EXPLAINING THE CHOICE FOR THOSE WANTING TO BUY DISCOUNTED E-SCOOTERS
This post first appeared here.
There are two main options for those wanting to buy e-scooters, such as the Xiaomi M365 or the Ninebot-Segway ES2. The first is to buy an e-scooter from a UK-based company offering scooters at a discounted price, like Scootered Ltd. The second is to buy an e-scooter from a foreign company or online marketplace like Gearbest. However, although the price may seem tempting on sites like Gearbest, there are some things you should consider before buying from them. Of course, we would always recommend buying from us - or another UK based retailer - but it is useful to explain why we recommend this.
What Is Gearbest?
Gearbest is an online marketplace from China - it could be described as the Chinese version of Amazon. However, perhaps even more so than Amazon, it tends not to differentiate between itself (Gearbest) from sellers; indeed, it is Gearbest that provides the uniform terms and conditions to the customer. But it is important to remember you are buying from a third-party, not from Gearbest.
What Is Good About Gearbest?
Gearbest has made its names by allowing Chinese companies to sell Chinese products to the Western market. On the face of it, buying a Chinese product directly from a Chinese company (though not the manufacturer of the product) makes financial sense because one supposes that they can source products from the manufacturer more cheaply than British - or American - companies.
What Is Bad About Gearbest?
There are several possible problems. Firstly, you can be liable for import tax if you buy from a foreign company, meaning the amount you thought you were saving is paid in taxes. Secondly, delivery times for e-scooters bought through Gearbest can exceed a month. Thirdly, if you buy from Gearbest, you do not have a UK based warranty (whereas if you buy from Scoooterd you have a 2-year, UK-based warranty). Fourthly, the companies selling on Gearbest seem to be poorly regulated: their "flash sales" are in fact never-ending (contravening UK law) and the price that they claim to be the usual price is not the usual price (because they have the item on sale all the time). Why does this matter? It matters because a sale with a stated end-date encourages the consumer to buy for fear of missing out on the sale. It is, quite simply, fraudulent and we would not recommend buying from such a company.
What Makes A British Registered Company Better?
The advantages of buying from a British company are the inverse of the problems of buying from a foreign company. Firstly, import tax has already been paid (assuming the stock is held in the UK). Secondly, delivery time should be considerably less. Thirdly, there is a greater chance of having a UK-based warranty (though please do check the warranty offered). Fourthly, British companies tend to be better regulated. Of course, there are dishonest British companies but it is easier to take legal action against a UK company, and there is certainly not a proliferation of companies producing fake e-scooters (see this post); though that is not to say that there are fake e-scooters on Gearbest.
If the initial cost of the electric scooter is your only consideration, Gearbest (or similar) may just about work out cheaper. This article has hopefully explained that there are other considerations to take into account, especially that of where the warranty is based (for you do not want to have to send an e-scooter back to China to be repaired). The continuous "flash sales" offered by the companies on Gearbest would seem to be a red flag but of course some British companies use this same trick.