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One of the coolest gifts you can buy – or hopefully get – this Christmas is an electric scooter. Unfortunately, it’s also a great time for fraudulent sellers to take advantage of the Holidays.
Electric scooter companies can either import a base model and add their components or buy parts and assemble the product to make their own. Others just simply buy a Chinese OEM electric scooter and sell it under a name. As a result, for every one well-built electric scooter, there are ten (or more) clones in Alibaba.
Rebranded electric scooters are sold at a cheap price. The quality is inconsistent because they don’t go through quality control. They don’t have local support because it’s sourced directly from a Chinese factory. These products are easy to spot because they’re listed in unregulated marketplaces. It’s your choice if you’re willing to take the risk.
The problem arises when dishonest sellers try to bank off of the popularity of another well-known brand. Shrewd entrepreneurs can buy an unlabeled electric scooter, add cheap accessories, and sell it as an original.
How do I make sure that I’m buying an original electric scooter?
It’s tempting to buy from Alibaba and AliExpress once you see the prices. There are many clones and rebrands that disappear and reappear every day. The trade-off is you’re responsible for any defects or problems that come with the unit. If the shipping cost is nearly the same as the retail price of the scooter, then might as well buy from your local bike shop or a local scooter brand with great after-sales service.
Do a lot of research.
To make sure that you’re getting a quality electric scooter, do your research, create a shortlist, and test drive. Only trust credible reviews – r/electricscooters is a good resource for finding out if an electric scooter is a knock-off because it’s a forum of new and experienced riders.
Buy from a reputable reseller.
Reputable e-commerce shops such as Amazon have requirements in place to ensure that the products they list on their site are legit. Always read the fine print. Make sure to check if the store – physical or online – is an official distributor or partner.
Verify the electric scooter.
Popular electric scooter brands such as Xiaomi and Inokim are aware that there will be a knock-off floating around somewhere. Check for comparison guides that point differences between the original and fake. Check if there is a way to verify a serial number. Xiaomi has a Product Authentication Link that helps customers ensure that their Xiaomi electric scooter is an original.
Spot questionable reviews.
E-commerce sites are flooded with bogus reviews. It’s easy for sellers to make their own reviews or hire content farms to make them. There are ways that you can spot a fake review. Middle-of-road reviews that cite positives and negatives are more honest. If it has reviews that’s only either 1 or 5, the high ratings are highly likely to be fake.
In the end, it is ultimately your choice on where to spend your money. You can even buy a base model in Alibaba and build your own machine. If the electric scooter has the features you need, has unbiased good reviews, confident warranty and proven track record of good after-sales service, the logo on it won’t really matter much.
However, it’s definitely better to invest in a scooter than a car for everyday transportation.