I purchased a Sovereign LE in 2001 from American Sales in IL. I knew when I purchased it that I could never rely on the dealer for service. Since I am very handy and can repair everything on my own, I was not concerned with service. We have enjoyed the hot tub for almost ten years now. I am extremely surprised at the lack of quality in a product that is basically very, very simple. And, what surprises me most is that since Watkins/Hot Spring have been making hot tubs for so many years you would think that a product so simple should have all the bugs worked out by now. For example, after having this tub for several years and having an issue they informed me that they had a design change that had to be implemented and amounted to removing a check valve and adding a tubing kit that replaced the original design by looping this vinyl tubing into an "S" trap. It seemed to me to be absurd, but I followed their recommendation and it worked but it is simply amazing to me that after building tubs for this many years that one would have to resort to such a primitive solution. It was also very surprising to me that they preach about how their warranty will not cover rodents etc. getting inside the tub when most of these are installed outdoors and they are designed with an intentional gap/opening on the side panel for drawing in air. Wouldn't it make more sense to have a design that would stop rodents from entering rather than encouraging it? I constructed a screen (made from window screen) that allowed the air to enter but keep rodents out. Cost about a $1.00 and never had a rodent. Since the tubs sell for $5K and $10K each, wouldn't you think they could add a $1 screen to avoid a problem they know exists? Hot Spring customer service is not good but better than American Sales. They don't want to deal with a customer, only dealers which in theory might work if they had dealers you could rely on. I have had to replace a heater relay board twice. The entire 2020 control board once and the replacement didn't work so I had to get a second one. I replaced the heater twice. The moto massage is always a problem. I fixed and replaced it four or five times and it doesn't work right now. The jets deteriorate over time and have to be replaced. My jet pump is currently leaking around the shaft entry to the pump which will require a new pump. The plastic fatigues from the chemicals over time and the older design for the rotating jets used ball bearings that would spill out when they failed. The newer design is better. I am also surprised that after all this time a system that prevents the styrofoam cover from absorbing moisture/chemicals has not been discovered. Since they advise that you drain and refill every 3 to 4 months it would seem so much more logical to include a valve system on the drain that is easier to open and close than the tiny control valve that they recess back onto the drain line. It would also seem that when they cast the mold for the tub shape that they would design it for ALL the water to drain out rather than have high and low spots that requires you to remove manually each time...how silly. And the way the inside of the unit (where control board, pumps etc are located) is designed so that any leaking water pools on the floor rather than draining out? How dumb is that? Parts from HotSpring or American Sales are way overpriced and I have had much better luck purchasing them online from Backyard Plus. So far I have not had a leak inside the walls but have talked to many that have and it is a very stupid design to make panel removal and replacement so difficult IF leaks can occur. Again, since they been making these things for so many years I cannot believe they can't design simple plumbing that would NEVER leak.
So, after reading this you may think that I hate the hot tub. Not so! I think it has been a good product but ONLY if YOU are capable of repairing all the design flaws and stupidity that is build into the system. Otherwise you are going to spend as much repairing as it cost to purchase originally and, as anyone knows that have purchased one, is NOT cheap. It cost enough to buy the overpriced parts but to pay to have it serviced would make the purchase in the first place a very questionable decision. If Watkins were designing a spacecraft we would have never made it to the moon but to sit under the moon in a tub of hot water with a pump and a heater, and then make hundreds of thousands of them, would seem like they should be perfected by now.