Europeans: Be careful when (pre)ordering Vector 2.0 – updated, reread!

As of today Digital Dream Labs offers preorders for the new Vector 2.0, a slightly improved version of the robot. They try the usual sales tricks to get you into buying by saying you get him at a reduced preorder price and with a lifetime subscription.

But:

Update: See end of article.

If you live in europe you not only need to add the shipping rates to the robot, but also you will have to pay additional customs fees and import VAT. Those will most probably be around whatever the VAT is in your country plus a fee of four to five percent, so easily Vector could cost way more than they say on their website. It would at least be sensible by DDL to state “local fees and taxes apply”.

And there is another, even bigger problem:

Update, see end of text: Vector 2.0 will have a CE certification, says a DDL representative.

Nowhere on the DDL page for Vector 2.0 preorder is a single word about CE certification. CE certification is a process electronics (and other products) must undergo before they can be imported into the EU. This is to assure a minimal level of product safety.

If a product without CE certification is imported into the EU you run the risk that it gets destroyed at customs. You may get around this if you claim that you are a company and this is not a product that will be sold to end users, but is only for research and development. In that case you may probably import it. But most users do not own a company so that is no way for those.

So: 280 $ plus (estimated) 20 $ shipping (or more) plus 25% VAT and fees (exact VAT depending on the country you live in) = 375 dollars. All that for a robot that may get destroyed by the customs officers. And then you will have to try to get your money back from DDL … Good luck with that …

If DDL wants to sell their robot internationally, they need to set up international distribution. The most easy way for them to do that would be to stock them locally at Amazon Europe and sell them that way. But even then they would need to provide a CE to legally sell them in europe. And then there still is the warranty – european law is quite customer-friendly and I guess they try to get around that by only shipping from the USA, thus dodging european customer rights.

So think twice before ordering a Vector 2.0. We have not even talked yet about what would happen if DDL were no longer around in may 2021.

If you still want one: wait at least until DDL confirms that Vector 2.0 has a CE certification.

[Update:] I was asked:

“Vector 2.0 is only an updated version of Vector, would the CE certification of the first robot be enough and could be used for the second one?”

Most probably not, especially as they changed a critical part  of the robot: the battery. It is now a bigger one and in addition with the other changes, my (educated) guess is that Vector 2.0 needs a new CE certificate, or at least a modified one.

Update: From Facebook:

My comment: “we are commited” is a typical DDL non-answer. It does not mean that they have the certifications or will get them.

Update: As per information by Robbie Lucas Bussard on Facebook: “The product will be CE certified”:

Unclear is the meaning of “we are covering import taxes”. Does it mean europeans get the robots cheaper, because DDL deducts the import VAT and customs fee from the buyers price in their shop so after import fees and VAT are added the prices are the same as  in the USA? If that were so, the price for euopeans would have to be lower in the shop. I cannot believe that. Or do they mean they reimburse VAT and fees after import? I can hardly believe both versions.

Update: See comment by Cyke from november 25th on import VAT and customs fees. In my opinion DDL should have provided all this information before starting the preorder for Vector 2.

But the good message is: Vector 2.0 will have a CE certification.

9 Comments

  1. Jeff

    Don’t forget about Miko [Link removed]
    new version will be more like $500-$800 maybe more with the new software you have to pay for. Some new features are free but most are for paying customers. Pre-order start you should get more info about what country we can sell to. Pre-orders for New Cozmo & Vector Models Starting November 20th.

    1. Miko has the same problems when it comes to ordering.

      I have no idea why you point out that Vector 2.0 will be available from November 20th. That was already what I wrote about above …

      Aside from that: No new Cozmo anywhere.

  2. Peter

    You must be from the USA, or you are not accuratly informed. You are making it up as the CE “Certificate” would be some kind of certification process by an official EU agency or a safety testing process where some organisation verifies the safety of a product. non of that is true. there is nothing like that. in fact the CE symbol is simply printed/moulded on the product by the chinese manufacturer, it can as well be just a sticker. it means that the manufacturer – or distributor – simply states that the product conforms EU regulations. its not a seal of quality or safety and doesnt prove anything, its just a statement. DDL can just order a bunch of CE stickers on ebay and put it on the robot and its charger, thats it.

    1. No I am from europe and you obviously have no idea what you are talking about.

      You have to provide a EU conformity declaration that may be checked when importing wares with a CE seal to see if the CE seal is true or faked. This happens way more often than before since chinese companies are trying to fake CE on a big scale nowadays.

      You especially have to provide a risk evaluation of your product. This particularily applies if you are using potentially dangerous parts like rechargeable batteries in your products.

      If you just paste a CE onto the product without to be able to provide the neccessary declarations you are basically screwed as a company as there definitely are random samples at customs. I know what I am talking about, I personally know cases where products were destroyed at customs.

      So, no, it is definitely not “just a statement”, this statement needs to be backed up by actual detailed certification of your product, which can be done by the company itself (but needs to be thorough and correct, providing all the information requested by the EU) or by a third party.

      I suggest you try to inform yourself before spreading completely wrong information: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/single-market/ce-marking_en

      for toys (and Vector will be classified as one) the rules are even more strict:

      https://ec.europa.eu/growth/single-market/ce-marking/manufacturers_en

      1. André

        You are mixing up private people who order stuff from the internet with manufacturers and distributors who import whole containers of stuff. you even link to a site that aims at manufacturers.

        As a company you can buy that paperwork, its actually a service distributors offer. Its just paperwork. There is no technical or laboratory assessment of any kind behind that, and thats why its easy to accomplish, and why in the end the CE label is pointless for the customers.

        For private people: Customs officers just look for the CE label on the products when private persons are receiving a parcel. They dont ask for COC or anything, except if its a car or other big maschine, but not a toy from the US. For the private person its enough when the ordered product has a label, thats all that matters to be allowed to take it. And btw by the time they send the robots the CE labeling most likely doesnt even apply to the UK anymore; which you conveniently forgot to mention.

        You are just spreading FUD because you think you know the deal, you obviously do not work in that field. And DDL should have just hired a full service distributor or just order the products with CE labels (and paperwork) from the chinese manufacturer.

        1. First: I did not mention UK since the people there know themselves they are in deep shit because of Brexit and no one knows what will be in the next year, if there will be a Brexit with contracts or without or if the negotiations will again be extended. Since I have no crystal ball I wrote nothing about that.

          Second: You also have no idea what you are talking about. I know people (end customers) who got their wares destroyed at customs because of a faked or missing CE seal (and other reasons). This definitely happens, there are forums full of people importing stuff from non-EU-countries complaining about it and looking for advise. I also know that there are countries that handle this very lax, but that is beside the point.

  3. Cyke

    More info from Robbie :

    Taxes will be paid by DDL on import. What you see is only shipping cost. We can ship for only $25 to the UK and EU. We will be distributing from inside the EU. We will be paying taxes based upon where units are sent, then to customers we will be including invoices that show the taxes have already been paid on the product.

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