests, the company failed technical knowledge but passed everything else. Customer service agents knew very little about facets and were unable to help solve our (purely imaginary) faucet installation issues, but when it came to handling our (again, purely imaginary) warranty claim, the process was fast and efficient.
The company's faucet warranty is, however, ambiguous and confusing. The company purports to offer a lifetime warranty. But, even a cursory reading of the warranty reveals that it is anything but. Its actual term depends of which warranty document one reads. There are at least two different warranty documents.
The company's general warranty document applicable to all faucets reads exactly as follows:
"Limited Lifetime (until discontinued). Structural integrity, free of water loss due to defect. VOID if internal parts are dismantled."That "until discontinued" wording gave us pause, so we asked the company for an explanation. A company spokesperson explained that the warranty lasted only until the faucet was no longer being sold by Yosemite, then it lapsed. This is not even close to what we consider a lifetime warranty. You could buy the faucet on Monday and the company could discontinue it on Tuesday, leaving you with a lapsed one day warranty that expired even before the faucet was delivered.
But, it gets even more confusing. On the specification sheets provided for some Yosemite faucets the warranty is stated as:
[L]imited "lifetime" warranty for manufacturing defects.... Yosemite warrants to the original consumer purchaser of the faucet against defects in material and workmanship for a period of ten (10) years from date of purchase.
Again, this is a new one on us. A "lifetime" warranty for ten years is what we — and everyone else we know of — calls a "ten-year warranty". Perhaps ten years is the actual lifetime of a Yosemite faucet.
Neither warranty includes "normal wear of parts" which means that if your cartridge fails because of mineral buildup in the faucet, it is not "defect" that covered under the Yosemite warranty, nor is the cost of shipping the faucet back to Yosemite for inspection and/or repair, if required.
A warranty is the company telling you exactly how much confidence it truly has in its products. Yosemite can go on and on, ad infinitum in its catalog and brochures about how it's faucets are the world's best designed and most reliable sink faucets. But, this is all puffery that costs the company not one penny. Only when the company is forced to stand behind the faucets with actual dollars does its true opinion of its products emerge, and that true opinion is usually contained in the company's warranty.
What Yosemite's management is telling you with its warranty is that it is not willing to bet its own dollars that either its finishes or its faucets will last more than ten years at most, and for a much shorter time if the faucet is 'discontinued' before ten years has passed. If they do, great. But, if not, Yosemite does not want to pay for it. So, if eleven years down the road your finish starts to flake or your faucet starts to drip, the problem is yours and yours alone to deal with. Yosemite will do no more than sell you the parts to fix it.
That is, it will sell you the parts if the company has the parts, and it probably won't. Yosemite does not have an organized replacement parts program (See the sidebar "Yosemite's Faucet Parts Dilemma" at right). Its ad hoc solution to the spare parts problem is to scavenge parts from other faucets as needed, or, if the faucet is no longer being made, to replace a defective faucet during the warranty period with a "comparable" faucet — with the company having sole discretion over what is and is not "comparable". After the warranty period, you can forget about parts unless the company happens to have a left-over faucet from which it can scrounge. In consequence, the odds are very good that if your Yosemite faucet leaks after the warranty period, there will be no parts available to fix it.
A warranty can be a powerful marketing tool, something that companies like have known for decades and understand very well. The loyalty of Moen and Delta customers — which together own about 60% of the North American faucet market — is legendary, in no small part because of the excellent lifetime warranties and unsurpassed warranty service they offer. But Yosemite's management is apparently unable to grasp its potential to boost sales. The company is myopically focused on lowering its warranty liabilities to the irreducible minimum — definitely the bean-counter's perspective, and surprising in a company that is as sales- and marketing-driven as Yosemite Home Decor.
Faucets are strictly regulated products. All plumbing codes in effect in North America require faucets to meet certain minimum standards. These standards and the tests to be used to confirm compliance with the standards are set out in ASME A112.18.1/CSA B125.1 which establishes the joint U.S.-Canadian requirements for the safety, integrity and reliability of faucets, and ANSI/NSF 372 which specifies the North American "lead-free" standards and ANSI/NSF 61, the health safety standards for faucets installed in drinking water systems.
Although listings for faucets on the company web site often identify the faucets as complying with these standards, and with ADA requirements, we can find no evidence that Yosemite's claims are true.
When we asked Yosemite for a copy of the certificate for particular faucet, we were e-mailed a certificate that had obviously been altered to erase the name of the company owning the certificate. By tracking the listing file number, we were able to determine that it was actually a certificate belonging to a Chinese manufacturer of stainless steel sinks — nothing to do with faucets. When confronted with the deception a Yosemite spokesperson told us that a company manager would get back to us with the correct certificate. That was in October, 2014. We are still waiting to hear from that manager.
Chinese and Taiwanese faucets comparable to those sold by Yosemite but which are fully certified and know to be safe, include:
Absent a compliance certification there is no possible way for anyone to judge whether Yosemite faucets are reliable, safe or lead free. We strongly recommend against buying a faucet that is not known to be safe, especially as similar,if not identical faucet with much stronger and less ambivalent warranties are available from other importers selling Kaiping Promise and Kaiping Freendo faucets, including:
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Yosemite faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.