Craigslist and eBay are the two most popular ways to buy a bike online, but both of the online retailers have aggravating aspects that users have dealt with for over two decades.
In a typical eBay bike sale there are three steps. The seller must first disassemble the bike for shipment and then ship the bike in a bike box, which costs approximately $75-$125. Finally, the bike must be reassembled by the buyer. The typical bike seller and buyer don’t have the tools or know-how to assemble/dis-assemble a bicycle, but a local bike shop will do the job for $50-$75. For that reason, add between $100 and $200 to the final price of most bikes sold on eBay.
Craigslist improves upon all the worst parts of eBay, yet still has big problems of its own. For the most part, there aren’t any shipping costs when you use Craigslist because everything is bought and sold locally, but there also isn’t any user rating on Craigslist. This causes communication breakdowns between buyers and sellers because there’s no incentive to maintain a clean reputation, it’s completely anonymous. Since everything is done anonymously, users aren’t afraid to give low ball offers, ditch meeting appointments, or even sell a stolen bike. Once a meeting is finally set up, it is often held in a sketchy location with a person you know nothing about. Buying a bike online should not have to be this difficult.