When its owner buys a new one, the old bike often goes into new hands for little money. In times of empty bike shops and faltering supply chains, a second-hand bike is an attractive solution, not just for scrimpers.
Author: Jochen Donner
Graduate Engineer Dirk Zedler
Officially appointed and sworn expert witness for bicycles and electric bicycles (CCI Stuttgart)
MYBIKE: Do second-hand bicycle purchases often result in law suits?
Yes, unfortunately, and the trend is on the rise. Moreover, the law suits are conducted more bitterly and are therefore often protracted. Often, however, these cases could be avoided.
What are they about?
Classics are the flawless or accident-free condition often described in the notes of sale. Therefore, I strongly advise sellers to extensively document the used bicycle with photos and to keep and disclose all receipts of repairs, maintenance work as well as the user manual.
A new issue is disputes about the range of e-bikes. Buyers should not only check the visual condition and e.g. the brake pads but also make a test ride. Especially with e-bikes, a few hundred metres are not enough because both lighting and drive will work. You will have to cycle 20 km at least to be able to estimate what the battery is still good for.
How can you protect yourself apart from that?
We often see informal purchase contracts which are not very meaningful. We recommend model purchase contracts, as they are for example made available by the General German Cyclists Club (ADFC) (download: adfc.de).
They include the basic facts and stipulate in particular the liability issues. In a private sale the seller typically excludes liability for material defects and guarantee. A dealer, on the other hand, is not allowed to do this; he can only limit the statutory liability for material defects from two years for new goods to one year for used bicycles. The positive thing for the buyer: Within the first 6 months, a commercial seller has to prove that the defect did not exist at the time of purchase, only afterwards the private buyer. It is up to the dealer to decide whether to provide an additional guarantee. The manufacturer's guarantee usually expires when buying second-hand, which means it is not transferable to the buyer.
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