The two cages look just about the same in pictures, right? Well, we found out the hard way that things that may look alike are not always alike! It’s even more challenging when purchasing high priced items over the internet. Even pictures can be deceiving at times.
We offer the cage manufactured by H/Q (on the left). Several other online companies offer a cage that appears quite similar, costs a bit less, and is manufactured by a variety of copy-cat companies.
We had been selling the H/Q cages since the beginning; it’s just a great cage with beautiful fit and finish – but sometimes very difficult to source in the right colors. A copy-cat manufacturer based in Florida (like we are) approached us with a dandy of a deal on buying their product. They brought by a sample cage and we were like … “hmmmmm, this looks pretty good”. It was basically a copy of an H/Q cage. So we bought enough to supply our customers for one month. What a disaster that was … we found out the hard way that sometimes cheaper just means cheaper! Here is a list of problems we encountered with the copy-cat cage … needless to say these problems have been non-issues with the H/Q cage:
First thing we noticed was that the stand hardware supplied was too small for the size and weight of the cage. The stand was too rickety, and the wheels too small for the load. Check out this example:
H/Q (left) uses full-sized bolts. Copy-Cat (right) uses small screws to hold the stand together. Note the huge difference in the size of these fasteners given the width of the frame is the same in photos.
The door locks were also inadequate. On the H/Q cage, the door locks push back into a fully locked position. In other words, smart critters and young children would have a difficult time releasing this lock and creating fuzzbutt freedom mayhem!
The copy-cat cage has a lock that merely drops down without sliding back into a locking position. We’ve received repeated reports of critters being able to raise this type of lock easily, thus increasing the possibility of easy escapes (and we all know how dangerous that can be with the highly inquisitive sugar glider).
So these cages were not acceptable, we couldn’t in all honesty sell them as they were. But then the copy-cat promised us upgraded hardware and locks… so we thought, OK, easy enough. In the short-term, we can buy good stainless steel hardware to replace the manufacturer’s pre-packaged hardware, wheels, and locks. And the next shipment would have quality hardware on the cages.
But unfortunately, our bad experience didn’t end there. This cage has a lot more welds on it than the H/Q cage, which is good and fine as long as the welding is done properly. Again, we found out the hard way, from our customers, that many of the welds were broken upon delivery of a brand new product.
Part of this problem lies in the packaging. We are well aware that as a consumer, you care most about what’s in the box. But one way Copy-Cat was able to offer what they tout as a cage just as good as H/Q at a cheaper price is by cutting corners on the product as well as the packaging. They use a single corrugated box with no reinforcement in the corners. The boxes are also packed “loose” which can easily mar paint jobs, bust welds, and bust open the whole box during shipment when heavy metal stuff is rattling around inside. H/Q uses double corrugated packaging, with quadruple strength boxing around the sides and all corners are reinforced and heavy duty stapled, meaning minimum shift during shipment. We filed damage claims on over 15% of the copy-cat cages shipped and we only offered them for a month! We have only filed one claim on an H/Q cage in two years and that is because UPS lost it!
At this point, it took about two seconds for us to decide to dump this copy-cat product line once we realized that persistent inconsistencies were associated with the product.
Folks, we really do pride ourselves on testing all of our products with different “volunteer” groups of the nearly 400 gliders under our care. We are not too big to admit that we screwed up on this one and we can assure you that we’ve learned our lesson well. We wish we had never tried Copy-Cat instead of H/Q as the H/Q cage has worked exceedingly well for so many people! And we do apologize to those few customers who lived through the copy-cat debacle with us.
The moral of the story is this: Just because something looks the same does not mean that it is the same! Please be sure that you are getting the most value for your dollar when making decisions on products as important as your fuzzy family members’ new home.
Can you tell the difference between these cages by looking at the photos? Perhaps, if the photos are large enough. The H/Q cage has a “double bar” above the top door, the copy-cats generally do not:
Also, if wheels for the stand are included (make sure to ask!), compare to the wheels in the pictures at the top of this page.
We know you have shopping alternatives out there, and if you are considering a cage that looks like these, we highly recommend you ask the seller if it is an H/Q cage. It goes without saying that we hope you choose SunCoast to supply your cage, but if you choose to shop elsewhere for this cage, in our opinion, make sure you get an H/Q and not a copy-cat. You will be happy you did.