Are my LBS BTN concerns valid?

OldDudet67

New Member
I read/watched the BTN reviews on EBR and I was excited to buy one but wanted to deal with someone local.

After reading they are expanding their dealer network I asked my LBS why he did not carry the bike. He made what seems to be some very valid points which I would be remiss in not investigating further.

This LBS owner told me he chooses not to carry their products because the company does not have product liability coverage and while the company rents a US warehouse the company has no US Based business entity, (He would have to pay a business entity based in China) which leaves the bike shop exposed as the manufacturer and not a dealer if there where a liability claim. (Really?)

He went on the say that all of the bike brands he carries has product liability insurance which is the industry norm is for the manufacturer, the fact that BTN does not and not US legal business entity was a red flag for him regarding long term quality and commitment.

Are these statements of fact?

If this is factually accurate my question to the retailers and Ebike vets on the forum, in your opinion, is this LBS concerns legitimate or salesmanship?
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
if there where a liability claim. (Really?)
What kind of liability claim are we talking about?
Ask your dealer to elaborate!

If you were going faster than the legal limit for E-bikes (28mph in most states and 20mph in some) and then you crash into someone at high speed, then in the court of law, it can be argued that it was the riders fault. In spite of the speed limits, any bike can be ridden faster while going downhill or in other circumstances.

What really matters is: can the dealer support you when the product breaks. Rest is all salesmanship to sway you into something that yields them fat profit.

You need to understand that most E-bikes are treated as bicycles (most Class 1 bikes and some class 2 bikes, class 3 bikes where allowed) and they do not have VIN or need registration.

Does BTN have product liability insurance?I do not know but they have to pay sales tax and other fees before selling their products in the US.

FOCUS was a European brand and sold this bike for $5000 just 3 years ago. Now, the company has left the US market and if you want to find a battery or motor replacement, good luck with that.
They did carry product liability insurance but the consumers are left with a bike that is locked to properitary parts and is not easy to get service or parts without long delays. So, what is the point of liability here? Is the consumer liable for some company's business decision?


Now, if you have a bike that is well supported (Yamaha, Bosch, Shimano), you would be able to find parts down the line but you are still going to pay for labor unless your dealer is willing to give that in writing.
 

PDoz

Well-Known Member
What kind of liability claim are we talking about?
Ask your dealer to elaborate!

If you were going faster than the legal limit for E-bikes (28mph in most states and 20mph in some) and then you crash into someone at high speed, then in the court of law, it can be argued that it was the riders fault. In spite of the speed limits, any bike can be ridden faster while going downhill or in other circumstances.

What really matters is: can the dealer support you when the product breaks. Rest is all salesmanship to sway you into something that yields them fat profit.

You need to understand that most E-bikes are treated as bicycles (most Class 1 bikes and some class 2 bikes, class 3 bikes where allowed) and they do not have VIN or need registration.

Does BTN have product liability insurance?I do not know but they have to pay sales tax and other fees before selling their products in the US.

FOCUS was a European brand and sold this bike for $5000 just 3 years ago. Now, the company has left the US market and if you want to find a battery or motor replacement, good luck with that.
They did carry product liability insurance but the consumers are left with a bike that is locked to properitary parts and is not easy to get service or parts without long delays. So, what is the point of liability here? Is the consumer liable for some company's business decision?


Now, if you have a bike that is well supported (Yamaha, Bosch, Shimano), you would be able to find parts down the line but you are still going to pay for labor unless your dealer is willing to give that in writing.
Bike frame breaks, rider suffers permanent disability ( eg head injury) , who are you going to sue? The lbs or the manufacturers insurance company?
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
Who they gonna sue? Everyone. It's called subrogation.

Battery burns your house down. Your home insurance company will start with the bike shop that sold you the bike. Then the bike manufacturer. Maybe even your dog, if he caused the UPS guy to drop the box too hard.
 

OldDudet67

New Member
Thanks Harry, that was the concern of the LBS around carrying BTN and other companies who do not have Product Liability Insurance. He told me that getting insurance to cover a bike made by a company who is not set up as a US entity AND does not have product liability insurance is difficult and very expensive for a reason. The bike industry insurance community is rather small and most shop owners would face the same challenge, if they are selling these bikes they most likely do not have coverage and are rolling the dice.. His words not mine. (Is this ture? If so why would anyone carry their products or anyones elses with out what would seem to be a basic business requirements, how are these products on this forum etc)

He also had issue that the company choose to do business without said coverage, he felt it an indication of how the company supports customers and its dealers, in his words I seen this before, and it does not end well for customers or the LBS. Chinese company packs up and LBS is left holding the bag. (Really?)

