Freendo Review & Rating Updated: 02/03/22

Summary
Imported
China Flag
China
Compass Manufacturing International LLC
6702 Enterprise Dr.
Louisville, Kentucky 40214
(800) 626 3525
nfo@cmiproduct.com
Rating
Business Type
Product Range
Kitchen, Bath, Prep, and Bar Faucets
Certifications
Brands
CMI, Freendo
Street Price
$50 - $250 US $63 - $317 CA
Warranty Score
Cartridge
lifetime1
Finishes
Lifetime
Mechanical Parts
Lifetime
Proof of Purchase
Required
Transferable
No
Meets U.S. Warranty
Law Requirements
No2

Warranty Footnotes:

1. The faucet will be "free from defects in material and workmanship for as long as the original consumer purchaser owns the home in which the faucet was first installed"
2. The warranty omits provisions required by the Mag­nu­son-Moss War­ranty Act (15 U.S.C. §2301).


Download/Print the Compass Manufacturing faucet warranty.

Learn more about faucet warranties.

This Company In Brief

Compass Manufacturing International, LLC (CMI) is a marketing company that imports plumbing fittings and fixtures, and range hoods that it distributes in the U.S.

Its faucet suppliers are all Chinese manufacturers well-known for the quality and reliability of their faucets. It supplies its Freendo faucets to plumbing supply stores and a limited number of internet sellers.

The company is not well known, but is very reputable, selling good quality faucets at reasonable prices. It has maintained an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau from its inception in 2011 to the present.

Its faucets are supported by a strong lifetime warranty and good customer service.

Compass Manufacturing International, LLC (CMI) is a Kentucky limited liability company organized in 2011. It is owned by 5G Global Partners Inc., originally formed in Wyoming in 2011. The Wyoming corporation was merged with a newly created Kentucky corporation of the same name in 2016 and is no longer active.

De Chang (Danny) Li is the largest shareholder in 5G along with several citizens of the Peoples Republic of (Mainland) China. He is also identified as the CEO of Compass Manufacturing.

5G Global at one time owned the Compass Manufacturing International name and logo, but its trademark registration was abandoned. The name and logo were re-registered by Compass Manufacturing in September 2015 along with CMI and a CMI logo.

Despite its name, Compass Manufacturing does not appear to manufacture anything.Note 1 It is strictly an importer and distributor of bath fixtures, sanitary ware, and range hoods that it sells under its own registered brand names. These brands include:

The website also lists miscellaneous plumbing fittings and bathroom accessories such as towel bars and rings, and tissue holders.

The company sells faucets under two registered brand names: Freendo® and CMI®. Only Freendo-branded faucets are promoted on the comapy website. CMI faucets are not mentiond.

The company sells primarily through independent brick-and-mortar plumbing and building supply outlets.

We have not reviewed the company's dealer agreement, but most such agreements prohibit the distributor from selling faucets at retail in competition with its authhorized dealers. We suspect such an arrangement exists between CMI and the dealers it supplies with Freendo faucets. CMI cannot sell Freendo faucets at retail.

The CMI brand name allows the company to get around this restriction. CMI faucets are exactly the same faucets as those sold as Freendo faucets. Even the model names and numbers are exactly the same. But, selling CMI faucets at such internet venues as Lowes, the Home Depot, Walmart, and Wayfair does not violate the dealer agreement because CMI is not selling Freendo faucets, it is selling CMI faucets.

Many Freendo faucets are a part of collections that also include showers, tub fillers, and bathroom accessories, all in matching finishes. The Noble kitchen faucet, for example, is a part of a collection that also includes bathroom sink faucets in four styles; showers sets; towel bars, rings and hooks; tissue holders; and tub sets.

The faucets are made in China by

Huayi Plumbing Fittings and Freendo Sanitary Ware are divisions of the giant Huayi International Industrial Group Co., Ltd. and both are manufacturers.

Huayi Group is a collection of companies involved in some manner in metal fabrication. In addition to Frendo Sanitary and Huayi Plumbing Fittings Industry, these include Kaiping Euopea Plumbing Apparatus Co., Giada Star Sanitary Ware Co., both of which also manufacture faucets, Huayi Plating Factory, and Huayi Die-Casting Factory.

Freendo Sanitary Ware sells faucets throughout Asia under the Freendo brand. In the U.S., however, Freendo is a registered trademark owned by CMI which means that only CMI can legally sell Freendo-branded faucets on this side of the Pacific. Other companies can (and do) sell faucets made by Freendo Sanitary Ware, but not under the Freendo name.

