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Used bike buying question - etiquite on counter-offers?(17 posts)

Used bike buying question - etiquite on counter-offers?UncleMoe
Jul 7, 2003 8:40 PM
This might be a weird question, but I am a little confused about the reaction I received from the seller of a used bike and I'm wondering about your opinions. The seller is an avid cyclist and might read the forums so I won't go into huge details because I might call back and make another offer, but I'm not even sure I want to.

So here is the deal. I'm in the market to buy a nice road bike, but I can't afford new for what I'd like to get so I'm looking used. It just so happens I find a bike I am interested in for sale on ebay from a seller who lives in my area. This is nice, no shipping charges and I can take a test spin for fit, condition, etc.

Bidding starts at $1900 for a bike that new costs $2100. I can't afford $1900 so I don't bid, but I do email him offline and ask if he minds if I contact him if he doesn't sell it during this auction. He replies fine.

The auction comes and goes, he gets no bids. I negleact to follow thru, but a few weeks later he relists it for $1700 starting out and doesn't get a single bid again.

I contact him and we set up a time to meet so I can take it for a spin. Fit is OK. I'd need a longer stem for a perfect fit, plus I hated the saddle (too narrow). Two things I'd need to replace. The condition of the bike is nearly new, he says it has 1000 miles on it, and he has made a few minor upgrades to some components. So new I'm estimating he paid $2300 instead of $2100. Remember he is asking for $1800 starting on ebay, and then dropped to $1700.

I ride it. I take a few days, consider the $2100 book value without upgrade. The upgrades are nice but nothing I would have been in the market for, and he has already listed it for $1700 and received zero bids. So I call him and offer $1600.

Within 1/2 a second of me saying "I'd like to offer you $1600" he says "No! I've invested $2300 in that bike, it is nearly brand new. I wish you luck in finding a better price than $1800" and before I can say a word he hangs up on me.

WTF? Was my offer out of line. The guy is in his 40's and I would figure he's learned about bartering and negotiating on used items. Instead he is rude and hangs up on me without even making a counter-offer to my counter-offer. I honestly didn't expect him to take $1600, but I expected something along the lines of "Well, I can say with the upgrades the bike is worth $?? and although it is used, is has low miles, but used is used and I can go as low as $1800" for which I actually may have taken it.

What's up? Am I out of line of is he?
Used bike buying question - etiquette on counter-offers?davet
Jul 7, 2003 8:51 PM
It doesn't sound like you were out of line. Maybe he's just tired of fielding offers 'cause his asking price is too high.

Getting 80% of new price is quite a feat. The usual pricing on good used bikes is about 50%~70% of new, unless the bike is rare and/or exceedingly desirable.

I would tell you not to sweat it. There are many other good bikes out there, one of them is going to be 'perfect' for you.

In the meantime, send the seller a nice e-mail saying that you might still be interested in his bike. If you have the cash and let him know it, I think he'll come to you. Plus I think you ought to shoot for a max of about $1400 for his bike.
Don't worry about ettiquete, the market dictates fair price!russw19
Jul 7, 2003 11:32 PM
Here's the thing about used bikes... and this seller really needs to know this... anything is only worth what someone is willing to pay you for it. You were not at all out of line to offer $1600. But truth be told, the seller is not out of line to flat reject that offer either. But if the seller has listed it twice without a single bid on ebay, chances are, the market is trying to tell him something. His bike is overpriced. I see things on ebay go for near retail on USED bikes... it's absurd. Your offer, on the other hand, was not. The seller thinking he can get full retail for a used bike is crazy, and the market of both your offer and ebay is telling him so. Skip it and move on.... there are plenty of good deals still to be found both in the classifieds here and on ebay... you just have to be willing to walk away from a few to get what you really want at a fair price.

If that were me in your situation, I wouldn't even approach the seller again...even if he relists it again. He has shown what he wants for the bike, and it seems to me to be overpriced. If he was that abrupt to cut of negotiations for his bike, then he really isn't serious about selling it or he doesn't really know what it's worth. It sounds to me like he would be much better off starting the bidding at zero and placing a reserve on his auction anyways... but he may not know enough to do that... then you can see what people think your bike is worth. If it doesn't get high enough for you, contact the high bidder and see if they would have gone higher if the bidding allowed for it... That's how this guy's auctions should have been run.

