If you want to save a penny or three and buy a used electric bike, there are a few important issues you must be aware of. Simply to keep your wallet safe and save you from any unnecessary expense in the future, take care to read this article fully and pick up the key points.
There are several problems with buying used goods:
• You don’t know its history
• You don’t necessarily know the seller
• You don’t know why they’re selling it
• You don’t necessarily have the support, warrantees and services you get buying new
• You don’t know how much to pay
Now these issues may be pretty harmless if someone’s put an old book or DVD on Amazon and someone else buys it, but with a second hand electric bike the issues become much more serious with more complicated and expensive consequences, possibly.
Suppose a seller is getting rid of their electric bike because the motor doesn’t work well, its warrantee is expired and they’ve no other solution but to sell it - you just don’t know.
So here’s a simple checklist to get help you when you’re buying a used electric bike.
If you’re buying online or over the phone, try and do it via eBay or something similar. eBay for example has numerous buyer protection policies in place to keep your purchases safe. You can use payment services like PayPal, look at seller feedback and make a much better judgment of the seller overall.
Avoid using online classifieds directories. Those sites are best for trading commodities and exchanging cash-on-collection which isn’t suitable for something like an electric bike. You need the support structure there
If you can pick up a used electric bike at your local bike shop, by all means go for it. Since they’re local, you can always go around and quiz them about any problems you may encounter. That’s their job afterall!
On eBay for example, you have the opportunity to ask the seller a question. If they haven’t posted information about the bikes past (don’t despair – most eBay sellers fail to include the basics) then don’t hesitate to ask.
Also find out why they’re selling it. Some people will simply be upgrading to another model, or selling because they don’t use their electric bicycle enough, or even because they don’t like it. Don’t be afraid to ask!
This one’s quite tricky with used items. That’s why the eBay online auction format has and always will do so well since the price the item is sold for always reflects demand from the whole world. That said, there are a couple of buyers tricks to get cheaper goods based on the simply laws of supply and demand.
You want to find auctions ending outside of peak times; evenings, weekends and bank holidays. If someone has put up a listing that ends first thing in the morning mid-week for example, you stand a better chance of getting a good price than if it’s on a Saturday evening.
Similarly, if you search for slightly more obscure phrases and look at more items in a category (perhaps investigating poor descriptions more that other buyers might ignore – again, don’t be afraid to contact the seller) and look at every item listed. You never know; it could save you hundreds of pounds.
If you’re not dealing in a safe and secure online auction, get them to name a price. Keep in mind an approximate figure for what a new model would cost and try and gauge whether or not it’s a good price from that. Be prepared to negotiate a little...
Negotiation 101: It’s about creating a WIN-WIN situation!
Both parties negotiating are trying to get the best for themselves. Don’t confront each other over demands; instead work with each other to come up with a proposal both sides are happy with.
Consider the ‘other guys’ point of view. What does he or she want? A good price? A no-hassles buyer? A peaceful agreement?
Also consider what concession he may be likely to make; could you get a bicycle helmet thrown in with the deal?
It’s all about the WIN-WIN!
And about payments – don’t use Western Union, bank transfer or any untraceable and irreversible online or offline payment systems. Don’t use cheques if you’re collecting in person; it doesn’t present yourself (the buyer) as trustworthy. What’s to stop you going and cancelling it bike in hand? Only use cash if you’re collecting it in person – and try and get a receipt of some kind. Cash isn’t traceable.
With that all in mind…
… you should be safe browsing and buying a used electric bike!