We know next to nothing about Hua Ming Hardware. It has been supplying faucets to North American faucet companies for about ten years but keeps a very low profile. We know that it exports fully certified, Watersense® listed faucets to its North American wholesale customers. It provides four of the commercial faucets sold by CMI and supplies most of the faucets sold by brand but it looks as though that relationship has ended.

Freendo Sanitary Ware and Huayi Plumbing Fittings supply most of CMI's faucets.

They also suppliy faucets to DC Worldwide Trading, Inc. a Queens, New York corporation doing business as the Jandon Faucet Company.

DC Worldwide is another company in which De Chang (Danny) Li holds, or once held, an ownership interest. These faucets are sold under the Jandon brand directly to consumers through Jandon's retail website. The faucets are not certified compliant with North American standards.

The Huayi Group makes a collection of designer faucets, some of which have begun to attract international attention. The Eva faucet, for example, has been listed by Red Dot 21, the European design magazine, as an example of "excellent 21st-century design".

The CMI collections, however, do not include any of these award-winning faucets. Its Freendo faucets are basic Chinese designs out of Huayi's – often stylish but by no means extraordinary or examples of "excellent 21st-century design".

True design originality is growing in China, but is not yet common in the Chinese faucet industry. Chinese designs are rarely cutting edge. The goal of Chinese faucet manufacturers is to sell as many faucets as possible, which means keeping designs well within established style limits to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible.

Most Chinese faucets are adaptations of European and U.S. designs with just enough variation to avoid infringing original design patents. It does not take long for a design that sells well in Western markets to be imitated by Asian factories. The lag time is usually 3 to 5 years, by which time, of course, innovative designs are no longer particularly innovative.

The mechanics of Freendo faucets are good to very good.

The faucet bodies are usually all brass but handles, baseplates and other components not subject to water pressure are often the less expensive zinc or a zinc/aluminum alloy.

It is a common practice for manufacturers of economy and mid-priced faucets to use zinc in parts of the faucet that do not require the strength of more expensive lead-free brass. Used correctly, they do no harm to the quality, durability, or longevity of a faucet.

Most if not all of Freendo's pulldown and pull-out kitchen faucets include plastic spray heads.

Plastic spray heads (the industry term is "wands") are fast becoming an industry standard. Homeowners like them because, unlike metal wands, plastic does not get uncomfortably hot in use. The industry likes them because they are inexpensive to produce. So, win-win.

But, there is the problem of reliability. Plastic wands have fairly high failure rates, not just in Freendo faucets, but across the industry generally. The technology is getting better but has not approached the durability or reliability of metal wands.

For the moment, we recommend metal wands if you have the choice.

Freendo faucets use a mix of ceramic cartridges, all made in China.

China has some excellent ceramic cartridge manufacturers that have gained a worldwide reputation for quality products. These companies proudly put idntifying marks (called "maker's marks") on their cartridges. However, the faucets we tested for this review had no identifying marks. Without maker's marks, Asian cartridges look very much alike and are often difficult to identify.

However, based solely on a visual inspection, we believe that most, if not all, of the cartridges are supplied by Kaiping Yizhan Valve Core Co., Ltd., a Chinese manufacturer of good-quality ceramic cartridges.

Yizhan has a good reputation for quality and is its cartridges are widely used in Chinese faucets made for the home market in China. It's cartridges are certified lead-free and drinking water safe to North American standards and are legal to use in faucets installed in Canada or the U.S.

Ceramic Cartridges: Its ceramic cartridge is the heart of a modern faucet. The cartridge controls water flow and water temperature. With a working cartridge, a faucet is a faucet doing what faucets do: metering water in a safe and controlled manner. With a working cartridge, a faucet is a faucet doing what faucets do: metering water in a safe and controlled manner. Without a working cartridge, a faucet is just a strange-looking paperweight. So, it is important that the ceramic cartridge be tough, durable, and long-lived. Faucet Buying Rule: Never buy a faucet unless you know who made the cartridge. Since CMI does not identify the cartridge on its website or in its catalogs, you will need to get this information from CMI customer service. If customer service professes not to know or declines to provide the information, don't buy the faucet. For more information or to determine whether a cartridge has a reputation for quality visit Faucet Basics, Part 2: Faucet Valves & Cartridges.

CMI Faucets are available in five finishes including the standard three: Chrome, Brushed Nickel, and Oil-Rubbed Bronze. In addition, some faucets can be finished in Matte Black and Matte Gold. The finishes in which is faucet is available largely depend on the finishes the faucet's manufacturer can provide.

