In the grand scheme of things e cigarettes are still relatively new products. At the beginning of any new product’s life span there will always be a slew of companies to try and get into the market and make their mark. However, that means that there are also plenty of fly-by-nighters who will jump onto what they perceive to be nothing more than a fad that will make them some quick cash from undiscerning customers who cannot tell the difference between a reputable company and a disreputable one. This is painfully true for the e cigarette industry.
The e cigarette industry has been plagued by an innumerable amount of companies that put out products that are shoddily produced and have resulted in bad, sometimes dangerous, experiences for their buyers. These fly-by-night companies have become so prominent that they have managed to tarnish the name of the numerous reputable e cigarette manufacturers and vendors. This is due to the fact that it can be, at times, difficult to tell the real deal from the fly-by-nighters.
There are, however, ways to tell a reputable e cigarette vendor from a disreputable one. Through observing the business practices of vendor you are considering purchasing from you can discern whether or not they deserve your money. Here are some of the best ways to distinguish a real-deal e cigarette company from one of the fly-by-night jokers.
Check Out the Reviews
One of the best resources that you can use when finding a reputable e cigarette vendor/manufacturer is to simply look up reviews for their products. Looking up reviews will not only help you to figure out what companies to stay away from, it will help you to find which ones are exceptional in both the products they offer and the customer service they have.
Reviews will often be detailed enough to give you a firm impression of their business practices, as well as how long it takes for purchased items to ship out. These are important factors because a company may appear reputable on the outside but if they are consistently late in their shipping then this is a sign that they not be the company for you to purchase from.
It is important, however, to keep in mind that every e cigarette company will have at least one bad review. If you find one bad review when the rest of the reviews seem to be relatively positive then that one review is clearly not the norm. Having said that, if all of the reviews you read seem to be somewhat fake or written as though they are ads instead of actual reviews then you can be sure that the company has had these reviews produced for them. Be sure to read enough reviews that you are able to get an idea of the general consensus about the product line you are curious about.
1998 Called, It Wants Its Website Back
One of the tell-tale signs of a fly-by-nighter is the quality of their website. Most e cigarette companies are highly concerned with their branding. They want to be strongly identified by their brand and see their website as an extension of their identity as a company. A fly-by-nighter, however, is out to simply make a quick buck and will most likely only have a website if absolutely necessary.
The marks of a quality e cigarette website is based on how dated the website looks. If the website looks relatively modern, lining up with the modernity of e cigarettes themselves, then you have most likely landed on a website that is owned by a reputable company. If the website looks as though it was made in the late 1990s and has virtually no features then you have probably landed on a stinker.
The reason these websites look so terrible is because they are normally thrown together over the course of a day as a mere placeholder. They are created to merely have an avenue by which to advertise their products in the quickest manner possible. Another common trait of websites to avoid is if you have seen the exactly layout of the website on another e cigarette site. E cigarette fly-by-nighters are not well known for their creativity and will often utilize free website tools that come with pre-built layouts in order to speed up the process of setting up shop.
Another tell tale sign of a disreputable e cigarette company is whether or not they use Paypal as their exclusive payment option. The reason why this is a red flag is because it is expressly forbidden by Paypal’s terms of service to use the service for purchasing e cigarettes. It is not worth the risk trying to purchase from such a company because not only are you running the high risk of buying a shoddy product, but you are risking having your Paypal account suspended and possibly removed altogether. The extra few dollars you think you may be saving may turn out to just be the source of a gigantic headache.
Batch Testing Is Your Friend
Quality control is the single most important factor when it comes to an e cigarette brand establishing itself as reputable. If the product a company puts out is not consistently decent then the product itself is not decent at all. It does not matter if the company has designed the perfect e cigarette, if they cannot recreate that product with consistent results then it is not worth wasting your money on. This is especially true of e liquid.
E liquid is the one feature of an e cigarette line where a brand can most distinguish itself. The e liquid flavor lineup that a company has can be unique and appeal to a wide number of customers in a way that batteries and charging cases cannot. This is one reason why batch testing e liquid is an absolute necessity. Batch testing is a relatively simple process: a batch of e liquid is sent off for testing to ensure that the flavor of the e liquid is consistent in both strength and quality across the board. If a single sample is inconsistent then the whole line is sent back and remade. This is to ensure that the customer gets the same flavor every time they try it. Batch testing is the same process that your favorite soft drink goes through in order to ensure that it tastes the same every time you crack open a bottle.
Batch testing serves a separate purpose, however. It allows the customer to know exactly how much nicotine they are receiving in their e liquid whenever they take a puff. This is vital because there is an almost horrific number of e cigarette manufacturers that will advertise their product as having, for example, 3.5ml of nicotine only for it to be discovered later on that the actual amount is roughly ten times the label. This kind of false labeling is dangerous as it only takes one bad, untested, batch of e liquid to contain enough nicotine to cause nicotine poisoning.
With batch testing it is possible for the manufacturer to know exactly how much nicotine is contained in their e liquid to ensure that the customer is not mislead. If you want to know whether or not the e liquid of the e cigarette company you are considering buying from batch tests then look on their website. Most companies that batch test their products will proudly display that as it is still relatively rare in the industry. If you see no such information on display then check with their customer service. If their e liquid is not batch tested then you are better off simply finding another e cigarette manufacturer to purchase from.
Here is a great video that illustrates why batch testing is so important.
