Fuelrod Lawsuit

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Joe

#RIPVolcano
Feb 12, 2011
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BuschDominion.com
To clear up some confusion on here, the entire selling point of FuelRod was that their swapping service was totally free after the initial $30 purchase. It was all over the marketing on their kiosks. I never bought one because I've always felt like it was a terrible business model - no source of revenue after the initial purchase, despite the need to continue operating the service. A totally unsustainable value proposition.

What they should have done from a start is emphasized the convenience (rather than the cheapness) of the service and, from the beginning, charged a small fee for each swap. But, since that isn't what they did, they're stuck with a boatload of customers who have been promised "free, unlimited swaps." To do anything other than honor that promise would be false marketing and violation of contract.

The only solution I can think of is for FuelRod to continue to offer free swaps on existing purchases, and charge for swaps for new purchases. But, this might be too little too late, and FuelRod might be doomed to run themselves out of business or get eaten by a competitor with a better business model.
 
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Oct 7, 2011
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I never bought one because I've always felt like it was a terrible business model - no source of revenue after the initial purchase, despite the need to continue operating the service. A totally unsustainable value proposition.
^^^ This.

The only thing I can think of to explain their motivation is the notion that they could charge $30 for probably a $15-20 retail item, and then people on average just wouldn’t use the swap service more than once or twice. ...due to laziness, or forgetfulness on travel days, or just losing the thing. So their margin on the initial sale largely would be preserved, despite their less efficient, more touch-heavy distribution and retrieval model.

Oops.

Never let Ryan the intern build your revenue model.
 

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
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I bought one at Epcot, because I left both of my backup batteries in my resort room on their chargers. That said, it has proven useful since then at other Disney parks and at BGW. I can also comfirm that it was free swaps for life.

I thought maybe it was sustainable, because they could recharge everything that is returned. So, they get $30 from each person, and just maintain a set replacement rods.
 
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Mar 16, 2016
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I thought maybe it was sustainable, because they could recharge everything that is returned. So, they get $30 from each person, and just maintain a set replacement rods.
I think that's likely what they didn't count on. I think they saw most people buying, continuing to reuse, and only replace when they realized it wasn't charged ant they were out. I would bet that they did much more swaps than anticipated and that's why they started to charge.
 
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Zimmy

Nessie wants you to look into yourself
Sep 28, 2013
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considering how sensitive Lithium Ion batteries are to being over-charged and how the charge cycle count works it would not surprise me in the least if the rods themselves did not last as long as predicted. This is especially true if the rods are charged each time to 100% vs 80% (the later is the most efficient in terms of number of cycles)
 
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I also wonder how many returned items were damaged due to customer neglect/abuse, and had to be trashed instead of cycled back into customers' hands.

For many people, an item effectively being rented instead of owned is an excuse to treat that item like it's disposable. (A major factor in the strict mileage/maintenance/excessive-wear sections of vehicle leases.) I wouldn't be surprised of a considerable number of returned "fuel rods" pulled from the vending machines might as well have just gone right into the trash can instead.
 
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Zimmy

Nessie wants you to look into yourself
Sep 28, 2013
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This brings up an import thought... The Cx can recharge the things themselves... I have one that has been kicking around for a year or so... I have NO idea how many cycles it has on it... Considering this... I would not surprise me in the least that the reality did not live up to the hype.
 
Apr 29, 2011
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Just for reference, here's one of the many FuelRod kiosks that are located throughout the Disney property and how they initially advertised.

"Free Unlimited Swapping" is clear as day on the machine with no mention of future fees being applicable.

 
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