By the way, what kind of bike is it and what size do you ride? Someone here may have something for you if you tell us what you are looking for.

The problem is the guy is in his 40's...NatC
Jul 8, 2003 12:24 AM
and in the full swing of Middle-Age Man Syndrome. You know: when you're right, everyone else is wrong, you're as inflexible as you'll ever be in your life, and you annoy and are annoyed by most of the people with whom you interact? Anyone else know this guy?

Nahhh, you weren't out of line at all.
re: Used bike buying question - etiquite on counter-offers?TheJoker
Jul 8, 2003 3:25 AM
Your price seems okay, generous if anything. If the bike is currently on eBay I'm not sure about the etiquette of offering him a price outside the auction. But if it doesn't sell for $1700 he'll have to put it on at $1600 and will look a fool if it doesn't sell. If he lists it below that and you buy it through eBay for, say $1500 he'll look even more foolish...
If it were me...Alexx
Jul 8, 2003 3:57 AM
I'd offer him an initial bid of $1k. After he hangs up, I'd call him back a day or two later and up the offer to $1100. Give it a couple of days, then raise it to $1200, and let him know that you need an answer in 48 hours, final offer. If he gives you the "I've invested $2300 in that bike, it is nearly brand new..." cr@p again, point out that he hasn't had a single bid yet, and if he doesn't take your offer, he'll have nothing.
You're a fool if you pay more than 1/2 of what it cost new. He's a fool if he doesn't take the over-inflated price you offered. He'll call you back in a week or two, but don't offer him a penny over $1200. He had his chance, now it's your turn.
what i want to know is why you offered 1600 bucksbigrider
Jul 8, 2003 4:02 AM
As far as I am concerned that is way too much for a used bike that retailed for 2100. The bike shop would probably sell it for 1700 at the end of the year or on clearance if it was a year old.

Your goal is to BUY a bike. Don't ever call the guy back. Look for a bargain somewhere else because this guy doesn't want to sell the bike that bad. He will end up taking 20 hours of his time to sell the thing for 1559. dollars. two months from now, or he will let it sit in his garage because he couldn't stand himself to admit he bought something and lost 700 bucks in a year.
re: Used bike buying question - etiquite on counter-offers?filtersweep
Jul 8, 2003 4:19 AM
His minor upgrades really don't add to the value of the bike- to a buyer, the comparison is to the price of a new "stock" bike.

The seller should realize that he can easily eat money on an ebay deal with listing fees, paypal fees, and professional boxing and shipping fees. I see all sorts of people list absurdly low amounts for packaging and shipping (like $30 for a complete bike). It can easily run $60+ to have an LBS pack a bike and ship it for him so that it arrives in one piece.

Finally, the later it gets in the year, the less the bike is worth- there really is a seasonal depreciation- at least in the midwest- which then turns into model-year depreciation (where the bike is simply "last years" model).

Normally I love ebay for liquidating older studio gear that I sell- I don't need to deal with idiots who just want to kick the tires and talk sh!t about production gear. A bike, however, has a high pain in the posterior index- and literally ANYTHING can happen to it en route to the buyer. Losing a clean transaction over $100 is ridiculous on his part.

Conversely- is it worth it to you to SAVE $100 IF- and that is a big if, you find a comparable bike in the right size and color- and need to pay for shipping on top of that- and you would need to buy it sight unseen (in god-knows what condition)??

There are two sides to the coin ;)

You are both stubborn! But neither are out of line.
Taking the sellers side (sort of)pitt83
Jul 8, 2003 4:44 AM
I sold a bike recently at a more than fair price. I clearly stated why the price was more than fair, gave comparable bikes selling for much more, explained the condition of the bike as clearly used, etc.

Every offer I got was for less than what I wanted. I was explicit; I wanted what I posted it for. This wasn't ebay; there was no bartering. No one seemed to understand that. I quit replying to emails asking for less than my posted price. I got my asking price fairly quickly through a local classified, but never via any internet ads.

One guy even told me he'd give me $300 and then asked what size it was (that ad board didn't have that info). First he focused on the price, later whether the bike was appropriate (unless he planned on getting rich from reselling a 4 year old highly used Specialized?)

