To import on not to import – that’s not even the question.
Or rather it is, but the answer is so one sided it shouldn’t be. Let me explain.
An investment into an electric scooter is, let’s face it, an expensive one. Ranging from around £350 upto the £1000’s, making it for the majority of us, not just an every day expense. The normal course of action is to do a little price research ( hence the formation of ESW – we do all the hard work for you ). When you start to look around for the scooter you want and gathering your prices, you’ll probably start to see a stark band of two different price ranges, a lower price range and a more expensive range. The temptation is to go for the lower, after all, what sane person wouldn’t – but here’s where you need to pause and check your facts friend – for in a majority of cases, the lower prices are for imported stock.
Let’s use the popular Xiaomi Mijia M365 as case study, and then we’ll get into the nuts and bolts of where the price difference comes from and how to make your decision.
A simple Google search for “Xiaomi M365” brings back these shopping results :
The first two results are a great example of the difference between imported stock and UK certified stock – Fat Llama sells imported Xiaomi M365 stock, the price is a mere snip at £328.50, whereas Pure Scooters sell at £398.99 and their stock is UK cleared and certified.
“Big deal – of course I’m going to buy from Fat Llama and save myself a fat £70” I hear you say – and on face value that makes perfect sense. But before you hit the “Buy” button, weigh up the differences. I’ve categorised them below to help.
- Customer Service
- Warranty – Anything you buy that has a value, can go wrong, and would be costly to replace, deserves to have a warranty. Electric scooters definitely fall into this category. To be clear, most scooters come with the sellers warranty, and this normally lasts 30 days – it’s your basic 14 or 30 day money back type deal, whereby as long as the scooter is in the same condition as when you brought it, or it has a manufacturing fault, they will take the item back no quibbles. Both imported and UK stock will normally have a manufacturers warranty as well, but this is where the road splits. A UK stock warranty means that your scooter will be repaired or replaced within the UK – taking days to action rather than weeks or months. An import warranty means that your scooter will need to be sent back to the country the warranty has come from-meaning perhaps Europe or China, and can take weeks if not months to return. Not good. Lastly, check the length of the warranty – this differs whether its UK or imported stock, and can be anything from a month to 2 years – goes without saying that the longer the better. Winner : UK Stock
2. Delivery – A lot of UK stock comes on next day working delivery – whether you pay or not for delivery is down to the individual retailer. Imported stock is usually on a 5 day + delivery run. Neither of these rules are hard and fast – just because a delivery is next day, it doesn’t mean it’s definitely UK stock, and if it’s 5 days it definitely doesn’t mean it’s not – but just double check.
Another point here is that with UK housed stock, very little can delay your scooter arriving, whereas with imported stock, it could be your scooter is on the sea and at the mercy of the weather, pirates and even worse, customs!!!
3. Quality – In essence if you order a Xiaomi M365 electric scooter, whether it is imported or not, you should receive a … Xiaomi M365 scooter, and it should be the same. Note the repetition of the word “should”. The difference here is the UK has more stringent rules about stock being quality checked before its sold. So when a UK certified electric scooter is delivered to your doorstep, you have a lot more peace of mind that it is (a) exactly what you ordered and (b) SAFE!!!
When an imported scooter arrives, it doesn’t have to had any checks or compliance paperwork completed, so it could be a cheap version version of the scooter you ordered ( and you’d have little recourse as to what you could do ) or it could be a faulty and unsafe version, and you might not know it until you’re already riding it.
4. Customer Service – Don’t under estimate the benefit of being able to call someone from the place you bought your scooter – whether it’s to chase your . delivery or enquire about the warranty cover, just having someone on the end of the phone can be invaluable….especially if they’re English speaking. None of these things are guaranteed when you buy an import.
Summary : UK cleared stock is definitely a better and safer route to go. Inevitably, price is a factor in almost any purchase, and imported goods to tend to win hands down here – but on a purchase like an escooter, where safety is a big consideration, we advise to go for the UK stock route.