Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Pros and cons of buying parts online

Bucklos variable listing & 7 pounder mag
Support your local bike shop, is the motto of many in this world of cycling. I agree with that, I love it! However, no shop is able to stock everything a client will eventually need. 

I admit it, during the height of the pandemic in 2020, I got rid of all of my stock on eBay. Not gouging, but everything was selling right away. Bicycle parts are a hot commodity.

I promptly became a Top Rated Seller, wow! I went above and beyond and everyone was happy. Almost. I had a problem with a Karen from Guam! Yeah, the USPS doesn't scan the items until they reach their destination sometimes. Damn, you're 13 timezones apart. On the other side of the planet! After a week of threats and messaging non stop, she finally got her freaking parts and I blocked her, just in case.

That's not the point of this post, nonetheless.

These online platforms are awesome most of the time, since you can make money and get rid of stuff easily. There are caveats.

Right now we're suffering a massive shortage and price gouging. Which is bad on itself.

Alibaba, AliExpress, Wish, Amazon and eBay, are the ones I'll mention here briefly. Manufacturers and other online stores are good but beware of the many fake ones 

Alibaba 

Its said to be magnificent. You have a huge selection of items way cheaper than anywhere else. True. Is it? It is if you buy bulk. The shipping is often more expensive than the parts. Also, you need to negotiate and ask the seller/manufacturer before you buy. There are lots of scammers and fake parts. 

AliExpress

I've bought here sometimes. The problem is that nowadays their prices are basically the same as Amazon and eBay. Even worse, it takes longer. Still reasonable.

Wish

99% is fake and takes months to arrive. Pure garbage. Avoid at all costs. I closed my account years ago.

Amazon

The selection is not the best. Prices are ok but a little higher than the rest. Super fast shipping with prime. The dark side is the vast amount of no name parts, which some are definitely good but it's a hit and miss. Another downside is their search engine. It sucks.

eBay

This one is my go-to for my own parts. You can find mostly everything you're looking for. Used or new, someone is selling it. However, I normally check the US Only box. No that I never buy from China, but right now is overpriced and the Wish-like waiting time overbearing.

eBay has its own set of problems. Their search engine is sloppy at best. There are scammers. Buying used parts is risky, like buying carbon knock offs. You may die!

Another thing I hate is that many sellers from China and Hong Kong misrepresent their location. Many times it says California but when you click their profile it says otherwise.

The worst practice for me are those listings with multiple options. They show you for instance a $1,000 wheelset for $5. Of course, no one would fall for that. The five bucks is for a tube or a bottle cage. At the same time, it creates clutter and BS results when you try to organize your results by price.

eBay is fake galore. There are also millions of copied items with names like LT Woo, Sunshine or the omnipresent Bucklos wheelsets. Be careful with carbon stuff, please!

Buying online is convenient and for the most part, cheaper. Regardless, take it with a grain of salt...