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Old 07-11-09, 03:20 PM   #1
fiataccompli
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weird karma, bought friends bike...not really stolen, but....

I just walked into a weird situation. I've been interested in a Vitus lugged aluminum road bike for a while and periodically look around when I'm bored & think of it. Anyway, I recently did a geographic Ebay search & found one in my home town & ended up winning it (not dirt cheap, but not a crazy pimped out price either...plus, of course, no shipping). Part of my rekindled interest in it is that a friend I'm riding with told me he has one...on loan to someone he knows...so I thought it would be cool if we both had one. In fact, I was going to bug him to get the bike back from being loaned out & tell him if he didn't want to keep it that I'd like to buy it. Well, today, I saw him & told him I got a Vitus & was about to tell him he should go retrieve his from his friend. He kinda interrupted me and asked me if it was blue.....well, pretty quickly (especially due to the fact that it's been fit with bar end grip shifters, which is rather unusual) we figured out that I had just bought his bike. It's not quite that simple...apparently, just within the week, he had talked to the friend about picking up the bike (last time we talked about it, he had called, but was waiting for a call back) and the guy told him that he'd donated it to someone for a charity (and that if my friend wanted, he'd donate money to a church bike thing the two of us are doing or something like that....i dunno the details) and didn't have it. So, the guy I bought it from picked it up at a church rummage sale (probably for like $10) a few weeks ago and then put it on Ebay thinking he'd flip it for big bucks (which he probably would have done if he'd embellished the ad a bit...as it happened, he was pretty honest in that he just bought it 'cause it was cheap and he didn't know squat about road bikes). Maybe hard to follow the story line there...

Anyway, I offered to just give my friend his bike back & chalk it all up to this other guy being a complete a-hole. He kinda refused, but I may work on that approach. It doesn't seem right in any respect. An alternate approach that I suggested is we find a very nice Vitus with a good, complete Campy group on it (which is not what this bike had...it has a mix of 600, Dura-Ace, Spidel, Suntour & some kind of japanese grip shifter...classic '80s mix!) and present it's purchase price as what the bike-giving-away friend needs to donate to the Church biking group. Heck, we could enter some local races with the bikes under some church sponsorship or something (smiting the competition would be helpful, right?)....

Anyway, besides being a sort of confusing and odd situation, I figured it's interesting. And, I'm wondering what you - as the C&V crowd - would do. Give it back? Pay him for it? Find a nicer one and have the dude who gave it away cough up the cash to buy it?

EDIT: "nicer" I guess is relative....I guess I kinda look at things as having two inherent types of dollar value. One would be something along the lines of what you'd think you might find it for sale for as a real bargain if you looked patiently and diligently (within reason...ie, nice, complete serviceable old bike $200) and one would be along the lines of what it would cost if you had to go out RIGHT NOW and replace it with at least an equally equipped bike (ie, a good bit more in almost all cases).

Last edited by fiataccompli; 07-11-09 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 07-11-09, 03:25 PM   #2
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I don't know why you have to find a nicer one - make the guy give you the money you paid for it and give your friend his bike back.

The big question is why someone would get rid of someone else's property.
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Old 07-11-09, 03:34 PM   #3
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I don't know why you have to find a nicer one - make the guy give you the money you paid for it and give your friend his bike back.

The big question is why someone would get rid of someone else's property.
Precisely.

The friend of your friend had no permission to dispose of your friend's property.
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Old 07-11-09, 03:34 PM   #4
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It's pretty clear you should be going after the person your friend loaned the bike to.
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Old 07-11-09, 03:42 PM   #5
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agreed...well, really, he should be going after that person.

as far as giving the $ back to the Ebay seller...he's entirely innocent. He did the same thing any one of us would have done (except maybe selling it)...found it grossly under-priced at a church rummage sale, realized by it's weight that it must be good quality & bought it "fair & square." Of all parties involved, I don't blame that guy. In fact, I appreciated the fact he was pretty straight-up about the facts & didn't try to lie about it on Ebay (guess he didn't read their instructions...lol). I'm actually fine just giving it to my friend, but I think the guy who gave it away needs to be put to task.
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Old 07-11-09, 03:48 PM   #6
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agreed...well, really, he should be going after that person.

as far as giving the $ back to the Ebay seller...he's entirely innocent. He did the same thing any one of us would have done (except maybe selling it)...found it grossly under-priced at a church rummage sale, realized by it's weight that it must be good quality & bought it "fair & square." Of all parties involved, I don't blame that guy. In fact, I appreciated the fact he was pretty straight-up about the facts & didn't try to lie about it on Ebay (guess he didn't read their instructions...lol). I'm actually fine just giving it to my friend, but I think the guy who gave it away needs to be put to task.
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Old 07-11-09, 04:00 PM   #7
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I believe I saw a similar bare frame (silver) for sale at Tennessee Valley Bicycles -- I did not notice what size.
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Old 07-11-09, 04:07 PM   #8
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hey...thanks....didn't know TVB was consigning that one after all. you didn't catch a price, did you? Before it was stripped of it's nice, complete Shimano 600 group, I was trying to buy that one. Then a few months later I happened to be in there when the owner was talking to Scott about selling it. That one was interesting to me 'cause it was branded a Bertoni & I have two other (steel) Bertoni bikes. Small world. It was that one that planted the whole idea for me, but I figured it's quite possible I weigh too much (for that frame) to be worth putting a "lot" of $$ into it.
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Old 07-11-09, 04:49 PM   #9
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If your friend wants the bike back then he should give you the money you paid for it and ask the "friend" he loaned it to, to pay him back. It isn't up to you to go to his friend looking for the money you paid. If you are not comfortable with your friend reimbursing you then just give him the bike.

Maybe your friends "bike loan" was actually "free storage" in his friends eyes and he wanted it out of his way?

I have frequently had the luxury of "lots of space" in warehouses and studios and a LOT of friends and family would assume that it would be great for me to borrow their old furniture when they got new furniture. When I would ask them if I can sell it when I am tired of it they would usually say, "well we want it for the basement when we up size". Free storage in the guise of "aren't we generous?"

Maybe your friend left the bike there for 5 years after he moved out or something?

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Old 07-11-09, 05:50 PM   #10
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No intention here of tracking down the guy who gave it away. Just offering my 'net searching skills to my friend to give him a $ value for a replacement in case he wants to have the conversation.

True, I really do not know the details of their arrangement, but it was described prior to today as having been "loaned" to a friend, but that the friend didn't end up using it.

Good point about space and other people filling it up. I used to share some warehouse space with a friend and despite our best efforts it got filled with a lot of other people's junk. I have no problem saying get it out by X date or it goes to the curb, but just donating it to your church without warning is not only rude but kinda weird too. But, hey, maybe there was a spouse behind it. What I do know is that all parties involved are stable, reasonably comfortable financially, and also likely candidates to be giving to charity or volunteering in general, so my guess is it was a matter of the guy thinking that a 20+ year old bike is just yard sale fodder that no one would care about more than anything else...but who knows.
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Old 07-11-09, 08:57 PM   #11
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Offer it to your friend. If he refuses, offer it once more. If he refuses, tell him you'll sell it to him for a Hardee's Thickburger. Give him a chance to get it back on his terms. You both know the other guy is pretty much a jerk, or is in serious need of assistance himself. Do what you can for those you can, and don't worry about it after that.
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