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The Obvious & Mysterious After Effects of Interim Ban on Unsafe Hoverboards in Australia

Posted by Sanjeev Kaushik on

Did you notice something or is it just me? Since, the imposition of the Interim Ban on sale of unsafe Hoverboards in Australia a couple of things have happened:

 

Disappearance of Many Self Balancing Scooter Suppliers in Oz Land - An evident & expected Outcome

Thanks to the Interim Ban on sale of unsafe Hoverboards, the decision has led to many 'quick buck chasers' disappearing from the market. Since the imposition of ban, many suppliers have shut shops instead of getting their products tested and owning what they have already sold in the market. It seems these suppliers were never in the market for the long term but were only interested in making a quick buck by exploiting the popularity of Mini Segways.

 

"These 'knock offs' sellers did not really have any provision to handle after sales services so if anything went wrong they either chose to dishonour the warranty or simply stopped responding to customers.

 

It won't be wrong to say that the suppliers who closed down their businesses are also the ones who should be held responsible for creating the situation where a ban was the only viable option left with the authorities to curb the fire incidents due to HoverboardsThese 'knock offs' sellers did not really have any provision to handle after sales services so if anything went wrong they either chose to dishonour the warranty or simply stopped responding to customers. Needless to say, they were not here for "the customer" but for themselves. All they did is this; buy cheap from a neighbouring country called 'world's factory', sell at a higher price to naïve customers, and exit after earning enough money or when they started getting into trouble. With such sellers out of market, hopefully, we have reached the desirable stage where we are only left with premium & genuine quality suppliers who stand behind their products and are encouraged to provide even better after sales services after seeing their customers' restoring faith in the product. The rising sales graph over last few weeks after a considerable dip for a couple of months is definitely a good sign of a maturing and healthy market, created by educated customers and monitored (successfully) by the regulators.

"With such sellers out of market, hopefully, we have reached the desirable stage where we are only left with premium & genuine quality suppliers who stand behind their products"

"The ban has been a success in making the Aussie Hoverboard market more mature & safer than any other market in the world"

 

Sudden Drop in Hoverboard Prices - A More Subtle & Unexpected Outcome

This is tricky! Having been in the Hoverboard market for over 3 years, (yes! I have been a part of this industry when the smart balancing scooters used to cost over A$1000) I have come a long way witnessing a consistent drop in prices thus making the product affordable to every economic class in Australia. But the recent sharp drop in prices since the imposition of interim ban has stunned me.

For instance, an 8 Inch Hoverboard that used to cost at least A$800 is now available at A$250. This phenomenal drop in market prices seemed suspicious because the number of sales were falling as a result of media backlash and there was no way the suppliers could sell these boards so cheap and yet sustain their businesses. 

So I further contemplated, "perhaps the industry world over has seen a rapid expansion in volumes and hence the economies of scale has made it viable for the manufacturers to sell the products at such low costs (and yet remain profitable) that the prices for end customers are also seeing a dip consequently. But wait a minute, there is a flaw in this assumption as well! Because worldwide increase in volume over last few months seems a far fetched assumption due to the Hoverboard ban in US and major European markets. And hence, there is no way that the volumes have gone up."

In my search for a suitable answer, I started getting even more confused because of the fact that the crash in prices coincides with the timing of Interim ban on unsafe Hoverboards in Australia. Should it ring a bell? Should I look more closely at this weird correlation? If anything, the prices should have shot up during the ban because of lesser demand from the fearful and conscious parents but the market was behaving in an exactly opposite way, something so….. incomprehensible & inexplicable.

And this very thought led me to my Eureka moment as I said to myself, "wait a minute, who are these suppliers and how can they afford to sell their products so cheap when many of my suppliers tell me it is not possible for them to drop their prices & match the "undercutters" as they would not want to sell at losses since they have their skin in the game and even spent thousands of dollars in ensuring the safety of their customers. Most of them are even paying very high premiums on their public liability insurance, thanks to the insurance industry that equates selling these products to offering bungee jumping - extremely high risk yet flurry of adrenaline rush."

So how come these cheap Hoverboard sellers are managing their business & cost so efficiently when many of the recognized brands are failing to do so? Answer is, No they are not! They are not here to manage their business and customers' expectations because they belong to the same category of ‘Quick Buck Chasers’, with the only difference of being unable to shut their shop like others as they are still left with an unsold inventory of unsafe Hoverboards. So this sudden drop in prices is nothing but a massive 'product dumping' exercise by those hoping to get rid of all their stock only to disappear later from the market. How ’bout that for running a business? 

 

"Beware of cheap Hoverboard sellers, the recent mandatory product testing, certifications & approvals for ensuring safety of customers has cost thousands of dollars to the genuine suppliers and there is no way they can afford to bring down their prices so low to compete with the other cheap product sellers.

So if you see a supplier still selling the smart balancing scooters at unbelievably low prices then most likely that product is untested for fire protection and the seller is only looking to dump the product and flee from the market"

 

This revelation caused me great pain as I thought, perhaps we are still not out of the woods yet. I gravely pity those 'still' falling in traps of these cheapskates. Doesn’t matter if these products are not only priced unbelievably cheap but also come with 2 years of warranty because this warranty will eventually prove to be worthless when there will be no suppliers these customers would be able to get hold off for asking to honor the warranty.

Lastly, I still believe that the onus at the end of the day lies with the customers whether they really want to fall into the honey trap of cheap products or actually want to own something worth their money that they can cherish and enjoy for longer.


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