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How to Protect Yourself with a Non Forum Facilitator?

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How to Protect Yourself with a Non Forum Facilitator?

Old 09-02-14, 08:47 AM
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TomHeartsTacos
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How to Protect Yourself with a Non Forum Facilitator?

Hi-
This is my first post. I found a great bike I on eBay at an attractive opening bid. The description was sparse. It was listed as "Local Pick Up Only" in a pawn shop thousands of miles away. Using my Google powers, I found a local independent bike repair guy to act as a facilitator and engaged him to check out the bike. I wanted him to verify the size, inspect the frame for obvious damage and determine whether many components would need to be replaced. I wasn't looking for a complete inspection, just really whether the bike was in good shape or not. He told me the bike was in great shape and that the size was correct. I placed my bid and won the auction. I have paid for the bike with PayPal. Now I want the facilitator to pick up the bike, box it up and take it to FedEx who will ship it to me. He quoted me $38 to box the bike. Here's my issue: once the bike leaves the seller's hands, how do I protect myself against some sort of dishonesty on the part of the facilitator? Basically, I'm concerned the facilitator could sell my bike, pocket the money, and stop responding to me.

Any suggestions?
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Old 09-02-14, 09:05 AM
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I guess if you have email correspondence, and know the guy's name and address- you could contact the police in that area.

Spell out exactly what you want done= ie pack and box everything, ship it, email you copies of the shipping receipt right away...

If he deviates from that and the bike doesn't get to you, I'd imagine there's some way of holding him accountable for it.
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Old 09-02-14, 10:05 AM
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I have always been astounded by how honest and trustworthy random hobby-type people found on the internet are. I've never had a bad experience in dealing with bike, scooter or guitar folks. I assume you are paying him for his time above and beyond the boxing fee? f he asks for $38 pay him $50.
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Old 09-02-14, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by jeirvine View Post
I have always been astounded by how honest and trustworthy random hobby-type people found on the internet are. I've never had a bad experience in dealing with bike, scooter or guitar folks. I assume you are paying him for his time above and beyond the boxing fee? f he asks for $38 pay him $50.
This.

How did you select the individual?

I had a Facebook friend, someone I had not met, inspect, purchase and bring the bike he purchased on my behalf to a bike shop he recommended. The bike shop did the pack and ship. The whole transaction was 100% smooth.

However, I knew the facilitator was a retired Engineer with a enthusiasm for bikes, so I was never worried.
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Old 09-02-14, 10:51 AM
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As a seller, if I don't want to be bothered with the liabilities and hassles of shipping a bike, I state "local pickup only" but agree to deliver the bike free of charge to a local bike shop of the buyer's choosing for inspection, boxing, insuring, and shipping at the buyer's expense. The bike shop will charge the buyer for its services by credit card. When I drop the bike off at the LBS, I wait for them to inspect the bike for damage and condition, then get a receipt. A brick & mortar bike shop in business for decades has a reputation to maintain and the odds of a successful transaction are much greater than if relying on an individual unknown to either the seller or the buyer.
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Old 09-02-14, 11:10 AM
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Wow! Way to be creative in getting the bike you want. Though it sounds like the facilitator is really hooking you up with a favor. He went to the pawn shop to check out the bike and purchase it. He is going to pack it and get it shipped. That sounds like a lot of work for $38.00 dollars. I agree it would be nice to tip him in some way to show your appreciation (assuming he comes through and everything is in good order), either with additional cash or an unexpected small gift would be cool.
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Old 09-02-14, 11:35 AM
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

He's been super cool about it. I really want to trust him. He seems honest. I'm just worried because it could go south pretty easily and I"d be out $600+ with little chance to regain it. I'll pay the seller with PayPal, so the facilitator won't have to worry about that. I couldn't have put this together without the Facilitator thread.
What did I pay him? I told him I'd pay him $20 if he went there and told to walk away from the bike, plus the $38 fee to box it. I now think I'll pay him another $20 to get the bike to FedEx. He hasn't responded to my Facebook message, so I'll call the shop and try to pay with a credit card.

Last edited by TomHeartsTacos; 09-02-14 at 11:37 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 09-02-14, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by TomHeartsTacos View Post
Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

He's been super cool about it. I really want to trust him. He seems honest. I'm just worried because it could go south pretty easily and I"d be out $600+ with little chance to regain it. I'll pay the seller with PayPal, so the facilitator won't have to worry about that. I couldn't have put this together without the Facilitator thread.
What did I pay him? I told him I'd pay him $20 if he went there and told to walk away from the bike, plus the $38 fee to box it. I now think I'll pay him another $20 to get the bike to FedEx. He hasn't responded to my Facebook message, so I'll call the shop and try to pay with a credit card.
Good luck. Show us the bike when you get it!
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Old 09-02-14, 01:08 PM
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If you have ever packed a bike PROPERLY, $38 is cheap, maybe too cheap. My concern would be the knowledge/skill and effort to properly pack the bike, rather than the ability to inspect and measure size. I know if I was approached from someone I did not know to inspect and pack a bike, the price would certainly be higher.

Ask yourself this question (if you have ever packed a complete bike for shipping): Would you pack a bike for someone you don't know for $38?

Realize to keep the shipping price down, you have to significantly cut down the box to get the size low enough.

My worst packing nightmare was the ebay seller who put the bike I bought in a bike box, with zero packing, with the handlebars disconnected, then shipped from Seattle to SC. Needless to say, those bouncing handlebars did a number on the frame. The seller's answer: "I used a bike box". In my situation, fortunately I had ebay to back me up on the deal.

