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Concerns about hosting a GB

Sta

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Hello folks!
Many of you have seen my XPL Group Buy thread in the GB forum. I would love to be the one to receive the shipment, being that I have the best relations with Mr. Peng (and started the whole thing!) but I'm a bit concerned about the law. Is there any chance I will be arrested or fined for shipping lasers within the US? Has that happened to any forum member before?
 
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Antharak

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Never saw anyone have a problem and you technically are not the one selling them, Peng is.
 

BowtieGuy

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I'm not aware of any of our G.B. organizers having trouble with any past G.B.'s. IMO you are correct in being concerned though; G.B's can go smoothly, or be problematic.
My advice would be to talk to some of the successful G.B. organizers, such as Hakzaw1 (Jetlasers, and LK projectors), offroadfreak8582 (laserbtb),; these guys can fill you in on the potential pitfalls that a first timer is unaware of.

Good luck!

Edit: This is a good thread to read by both G.B. organizers, and participants. What is a Group Buy?, by daguin.
 
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Sta

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I'm not aware of any of our G.B. organizers having trouble with any past G.B.'s. IMO you are correct in being concerned though; G.B's can go smoothly, or be problematic.
My advice would be to talk to some of the successful G.B. organizers, such as Hakzaw1 (Jetlasers, and LK projectors), offroadfreak8582 (laserbtb),; these guys can fill you in on the potential pitfalls that a first timer is unaware of.

Good luck!

Edit: This is a good thread to read by both G.B. organizers, and participants. What is a Group Buy?, by daguin.
Okay, this is all quite good. By 'problematic' you mean the GB falling through (like the 561nm GLP GB), right? I'm concerned about any legal ramifications, not internal problems. Has any forum member ever been penalized for shipping lasers in the US?
 

ElectricPlasma

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If you're shipping them within the USA I don't see a problem at all as there's no major security or customs to go through. Luckily selling them may be illegal but giving one as a gift is not since you're not making profit from a dangerous item, so worse comes to worst just say it was a gift and that it's a "protable laser" rather than a "laser pointer." I believe if the item is >5mW and is claimed as a portable laser rather than a pointer that's also legal, but all this is just from what I've from others I've never actually seen the law(s) myself. Good luck.

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Has any forum member ever been penalized for shipping lasers in the US?
Not sure about a US citizen but I remember seeing a Canadian get caught importing a laser through customs because it was marked as a profitable sale of a high power laser pointer. What happened was they got a letter from the government saying they can choose to either destroy the item or fight for it in court. The seller was not even involved at all, and it was international so this involved customs.
 
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BowtieGuy

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I'm concerned about any legal ramifications, not internal problems. Has any forum member ever been penalized for shipping lasers in the US?
Hi Sta, I only mentioned the "internal" problems because those will more than likely be the only problems you encounter.
I included a couple of multiple G.B. organizers because they would also be able to inform us if they were ever approached by any governmental agency. I imagine that if any one had been warned or fined, they would have posted this bad news.
 

Encap

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Of course there are risks and pitfalls.

Will Mr. Peng guarantee 100% of the lasers shipped are stable TEM00 at full output? Will Peng guarantee all DPSS will have IR filters and that the output power claimed is for the visible wavelength only?

Will Peng guarantee delivery to you -- meaning refund money paid or replace the shipment if seized by US Customs, repeatedly if necessary, until you do receive the package/order.

If none of the above happens are you prepared to refund everyone's money out of your own pocket?

What are the actual savings of a group buy going to be vs. each interested to buy person ordering directly from XPL? If it amounts to very little $s and longer shipping time due to reshipping needed then maybe an LPF GB discount on laser ordered directly by LPF members from Peng/XPL would make more sense than the risks, potential problems with Customs, and the time, cost, and hassle to reship everythng within the US to LPFers who ordered--what about warranty claims and problems etc---just a thought.
 
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Sta

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Of course there are risks and pitfalls.

Will Mr. Peng guarantee 100% of the lasers shipped are stable TEM00 at full output? Will Peng guarantee all DPSS will have IR filters and that the output power claimed is for the visible wavelength only?

Will Peng guarantee delivery to you -- meaning refund money paid or replace the shipment if seized by US Customs, repeatedly if necessary, until you do receive the package/order. If that doesn't happen are you prepared to refund everyone's money out of your own pocket?

What are the actual savings of a group buy going to be vs. each interested to buy person ordering directly from XPL? If it amounts to very little $s and longer shipping time due to reshipping needed then maybe an LPF GB discount on laser ordered directly by LPF members from Peng/XPL would make more sense than the risks, potential problems with Customs, and the time, cost, and hassle to reship everythng within the US to LPFers who ordered--waht about warranty cliams and problems etc---just a thought.
All very good points, Encap. These are all things I will ask Peng about. :beer:
 

Encap

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The one thing you can't ask Mr. Peng about is if everything or whatever percentage or the order goes South for whatever reasons are you personally prepared and able to refund everyone's money out of your own pocket?