However, I agree with the others that this price is set too high and he should know it. The bike isn't new, it does not come with a factory warrantee or shop service. By buying this bike, you are accepting less quality than new from a shop. It should be priced accordingly.
re: Used bike buying question - etiquite on counter-offers?msmootsiemartin
Jul 8, 2003 5:50 AM
I don't think that being in your 40's has anything to do with it! (nm)
re: Used bike buying question - etiquite on counter-offers?geeker
Jul 8, 2003 6:02 AM
I do! Being in mid-40s myself, I'd expect someone 40+ (also 50s, 60s etc) to have amassed sufficient experience to be a realistic/reasonable seller of used items.

The seller is being unreasonable, but I don't see what anybody can do if he's gonna hang up the phone on bids. He'll rue the day he rejected $1600.
Hope I die before I get old (Townshend)pitt83
Jul 8, 2003 6:19 AM
Things they do seem awful cold...

Is that true? I'm 42 and feel like I can accept viewpoints other than my own. I disagree with many, but hold their right to assert them in violet.

I think at any age one can be cantankerous. Stubborn is equal opportunity.
The guy is clueless - $1,600 was probably too muchB2
Jul 8, 2003 6:29 AM
Sounds like your taking this all too personal. Offer what you think is fair and reasonable. All the guy can do is say no. If he takes offense, that's his problem.

Good Luck,
People are funny.djg
Jul 8, 2003 7:06 AM
Look, your offer was perfectly reasonable. In fact, I'd say it was high. Used bikes--even in mint condition--rarely go for 75% of retail. Often they go for half and less is not out-of-the-question. That can be hard to swallow for somebody who thinks--even rightly--that from a physical standpoint the bike is 95% or better as good as new. To top it off, folks can get emotional about their "special" bikes--the extra-valuable paint job that the used buyer never wanted, the "upgraded" saddle that the used buyer is going to sell at a swap for 10 bucks, etc., etc. Also, because the used bike market is not well developed AS A MARKET, and has fairly variable pricing, etc. It's quite possible the seller knows SOMEONE who got most of the original price for a highly desireable bike (even if 90% of the sellers in the same boat fail to do so).

So, I'd say: (a) the seller is asking too much (evidence: no sale) and (b) the seller is being pretty darn touchy about his asking price. If he's going to be emotional about haggling, and you don't feel like caving and paying his rather high price, just walk away. Maybe he'll re-list it for 1500 bucks in a few weeks. Maybe not. Whether or not one idiosyncratic individual will come around and face the market (or get lucky) is hard to predict. Much easier to predict is that you'll find something else if you have a little patience and poke around.
You can't reason with unreasonable people...GregR
Jul 8, 2003 7:13 AM
No matter what the subject is, if they are unreasonable then arguing (or bartering) is useless.

You made him a fair offer, he didn't like it. Tough. If he gets in a tizzy, its his problem. Don't waste your time with this jamoke. Its a used bike, and does not come with any warranty. Like other posters said, you are looking at 50 to 70% of retail, unless its some rare item with high demand (though does not look like it, otherwise it would have sold).

I would not be suprised if he comes back looking for that $1600 offer. If it was me, I would have never offered that much. Why is he selling it? Who knows, but its obvious he is looking to cut his losses. He has probably gotten low ball offers from everywhere which is probably why he was in such a huff.

I've bought and sold plenty...MShaw
Jul 8, 2003 8:06 AM
...of bikes and things. Usually, I don't NEED to sell what I have, and if I don't get what I'm asking, I'll sit on it till I do.

That said, it sounds like old whatsiname is a little out of line with his abruptness. In his defense, he may have had X number of "idiots" offering him "unreasonable" lowball offers and you were just the straw that broke the camel's back.

All I have to say on this one is: "next!"

Pet Peeves!AaronL
Jul 8, 2003 8:43 AM
You were totally in line with this guy. You looked at the bike, assessed it's value and made him an offer. If he's not smart enough to understand the value of negotiation, then it's his loss.

One of my all-time pet peeves is when I have something for sale and a "buyer" contacts me and asks for my "rock bottom price" without ever seeing the item or knowing anything about it. My rock bottom price is whatever the buyer is prepared to offer me at the time and I'm willing to accept it. Other than that, the price is what it's listed at. You offered the guy $1600 and it was his choice to either accpet, reject or counter. He rejected it, so it's his issue, not yours. Dont' sweat it. Bikes are like busses, you miss one..........