Last edited by wrk101; 09-02-14 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 09-04-14, 05:48 AM
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My local Performance bike shop packed a bike for me for $50 recently, so I thought $38 made sense. I will verify that he's using a bike box rather than making one up. It's a steel frame, so I'm less worried about damage than I would be if it were carbon fiber.
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Old 09-04-14, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by TomHeartsTacos View Post
My local Performance bike shop packed a bike for me for $50 recently, so I thought $38 made sense. I will verify that he's using a bike box rather than making one up. It's a steel frame, so I'm less worried about damage than I would be if it were carbon fiber.
No, $50 makes sense; given that (unlike your LBS) he's never going to see another dime of earned-income from you, $75 makes even more sense; what makes little-if-any sense is worrying less about damage to a steel frame, than to a carbon-fiber frame: damage to a $600 frame, of either type, is consequential... regardless of whether it's structural or cosmetic.
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Old 09-04-14, 06:25 PM
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When I first read this, I thought "boy, are you crazy," but then I remembered a few of my situations like that, and gotta say, "keep the faith."

I had a BF friend, and he promised to find me a certain bike. He did, on CL 3000 miles away, in Los Angeles. (GMouchavar)
I found a BF guy who lived in the same city, who agreed to facilitate. (rivas72)
Out of the blue, I contacted the seller, a firefighter on the outskirts of said city. He agreed to turn it over to rivas72. (we had a code word)
I paid. rivas72 drove well over an hour, each way, to pick up the bike. We'd not discussed any price.
Turns out, he was building a bike, a Miyata racer, and could use a lot of the parts on the bike. I told him to take what he needed.
Turns out, he ships mufflers for a living, so you can imagine the outstanding packing job he did on my measly old frame.
Shipping was free. Let's go down the list of faith one can have in cyclists:
1-Gabe spent hours looking for a bike for me, with no real reason.
2-Another guy, rivas72 agreed to drive 2+ hours, with no previous negotiations or contact, to pick up my bike.
3-A third guy accepted PayPal for a CL sale and agreed to give the bike to another total stranger, and protect my interest at the same time.
None of those people owed me diddly, and all put themselves out for what really amounted to my convenience.

I've tried, on occasion, to return that favor by doing the same for others.

In retrospect, trust your instincts. It'll come around, good or bad.

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Old 09-04-14, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by TomHeartsTacos View Post
My local Performance bike shop packed a bike for me for $50 recently, so I thought $38 made sense. I will verify that he's using a bike box rather than making one up. It's a steel frame, so I'm less worried about damage than I would be if it were carbon fiber.
Most of the steel frames that I have arrived damaged. All the carbon frames I have received arrived damage free. The "quality" of the box did not matter., nor the material of construction of the frame. It was all about the "quality" of the packer. The "funniest" one was packed by "Mailbox Etc." store, then shipped via UPS. (UPS owns Mailbox Etc.) Bike arrived with serious damage. So when UPS stated that it was damaged due to poor packing, I retorted "I agree, but you packed it". Total cluster f@c$x. At that point, it was either ship it to their claim center (I asked them who was going to pack it RIGHT, so it did not get further damage) or eat the damage on a bike I had sought for over two years.

Packing a frame is a lot less work than packing a complete bike. Its also a lot cheaper.

Last edited by wrk101; 09-04-14 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 09-04-14, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Scooper View Post
As a seller, if I don't want to be bothered with the liabilities and hassles of shipping a bike, I state "local pickup only" but agree to deliver the bike free of charge to a local bike shop of the buyer's choosing for inspection, boxing, insuring, and shipping at the buyer's expense. The bike shop will charge the buyer for its services by credit card. When I drop the bike off at the LBS, I wait for them to inspect the bike for damage and condition, then get a receipt. A brick & mortar bike shop in business for decades has a reputation to maintain and the odds of a successful transaction are much greater than if relying on an individual unknown to either the seller or the buyer.

This is great advice. Instead of charging for shipping on ebay, just leave it up to the buyer to make his deal with a local, established bike shop. I love it! This thread should be pinned.
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Old 09-05-14, 01:00 AM
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Any suggestions? Well, TomHeartsTacos, I suggest you eat a taco. It always makes me feel better. Trust the facilitator, don't trust the facilitator. Could go either way. Flip a coin and eat another taco.

Lot of good advice from experienced people. I am curious how you found this local mechanic/facilitator and what vetting was done. Scooper's advice makes the most sense to me, but recognize there are some honest people crazy about bikes. Some dishonest ones, too, not to mention bunglers. Some people also have jobs and/or a family and are running around town looking for a good box and tape. That said, $38 to pack & ship is awfully cheap. I agree with wrk101, maybe too cheap. A steal for you! When I see really low shipping estimates it often makes me suspicious about the seller's competence in shipping the bike--like, "have they done this before?" That a middle-man is willing to do that may be a red flag. Again, back to Scoopers advice, I think this makes the most sense for everyone. For a $600 bike that I really wanted, I'd pay twice $38 to have a shop ship it rather than a stranger (who may be a fantastic and capable person), plus $20+expenses toward cutting my potential losses with said facilitator.

I know it's like choosing between children, but...favorite taco?
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Old 09-05-14, 01:08 AM
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Old 09-05-14, 02:43 AM
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I am going through this exact thing right now. Recently a lady offered to give me a Mercier for free(long story)..,



...if I would pay for shipping and boxing. I said yes but wanted the bicycle shipped to me COD. She said yes and even agreed to ship it to Winnipeg, where my daughter lives. Now, assuming it actually arrives, I will have a ride in Winnipeg. But...

I am taking a chance at loosing my boxing fee but for the few dollars involved, I will take a chance. I did this once before and got a beautiful Carlton Flyer for my trust...



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