My interest in this article was created by readers who contacted me to vent their frustration with EchoH2Water “Echo” after I started writing about hydrogen. The article has been a long time in the making, but I took it off the back burner this afternoon when an Echo dealer pointed me towards a couple of videos on YouTube.
I thought I had heard everything when it came to bashing in the alkaline water ionizer industry, but I was wrong. I’m accustomed to hearing alkaline water reps bashing their competitors. The only thing that the finger pointing achieved was to confuse the public who couldn’t differentiate the good guys from the bad guys (or maybe, there weren’t any good guys but I digress).
When it comes to Echo, the bashing wasn’t limited to the typical “Enagic hates Echo” or “Alkaviva hates Echo” rants that I would ignore. The rants I was hearing and reading about were coming from the Echo’s own customers, dealers, and even their own employees. I never expected that.
How can one company anger so many people so fast?
I talked to a lot of people before writing this article in an effort to obtain a balanced perspective. Normally, it is pretty easy to find people who support both sides of virtually any argument. I don’t remember ever reporting on a subject where so many of the opinions were so similar and so negative.
In order to keep this article from becoming ridiculously long and losing your attention, I have limited the number of quotes I recorded, but I’m pretty sure you will get the message. For those who are impatient like me and want to get right to the bottom line, you might want to skip to the videos and the “broken promises” below.
Alkaline water ionizer competitors:
As one might expect from the alkaline water ionizer industry, the competitors attacked Echo.
Alkaviva dealers were justifiably upset. The owner of Echo left Alkaviva with their technology and then claimed that the new product was better than the original, which was not true.
Kangen dealers always get targeted because Enagic is the big fish in the water ionizer industry. Enagic dealers were also justifiably upset because Echo was claiming superiority when it came to producing hydrogen when it was not true. In fact, the exact opposite is true if Enagic owners use their reusable citric acid filters once per week to clean their machines. When citric acid is used weekly to clean a water ionizer, the acid will remove recently built-up limescale before it has the chance to inhibit the ability of the machine to produce hydrogen. Today, the dealers who left Enagic to join Echo are angry…really angry.
Hydrogen Infusion Machine (HIM) Competitors:
Echo is bad-mouthing the Hydrogen Infusion Machine (HIM) technology which is only going to make Echo look foolish. HIM’s produce better and more consistent results than Echo machines will ever achieve, regardless of the source water. Understanding this fact is as simple as examining the water cells of the two technologies. If I had to guess, my bet would be that Echo is bashing the HIM technology because they can’t get it for themselves. I would hate to be in Echo’s shoes when it inevitably has to knock at the HIM manufacturer’s door if it wants to survive in the hydrogen industry.
The following statement from one Echo dealer pretty much summarizes the attitude of what the Echo dealers had to say to me:
“I left Enagic to join Echo because I was uncomfortable. Now I don’t want anything to do with the industry”.
It reminds me of the old expression: “fool me once, shame on you….fool me twice, shame on me”. The outcome is unfortunate because the people that left Enagic are people that obviously took the time to learn the science which is an indication that they actually cared about helping others. When good people leave an industry, the entire industry loses.
When people have spent thousands of dollars on a product, they typically don’t want to admit they made a mistake, but that doesn’t seem to be the case when it comes to Echo customers. Here is what one Echo customer told me (I have paraphrased slightly as the quote was long and I was writing as fast as I could…..but the message is clear):
“We bought the Echo 9 machine on the belief that we would get at least 1.0 ppm and maybe as much as 3.0 ppm of H2. That never came close to happening and about a month later, my machine only produced 0.2 ppm of H2. My friend in another city also bought one and her machine wasn’t producing any H2 at all. When I complained to the company, I was told that my source water was the problem and the Echo warranty doesn’t cover source water issues. What the h*ll is that all about? The only reason I bought the machine was for the hydrogen”.
One employee told me: “I was treated like dirt. I couldn’t wait to get out of there”.
Today, I took this article off the back burner (it takes me a long time to put together an article like this) when I got a call from an Echo dealer who told me that somebody named Jo Miller (I don’t know who this person is as I never spoke to anyone by that name) posted the videos that you can see below on YouTube. Please watch the videos if you are considering buying an Echo or if you are contemplating being an Echo dealer.
