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FCC proposes $2.8m fine against Hobbyking for marketing non-compliant drone transmitters

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Phil B03/08/2020 22:03:34
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Is it me, or has our hobby fallen foul of the buy it ready made, use it, break it, throw it away culture?

Quote from BMFA Classifieds:

"Acro wot ,must be all up ,and in mint condition,local if poss ,west mids" (should have said must be less than hundred quid and be delivered to the door)!

I have 2 Acrowots, but this guy won't want them as they were just both bought for nowt from someone who had flown them to death. Both needing total rebuild (see my fuel soaked ply thread)

Apparently some of us can't even be bothered to put artfs together now. Oh well it must be the dope fumes getting to me.

Callsign Tarnish03/08/2020 22:16:24
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Wow, that's unbelievably lazy.

MattyB03/08/2020 22:26:32
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Posted by Erfolg on 03/08/2020 20:56:17:

I do not see any difference between purchasing from HK or from many UK retailers other than the sticky label. Oh, that is one has a sticky label with Turnigy, another has a different brand name, ah, that is other than the price.

I just do not recognise the time when the UK trade supplied fine kits, that went together well, or that all the accessories were of the finest quality.

Agreed. I also can’t say I recognise all these incredible model shops that several people have nostalgically remembered in this thread. Yes there are absolutely a few great independent UK retailers now, but that’s survival of the fittest - many of those that have gone under in the last 30 years were pretty awful. The owners of several my old “locals” would rather chat to his mates than sell you anything, and some of the advise given put to beginners was completely abysmal - they’d rather sell you whatever they had in stock that day than something suitable which gave the buyer a shot at success.


They have thankfully all gone now, and tbh I don’t miss them a jot - I simply buy from the best UK suppliers (T9, Hyperflight, Bondaero etc) when I need the more specialist, high quality stuff, and HK (never had a CS issue there tbh though they did ask me for a photo of an missing item once...!) Banggood and EBay for the rest. Works for me...

Ps - Let’s not forget for many people if there were only the “high quality” options of old they wouldn’t be flying. The likes of HK and others have made electric flight in particular truly accessible, and my overall experience with these retailers has been positive. YMMV...

Edited By MattyB on 03/08/2020 22:29:58

i12fly03/08/2020 22:38:48
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+1 as a satisfied HK customer. Have only bought items in stock, with decent reviews, and (touch wood) had good quality.

But I don't run planes for hundreds of hours so maybe high quality is not so important, as by the time I get to 20+ hrs the model is replaced by something new. I also fly different models on different times so it takes a while to get to 20+

Sorry if it offends but are any of the people named by Richard Clark 2 still alive? We've now got new 'heroes'- PM, TN to name a couple, and 'the lords of scale' as Alex Whittaker describes them. Many of the manufacturers mentioned disappeared before HK appeared. They were quality in their time, but life moves on and if you keep up (like say Laser) you will survive.

Barrie Lever03/08/2020 23:56:58
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Posted by Erfolg on 03/08/2020 20:56:17:

 

I take the view, it is up to the competition to do better than HK.

Erf

HK is not in any way fair competition, heavily subsidised post (god only knows why), state supported in many ways, not having to pay the same kind of social costs for employment - Pension, sick pay, holiday etc.

How can anyone compete against that? Shame on you and anyone else for even thinking it approaches a straight fight.

Would you like your family to have to work without the benefits that we more or less take for granted? because that would be the only way to compete against the Chinese at the bottom of the market.

I can say all of the above because I have competed against the Chinese in an aerospace job (these were fuel system parts for A320's) and won work back from them but that was because I was smarter than my Chinese competition not because I was cheaper. Many of the western model producers are not lucky enough to be able to sneak an advantage because the model market is particularly undemanding on quality.

B.

Edited By Barrie Lever on 04/08/2020 00:03:10

Edited By Barrie Lever on 04/08/2020 00:07:26

** post moderated in line with COC **

Edited By David Ashby - Moderator on 04/08/2020 16:59:29

Edited By David Ashby - Moderator on 04/08/2020 16:59:52

KiwiKid04/08/2020 02:26:08
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From an e-mail sent out to customers HK seems to be taking a somewhat flippant view of their predicament.

hk fine.jpg

Quite where all this sale stock is coming from I am not sure. But, the clock is running and HK has only 30 days from the judgement date to front with the bucks or the heavies (Justice Dept) will be brought in to start banging heads. Tweaking the nose of your judgement creditor is not really good business practice.

upic - pickin.jpg

cymaz04/08/2020 06:33:53
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I’m sure HK send them the cheque. The only caveat is is HK’s p&p....$2.8m

Richard Clark 204/08/2020 07:27:12
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Posted by Tony Richardson on 03/08/2020 21:51:51:

I have to agree with Erfolg on some points, much of the product sold by HK was manufactured by the same company that supplied some of the more higher priced well known brands,. Price is not always an indicator of quality, FrSky produce some good transmitters for a reasonable price - not a HK specific product I know - just an example.

