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I would also expect that LEGO benefits more from the person buying the secondary market set more than buying the Lepin set and then other official sets. Not in the short term, but in the long term. If the buyer supports Lepin when it comes to secondary market prices and the product is OK, then chances are they will continue to buy fakes of current sets. There is still a saving to be made for current sets, even if not as much. Plus the fact that the secondary market price is so high means some people are willing to pay that, showing that LEGO is a quality brand worth paying for, which again is good in the long run.
And I wasn't arguing about what he's saying, just clarifying my words.
So far you have not brought up any new arguments in your justifications for buying counterfeits. These have already been rehashed multiple times over the previous 62 pages in this thread.
Ok, so I just built my latest Lepin purchase, which was a copy of #10134. No missing bricks, about 50 extra pieces (including big pieces as 2x32531 and 30359). Clutch power fine, maybe even a bit too much. No mis-moulds, no half-moulds. No dirt/foreign material in the package. Colours are exact match to Lego. Manual is more condensed than Lego's (more steps on one page), which uses less paper. Missing/broken bricks are replaces by good sellers on Aliexpress (a service which I have used before).
The Lepin copy of the Ship in the bottle (the copy of the original Ideas submission) had its trans-clear pieces individually wrapped in tissue paper! Not a single scratch! Compare that to the recently opened #40223, which had massive scratches on all of the round wall elements.
As for the bad: the colours in the Lepin manual are not always accurate. Sometimes it's hard to tell dark bluish gray and black apart.
You do have a point here, but I don't agree with you completely. It is a brand and it has a history associated to it, but it's value in the secondary market doesn't directly reflect its quality (many talk about a secondary market bubble for some reason), nor does its RRP, in my opinion. LEGO is still living from all those decades without true competition, and from the constant attacks from "white knights" not only to the counterfeit copies but also to other licensed brands.
In my field of work I see exactly the same things when it comes to research laboratory consumables, the brands selling equipments always state that other brands have low quality products and that their 3-5x more expensive products are the best. And then you test both and often their equivalent or the expensive brand one is worst. And, curiously, I'm talking about plastic as well.
I thank you guys for the discussion, but I can see that their is little open-mindedness around here. It's a sort of "either you only bring official LEGO bricks or you can't play with us!" and that limits the range to which you can open the debate. Almost like talking about eating meat with two vegans.
Sorry about that, I really should have spent more time catching up on all the pages from all the threads of the forum. Maybe I should read a counterfeit forum, it probably has the same content but in less words and thus less pages. ;)
I have also semi-reviewed some knock-offs here on this thread
(eg Alien on page 60 http://bricksetforum.com/discussion/16099/lego-fight-against-chinese-counterfeit-lego/p60).
I already gave the answer to your question 2-3 times already. You simply chose to always ignore it, and now you've even stated I've done something I haven't.
That is why this conversation is going nowhere, like I said before. But thanks anyway.
"Exactly! So why shouldn't I save money on that one so I could buy other official LEGO sets?"
It is really up to you what you do. The justification that you can save money by buying fakes and spend what you saved on real LEGO seems to be more anti-reseller than anything else.
Brickset is primarily a LEGO forum that allows limited discussion of competing brands, but the vast majority of active posters are here to talk about LEGO. Talk of buying from LEPIN typically gets shat upon because LEPIN has a history of making clones of LEGO sets rather than their own designs. Many of the patents on LEGO bricks have expired, just as the patents on the Kiddicraft bricks expired and opened the door for LEGO.
LEPIN has been producing sets that are direct copies of LEGO sets, and LEGO has litigation against LEPIN in progress, apparently "for selling exact replicas of existing Lego products (including box-art)" (according to Wikipedia). The LEPIN Wall-E set would certainly be one of the sets covered in that litigation.
LEGO made a press release in November 2017 concerning trademark litigation that many interpreted as a victory against LEPIN.
Turns out, that case was actually LEGO suing an eyeglass company in 2009 that registered the name LEGO.
Details and some examples are higher up in the thread (on p60).
But that's irrelevant because I'm not the one trying to claim it's a legally gray act in an attempt to justify my morally poor decisions.
Hope you don't fall from that super high moral pedestal from which you judge people based on your preconceptions.
I posed a question, using a real example instead of a made up one, but NEVER said I was buying or had bought a Lepin counterfeit copy (Lepin also produces it's own sets/MOCs). But still, instead of thinking about a problem and debating ideas people here just like to judge others because they may have a different opinion.
If you feel that you are doing Lego a favour by buying a fake as it means you can spend more money on real Lego, and you are happy with that justification, then go for it. What is there to discuss?
However, secondly - this question you posed was always about the counterfeit part of their market. You asked about the morality of it, and we gave you our honest answers. What did you expect - to pop onto a lego forum and have us justify your purchases?
You do you.
Various people basically answered that the right thing to do is to not buy stolen property. That's exactly what Lepin is doing: stealing Wall-E's imagery from Disney/Pixar and stealing the set design from Lego and the IDEAS fan designer. Whether or not the property owners are willing to sell their property right now is not relevant. Supporting a company that is engaged in unethical (and in most countries illegal) behavior begets more unethical behavior.