The website allows products to be filtered by finish which is a convenient way of identifying all of the various products available from CMI in a matching finish for a nicely coordinated look.

Chrome is an finish. Electroplating has been the industry standard for more than a century and is a tough, durable finish. The remining finishes are coatings, the newest faucet finishing technology that produces finishes that are by some estimates 20 times more scratch-resistant than electroplated chrome.

For more information on faucet finishes including the types and durability of common and uncommon finishes, see Faucet Basics, Part 5: Faucet Finishes.

The CMI website is not at all flashy, but it is exceptionally well-engineered for ease of navigation and the information provided about the company's faucets is some of the most complete we have ever seen. We can think of a lot of other faucet companies that would benefit from a close study of CMI's website.

The company does not sell faucets at retail to consumers through its website. Not even its list prices are shown. You need to be a wholesale customer to get a copy of its price list (or you need to know a guy who knows a guy … which is how we got a copy). But, the site is a good place to get in-depth information about CMI's faucets other than prices.

The information about Freendo faucets is very complete, much more so than on most faucet company websites. A brief description of the faucet is supplemented by links to the warranty, certifications, detailed specifications, installation instructions, and the available finishes. The downloadable (.pdf) specifications include a dimensioned drawing – very useful for determining whether a faucet will fit your sink – and, for most faucets, an exploded parts diagram that not only names every component of the faucet but tells you the material from which the component is made.

The installation instructions are well-illustrated and very detailed. Our plumbers rated installation "Very Easy" on a scale from Very Hard to Very Easy. The only surprise is that the company does not provide supply hoses with its faucets, a fact that is revealed only in the installation instructions. It should also be in specifications.

Most faucet companies include supply hoses with their faucets, but it's not strictly necessary. Supply hoses are availabe at any hardware store, and many plumbers discard the company-supplied hoses in favor of a brand with which they have experience. Plumbers hate call-backs for leaking hoses.

Overall, the CMI website is very well done and very informative, containing most of the information needed for an informed faucet buying decision. But, there are a few additions to the information that would be very helpful to a buyer.

We give the website an A+ for design and navigation, an A for a robust site search capability, and a solid B for faucet specifications that while not perfect, are easily the most complete and comprehensive we have seen on a faucet website.

For a summary of the information about a faucet that is critical to an informed faucet buying decision, and whether or not CMI provides the information on its website, see the Freendo Website Faucet Specification Score, elsewhere on this page.

CMI Catalog: If clicking through the website proves too tedious, CMI also has its entire faucet catalog available for download in .pdf format for leafing through at your liesure.

The company's warranty is a limited lifetime warranty, the standard for the North American market, promising that Freendo faucets will be free of defects in material and workmanship, and agreeing to replace defective parts and components for as long as the original buyer "owns the residence in which the faucet was first installed."

The warranty is not well-drafted, however.

It does not comply with the requirements of the Mag­nu­son-Moss War­ranty Act (15 U.S.C. §2308), the federal law that dictates the form and content of consumer product warranties in the United States.

The two defects that clearly violate the Mag­nu­son-Moss War­ranty Act are set out in the sidebar entitled Legal Issues with the Freen­do Fau­cet War­ranty

In addition to the violations of Magnuson-Moss, the warranty's obtuse drafting could result in consequences CMI does not expect.

The most glaring example is the warranty's definition of lifetime:

"… as long as the original buyer "owns the residence in which the faucet was first installed."

The first problem with this wording is that it creates what could become a nearly perpetual warranty, the benefits of which pass from faucet owner to faucet owner.

Consider the following example:

A Freendo buyer, George, first installs a Freendo faucet in the house he owns. A few years later he replaces the Freendo faucet and gives it to cousin Nell. Subsequently, Nell calls to complain that her Freendo faucet is leaking. George makes a claim under the Freendo warranty to have the leak repaired.

The first question to be answered is whether the warranty is still in force.

The only requirement for the warranty to remain in force is George owing the house in which the faucet was first installed. He still owns that house, so the warranty is still in force.

The second question is can George make a claim under the warranty even though he no longer owns the faucet? Again, the answer is yes. Nothing in the warranty requires him to continue to own the faucet to make a valid claim for the benefits under the warranty.

Lastly, can he invoke his rights under the warranty for the benefit of a third person who is not a party to the warranty? Since there is nothing in the warranty prohibiting him from doing so, he can. Note 2

Freendo 192-6466 Majestic high-arc kitchen faucet with pull-down spray in brushed nickel.