As for the US being protectionist, you have to look at the President and his administrations trade war with china to understand where this is coming from, this to will most likely pass with the passage of time. I hope so as a lot of product from HK usa was good quality and available relatively quickly.

Personally I have never used HK, mostly because of the bad reports about delivery and orders not being complete. It seems to be entirely a matter of luck whether the stuff arrives in a reasonable time or not. But I would not automatically exclude their stuff.

As for price I don't much care as I have never considered rc model planes as a low-cost hobby. But OTOH I don't automatically buy 'expensive'.

ARTF's? I only have two, my other approx twently planes are my own designs, plans, or kits.. One ARTF is a Graupner Bolkow Monsun, which is a Black horse plane under another name. It's quality is just about acceptable but then it was a heavily discounted spur of the moment purchase at my LMS and I never expected much. Some might think it an odd choice but all scale low wing light aircraft look and fly much the same so it doesn't matter which one you choose.

Do I care about HK? No. I happily built model planes for many years before they existed and can cope without them now.

Pete Collins04/08/2020 10:34:06
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Lots of discussion about the relative merits of HK but you have to admit that if they HAVE been selling non-compliant gear then it's right that someone does something about it. Compare that with the attitude of the British Government during the 27Mhz CB scandal (if you're old enough to remember that far back!) Their stance was that it's not illegal to sell or buy the equipment - only to use it.

ken anderson.04/08/2020 14:10:23
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Erfolg(Carl)...I still have you down as an intelligent lad...I thought that hobbyking was an either an Australian owned or run company?

ken anderson...ne..1...hobbyking dept.

Barrie Lever04/08/2020 14:42:12
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Ken

You cannot have wholly foreign owned companies in China, there has to be local content and part ownership.

Anthony Hands is Australian and is the founder of HK but there will be Chinese involvement as well in the ownership.

IP is never truly the property of the IP holder in China as the CCP, can and does demand access to companies data from time to time, that came out in the drone review in our parliament.

Does not matter one jot to me, I was aeromodelling whilst the Chinese were still ploughing the paddy fields and thinking how on earth they would feed their massive population.

B.

ken anderson.04/08/2020 14:52:06
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ok Barry, thanks for the info....but don't you think that since you and I started out balsa bashing all them years ago with very little to support us(we had to search high and low for lots of the materials)Scratch building.... in our quest to make a flying model aircraft that things have changed dramatically.

 

I reckon that the times we live in now most modellers and to an extent society want instant gratification...and companies are set up to feed us with our requirements ….a lot of people aren't bothered if its from China or wherever...only about the price and acceptable quality...modern times 2020.

 

ken anderson...ne...1.modern times dept.

Edited By ken anderson. on 04/08/2020 14:52:41

Barrie Lever04/08/2020 15:02:20
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Ken

Yes you are 100% correct in what you say, does not mean that I like it though.

I suppose in some ways my mind is in a bygone era other ways it is not.

B.

David Ashby - Moderator04/08/2020 17:18:03
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Folks, like all too many threads these days this one is hanging on a potential ‘lock’ as we’ve already seen rudeness to another poster along with derogatory terms for foreign nationals.


Barrie Lever04/08/2020 18:18:36
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Posted by David Ashby - Moderator on 04/08/2020 17:18:03:

Folks, like all too many threads these days this one is hanging on a potential ‘lock’ as we’ve already seen rudeness to another poster along with derogatory terms for foreign nationals.

 

Guilty as charged, but you have got to admit it is impossible to compete against an economy that does not hold the same values of decency and respect as ours.

Maybe the benefits that a lot of people enjoy in this country should be scrapped and that would reduce business overheads and allow us to compete against the Chinese better.

Now for the people with challenged senses of humour, I am not seriously suggesting that benefits that we enjoy in this country should be scrapped but just think about what pays for them the next time you order from SK sorry HK.

That is where I questioned a posters intelligence, which you have now edited, no problem.

B.

Edited By Barrie Lever on 04/08/2020 18:28:06

Phil Green04/08/2020 18:25:47
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Posted by HobbyKing August 2020:

you will surely have heard about the insane US2.8 Million dollar fine announced by the FCC for a handful of naughty products we stopped selling years ago...

