I had a post on reddit about DIY vendors, more specifically just one of them. Someone had started a discussion about that post in this forum. I was unaware of this, saw it last minute. Before I even got a chance to see it on this forum it was deleted, I didn’t get a chance to comment. The point of my original post on reddit was that DIY vendors need more accountability, and need to own up for things like ridiculous delays, false promises, no communication, poorly made boards that require multiple repairs and are in the shop more than being ridden.
It wasn’t meant to offend to any one particular vendor, I’ve dealt with 3 or 4 DIY vendors. It was a general statement about how DIY vendors in general should behave. I didn’t post names. Someone in the discussion here asked if I have proof, yes I have 3 years worth of emails…screen shots, many customers of theirs who have reached out to me and shared their horrible experiences as well. It even got to the point where certain people were so discouraged by these vendors that they totally left esk8. Will I post that proof? No, unless the vendors deny something or want me to post it…then sure, I can.
Let’s not filter any content that has constructive criticism. I’ve been in esk8 as a consumer since 2014, and have been following this whole industry very closely (including the DIY scene since the days enertion came out with just motor mounts). I’ve been promoting esk8 and good vendors, and in fact I even encourage many other customers to buy boards from various DIY vendors because I was falsely under the assumption that they deliver what they claim. When I find out things aren’t what they seem, it’s only fair I mention that too because I don’t want more future esk8-ers to have a poor experience and leave the esk8 world.
I also want to mention that I have had an excellent experience with certain other companies who started as DIY builder on this forum, and so have other customers. So it’s not all bad, a few companies do deliver quality on time and live up to their promises. I’m just being fair and honest here.
EDIT: original post below if you want to read it…
What the issue is
There are about 2-3 esk8 builders I know who are either not great at building boards or have terrible business practices. These builders are generally all nice people, but in reality the boards they build are just garage projects that may never get delivered. Most of what they sell will have issues, and unfortunately many customers have just paid a lot of money for a paper weight or boards they never received. These are high end builders that sell boards for $2000+. The general public who hasn’t bought boards from them will think they are awesome boards, but will not think of what has happened to all the other boards they have sold. The reality is, the boards you buy from them have high chances of having an issue and are potentially not safe, or you won’t get the board in the first place. Unless you can do DIY fixes and know enough about building boards, you should not have a board from them. It’s not like buying a boosted or a lacroix that get delivered when the promise, and work as expected. MORE IMPORTANTLY, my main issue is that one of these vendors just lies and this needs to stop.
So I’m at a moral dilemma here, do I tell people to avoid purchasing boards from xxx person and potentially hurt their business? I don’t want to effect anyone’s livelihood, specially since some of these builders are great people. Or do I just keep quite and continue to let people spend 2000+ to end up with unusable boards or not boards? So far I have not mentioned names, but anyone who does a search can find this information easily. Some customers have been vocal, but their posts have gotten deleted or buried. Others have stayed quiet and just given up on esk8.
Why haven’t we heard more about this? (More people on this forum need to speak up, some of you know all of this also)
Simple. People who buy from the are usually older and financially well off people. They usually don’t post online much either so you won’t hear about it much. And just like me, the people who do business with them don’t want to hurt their business either so they won’t be posting negative reviews about their boards on reddit. Then there are others who buy a first board from them, and don’t even know what to look for in a board and have no basis of comparison. Lastly, they don’t sell a lot of volume so let’s say if they sold 10 you will have 6 people who don’t post anything, 1 or 2 who will mention all the issues and 1 o 2 who will say it’s a great board. But it’s those 6 that are quiet that really need to speak up. There are others who just wait and wait for a board and deal with all the BS.
What do I think?
There’s a fine line between your hobby/passion and a business. Many cross that line and try to turn it into a business. To do that, you really really need to know what you are doing. You have to have the electrical engineering knowledge, software knowledge, skateboarding knowledge (trucks, bearings, wheels), production knowledge, proper QA/testing, and business knowledge. One person cannot have all that, that’s why you need teams for a business. You hire others in the aspects you are lacking. A person working out of their garage trying to accomplish all that alone will not work out well. Some of the builders are extremely sensitive to criticism as well. Rather than being sensitive or deleting criticisms or trying to debate this post, just admit where you lack and improve there.
Why am I posting this now?
I realized I could have died, I had a board with failed breaks. I had another board on order from DIY vendor for a year who kept lying to me non stop. Multiple people have messaged me telling me their negative experiences and similar stories from some vendors. Two people told me about their boards just being lemons and falling apart recently. Other builders never delivered boards even, and I still see posts daily about people still waiting for their boards with no communication from vendors. Some vendors have went radio silent, with customers trying to reach them on so many platforms with no luck. This should not be happening in any industry, and this only makes the esk8 DIY builders look bad. Why is no one stepping up to stop this?
Does everyone have issues with these DIY built boards?
Of course not, keep in mind that for all the issues one will have there will always be another person with the same board who isn’t having issues and is doing fine. There will always be those one or two people who vouch for a company or a builder. But when it comes to safety, there should be more consistency. There shouldn’t be only 1 or 2 happy customers with many unsatisfied ones.
Who should I not buy boards from?
I actually won’t be mentioning specific people. What I will say is, look at all the boards sold from a particular person and see where they have ended up. Don’t just take the word of one or two people vouching for a person. Also you want customers to do the praising of the board you plan to buy, not the company/vendor praising their own product. Look for a builder or company who has sold a good amount of boards, and one where the feedback from all the customers is consistently positive. Seems fair and obvious right?