The second major problem with the warranty's definition of lifetime is that it excludes buyers who are not homeowners from any warranty coverage. The warranty never comes into force because the buyer cannot meet the warranty's requirement of owning "the residence in which the faucet was first installed."

We don't know if CMI intended to craft a warranty that extended its protection to any owner of a Freendo faucet for as long as the original buyer still owns the residence in which the faucet was first installed or intended to exclude buyers who are not homeowners from warranty coverage. Probably not. But, that's the way it has chosen to word the definition of lifetime in its warranty.

A better choice of wording would be …

… as long as the original purchaser (1) owns the faucet and (2) resides in the home in which the faucet is first installed. …

… a definition that neatly solves all problems. If George gives the faucet to Nell, he no longer owns it and the warranty ends. If George moves, dies, or otherwise ceases to live in the residence for any reason, the warranty ends. And, if George does not own the residence, no matter, as long as he resides there.

Another problem with the warranty is the sufficiency of its remedy. CMI will replace "any parts that prove defective … with new or equivalent parts." But, what is the consumer's remedy if the new or equivalent parts do not fix the problem? The Freendo warranty does not say.

Freendo 92-7155 Cardania Vessel faucet in Matte Black.

Normally the additional remedy is to (1) replace the faucet or (2) refund the purchase price. Without a statement of these additional remedies, however, CMI faces the risk that a court may find the warranty provides an insufficient remedy, "failing of its essential purpose" of protecting the buyer from the consequences of a defective product, and disregard it altogether.

The last problem is that CMI-branded faucets do not have a warranty. The Freendo faucet warranty covers only Freendo faucets. It does not include CMI faucets, and as far as we can determined, there is no separate CMI faucet warranty.

Attorney Fees and Litigation Costs One of the risks CMI faces on account of its deficient warranty is the strong likelihood that it will end up paying not only its own attorney fees in any court challenge to its warranty but also the consumer's attorney fees (and certain litigation costs).
Magnuson-Moss specifically provides that a consumer who proves even one violation of its provisions is entitled to an award of a "reasonable attorney fee." There are so many deficiencies in the CMI warranty that proving at least one violation should prove very easy.

We doubt the CMI warranty was written by a lawyer. An experienced warranty lawyer would have seen its many problems straight away. But, if it was, he or she badly needs a refresher on U. S. warranty law.

Download/Print the Frendo faucet warranty.
For more information on faucet warranties, see Faucet Basics Part 6: Faucet Warranties.
To learn how to enforce a product warranty, see The Warranty Game: Enforcing Your Product Warranty.

We have not formally tested the company's customer service response. For small companies like CMI, our testing protocols do not work well. Agents soon realize they are being tested. We rely instead on the company's Better Business rating of A+ on a scale of A+ to F. The company has never had a complaint filed against it, a very enviable record. CMI is not, however, accredited by the BBB and has, therefore, not undergone the extensive BBB vetting that precedes accreditation.

Imported faucets made in China comparable to Freendo, CMI, and Brookfield faucets include:

The quality of Freendo faucets is such that we would have have no concern about installing the faucets even in a busy kitchen or main bath, and the price is certainly right.

We judge the faucets to be a very good value. You can buy a Freendo faucet, comparable in quality to an faucet for about half the price of these better-known brands. CMI faucets are supported by a strong (if flawed) warranty and good post-sale customer service. It would be hard to find a better faucet value.

We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Freendo or CMI faucets, good, bad, or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please write us at starcraftreviews@yahoo.com or post a comment below.


Footnotes
  1. We contacted CMI on 2/2/2022 to ask about the extent of its manufacturing activity. A pleasant lady who declined to give her name, claimed that CMI manufactured some of its products, but when asked to identify the products, abruptly terminated the call. In a second telephone call, the same woman indicated that she did not know of anyone in the organization that could answer the question, and, in any event, the company was "not interested" in providing an answer.
  2. From import records, and other information available in public records, we have concluded that the primary business of the company is importation and distribution. It manufactures very little, if anything, and certainly not its faucets.
  3. Where the primary business of a company is not manufacturing, the use of the word "manufacturing" in either the legal or trade name of the company constitutes an "unfair method of competition and a deceptive trade practice". See e.g. In the Matter of Lafayette Brass Manufacturing Company, Inc., et al., 57 F.T.C. 704, 712 (1960).
  4. In all states a party to a contract (a warranty is a contract), can enforce the contract for the benefit of a person who is not a party to the contract (third party beneficiary). In a few states the third party beneficiary can also enforce the contract under certain circumstances.