EXPLAINING THE CHOICE FOR THOSE WANTING TO BUY DISCOUNTED E-SCOOTERS
Written by Ed Wiles, Scootered Founder
There are two basic options for those wanting to buy e-scooters, such as the popular 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 (most other companies only discount in sales). 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 important things to 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 a Chinese online marketplace - so could be described as a Chinese version of Amazon. However, perhaps even more so than Amazon, they tend not to differentiate between themselves (Gearbest) and their 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 actual manufacturer of the product) makes financial sense because the assumption is that they can source the products from the manufacturer more cheaply than British - or American - companies.
What Is Bad About Gearbest?
There are several potential issues. Firstly, you can be liable for import tax if you buy from a foreign company (including the EU after Brexit), meaning the amount you thought you were saving is paid in taxes (and it quickly becomes clear why they were able to sell it more cheaply than a UK company). 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 us you have a 2-year, UK-based warranty). Fourthly, the companies selling on Gearbest seem to be poorly regulated: every time I have taken the trouble to track a company's "flash sales", I have discovered that their sales are in fact never-ending (contravening UK/EU 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). You might question why this matters. 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. I have created a separate post - with screenshots - that deals exclusively with the illegal sales practices used on Gearbest.
What Makes A British Registered Company Better?
The advantages of buying from a British company are generally the inverse of the potential pitfalls of buying from a foreign company. Firstly, import tax has already been paid if the company's stock is held in the UK (as it should be). Secondly, delivery time should be considerably less (ours is 48 hours). Thirdly, there is a greater chance of having a UK-based warranty (though please do check the warranty offered by each retailer). 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 company registered in the UK, 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 e-scooter is your only consideration, then Gearbest (or similar ) may just about work out cheaper. However, 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 your e-scooter back to China to be repaired). Personally, I find the fraudulent continuous "flash sales" offered by the companies on Gearbest to be a red flag (pun intended) though I admit some British companies use the same trick.