Sodastream has 3 to 4 models including the Sodastream Jet Limited Edition, among others mentioned below.
- Sodastream Design
- Sodastream Jet
- Sodastream Pure
- Sodastream Jet Limited Edition
One of the best machines with top-class features and cool design is the Sodastream Design and this machine allows you to mix more or less carbon dioxide to the water so that it tastes exactly as you want it to.
Sodastream sells a similar machine in some countries by the name of Sodamaster with one big difference being that it does not have containers for the carbonic acid. Its selling point is simply its low price. Each Sodastream machine also comes with one aluminum container called Alco2Jet and these are made from aluminum so that transporting them from the filling stations to the retailers becomes easy. On your part, you should keep 2 of these Alco2Jet containers so that when one has gone for a refill, the other one still remains with you thus providing you with flavored and carbonated water at all times.
The Carbonic Acid Monopoly Policy by Sodastream.
After you have bought your Sodastream soda machine and the matching acid bottles, you could be under the false impression that you own those bottles. In reality, you do not own the carbonic acid bottles since the lawyers at Sodastream have made you sign on a contract at the time of purchasing your soda machine that states that only Sodastream can legally refill your Alco2Jet carbonic acid containers. This has resulted in higher carbonic acid prices and is also harming the environment. If these bottles were refilled at a local refilling station or at any neighborhood store then the environment would have benefited but this is not the case.
This means that Sodastream has a monopoly on the refilling of all carbonic acid bottles fitted on all Sodastream machines. I, along with many others strongly feel that such terms are excessive and drive prices up. In Sweden, the price of a Sodastream canister weighing 425 grams is 9 Euros as compared to a competitor’s 300 gram canister priced at 4 Euros. This indicates that Sodastream’s canisters are indeed very costly. As it is carbonic acid costs hardly anything and in the face of competition should actually cost only between 3 and 5 Euros.
Refilling a canister is no harder than filling air in the tire of a bicycle and if you have the correct equipment including a pump, a tap and a scale then all it takes is 20 seconds to fill up a canister. It can be done even while you wait in line at your neighborhood supermarket or store. As there are quite a few refilling stations in all neighborhoods that refill canisters for fire extinguishers, for fish tanks and for bars, they can easily also refill your canisters without any problem.
However, in the 80’s when the Partyman store in Malmo, Sweden started giving out carbonic acid fore free to buyers that bought flavors and aromas, Sodastream objected by denying service to Partyman and even sued Sydbrand, the company supplying carbonic acid to Partyman. Sydbrand had trained Partyman’s staff to give out accurate refills of carbonic acid at that time but as of today most of Sodastream’s retailers are unwilling or untrained to properly weigh refilled bottles to ensure that the carbon dioxide levels are perfect in each bottle.
Sodastream steamrolled over Sydbrand and left them in financial ruin and Sydbrand had to disassociate itself from Sodastream before it was allowed to recommence refilling. Sodastream has a history of monopolizing the refill market and its current terms still follow the same route. The company would probably sue even customers that might have refilled their canisters from another company.
Unfortunately for Sodastream, in 2006, in Germany, it tried the same tactic against another company that had started refilling Alco2Jet bottles but it lost the legal battle as the German legal system ruled that a monopoly over maintenance could leave Germany without any arrangements for 3rd party refilling. This ruling could have repercussions all over Europe due to European law but small businesses are still too afraid of taking on Sodastream thanks to the Sydbrand episode.
If you have a Sodastream machine and would like to become free from their monopoly then you could take your grievances to the authorities. If you feel that Sodastream has compelled you to accept unreasonable terms by not allowing you to refill your canisters from outside and has a monopoly over carbonic acid prices then you should take a stand against the company by reporting it.
Even as other companies too try to enforce their terms over hapless customers in their bid to emulate Sodastream, the fact is that this move does not allow for open and fair competition but instead encourages monopoly. However, their bid can only be foiled if authorities take action against Sodastream or help consumers that do not want to get cornered by monopolistic terms. This will also help people to shift from home-made soda making machines to the excellent machines in the market made by companies such as Sodastream or Wassermaxx.
Although Sodastream’s policy did not work in Germany, it still does not bode well for fair competition that would certainly help the environment in more ways than one. The fact that the refilling operation itself takes less than 20 seconds and that carbonic acid prices could certainly be reduced by manufacturers should have been enough to encourage people to make carbonated water at home and refill their canisters at nearby stores or supermarkets. However, this is not the case and hence this leaves the environment a lot poorer as people travel great distances to refill the canisters from their respective manufacturers.
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April 13, 2006