You've setup a false dilemma about whether to buy from Lepin or a reseller. As someone else pointed out, you can buy a used set for not much more than the original RRP. RRP in the US was $60. After sales tax, that would be about $65. Depending on how lucky I am on Ebay, I could have a used set shipped to me for about $71. That's not much of a premium for a set that I really wanted, but missed out on. Also buying from Lepin rather than buying used suppresses the used Lego market and ensures that one used set is not sold for what it could have. That set owner may have used that money to buy more official Lego sets.
Finally if by "have a different opinion," you mean that in your opinion there's nothing wrong with buying a copied set from Lepin, that's a poor opinion to have. It's clearly unethical to buy stolen property, and Lepin clearly steals intellectual property. Whether or not a person is comfortable with that is obviously up to them.
*Puts the popcorn away to chime in again for a minute*
It's fascinating to see how entrenched to combatants in this discussion are. The team "LEGO fanboys/moralists" on the one side, failing to see (or purposely ignoring) the valid parts of the other side's arguments and the team "Lepin's devils advocates" on the other side, failing to see (or purposely ignoring) the valid parts of the arguments of the former team.
My two cents: what Lepin is doing is morally questionable as well as illegal in many countries. Hence they do what they do in countries where the legal system is more favorable to their cause, to put it diplomatically.
Did that stop me from buying a few sets from them (as well as one from Decool)? No, it didn't.
Why? Because I for myself decided that I wanted these sets, and that them being long EOL'ed and highly sought after sets they were very expensive on the secondary market, I decided I wasn't willing to pay these sort of prices. My choice, my conscience.
As for the Decool set, which was the Technic Porsche GT3 clone, I bought this not because I was too cheap to get the original, but because Decool offered the set in my favorite colour (lime green), which LEGO doesn't even offer at all. If they did, I would have bought the original. As they don't, I didn't. How does that fit in the moral compass of the "Team 1" members?
Its easy to take the moral high ground when you have the funding to do so, or the discipline to miss out on stuff you really really want but cant afford to buy from resellers. Fair play to you, massive respect all round.
LEGO is a luxury item, it’s not like you need it to live, it’s not going to ruin your life to have an incomplete collection.
If money is tight why would you spend the money on a set you dont want instead?
Bear in mind also for parents with kids there is a window. Example (with made up numbers): Someone has young kids who have just finished watching star wars. They are obsessed with ewoks and desperately want the lego ewok village. There isnt another current set that is in any way similar.
Resellers are selling it for upwards of £400 on the 2nd hand market. You dont have £400, probably wont for some time, and you know that once they've built it they wont look after it anyway, but you cant chuck that sort of money down the drain. So its not an option, and are expecting just to tell the kids to forget it because its too expensive.
You do know that if you dont get the set soon the moment will have passed. You may go the rest of your life wishing you'd been able to get your kids that set when you could, and share the experience and bonding of building that with them whilst they were still young and into it.
Then you see a lepin EV set for £50 new. You do have £100. You could buy the lepin set, and spend the other £50 on some other genuine Lego Star Wars sets to go with it.
Many people will and should pass, and accept that it wasnt meant to be. Many others will go for it. Just look at the popularity of illegal TV screening and music downloads, people have different moral compasses and drivers, indeed in many cultures (not just Asia) bending the rules like this is effectively seen as admirable, clever and to be respected. Sticking one over The Man. We may not agree with it, but it is understandable. And Lego would be getting £50 that they wouldnt otherwise have got, even if you'd bought the original set from a reseller.
I personally think clearing the supermarket shelves to scalp and exploit parents with young children is morally objectionable too. Its legal, obviously, and less wrong than stealing IP, but personally i think its still wrong and has at least some small part to play in the popularity of cloning. Sometimes what goes around, comes around. You may not agree. Thats OK too.
I think those scalpers actually are the main reason why Lepin is making any business in western countries at all.
The main focus of Lepin and the like is the Asian market, where LEGO products are far more expensive in relation to available income than in the west, hence making it even more of a luxury item. That's one of the reasons why even sets in the sub 20 Dollar/Euro/Pound range get cloned over there.
But for a couple of years now, the prices for popular EOL'ed sets on the western secondary markets have gone through the roof. I remember getting sets of that calibre on ebay some time before the craze started for less money than what LEGO wanted as RRP. Nowadays, there wouldn't be a chance in hell to get any of these sets for reasonable prices thanks to the scalpers.
Imho Lepin and the other clone-brands would be none existant in the western world, if it weren't for the scalpers. Just my humble opinion of course.
If money is tight then you wouldn't be spending much money on Lego anyway and who buys their kids an expensive LEGO set on the basis of them enjoying a movie? I wouldn't be spending that amount of money on anything that my kids want, Lego or otherwise on that basis. If the kids are pretty young then a buy a few ewoks from Bricklink and they can make their own ewok village using Lego they've already got or stuff lying around, you can help them build it and you are not losing out on the building or bonding experience (unless they won't speak to you because you didn't buy them them the massive LEGO set they wanted :-) )
The RRP of ewok village was around £200 anyway, so even if it was available at retail your £100 still wouldn't be enough so your argument would still just boil down to "I want something but can't afford it so I'll buy a counterfeit".