He did day the parts are rather generic so getting replacements for major components should not be a problem but some of the one off parts could be a challenge.
 

ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
Lots of folks want to save $$ by buying something cheaper than what the local bike stores sell. Your story gives an interesting perspective on some things that local bike shops are doing when they decide whether or not to stock a brand. These are services they provide to customers that may protect both themselves and the customers they serve.

Some folks like to say that a local bike shop is just a "middleman" but they do provide a service to the consumer that online sellers simply can't provide.

Happy Shopping! :)
 

OldDudet67

New Member
Ebikemom I totally agree and I'm one of those consumers, I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg and I saw that bike on THIS forum which led me to believe at minimum the company would be doing business in a reputable manner. Seeing a bike reviewed on this forum gave me the peace of mind that things like proper Insurance, not using dangerous parts, etc are not a concern,my assumption was that even a paid review meant at minimum we are dealing with a reputable brand. (I'm not saying BTN is not that)

Should'nt there be a way for consumers to know if products being offered for sale have this most basic coverage?

I think the assumption is all companies selling products in the states do.

The reviews list things like warranties why would they include this information is a disclamer if they don't?
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Who they gonna sue? Everyone. It's called subrogation.

Battery burns your house down. Your home insurance company will start with the bike shop that sold you the bike. Then the bike manufacturer. Maybe even your dog, if he caused the UPS guy to drop the box too hard.
This is exactly what happened.
In 2016 March, a friend of mine, Lenny's ebike shop in Madison caught fire. $350,000 loss with over 100 bikes burnt.
https://www.nbc15.com/home/headlines/Morning-fire-at-Crazy-Lennys-E-Bikes-375831161.html

Lenny's insurance company wanted to investigate the cause of the fire. They sent their investigation team who collected all kinds of samples. Then they zeroed-in on a bike.
Plaintiff presses the bike manufacturer and the manufacturer says, we purchase batteries from this company and the battery manufacturer says, we purchase cells from Samsung and we should sue Samsung!
It went on like that until someone said, enough is enough and we don't want to keep paying the lawyers and let's settle.

Frame brakes and causes a major damage to the rider. The manufacturer would like to know how many times you scheduled/completed the mandated tune-up and maintenance at an authorized bike shop and the proof associated with that. if you don't provide this proof, then they claim... you abused the frame or mishandled it, so we can't take on the liability.
Most importantly, the plaintiff will have to prove that it was truly because of the frame's defects that caused this issue.

Coming back....

I have seen very rare cases of frame failures and generally, companies are good with replacing the frame.
I know of a case where Trek replaced a MTB frame 5 times before they gave him a brand new updated model.

Most companies get their bike frames made in China or Taiwan anyway.
So, that is why I think all this product liability insurance is mostly a scare tactic to sway a customer. Most reputable companies do carry that kind of insurance but if the dealer really focuses on this, ask them to show the documents of product liability insurance they carry within their store. I am certain they don't want to open that can of worms.
 

OldDudet67

New Member
Ravi, I guess I'm a little confused on what you're saying, is it your contention that manufacturers don't need to have product liability insurance, and that a local bike shop should be able to sell their product and not worry about the consequences of the manufacturer not having this insurance?

Shouldn't I look at a brand that offers this sort of support just in case something happens and I would have hurt myself on their bike?

Are you also saying that the customer shouldn't worry whether or not a bike shop has their own product liability insurance policies?

Thanks,
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
that manufacturers don't need to have product liability insurance, and that a local bike shop should be able to sell their product and not worry about the consequences of the manufacturer not having this insurance?
No sir!
The bone of contention is that most dealers are operating from a self-centered perspective.

Shouldn't I look at a brand that offers this sort of support just in case something happens and I would have hurt myself on their bike?
I would be delighted if you can actually do this.
Just because someone says a product carries liability insurance, doesn't mean anything. Can they show the papers? the actual document that has this in writing. I am certain you will find it hard to get this actual document.

Do you know what is the frame warranty on a bike that you intend to purchase? If something happens beyond that period, do you know what happens to this product liability warranty?
very few manufacturers offer "life-time frame warranty" but no one will show you this document of product liability.

Are you also saying that the customer shouldn't worry whether or not a bike shop has their own product liability insurance policies?
Most bike shops carry their basic insurance for the general class of products they carry.

