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Old 04-17-09, 06:45 PM   #1
zoeglassjd
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New Pay it Forward Idea: Ebay pickup and shipping

I am unsure if anyone else is in the same boat as myself, but I am disgusted regarding shipping prices on ebay. I am wondering if anyone would be interested in a community thread in which people could post the cities they are in and there level of willingness to pickup and ship bikes/bike related stuff.

Let me put this into my current situation. I am eyeing up a beautiful frame on ebay. It has a "problem" that is a relatively easy fix, which most would shy away from. I expect the frameset to go for a relatively low price. The problem is the S&H on the frameset is 70 bones. I consider this on the high side for shipping an entire bike from where they are to me (and yes, I do know it is a way to sidestep ebay from taking so much of a cut for many).

I wrote to the seller and asked if local pickup would be free and he said an enthusiastic "absolutely." Now, you see where this is going... the bike is in a city several hundred miles away.

OK, here is what I see could happen: I post in a thread that asks if anyone could pick up a frameset in, let's say, St. Louis and mail it to me in Pittsburgh. I would pay for the shipping and would even be pleased to kick in some dough for the service. So, we have a $30 shipment and $10 for someone's service (or perhaps it could be just a pay it forward type of thing) and we have a win, win, win situation on our hands.

OK, I know we could blow holes in the idea, but I thought about throwing it out there and see if there was any interest. I know I would be pleased to help others in this capacity. Of course, we could talk about spotty packaging, liability, and general distrust of the human race.

But perhaps it could work really well... most of the time.

Comments?

If this is already being done on BF, slap me and drop a link/
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Old 04-17-09, 07:03 PM   #2
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Shipping may be 70, but if the seller is having the bike or frames set in your case boxed up by their local bike shop there is 35 to 45 bucks right there.
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Old 04-18-09, 12:18 AM   #3
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I'd be willing to do a local pickup and reship for a flat rate of $50.

That's actually cheap considering my hourly rate.
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Old 04-18-09, 07:01 AM   #4
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I think it is a great idea, and I am down for helping out if the situation every presents itself to me. Have you asked the seller why the shipping is so high? There are always situations that come up that raise shipping cost, but for a frame you would think that they would just simply pack it up in 10 minutes and send it.
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Old 04-18-09, 12:15 PM   #5
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Great idea, but someone could pick up your bike and then you'd never see it again.
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Old 04-18-09, 01:21 PM   #6
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$10.00 isn't very much money for the hassle of packing and shipping a bicycle. Also, who are you going to blame if the bike doesn't arrive in good condition? I think there are too many holes for this to work with people who you don't know.
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Old 04-18-09, 01:28 PM   #7
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but for a frame you would think that they would just simply pack it up in 10 minutes and send it.
10 minutes would probably work - once you had a suitable size box and all of the packing materials assembled. Do you keep that stuff in your basement? Keep in mind that a shoddy packing job is a virtual guarantee of damage in shipping so it's something that you shouldn't skimp on.
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Old 04-18-09, 02:13 PM   #8
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Agreed, agreed, and agreed.

I guess my reaction is that it couldn't then be based upon being a big money maker, but a communal project in which service and being served go hand in hand. So, someone wanting to be involved for the sake of making some cash, it would be a ridiculous idea (but so is giving away free parts as we see happening in different forums). Oh, and yes, I have the packaging materials for sending most bike related things in my basement.

I think the liability thing is a very good reason not to do something like this. There is no way in hell I would pack up a Madone to save someone some cash. BUT if someone contacted me having bought a old vintage project bike for $50-100 because they could save the 50-100 bucks in shipping, I would certainly be happy to do this. Not every month, but several times a year, sure.

I see your point and alas, my utopian dream is probably a wash.

It would be pretty cool if would work though!
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Old 04-18-09, 10:27 PM   #9
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With Ebay talking more and more of the profit...sellers need an edge on making money.
I did Ebay for years and I always jacked up the shipping because I knew buyers would pay.
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Old 04-20-09, 06:29 AM   #10
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I too keep at least one or two sets of bike boxes and packing materials around.

I like the idea in principle, if there were a way to do it w/o the possibility of forum acrimony. It would be a real shame for a 'pay-it-forward' type project to bring out the worst in people rather than the best. I think there would have to be some pretty firm ground rules, such as a hard value limit on bikes handled this way.

A more approachable program might be a pickup/dropoff service, where local only auctions are made shippable by a forum member picking up the bike and taking it to a LBS. It doesn't save you the $45, but it does allow you to bid on cheap bikes out of market. And local pickup auctions don't have inflated shipping, by definition, so at least you're paying "real cost." (i.e. the standard LBS packing fee + actual shipping.)

I know this idea was mostly aimed at avoiding that extra $45, but doing it this way would take some of the potential pitfalls out--at that point the only scam/problem is going to be someone picking up the bike but not dropping it off for shipping.
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Old 04-20-09, 09:23 AM   #11
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Personally I think your idea would have more traction if you offered to split the savings with the potential reshipper. Good luck convincing someone to work and take on liability for you to save you money with little to no compensation.

Then again, as PT Barnum said...
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Old 04-20-09, 09:29 AM   #12
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Then again, as PT Barnum said...
The idea was based on the other 'pay-it-forward' threads here. No one mentioned the volunteer intermediary accepting any liability, and I would assume that kind of release would be part of the ground rules. (Requiring the buyer to ensure the shipment for the full purchase price would also be a good ground rule.) Helping another member out despite the lack of a profit motive does not mean one is a "sucker." At least, not to all of us.
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Old 04-20-09, 09:31 AM   #13
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The idea was based on the other 'pay-it-forward' threads here. No one mentioned the volunteer intermediary accepting any liability, and I would assume that kind of release would be part of the ground rules. (Requiring the buyer to ensure the shipment for the full purchase price would also be a good ground rule.) Helping another member out despite the lack of a profit motive does not mean one is a "sucker." At least, not to all of us.
But the recipient is in it purely for profit. As I said...good luck.
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Old 04-20-09, 09:59 AM   #14
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If you assume everyone immediately flips the bikes they buy, I suppose. Even so, if you might need the service it makes sense to provide it. We're talking about a shipping cooperative, more or less. Payment is received in goodwill, which you later expend when you need the same favor.

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As I said...good luck.
I can feel the warmth radiating from your best wishes. Sorry people aren't excited about paying you $50, but that kind of defeats the whole purpose of the idea.
(Now, OTOH, if I'm already going to use an LBS to complete an out of town transaction, I wouldn't be opposed to paying a forum member instead.)
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Old 04-22-09, 01:40 PM   #15
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There might be a business opportunity for a LBS - eBay seller.
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