Anyone buying fakes does it to save themselves money so that they can use their remaining money to buy other things they want, whether that is lego or not.
Lego would also probably have got £50 (likely much more) from a reseller too if they had bought the genuine one from a reseller. The argument that lego gets more money in the long run if someone purchases fakes of expensive retired ones is false. Again, buying fakes is not helping lego, it is helping the purchaser.
This has pretty much been done to death. Very, very few sets are cleared from shelves, and for most sets parents have at least a year to purchase them. During a sale time, it is first come first served. Anyone missing out when products are reduced cannot blame others of greed. If they had wanted it, they would have bought it. If they were gambling on being able to buy it at a cheaper price but miss out, then they are just as greedy.
The reason that prices for EOL sets goes through the roof is because not enough people put them away for later resale, then there is demand after they are EOL. More resellers actually drive down EOL prices. Less resellers drive up EOL prices.
Probably Thai have most expensive lego price in the world/asian.
What?!? You're kidding, right? Of course it directly supports Lego! Yes, Target, or whatever other store, has already purchased the product from the Lego Group. However, if that product does not sell, then Target, or whatever other store, will not buy more of said product and instead buy product from another company that is selling better. They only have so much shelf space, so their interest is stocking things that move, not sit as if in a warehouse. So yes, buying Lego from any store that isn't directly owned by TLG directly benefits Lego. I know this is a rabbit trail but geesh...
Ah, bliss. ;-)
But seriously, only a couple of years ago, almost no one bought to resell. Bricklink didn't even exist, or was in its infancy, and on ebay the vast majority of old LEGO was sold by private people selling off old stuff from their childhood. That's where I got a large part of my collection of early Eighties classics that I missed out on during my childhood. There wasn't a large bidding war on many sets either. And EOL sets in the modern sense just were not a "thing" back then. And that isn't even that long ago.
If I tried to get the same sets now, it would cost a fortune, and I bet you those ultimately winning the auctions don't plan on building and playing with the sets or giving them to their children but on stuffing them in a cupboard in the hope of selling them on for even more money a few years down the line.
Nowadays, everyone and his uncle seems to want to cash in on selling sought after LEGO sets, hence sets like 75192 that immediately sell out, to name but the most extreme example. And all the crazy prices. And Lepin clones that even people from the western hemisphere start purchasing in ever greater numbers.
The opposite seems to be true, unfortunatley. The more resellers join in, the higher the prices go, because newbies see the exorbitant prices and add some more to cash in even more. You can see this daily on ebay. As soon as some hyped set starts to surface from a few sellers at crazy prices, and a few get sold, suddenly loads more crop up at ever higher starting prices in the hopes of a self-fulfilling prophecy most likely.
No, more resellers don't drive down EOL prices. Reality speaks a different story. Believe me I keep an eye on certain products and have done so for a long time with some of them. I know the market, at least in Germany. By the way, I could have bought the aforementioned sets from Lepin as well, but they are not my A1 priority sets, so I'll rather wait and see if they eventually come down in price some day after all - or get re-released/improved like the Taj Mahal or 75192.
I disagree. It used to be (2010- 2014ish) that you could buy any SW set and you could guarantee a reasonable return. Whereas now, you really have to think about what to invest in. Look at the number of comments from people in the reseller thread from people that used to invest but no longer do (mainly people into LEGO that sell LEGO). Sure there are some people that still think that you can buy anything LEGO as it will appreciate, but it is no longer the case. There may well be bubble in markets for individual sets that are hyped, but no serious long term investors would be putting money into, for example, the new UCS MF right now for holding long term.
The last five years has seen (i) an expansion in the fan base for LEGO and (ii) growth in the number of resellers. I think the expansion in the fan base is slowing down (at least in the West) and the number of resellers going up (but not necessarily people into lego that are reselling, but more general people going on past increases rather than knowledge). Couple that with lego now reproducing similar sets time and time again. It is a bad time to be investing in lego. There will of course be some sets that do well, but there are many others that are not worth investing in these days.
And if nobody bought to resell, then it wouldn't be possible to get hold of (sealed/new) retired sets. People wanting a Wall-E now simply wouldn't be able to find a sealed one, if it wasn't for resellers. Whether they agree with the prices that resellers want (and other buyers are willing to pay) is another matter. Without the reseller, they cannot get one.
That's a short-sighted way to look at it. Yes, Lego "got" their buck out if it, but Lego's future depends on getting MORE bucks out of those retailers since a very significant portion of Lego's sales are to companies like Walmart, TRU, Target, etc. If Lego product sits on those retailer's shelves, taking up space and generating no revenue, those retailors will not order more Lego. Without volume, Lego's revenue numbers drop precipitously. That is NOT the case with small-time resellers. There simply is not enough volume there to have a significant impact to TLG.
But the point stands that Lego 100% benefits from companies like those mentioned above because without them, their sales volume crashes and Lego ceases to be a toy powerhouse. Your claim that TLG does not benefit from them is flat out false.