Best way to sell an electric bike
March 6, 2015 5:26 PM   Subscribe

I want to sell my electric bike. Where should I sell it and how do I protect myself?

So last year I bought the Electra Townie Go. By the time I decided I wasn't happy with it (I should have bought one of the faster, cheaper models I test rode - it's a very heavy bike and the pedal assist is too weak), it was outside the return period. I rode it for two weeks, maybe a total of 20 miles, and they won't take it back.

I can't find anywhere in the area that will buy my bike or take it as a trade-in towards a new bike. It was ~$2500 with tax and I would like to not go lower than $2000 on it. Is there anywhere besides Craigslist that I should look to sell it? I've never sold anything there let alone something so expensive. How do I protect myself? Do I ask for cash only? Should I have them leave a driver's license if they want to take it for a test ride?
posted by IndigoRain to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
Craigslist is mostly for cheap old stuff and screaming deals. I've rarely seen bikes priced over a few hundred bucks on my local CL. You might try eBay with a reserve, to play it most safe. Getting a shop to box it up for shipment and shipping can run about $150, so be sure to factor that in too.
posted by mathowie at 6:07 PM on March 6, 2015

No ideas specifically for an electric bike, but I've been around the craigslist block a few times.

How do I protect myself?

-cash only; no cashier's checks, no money orders, yes you're happy to hold it for an hour so they can go to the bank
-in person transactions only
-anything over a couple hundred bucks you should write up a simple bill of sale stating sale AS IS

For the test ride issue, since so much can go wrong, you can put on your bill of sale that the bike is returnable for a full refund within a small period of time of the sale provided the bike isn't wrecked/damaged/etc. Sell the bike at 3pm, contract says the sale is final at 4pm. If they decide they don't want the bike within that hour they can bring it back and get a refund. They ride it into a tree, too bad so sad. That's their problem and you already have cash in hand.
posted by phunniemee at 6:15 PM on March 6, 2015

We had an electric bike and it took years (literally) to sell it on Craigslist and we got less than a third of what we paid. I'd try going to electric bikes shops to see if they'd buy it.
posted by k8t at 8:40 PM on March 6, 2015

I suggest you go for a much more specialist audience. Look around for local cycling clubs, (e-)bike forums, bike touring sites. Ask if you can put up a FOR SALE flier in local bike shops. You're sure to get less than you want for it by throwing it up on the junkhound's buffet that is CL.

Gumtree is another sales site that offers a lot more granularity in how you list and search for items, and that might be worth a try so long as you're willing to price the bike consistently with others on offer.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 12:10 AM on March 7, 2015

You may need to adjust your expectations for how much you're going to get for the bike. A 20% discount is not enough for someone to take the risk of buying a used bike without the warrantee, return period, ability to use a credit card, free adjustments, and convenience that they get by buying the bike new. Personally I wouldn't buy the bike on craigslist for more than about 60% of retail. People buy used to get great deals. $2000 for a $2500 bike is not a great deal, its what I would expect to pay for last years model new at the end of the season.
posted by juliapangolin at 6:36 AM on March 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

I sell a lot of used stuff. juliapangolin's spot on; used stuff just does not, generally, hold its value like that. It's worth a lot less once it merely leaves the store, like a car, for all the reasons mentioned.

Emperor SnooKloze is right about specialist forums (& mathowie's suggestion of eBay is not a bad one, but having it shipped and going through the hassle of listing will be a bit of work, and it is not worth it if you don't already have an eBay account with good feedback) and phunniemee's advice on how to sell it safely is on point -- though I might just go with the driver's license idea for the test ride and not invite them to change their mind in an hour.

If I was not in a hurry I would take the path of least resistance and throw it out on CL for $1,500, with excellent photos showing its pristine condition and with a pic of the dated receipt, and expect to sit on it for a long time until somebody in the market for that bike happened to notice it. (Then I would expect to be gently lowballed because the buyer would know that she was your only interested party.) If eBay sold listings show it is in some demand on eBay and fetches good prices there I'd go that route, asking a friend with a well-used eBay account to take a % of the cut to list it if I didn't have feedback there.
posted by kmennie at 1:08 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: If I sell on eBay don't I risk them doing a fraudulent chargeback on PayPal? I've never sold anything worth more than about $200 on eBay, but I do have 100% good feedback.
posted by IndigoRain at 3:31 AM on March 12, 2015

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