Make Sure the Price is Right
A news story made the rounds recently in which an executive received malware on his computer by plugging his e cigarette into the computer via the USB charger. The media has had a field day by trying to declare that this is proof that the e cigarette market is not one to be trusted. However, when one does the proper amount of research it is easily found that the man purchased his e cigarette from a specific manufacturer based in China and that the e cigarette he purchased was bought on Ebay and only cost five dollars.
A good e cigarette will never cost you merely five dollars. That is a simple fact of the industry. One might expect to pay that much for a disposable e cigarette, but an e cigarette that is rechargeable via USB port is most certainly more expensive than that. Five dollars is the price one could expect to pay for a disposable e cigarette, but that is about it. You can expect to pay anywhere between $50 to $100 for a decent e cigarette kit.
It’s important to remember that you get what you pay for. This is especially true of the e cigarette industry. If you are purchasing a kit that cost you over fifty dollars then the chance is good that it is made from decent quality parts and has been tested in some capacity before it is shipped out. If you buy yourself an e cigarette that costs you only five dollars then you can bet your bottom dollar that the parts used to create it are practically worthless, that no testing has been done to ensure the product’s safety, and that you are going to regret the purchase within minutes of receiving it.
All Things In Moderation (Especially Mods)
One “problem” with e cigarettes (though actual occurrences of these problems are rare) that the media is a big fan of citing is that of exploding batteries. There have been several stories of people using their e cigarettes only to find that their e cigarette has exploded. In one instant the explosion was contained in the person’s pocket while in another instance the e cigarette exploded while the person was using it.
It needs to be said that in these instances no particular brands were mentioned. However, there are two things that are known. First of all, the e cigarettes most commonly mentioned in these stories share a common trait: they were modified using unofficial, unsanctioned mods. There are many e cig users that, for one reason or another, have expressed disappointment with their e cigarettes. They feel as if they should perform better than they actually do. While most e cigarette companies have done their best to alleviate this disappointment through consistent improvements to their product line, there are many e cigarette users that have taken it upon themselves to buy (and sell) modifications to their e cigarettes.
The big problem with unsanctioned modifications lies in the fact that they are created by people who do not actually work in the e cigarette industry, let alone for the individual companies whose products they are creating mods for. This means that they do not have a legitimate, working knowledge of the products they are creating mods for and they run the risk of damaging your e cigarette while trying to improve its performance.
One of the biggest problems caused by mods is the fact that they tax your e cigarette beyond its actual capabilities. An e cigarette that is produced by a reputable company will almost always have a fail-safe built into it to prevent the heating element from overheating, which is the cause of the explosions you may have read about. Most e cigarette mods are designed to allow your e cigarette to produce more vapor, which means increasing the heat, which means bypassing the fail-safe. This makes things dangerous as it can cause your e cigarette to overheat, which can make the battery explode.
The fact of the matter is that the majority of e cigarettes are made as well as the manufacturer can produce them. The heating limits that are in place are to protect the consumer. If they could be made any better than the manufacturers would make them better. Unsanctioned mods pose an unnecessary danger and the mishaps that occur with them have only damaged the e cig community both in physical terms and in reputation. If you find an e cig vendor that is selling mods that look like they were Frankensteined with a soldering iron in somebody’s garage, then you need to keep away.
This brings us to a very important caveat: Sanctioned mods are perfectly fine. There are many e cig lines that create mods for their product lines that are simple, easy to use, and play well with their products. They are designed by professionals who know their product lines inside and out. If you find an e cig vendor that is selling their own branded mods then there is a good chance that they are reputable, though a quick review to double check never hurt anybody (especially not as much as an exploding e cig in the face).
Look For the Warranty
A cornerstone of any reputable e cigarette company is the inclusion of a warranty of some sort. Whether it is a lifetime warranty or a limited warranty is of little consequence, what matters is whether or not a warranty is offered at all. A reputable company understands the need to cultivate and serve their customers and will go out of their way to offer either a refund or at least a replacement for their e cigarette should it prove faulty.
Most disreputable e cigarette vendors are not concerned with actually serving their customers, they are merely concerned with pushing their shoddy products. They know that their products are not well made and will likely be disappointing to the customer anyway, so why would they bother including a warranty? A warranty, including printing the paper to describe the warranty, is just an additional cost that gets in the way of the disreputable vendor making a quick buck.
Look at Their Identity
It was previously mentioned that reputable e cigarette companies strongly value their brand. Every reputable e cigarette company understands that their brand is their identity to their customers and that in order to stick in the mind of potential customers they have to make an impression. Fly-by-night companies, however, have no such concerns.
To a fly-by-night company branding is just an additional cost. They would have to spend money to print their logos and create unique looking packaging, money that they either do not have or do not wish to spend. As previously said, they want to make a quick buck off of customers who cannot tell them apart from Adam.
If a vendor that you are looking at has created a professional looking logo, advertises well designed packaging, and seems to have put effort into their branding and design then they are most likely reputable. A reputable e cigarette company knows that you have to spend money in order to make money and they are eager to make a good impression on potential customers.
The Difference Between Disappointment and Disreputable
One thing that is very important to understand is that an e cigarette company is not automatically disreputable simply because you did not enjoy their e cigarette. There are many people who will try to convince others that a reputable company is a scam job when they merely did not enjoy their e cigarettes. The truth is that the more well known e cigarette companies did not get where they were by merely being a scam job. They got there through upstanding business practices.