If not then don't be the deal maker/broker taking or handling the money, unless of course everyone ordering agrees to hold you harmless come hell or high water.
 
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At this point, unless I see a price drop of more than 15.00 I can't see how it would benefit me to go through a group buy for a 60.00 RG:Y 20mw. I am still interested but I really feel like they won't lower the price much on it.
 

Sta

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At this point, unless I see a price drop of more than 15.00 I can't see how it would benefit me to go through a group buy for a 60.00 RG:Y 20mw. I am still interested but I really feel like they won't lower the price much on it.
You know, Trendkilla, I am starting to agree with you. It may be best to just make our purchases individually.
 

Pman

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I don't see any legal issues coming your way it's just the "how do you satisfy everyone" kind of thing. What I mean is what if everyone's laser is over spec except for one. Are you going to get stuck being the middle man or is it the individuals problem. In my opinion everyone has to agree that what they get is what they get and any issue is the buyers to deal with unless it's something like you didn't ship it packaged well and thus it got damaged sort of thing. I believe when Len/Hak does his he deals with all the issues himself but he also has a great history with Jetlasers that has been proven out. It's a lot to take on yourself if things don't test out well. I would hate to see you banging your head against the wall if something really goes wrong. You have done a lot of work already trying to get answers to everyone's questions and I sure hope you are being thanked for the effort.
Have you gotten a hard yes for at least most of those interested and figured out what the actual discount would be? The last time I looked it seemed that there was a variety of things people wanted. Might be easier to just see what % of discount you would get off everything depending on how much is spent in total rather than individual pieces but that's of course just a possible suggestion to make figuring out pricing a lot easier.
I believe when Offroad was doing the laserbtb ones he didn't check things like outputs but just immediately reshaped and there was a fee based on weight. Can get complicated.
If you decide not to head the whole thing you could just tell them it's too complicated on your end and see if they will authorize a discount code for our forum. That would benefit everyone interested and you would be relieved of all the pressure that goes with a GB.
Good on you for seeking advice on this! +rep
 
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icecruncher

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I remember at least one groub buy where everyone purchased directly from the seller whithn a few days of each other, the seller agreed to ship direct to the customer, but gave us a special price due to it being all from LPF, and we identified ourselves as such.

Of course if you want to see a group buy that went south, look up Blue Fusion or the group buy from Kenom just before he disappeared, some never got anything, lots of hard feelings and some of the money was never returned on both.
 

Sta

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I don't see any legal issues coming your way it's just the "how do you satisfy everyone" kind of thing. What I mean is what if everyone's laser is over spec except for one. Are you going to get stuck being the middle man or is it the individuals problem. In my opinion everyone has to agree that what they get is what they get and any issue is the buyers to deal with unless it's something like you didn't ship it packaged well and thus it got damaged sort of thing. I believe when Len/Hak does his he deals with all the issues himself but he also has a great history with Jetlasers that has been proven out. It's a lot to take on yourself if things don't test out well. I would hate to see you banging your head against the wall if something really goes wrong. You have done a lot of work already trying to get answers to everyone's questions and I sure hope you are being thanked for the effort.
Have you gotten a hard yes for at least most of those interested and figured out what the actual discount would be? The last time I looked it seemed that there was a variety of things people wanted. Might be easier to just see what % of discount you would get off everything depending on how much is spent in total rather than individual pieces but that's of course just a possible suggestion to make figuring out pricing a lot easier.
I believe when Offroad was doing the laserbtb ones he didn't check things like outputs but just immediately reshaped and there was a fee based on weight. Can get complicated.
If you decide not to head the whole thing you could just tell them it's too complicated on your end and see if they will authorize a discount code for our forum. That would benefit everyone interested and you would be relieved of all the pressure that goes with a GB.
Good on you for seeking advice on this! +rep
I think that it will be best to just ask them to have an LPF discount code. Thanks Pman!
 

InfinitusEquitas

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I think that it will be best to just ask them to have an LPF discount code. Thanks Pman!
That would probably be ideal, and similar to what OffroadFreak organized with Skylasers, with 15+ people agreeing to buy specific lasers, at set prices, and lasers actually shipping once everyone made a payment.

IIRC he accepted the payments himself, and then sent one payment to Sky. The lasers were shipping to everyone individually.

That is not to say there were not some pitfalls. For example 6 of the lasers I personally tested ended up underspec, there were a few cases with others running into the same problem, and iirc at least a couple of lost packages. (Sky did get in touch with me, and I did take a few videos for them but ultimately decided to just swallow the loss, instead of dealing with the hassle of back and forth shipping.) Several of the packages somehow literally took 1.5 months to ship, which was also I'm sure stressful for him, since while his payment to Sky was for goods, ours were as gift, and time was running out.

Negotiating a set discount, or lower prices, after you have 10-15 people committed to buy, and to have them individually pay, and have the lasers shipped, would probably minimize the risks all around. Unfortunately it will probably also result in less of a savings, since from seller perspective they would basically be handling 10-15 orders from individuals, same as ever.
 




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