Most companies build their products in China/Taiwan, often from neighboring factories. Most products should be tested, backed by warranties and offer every protection a customer demands, including the product liability insurance. My anger comes from seeing people manipulated into stuff.
But, if something doesn't benefit them, they will use shrewd ways of manipulating customers. That is where I have a problem.

If you are new to E-bikes, a RadPower bikes will give you as much as joy as any product that is touted to be refined and all the product liability nonsense.



 

OldDudet67

New Member
I would be delighted if you can actually do this.
Just because someone says a product carries liability insurance, doesn't mean anything. Can they show the papers? the actual document that has this in writing. I am certain you will find it hard to get this actual document.

In this case, the manufacturer has confirmed they do not have this coverage.

Ravi, I understand and appreciate your disdain with local bike shop dealers.

My question was something different though I'm asking if buying a bike where the manufacturer says they don't have product liability insurance is a smart decision and does it reflect on the quality of the product?
 

PDoz

Well-Known Member
No sir!
The bone of contention is that most dealers are operating from a self-centered perspective.



I would be delighted if you can actually do this.
Just because someone says a product carries liability insurance, doesn't mean anything. Can they show the papers? the actual document that has this in writing. I am certain you will find it hard to get this actual document.

Do you know what is the frame warranty on a bike that you intend to purchase? If something happens beyond that period, do you know what happens to this product liability warranty?
very few manufacturers offer "life-time frame warranty" but no one will show you this document of product liability.



Most bike shops carry their basic insurance for the general class of products they carry.

Most companies build their products in China/Taiwan, often from neighboring factories. Most products should be tested, backed by warranties and offer every protection a customer demands, including the product liability insurance. My anger comes from seeing people manipulated into stuff.
But, if something doesn't benefit them, they will use shrewd ways of manipulating customers. That is where I have a problem.

If you are new to E-bikes, a RadPower bikes will give you as much as joy as any product that is touted to be refined and all the product liability nonsense.
Now I'm even more confused about what you are saying.

You seem to be confusing " most bike shops carry basic insurance " with warranty issues? Two very different discussions!

I'd go so far as to say that dealers having insurance and only selling products from reputable brands that also have insurance is the exact opposite to " operating from a self - centred perspective" . In the unfortunate event of a BIG public liability case, a dodgy dealer is just going to bo bankrupt and the victim is left with nothing if dodgy dealers dogdebike has no cover.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
I'm asking if buying a bike where the manufacturer says they don't have product liability insurance is a smart decision and does it reflect on the quality of the product?
It is not smart of them not to carry product liability insurance.
It is hard to comment on the quality of the product itself. You need to understand that most E-bikes are built in China anyway.
 

ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
Side-stepping this a bit: It makes sense to me that a bike shop would not want to stock bikes from a brand that has no US presence. After all, how can they support the bike if they can't easily send parts back and forth, etc.? A bike could be great quality, but if it is imported and there is no US warehouse stocking parts and etc., how can the bike shop stand behind what they sell? The service department can only function if it can get its hands on parts, and while I understand that there are many parts that can be used on a variety of bikes, that doesn't cover everything. Maybe Mike @Mike's E-Bikes can chime in?
 

OldDudet67

New Member
Now I'm even more confused about what you are saying.

You seem to be confusing " most bike shops carry basic insurance " with warranty issues? Two very different discussions!

I'd go so far as to say that dealers having insurance and only selling products from reputable brands that also have insurance is the exact opposite to " operating from a self - centred perspective" . In the unfortunate event of a BIG public liability case, a dodgy dealer is just going to bo bankrupt and the victim is left with nothing if dodgy dealers dogdebike has no cover.

This was my exact point/question "is the fact the BTN does not cover their product with liability insurance a legitimate reason for my dealer not selling their product and should a manufacturer deciding NOT to carry liability insurance be a disqualifying factor when selecting an e-bike?

I asked this question assuming that all facts are accurate.
 

OldDudet67

New Member
Side-stepping this a bit: It makes sense to me that a bike shop would not want to stock bikes from a brand that has no US presence. After all, how can they support the bike if they can't easily send parts back and forth, etc.? A bike could be great quality, but if it is imported and there is no US warehouse stocking parts and etc., how can the bike shop stand behind what they sell? The service department can only function if it can get its hands on parts, and while I understand that there are many parts that can be used on a variety of bikes, that doesn't cover everything. Maybe Mike @Mike's E-Bikes can chime in?

