(But still claim no affiliation to the Mota Group)
Their drones may be little more than a bunch of rebranded year-old models from Chinese manufacturer High Great, but at least Drones by US (DBUS) is continuing to deliver creative marketing ploys worthy of any cutting-edge manufacturer.
If you’ve been following our coverage of the Mota Group’s surprise closure, the fallout and the subsequent customers who have been left hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of dollars out of pocket, we’ve got another update for you below.
But first, if you haven’t been keeping up, you can open the following chronological posts in new tabs and come back to this later:
When we last published an updated on this story, we showed that despite denying any affiliation to the Mota Group (and therefore not being responsible for Mota’s many angry customers) there are a number of reasons to believe that claim is false.
For starters, DBUS is selling the same Chinese drones from High Great from the same rough location in California. More importantly, the staff roster of the now-closed Mota Group is essentially the same as DBUS.
The cherry on top: DBUS has been emailing offers to people whose contact details they could only have from purchasing them from the original Lily project – which is exactly what the Mota Group did.
The cherry on top of that cherry: DBUS claim to be part of the same FAA initiative as the Mota Group previously was. An astounding feat for a company to achieve from day one.
The latest revelations
And sadly there’s more.
As Ash from DroningOn explains in the video below, the Lily Next-Gen drones sold by the Mota Group are now little more than flying bricks. The servers pilots connect to in order to fly them through the Lily app have been shut down.
As a result, the number of screwed over Mota Group customers has expanded considerably. Previously we’ve focused on those customers who never received their drones or the refund they asked for. Now it looks like even those who did receive what they paid for have been left with a drone that can’t take off.
Drones by US reach out to let-down customers
Following this finding, DBUS (which still claims to be an entirely unaffiliated entity that’s separate from the Mota Group by the way), published the following ‘Open Letter’ on their Facebook page:
So what to make of this?
You’ll notice that DBUS doesn’t refer directly to the Mota Group or the Lily Next-Gen. Instead, the statement says, “We have a limited number of DBUS1s in stock which we are providing to people who have an unfulfilled order or a drone from a company they cannot fly.”
So yes. You did read that right: DBUS is offering Mota Group customers a 40% discount on the DBUS1, aka the Lily Next-Gen. A discount on a drone those customers have already paid for. No compensation, no refund, no replacement unit. Just another discount designed to appease customers who are surely sick of being let down.
Because remember: many buyers of the Lily Next-Gen were backers of the original Lily project, which was shut down after collecting $30m in pre-orders, and which later sold its branding rights and customer details to the Mota Group.
Our advice: If you’re going to spend a significant amount of money on a drone, choose a reputable manufacturer. One that isn’t going to suddenly disappear, leave you with a drone you can’t operate, and down the line attempt to persuade you to part with even more of your money.