The first video shows Echo employees cleaning large amounts of built-up scale off the internal parts of the Echo machines. The video blows up the Echo claim that their machines will never scale up. At the 0:55 mark, one of the employees comments: “that’s packed with calcium, completely scaled”. I thought the best parts of the video took place at the 0:22 mark when one of the employees sarcastically says: “calcium in an Echo?” and at the 2:58 mark when the employee again sarcastically says: “never have to clean it” after they were drilling and scraping calcium off the machine
The second video deals with leaking and over-heating issues. You can actually see the machine smoking in the first few seconds of the video and the employee says: “smoking again” at the 0:18 mark. The employee then says: “it’s arcing now” at the 0:43 mark before the water cell begins to leak badly. The
highlight low point of video takes place at the 1:03 mark when the employee says: “he wants me to take the used power supplies, from this batch, from these machines, and put them into those machines and send them out”. WHAT????? He is talking about being ordered to take parts from faulty machines that are smoking and causing metal parts to glow and spark from over heating (see the video at the 1:50 mark for sparking and at 2:13 for the hot red glow), and install them in other machines to send out to customers.
Unless the guys in the video are Academy Award worthy actors, they appear to simply going about their business. I don’t know about you, but I find the content of the second video extremely offensive.
Echo’s broken promises:
The following statements come directly from the www.echoh2water.com website:
Do the videos above give you confidence in the “performance, reliability, and quality of Echo products?
According to the customer quoted above, the warranty doesn’t cover H2 production which is the reason Echo customers buy the machines in the first place
The video showing Echo employees using power tools to remove calcium build-up from Echo machines tells a different story. If you listen carefully to the audio in the videos, you will hear Echo employees mocking the Echo claim that their products don’t scale up.
None of the Echo customers that I spoke with were able to achieve results anything close the claims made on the website. Most customers were unable to get more than 0.5 ppm of H2 (sometimes a lot less). If customers set the power at Levels 2 or 3 instead of Level 4 (which is what Echo recommends because people report adverse affects at Level 4), the H2 output is even lower.
Echo’s patent claims
The Echo website claims to have 30 patents on its product. Really? That seems like a lot. I did some digging tosee what I could find.
From what I can tell, some of the patents are pending and some have expired. Unless I’m mistaken, I learned that Echo doesn’t actually own any patents on the machine. So, what does Echo mean when they claim they hold 30 patents? It certainly sounds like marketing spin instead of telling the truth.
The real Echo: “Echowaterionizer.com”
Here is a screen cap of the Echo website from March 7, 2014.
To save you getting out a magnifying glass (or taking the time to read the site) here are some interesting Echo “factoids” from the site:
* “a water ionizer restructures water”….an absolutely false claim
* “possesses negatively charged hydrogen particles”…..another absolutely false claim
* “contains magnetic energies”….there is zero proof that this exists
Here is what you won’t see on the 2014 version of the Echo website: any mention of hydrogen whatsoever.
Today, Echo is trying to position itself as the leader in hydrogen technology. However, the fact is Echo hasn’t made any technology advances in the past two years from when it didn’t even mention hydrogen on its website (adding plates and increasing a power supply are not technological advances). So what has changed at Echo? Their marketing. If my Dad was still around, I expect he would say: “Son, they just put lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig”
The owner of Echo is telling anyone that will listen that Echo is the leading player in the hydrogen industry. He is also telling people that he will be coming out with a new machine in a couple of months that will be far superior to what they have now. Unfortunately, the guy has been saying the same thing for two years. If he thinks he is going to get the technology from the HIM manufacturer that already has a distributor selling their product in the USA, I expect he is barking up the wrong tree. He should try to remember the phase: “you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time”. I suspect Echo is running out of time.
I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it impossible to believe anything that Echo claims.
Why I wrote this article:
I don’t know the people at Echo. They have never done anything bad to me. They could be good people for all I know.
However, when a company is “first-in” to a new market I believe the company has a moral responsibility to hold themselves to the highest ethical standards. The public is vulnerable in start-up situations because there isn’t anybody around to dispute false claims or make a company accountable for its actions.
It seems obvious to me that Echo has failed miserably in their moral duty to serve the public honestly and with integrity. In fact, Echo appears to be doing the exact opposite which means they may potentially damage the entire H2 industry in America.
I feel bad for the Echo dealers who recommended Echo products to their customers. I also feel bad for the medical professionals who recommended Echo products to their patients and peers and ended up with egg on their face. Trust is hard to come by and even harder to regain once it has been lost.
Lessons for new companies entering the hydrogen industry in America.
- Hydrogen helps people. Stick to the science as the story doesn’t need “sizzle”
- Only promise what you can deliver
- The hydrogen industry is in its infancy in America, but it won’t stay that way for long. Until the industry has matured and can stand on its own merits, I will do my best to keep an eye on things but I can use your help if you come across situations that you think the public would like to hear about