Why Toto was not my choice

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by moisheh, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. moisheh

    moisheh Member

    Sep 9, 2006
    Mexico and Canada
    We are building an ensuite. I have been following the toilet forum for most of this year. I finally decided that maybe a Toto Ultramax would be the best choice. I also believe that there are other good choices. This forum is extremely biased being as there are lots of plumbers that post. However I overooked the extreme hate for anything other than Toto and thought what the heck it is a good unit and the Ulramax is a very nice design (exterior). Our project will be ready for a toilet in 2 weeks or less. No problem I thought. There are 2 dealers listed on the Toto site for my area ( Canadian prairies) Both are boutique stores with an attitude. I called the first one: Conversation went something like this: We do not carry that model. Ok what do you carry. Not sure maybe a Drake. How long to get the ultramax. 6 WEEKS!! Price: I forget exactly but around $750.00. Next dealer was almost the same mantra exept NO STOCK but same attitude. I think they mostly sell to architects! Toto may be a good product but their distribution and availability sucks big time. I am a business man and when a product is only available from a few outlets this usually means the product is overpriced or their is no demand for this item. I dont know how many toilets are sold (other than new construction) each year in NA but it must be in the many hundreds of thousands. Maybe millions. I bet Toto is at the bottom in sales. Contrast this with my visit to HD. Of course they had the el cheapo house brand POS's. The clerk was very helpful and quickly steered me away from those. He expalined the differences between a few of the many they had in stock. I wanted a one piece and he had the Mansfield cimmaron and the Cadet 3 all in one. I went with the Cadet. So Toto: You need to study marketing 101. Do you want to make all your profits on one customer or a little on millions? Why would I buy a product from arrogant dealers who do not even have stock?? Mail order to Canada is not practical. I wonder how many other potential customers also get frustrated. I bet there are lots!! BTW: Our 10 year old house has 3 American Standard 3 gallon units that work perfectly. t my warehouse we have a bathroom for the truckers. It gets abused. A lowly 3 gallon Lamosa has served well for almost 15 years. Replaced the flush mechanism once! Buying a toilet should not need a forum or an engineering degree. I know there are many ill working units on the market. The mfrs. should be able to produce a unit that works the way a toilet should! I have vented!!

  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    I believe the Lamaosa, Kohler and American Standard are made in Mexico.

    TOTO distribution is pretty good in the Seattle area.
    I don't know about Mexico though.

    There's nothing wrong with picking up a toilet at a home center.
    My personal experience is that you should open the boxes and check them.
    And that the Cimarron will plug more often then some other brands, and have more defects.
    But if the home center is convenient, than returning is not that hard either.
    It's not like they are being used.
    Toto is a higher end product, and you won't see as much in the US at this point.
    Though TOTO is the largest and oldest in the world, they have a ways to go in the US.
    They started with one manufacturing plant in Georgia, that is now running three shifts.
    Give them time,
    INAX will be making inroads in the US too.
    INAX is the second largest plumbing manufacturer.
    Haven't heard of INAX, you will.

    I'm sorry you had a bad experience in Canada.
    We treat our customers in the Seattle area very well.
    They are our business, and we love taking care of them.

    Note: Old toilets using three gallons have always worked well.
    If you have an old toilet using three gallons that's not really a surprise.
    But you can't compare three gallons to 1.6 gallons.
    Totally different animal.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
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  4. moisheh

    moisheh Member

    Sep 9, 2006
    Mexico and Canada
    Terry: We winter in Mexico and when I joined it was primarily for problems we were having in Mexico. Are you saying that Toto is the largest toilet mfr. in the world??

  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    Toto is the largest, and the oldest.
    They have started small in the US, and didn't expect sales to take off so quickly.
    I was having lunch with the head of Toto USA a few years ago, and he said that the hope in the US, was for a slow controlled growth here, so it could be managed well.
    They didn't have a plan for the growth that happened.
    When I first stated selling Toto, it all came from the Georgia plant.
    And then I started seeing some product from Japan when they needed to keep up on orders.
    Now I'm getting product from
    Most of the one-piece stuff, like the Ultramax, Soiree, Guinevere and a few others still seems to come from Georgia.
    It looks pretty weird to look in my storage where I keep my inventory and see stacks of boxes with "Made in USA"

    But even if I'm opening a box from the other countries, the color is matching, the parts are fitting, and I'm getting less then 1% returns.
    I checked on the Aquia returns, less then 1/10 of a percent returns.
    That's just crazy.

    We do better if people choose the Toto. We spend a lot less time on it.
    And time, it's really what it's all about.
    You only get so much.

    I sell American Standard too, but I'm getting too many returns on those.
    We have a customer three hours away, and of course, he's one of the returns on his American Standard tank for his toilet.
    Water just sprays onto the floor when you flush it.
    And what is weird, is we look at the tank, and can't see any reason for it.
    Sometimes we get called back a month later.
    Very, very frustrating.
    The first trip out, we made money, and it helps with our monthly living expenses.
    The second trip out, it's a donation to a company that doesn't have enough quality control at the factory.
    Yeah, it's frustrating.

    At one time Toto said they would give me a tour of the Georgia plant, I should call them on that.
    That would make a nice trip this Summer.
    I would love to see how they make their product.
    He said I couldn't bring my camcorder though.
    All pretty secret stuff how they are making it.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Moisheh. Not to despair. I have only installed about 4 Toto toilets, EVER. And those were customer supplied. None of my customers ask for them and or ask where they can get them.
  7. Esquire

    Esquire Plumber

    Nov 26, 2009
    Nobody sells them here I am. Maybe I should look into be distro or exclusive installer. I have become very interested in them since I have joined this forum though.
  8. cutter

    cutter New Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    For what it's worth, we bought ours online about 9 years ago because we couldn't find any local dealers. Now there's one.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2010
  9. maddog

    maddog Engineer

    Aug 1, 2006
    Software Engineer
    near San Jose, CA.
    The TOTO web site does not list all the 'retailers'. They didn't show any in the town that I live in. I stopped by a local plumbing supply shop and they had an Eco-Drake on display - said they were selling a lot of them. It may be worth it to call around a bit - a local plumbing supply might be able to order the model that you want as well.
  10. Jetta Whirlpool Baths

    Jetta Whirlpool Baths New Member

    Apr 17, 2009
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Toto sets up its dealers in a very odd way. Toto is not a factory direct company. They rely on rep agency to work with showrooms and dealers in a particular area. Most likely, where you bought that Toto Toilet did not get it from the Toto factory, rather through a central distribution location nearby. Because of this, alot of dealers and showrooms that deal with Toto have lame reps and cannot get on the Toto website. It wasn't until Toto changed reps in our area that we were able to get on the Toto website as a Gold Showroom.

    With that being said, alot of dealers also can bypass local distribution and get Toto from online distributors like Decorative Plumbing Distributors in California. Dealers typically get a better multiplier from them and get free shipping when ordering a pallet of six. These distributors do not sell to the public. Dealers that go this route have no way of getting on the totousa site.

    So like others said, call around, you would be surprised at how many places can order Toto product.
  11. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Dec 15, 2007
    Service Plumber
    I guess I'm lucky...
    8 platinum galleries
    8 Gold galleries
    1 Silver gallery all within a 35 mile radius of me...
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