HK certainly warrants controversy for many reasons. I have purchased a couple orders from them with absolutely no issues and producs were mostly what I expected from a discount supplier - sort of puts me in mind of Harbor Freight for the RC industry. Ordering from HK can be a slow process and you do take a chance, so anyone that does order from them should assume the risk knowing the variables. When I order I spend what I am willing to risk without a fight period. I won't spend a lot for that reason alone (I am very frugal
as I have a cost point of what I am willing to throw away in lost funds.
Take a simple scenario: You spend 100 with HK and save 50 from what you would pay to other suppliers. You decide to make more orders and go for the bigger bucks. Your new order is 500 smackers, yet they screw it up and you wind up losing a 100. If you invest hours of labor and time trying to contact them and getting a store refund you have well spent your ''saved'' dollars. Not many look at it this way, but this is realistic.
As far as the local hobby shops all I can think of are the chains as that is mostly what we have in this area. We have a couple HobbyTowns and a few other shops. The thing is how much of what they sell is from US manufacturers? I try to support them, but it is mostly a wasted trip as they don't carry the type of items that I need. I cannot remember one thing that I purchased that was not made in a foreign country. I don't get it when folks think that other countries are not the winners when we buy RC stuff even with local hobby shops. Does anyone actually think that the products we purchase are somehow made down the street in a plant here in the US?
Can we in the US be competitive with foreign suppliers? Think about it for a moment or two. Not many want to, nor can, work cheap enough to put a product out that is competitive with the discount products thus it comes from foreign lands. The math is simple.