Buying A Treadmill On eBay
Avoid Getting ‘Ripped Off’ With Our Guide.
This advice can also be applied to Amazon as the majority of treadmills on their site are supplied by third parties.
If you know what you’re looking for and appreciate the difference between retailers, drop-shippers and private sellers, you’ll much more likely to get a good deal.
eBay is an amazing auction site and has many safe-guards to prevent you being ripped-off, but the ‘buyer beware’ approach is still recommended. If you type in ‘treadmill’ on eBay you’ll come across
a number of different types of seller – see below.
Search for treadmills on eBay
Who Sells Treadmills on eBay?
You won’t see the ‘big boys’ advertising on eBay but you’ll come across smaller retailers who may have an eBay Shop because they don’t have a website of their own or selling a loss-leader model to attract visitors to their site or shop.
The model may either be an end-of-production model or one they’ve secured a good deal from the manufacturer and can therefore afford to undercut the rest. These treadmills will be usually on a ‘buy it now’ basis and not on auction.
You can get a good bargain this way but check the following details before buying or bidding.
The sellers feedback score – see below
- Is the treadmill brand new, ex-display or refurbished
- The cost of delive
- The age of the model
The seller will have a feedback score and a number in brackets after their name. If the number is in the 1000s and the feedback is 98% or above then they’ll be a pretty safe bet. If they’ve had some negative feedback have a look and see what sort of complaints have been made against them.
If the number is under 50 then they’ve yet to prove themselves and if you’re spending a few hundred pounds you might feel happier buying from a more established seller.
What the seller’s score won’t tell you is how good their after sales service is. Feedback is given once the treadmill is recieved and we can’t see how they deal with problems further down the line. It may be a good idea to ring the seller and talk to them about warranties and service – if the retailer doesn’t display their telephone number you can make your own judgement.
If the price is very low compared to other retailers check whether it’s an ex-display model or a refurbished gym machine. These can provide great bargains as you’ll get a much higher spec machine for a much lower price, and if it’s been done professionally it should have a guarantee. Again refer to the seller feedback for a hint on their reliability.
It is usually best to buy a tried and tested brand. If you haven’t heard of the brand on offer, ‘google’ it and see how many other retailers stock it. If you can’t find any then it’s best to steer clear because it could be next to impossible to find spares if it goes wrong.
One trick to look out for is the cost of delivery. The treadmill may look cheap but they might be charging a ridiculous amount to get it to you. Compare the cost including delivery against the big retailers who invariably include the shipping charges in the quoted price.
You may not be familiar with this term but it’s becoming a popular way for small businesses and indviduals to make money. It’s completely legal and can help to make some models more affordable but there are a few things to consider before buying from them.
Briefly, a ‘drop-shipper’ is technically not a retailer, they may be an individual or business connected to the fitness business but not fully committed to retail. They’ll negotiate a price with the wholesaler for specific models and because they don’t have the overheads of a retailer they can work on much narrower margins.
For example, they will pay the wholesaler £400 for a model that a retailer may pay only £300 for. However, whereas the retailer has to store it, advertise it, pay staff and ship it, the drop-shipper only needs to pass the buyers details to the wholesaler who will ship it direct to you.
So the retailer will have to sell the model for £600 to cover costs and make a profit, the drop-shipper may decide to sell it for £500 to undercut the competition but still make a profit of £100.
This is all perfectly above board and you’ll get a new machine with a full manufacturers warranty. However, whilst many people in the drop-shipping business will be happy to deal with you after the sale if you have a problem or want to return it, you may find a few who will do everything to avoid the hassle. Although the manufacturer supplied the machine they’re not geared up for dealing with individuals. If you do change your mind or a year later the machine develops a fault you might find it difficult to get it sorted.
One problem you have is spotting the difference between a drop-shipper and a retailer. Obviously the former want to give the impression of being a retailer with customer services etc so they may have a good looking eBay shop. If they have only a few models available or their ‘stock’ isn’t sold by the main retailers, they’re invariably going to be a drop-shipper. If they don’t display a prominent telephone number then maybe they don’t want to speak to you – again make your own judgement.
There are many in this business who provide a very good service and make more expensive models available at an affordable price. Take your time to look at their eBay shop, check their feedback and maybe ring them if you have any questions. Check the shipping costs are comparable to other sellers and it’s not high just to help boast the profits. This additional work could pay off big time as you’ll get a new treadmill for much less than the retail price.
Search for treadmills on eBay
3. Individuals Selling Second Hand
One advantage of buying a treadmill, or any fitness equipment, second hand is that often you’ll get a machine that’s hardly been used! Many people buy these machines on a spur of the moment decision or in the New Year only to find their resolve disappears shortly after opening the box!
They’re left with a large machine taking up space and the guilt pangs as they sit there looking at it. So basically, you are doing them a favour by taking it off their hands :0)
Most individuals will sell using the auction method. If you decide to bid always find out first how much the model is sold for new, or if no longer in production, check what other similar models have sold for previously. It’s common for people to get carried away with winning the auction and end up paying far too much.
As with buying from either of the above check the shipping costs are reasonable and take note of their feedback. When buying from an individual it’s best to buy from someone close to you, many sellers insist on a pick-up only basis anyway, so you can get a good look and try out the machine. Check out our guide to buying a second hand treadmill for what to look for when testing a model.
So do your homework, trust your instincts and you’ll get a bargain. If at any time you have any doubts just back out and wait for another bargain to turn up!