Thats strange HK, I bought some of them from you only this year!

Barrie Lever04/08/2020 18:29:37
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Posted by Phil Green on 04/08/2020 18:25:47:
Posted by HobbyKing August 2020:

you will surely have heard about the insane US2.8 Million dollar fine announced by the FCC for a handful of naughty products we stopped selling years ago...

Thats strange HK, I bought some of them from you only this year!

Phil

Don't let the truth get in the way of a defence for a company from 'That country'

B.

Erfolg05/08/2020 11:20:04
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I am surprised at many of the responses to the difficulties faced by HK and some more broadly based points being made.

There are some things apparently being written, that surprises me also. As a child I was told, If you abuse anyone, it says a lot about yourself, even when you believe what you say is correct, it also suggest that you do not believe what you are saying is true.

There appears to be a very different response to the situation which arose with Spektrum and the EU regulators. I am referring to the apparent communication protocol between the Tx and RX on switch on. Spektrum were permitted time to become compliant and the oppurtunity to quietly withdraw the offending units at the retail level.

The question of production costs etc, These are best seen in terms of the concept of a level playing field. Even within the EU, the reality it does not exist, examples are the retirement ages in Greece, which were or are at 55 years old. We recently were made aware of the French situation, a wide range from 50 to it seemed 60. Most of the EU health care is structured quite differently, being far more restrictive, from having qualifying periods (no automatic access), part payments for treatment. This pattern is replicated in practically all areas. Taking all EU members having equal access to imported energy, apparently one country gets gas at a discounted rates, not available to all. State aid is another area, some countries have been allowed it, others declined. This list just goes on.

If we look more broadly at the world, overheads and benefits vary dramatically. I am left thinking defining fine and acceptable is beyond my intellect or defining acceptability.

I tend to think, to avoid the level playing field conundrum, we need to add more value to what we produce or supply than others. For years that was the West German way out of devastation, where East Germany languished.

The point made about UK MS demise, it now appears a precursor to the present experience of the High Street, the most obvious being on line trading. I am pleased to observe that our hobby now has many on-line traders, adapting to the world as it is today. Another plus are the part kit suppliers making use of what probably is the latest technologies.

The issue of IP is another difficult area, much of the world has had its own domestic interpretation. Even within nations, not all agree what should be protected, or for how long. The USA and the EU increasingly opting for more broad, catchall, definitions and regulations. The difficulty is that keeping out of your jurisdictions products that breach IP can be difficult. The other extreme is that may USA multi-nationals use IP or alleged IP infringements as a way of containing competitors

The real situation with respect to the USA and HK issue, is (probably) as much about politics in general, than any heinous $2m crime.

Barrie Lever05/08/2020 11:42:31
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Posted by Erfolg on 05/08/2020 11:20:04:

The real situation with respect to the USA and HK issue, is (probably) as much about politics in general, than any heinous $2m crime.

I really doubt that politics come into it, Hobbyking are but a mere fly in the ointment for politics to be even considered, it is straight forward, they ignored warnings about the product in question and had there knuckles suitably rapped to the tune of $2.8Million.

If they are prepared to flout the FCC rules despite warnings, then what other trade rules will they flout? Deceiving customs by marking down the value of products to cheat governments out of revenues that are used for a whole host of things is the first of many that spring to mind.

You are being pedantic about benefits etc, there is no comparison between the freedoms and benefits that we enjoy in the West compared to the PRC.

It is also worth remembering that anyone who draws state pension in the UK is not collecting up money that they threw into the pot 40 years ago, rather that it is being paid by those working at the moment, this is a result of how the state pension was set up and lead by Nye Bevin, that is not in anyway to critise how it was setup. Every cheated pound that is saved by dishonest practise is a pound less in that pension pot or health fund, just think about it like that next time that you go to the Doctor etc.

Considering all of the above is why I said what I did, the more this goes on the more I realise that what I said was not a joke but very close to the fact.

B.

Steve J05/08/2020 12:50:57
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Posted by Erfolg on 05/08/2020 11:20:04:

There appears to be a very different response to the situation which arose with Spektrum and the EU regulators. I am referring to the apparent communication protocol between the Tx and RX on switch on. Spektrum were permitted time to become compliant and the oppurtunity to quietly withdraw the offending units at the retail level.

DMS2 complied with EN 300 328 1.7.1. DSX complies with EN 300 328 1.8.1. Spektrum had DSMX units on the market 3 or 4 years before 1.8.1 came into force (unlike some other manufacturers).

HK were fined because the ignored the FCC.

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