Carbonic Acid Monopoly by Sodastream

 You need to purchase the carbonic acid container along with a soda machine made by Sodastream. Whenever you want extra acid containers you also have to pay for them too.

 But, remember that you do not own those bottles. The lawyers at Sodastream have worded the contract in such a manner that whenever you buy their machine, only Sodastream has the rights to refill their Alco2jet carbonic acid bottles. This is not only harmful to the environment, but also ends up raising the price of the acid.     

 For the sake of the environment, the bottles of Alco2jet should ideally be refilled by any local re-filling station or even at your local store, but this is not the case.

 This is regarded by me and many others as excessive terms that also include high re-fill prices. For example, in Sweden, when Sodastream canisters weighing 425 grams that cost 9 Euros were compared with a competitor’s 300 gram canister that cost only 4 Euros, the increased price was not justified.

 The cost of carbonic acid is extremely low and in the face of intense competition should be priced between 3 to 5 Euros.

 All you need is a pump, a tap and a scale in the form of equipment to start refilling the canisters and it is as easy as filling air in a bicycle tire. All it takes to fill a canister is 20 seconds and that could be compared to standing in line at the local supermarket. Canisters for fish tanks, extinguishers and bars are also re-filled by many local re-filling stations and similar functions can be done by supermarkets and local stores too.

 In the 1980’s in Malmo, Sweden, the Partyman store used to provide free carbonic acid to clients that purchased flavors and aromas and this carbonic acid was supplied to them by Sydbrand. However, Sodastream played spoilsport by suing Sydbrand and also stopped services to Partyman.

 Sodastream is awash with huge legal machinery and they dragged down Sydbrand to financial ruin while also getting an order for removing Sodastream branding before they were allowed to restart filling again. This indicates that Sodastream aspired for sole monopoly since decades. New consumers too have to accept the conditions that have been in effect since ages. Sodastream would probably not hesitate to drag consumers to court if they ever made the mistake of re-filling their canisters from other sources.    

 History repeated itself in Germany in 2006 when Alco2jet bottles of Sodastream were re-filled by another company. This action resulted in the company getting sued by Sodastream but in this case Sodastream did not win since as per German law Sodastream could not be allowed to achieve unwarranted monopoly on maintenance as this could leave Germany without the option of third party re-filling. As this ruling could apply to entire Europe, small businesses could start re-filling bottles outside, but as the memory of Sydbrand has not yet been erased from the minds of people, no one has dared to take on Sodastream.

 If you are the owner of a Sodastream machine in a Sodastream-monopoly country and are serious about saving the environment then you should report it to the concerned authorities. If you believe that you should definitely own your purchased canisters and feel that the terms of monopoly are unfair, and along with other terms ends up increasing the rates, then you should report it to the authorities.

 Partyman had Sydbrand-trained workers when they were distributing free carbonic acid in the 80’s. Unfortunately, Sodastream’s retailers are not properly trained since they do not weigh the bottles after re-filling to check if the level of carbon dioxide is as per specifications.

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