There are two basic options for those who want to buy a Xiaomi 1S e-scooter. 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 important things to consider before you purchase.
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, such as Xiaomi e-scooters, to countries like the UK through its market. On the face of it, buying a Chinese product directly from a Chinese company (though not the actual manufacturer of the product) would seem to make 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?
Firstly, you can be liable for import tax if you buy a Xiaomi M365 from Gearbest, 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). Even if they have stock in Europe, Brexit is likely to create a problem. 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 an M365 from someone like Scootered you have a 2-year, UK-based warranty). Fourthly, Gearbest seem not to properly regulate sellers, as “flash sales” are often never-ending (contravening UK/EU law) and the price that they claim to be the usual price is not the usual price (because the item is essentially “on-sale” all the time). This matters because a sale with a stated end-date encourages the consumer to buy for fear of missing out on the sale.
What Makes A British Company Better?
The advantages of buying from a British company are the inverse of the potential pitfalls of buying from a Chinese 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. 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 – there are obviously dishonest British companies but it is easier to take legal action against them, 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. You can buy a Xiaomi 1S e-scooter here.
If the up-front cost of your electric scooter is your only consideration, Gearbest (or similar) may indeed work out cheaper, but there are other considerations to bear in mind, especially that of where the warranty is based (how much would it cost to send your 12.5kg e-scooter for repair). The continuous “flash sales” offered by the companies on Gearbest are also a worrying practice (though some British companies use the same trick).