Shop With Care!

Shop With Care!

Caution! If you plan to buy innovative transportation products online, be aware of many hidden risks!  The industry of online retail is nearly impossible to regulate, and new manufacturing companies don’t have the means to fight off rampant predatory practices. As a power buyer for innovative products, ASI has experienced firsthand how easy it is fall prey to the below issues. Even if you don’t buy from us, we hope these shopping cautions are helpful!

  1.  Scams and misleading ads. If you find a e-surfboard advertised for a ridiculously low price, run away! Ads, websites and Facebook pages appear regularly, advertising real brands and products, but at cut-rate pricing (like $500 for an eFoil surfboard, which normally sells for over $10,000). Don’t pay them, contact them nor click their links. They will keep your money, and their sites may deliver malware and spam to your device.
  2. Not ready for prime-time inventors. Do your homework before taking the plunge!  Some of the products offered on crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo or Kickstarter never actually end up getting shipped. First run products often have big delays or technical glitches requiring recalls or repairs. Serial inventors open new companies if they have had spectacular fails in delivering a working product.  If you’re not ready for these type of risks, stick with purchasing established products through reputable sellers.
  3. Product imitators. It’s hard to tell from an ad, an on-line review, or even from reading technical product specs, but many products offered for sale (even at reputable US retailers) are cheap imitations of original inventions. Inventors are not receiving royalties from the imitators, who try to produce an adequate product but cut corners in design or materials. These imitators offer a finished product that looks like the original, but at a lower price.  End result: lots of consumers buy these cheaper devices, but become frustrated or even injured when the product fails to work properly, is underpowered, or falls apart after a few uses.  Also, beware of misleading 5 star reviews that have been paid for, are robo generated, or were written by the manufacturer.   How can you tell them apart?  Find trusted sources of product reviews, get input from local experts and owners, check industry blog sites for conversations and complaints.     
  4. Hidden shipping & handling fees. If a website doesn’t share its shipping pricing before you have input your credit card number, abandon your cart!! The price for shipping can often be higher than competitors, and many customers still purchase because they are already “committed to the sale.” The company advertising the lowest price is not necessarily to right one to buy from.   If you can buy locally, you avoid the high costs of shipping that are either built into the product price, or charged separately.
  5. Warranty support. Good service and support are only available if you can buy directly from the manufacturer or an authorized re-seller. Many internet sellers have no way to help you if you have questions, problems, or servicing needs. The cheapest price at purchase time is not always the best solution! Working with a reputable and knowledgeable dealer can be a huge help in fixing your product. Remember, shipping a heavy, bulky product with lithium-ion batteries back to a manufacturer for diagnosis is hugely expensive – sometimes over $100 each way. If the answer turns out to be simple (like “press and hold the power button for 10 seconds”) you’ll be very unhappy with the whole experience.

Visit us at 191 River Street in Chattanooga for expert advice for your personal transportation needs on water and land.

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