I agree any reputable manufacturer should have all warranty parts of their bikes stocked in the US if they're selling bikes in the US, that's another issue I have with some of the reviews where they talk about manufacturers shipping warranty parts from China
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
I read/watched the BTN reviews on EBR and I was excited to buy one but wanted to deal with someone local.

After reading they are expanding their dealer network I asked my LBS why he did not carry the bike. He made what seems to be some very valid points which I would be remiss in not investigating further.

This LBS owner told me he chooses not to carry their products because the company does not have product liability coverage and while the company rents a US warehouse the company has no US Based business entity, (He would have to pay a business entity based in China) which leaves the bike shop exposed as the manufacturer and not a dealer if there where a liability claim. (Really?)

He went on the say that all of the bike brands he carries has product liability insurance which is the industry norm is for the manufacturer, the fact that BTN does not and not US legal business entity was a red flag for him regarding long term quality and commitment.

Are these statements of fact?

If this is factually accurate my question to the retailers and Ebike vets on the forum, in your opinion, is this LBS concerns legitimate or salesmanship?
I think the LBS you were talking is not completely lying.

watch this video @ around 4:10

The similar topic has been discussed here before. (looks like some posts were deleted)
https://electricbikereview.com/foru...oes-that-even-matter-transparency-does.13568/
Here's the cliff notes if you don't want to read the whole thread:
- FLX is a Chinese company
- FLX may seem like a company created by young American entrepreneurs importing ebikes from China, but that's not the case.
- They have no American office, it's a Chinese company, although their promotion videos were made in America which made them seem like an American company.
- If customers want to sue FLX for liability, they would have to go out of their way to sue a Chinese company in China since American court system can not enforce Chinese company to pay out for damage.
- Customers would have to somehow fight in Chinese court system for something that didn't even happen in China. Good luck with that.
- FLX is NOT breaking the law. There's nothing illegal about what they're doing. But the thread was about they should be more transparent that they're a Chinese company.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
I think the LBS you were talking is not completely lying.

watch this video @ around 4:10
Mikey also did a video with BTN.


The similar topic has been discussed here before. (looks like some posts were deleted)
https://electricbikereview.com/foru...oes-that-even-matter-transparency-does.13568/
Here's the cliff notes if you don't want to read the whole thread:
- FLX is a Chinese company
- FLX may seem like a company created by young American entrepreneurs importing ebikes from China, but that's not the case.
- They have no American office, it's a Chinese company, although their promotion videos were made in America which made them seem like an American company.
- If customers want to sue FLX for liability, they would have to go out of their way to sue a Chinese company in China since American court system can not enforce Chinese company to pay out for damage.
- Customers would have to somehow fight in Chinese court system for something that didn't even happen in China. Good luck with that.
- FLX is NOT breaking the law. There's nothing illegal about what they're doing. But the thread was about they should be more transparent that they're a Chinese company.

https://electricbikereview.com/foru...n-matter-transparency-does.13568/#post-120744

Thanks for the post Roshan. Hope your eBike company, Biktrix is doing well. We're not really in the business of trying to spread falsities and negativity about other companies. It's easy to do in this day and age but we'd rather devote time and resources into bike building.

In response to David's comment, we certainly haven't tried to mislead anyone as to our whereabouts. The majority of our customers know very well that we actually operate in China AND the US, largely due to all the videos we've posted pertaining to the fact.

The truth is, we could easily be based in the US. Rob is from Sacramento and I love the US (UK citizen). We'd love to be based there full time but in the interest of ensuring the highest quality products possible at the most competitive price, that just isn't practical. Living and working in China is incredibly demanding but we're more than willing to make the personal sacrifice in order to make FLX succeed.
We're in contact with all of our factories every single day. The lack of time difference makes it far easier to operate and we regularly jump in the car and go and visit our factories. Not just a few weeks for production but for every minor design change / pre production meeting / conveyance of any important idea etc etc etc. Constant communication and supervision is absolutely critical out here if you strive for perfection.
Rob has been in China for seven years now and myself, the last three. I rotate for three months in Shanghai and three months in California. Guess which location I prefer?
When containers 5 and 6 were delayed, Leah and I drove 7 hours from the FLX office / house in Rohnert Park, California to our fulfillment center in LA. We resolved the issue and then drove the 7 hours back that night. Fly in from China? No idea where that idea spawned from but it's 100% incorrect.
We're officially registered in the US and the UK and are therefore completely liable in both countries. It's not just legal liability though, we also have strong personal and moral ethics (hence you won't find us bad mouthing other companies... online at least anyway).

I think this post is a little old now which is great for us as we can look back and prove that any warranty claim or any other customer concern matter has either already been resolved or will definitely be resolved soon.
The 415 number is indeed a local SF number. We set that up as initially, we didn't have anyone in the US when I was in China. The company started off with just Rob and me with a dream. Instead of using our Chinese numbers, which would have cost a fortune for our backers to reach us on, we thought it was reasonable to set up a call forwarding service so our backers could call us on local rates. We answered that phone religiously at all hours, day and night. Even when sleeping on the floor in our makeshift office in the main factory during the early days. Not sure how that can be viewed as dishonest?
Honestly hope is doesn't look like we go back to China occasionally to 'kick butt' at the factory. The reality is, we're here 'kicking butt' at all our factories all of the time. This might not make sense to some people who have the fortune of living full time in the US or Canada (Roshan), but in a few years we'll prove that this sacrifice will have all been worth it by delivering the best eBikes in existence.
Thank you.
Pete. P@FLX.BIKE.
 
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OldDudet67

New Member
I think the LBS you were talking is not completely lying.

watch this video @ around 4:10

The similar topic has been discussed here before. (looks like some posts were deleted)
https://electricbikereview.com/foru...oes-that-even-matter-transparency-does.13568/
Here's the cliff notes if you don't want to read the whole thread:
- FLX is a Chinese company
- FLX may seem like a company created by young American entrepreneurs importing ebikes from China, but that's not the case.
- They have no American office, it's a Chinese company, although their promotion videos were made in America which made them seem like an American company.
- If customers want to sue FLX for liability, they would have to go out of their way to sue a Chinese company in China since American court system can not enforce Chinese company to pay out for damage.
- Customers would have to somehow fight in Chinese court system for something that didn't even happen in China. Good luck with that.
- FLX is NOT breaking the law. There's nothing illegal about what they're doing. But the thread was about they should be more transparent that they're a Chinese company.

Wholey smokes, that is crazy the two videos totally contradict one another.

I totally understand why the local bike shop would not want to carry BTN product because they don't have product liability insurance, at least FLX had officers in the company who lived here. It sounds like they totally lied about being a US business?

Why would electric bike review make a video?

BTN makes no bones about it they are a Chinese company just renting space in Las Vegas.
 

OldDudet67

New Member
I think the LBS you were talking is not completely lying.

watch this video @ around 4:10

The similar topic has been discussed here before. (looks like some posts were deleted)
https://electricbikereview.com/foru...oes-that-even-matter-transparency-does.13568/
Here's the cliff notes if you don't want to read the whole thread:
- FLX is a Chinese company
- FLX may seem like a company created by young American entrepreneurs importing ebikes from China, but that's not the case.
- They have no American office, it's a Chinese company, although their promotion videos were made in America which made them seem like an American company.
- If customers want to sue FLX for liability, they would have to go out of their way to sue a Chinese company in China since American court system can not enforce Chinese company to pay out for damage.
- Customers would have to somehow fight in Chinese court system for something that didn't even happen in China. Good luck with that.
- FLX is NOT breaking the law. There's nothing illegal about what they're doing. But the thread was about they should be more transparent that they're a Chinese company.

The video that Mikey put together while at blue monkey talks about cheap generic Chinese batteries when I look at his review of the BTN bikes they're using generic Chinese batteries, but it is NOT mentioned in the video?

Thanks forum I totally dodged a bullet, I think I'll go with a company who invests in proper documentation and insurance, support, I work in risk management so I think it says a lot about how a company wants to support the customers and their dealer partners.

After reading the other bike shop experience having to wait an extended of time to get replacement parts mailed to them from China??? (when I watch the review video and all the emphasis on battery repair, bafang next door to the space that looks like they are subletting? etc.. I wrongly got the impression they were handling service here in the US)

A non-us business entity, replacement parts being shipped from overseas, ( I mistakenly understood from the EBR video that service was handled here in the US) Generic Chinese batteries... Mikey in the Blue Monkey Bikes video warns against No name batteries , for some crazy reason they don't support their bikes and bike shops with product liability coverage so if I'm riding their bike it's defective and I break my leg I'm on my own, reads a lot like FLX bikes with paid EBR videos.

Thanks for the help all
 
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