Liability of "crowd funded bikes"

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
Serious question......I know nothing about crowd funded bikes, but I do know something about business and liability. Can someone explain to me if these crowd funded campaigns are organized by LLC's or a similar structured business? When consumers buy a product they expect a level of quality and performance, they also are reasonably quick to assign blame for an injury caused by virtually any product.

Just wondering?
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
This may answer your question---pretty much covers it all

Thanks, that explains a lot. I guess if I were interested in buying a product from crowd funded campaign the 1st question I'd ask is if the "creator" has a legal entity formed that will be legally responsible for the sale, and 2nd insurance to cover liability and nonperformance.

Court J.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Good luck determining the legal status of anything connected to the Storm campaign. Essentially, a contributor buys nothing, so there is no sale. There are perks. That is the word they use. Contract law is out the window. Nothing is reduced to the terms of sale. There are no terms of sale and there is no sale. There is a generalized obligation to deliver the perk, which may vary from the offering specifications to a substantial degree, and can change at any time. None of this means there are not honest people who will use this means to raise capital.

In the case of the Storm (Sondors) bike, the products will be shipped from China to the buyers. Sondors, as best I can determine, will never own them, so he does not pass any sort of title to a contributor who receives a product. He may be an agent between the the Chinese factory and the US recipients. How do you make a liability claim against someone who has isolated himself from being a party in any kind of transaction?

There doesn't even appear to be any sort of company, because they don't produce or own anything. These are guesses. They offer no information.

Murky stuff.
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
Murky stuff.


Hey George, I think that sums it up. I'm also certain that no matter what phrase is used in an attempt to mask the fact that this is a transaction between a seller and a buyer makes no difference when consumer protection laws and Uniform Commercial Code regs. are applied. I'm waiting for a very high profile large dollar crowdfunding campaign to fail and when that happens and it draws the attention of state and federal regulators and attorneys I'm sure we will find out just how few clothes the emperor is wearing.

Court J.
 

Marty

Member
Serious question......I know nothing about crowd funded bikes, but I do know something about business and liability. Can someone explain to me if these crowd funded campaigns are organized by LLC's or a similar structured business? When consumers buy a product they expect a level of quality and performance, they also are reasonably quick to assign blame for an injury caused by virtually any product.

Just wondering?
Any bike should have product liability insurance that was provided by the manufacturer, or you should be asked to sign a wavier. Pretty standard in the bike business. Be sure to ask.

Crowd funding can be a great way to introduce a new product to the market and put products in the hands of customers initially at a great price.

How many people paid for a "Copenhagen wheel" that have yet to get anything? It was hyped up a year and a half ago. I know people who sent in their money and have yet to get anything in return.

Did you notice the additional $200 "insurance" you can purchase with a Sonder's bike? It guarantees either a refund or a bike in a specified time period. I suspect that tells us all we need to know about the real price and the future of those who didn't purchase the insurance.
 
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flymeaway

Well-Known Member
Be sure to ask.

Hi Marty,

I wouldn't buy a "crowd funded" anything (even if someone else paid for it). I hadn't heard about crowd funding until the Sondors bike. The reason I started this thread was to point out that many of these crowd funded products aren't backed by reputable companies with a sales and product support history....let the buyer beware.

I have a Neo Cross and Neo Carbon a converted MT1000 tandem and two Motobecane converted Hybrid bikes. I'm all set.......click on my picture it shows 4 of the 5.

Court J.
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
I said videos but I only saw one, the interview with the E Bike review guy in response to growing uproar from his funders. He came across like a guy that spent the weekend reading up on this stuff. Not like someone on the cutting edge that's changing the "process" to (somehow) be able to manufacture such a product at an unheard of price.
When it was clear he didn't have any new ideas, its also clear theres no way in hell anyone can manufacture, support and warranty a reputable product for the price of a decent battery.
And he's a hack for learning that on the fly, with other peoples money.

If nothing else, this cyber bike woke a lot of folks up about just what is contractually promised (nothing really) when you 'donate' to these concepts. And then in other examples, how very real the manufacturing and debugging problems are.
We are all used to buying mostly developed and debugged products. But in reality how many other similar products failed because they couldn't conquer the problems? Quite a few more than the successes I would guess. ??
 
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Marty

Member
I said videos but I only saw one, the interview with the E Bike review guy in response to growing uproar from his funders. He came across like a guy that spent the weekend reading up on this stuff. Not like someone on the cutting edge that's changing the "process" to (somehow) be able to manufacture such a product at an unheard of price.
When it was clear he didn't have any new ideas, its also clear theres no way in hell anyone can manufacture, support and warranty a reputable product for the price of a decent battery.
And he's a hack for learning that on the fly, with other peoples money.

If nothing else, this cyber bike woke a lot of folks up about just what is contractually promised (nothing really) when you 'donate' to these concepts. And then in other examples, how very real the manufacturing and debugging problems are.
We are all used to buying mostly developed and debugged products. But in reality how many other similar products failed because they couldn't conquer the problems? Quite a few more than the successes I would guess. ??

A very telling thing Mr. Sonders said, "You don't have to pedal." Like he discovered something new. I suspect pedaling that single geared beast is an exercise in futility. The tone of his voice said a lot about his knowledge of electric bikes.

Read an article yesterday about how trust is 'The Currency of the New Economy," No one will be able to do things like selling products they can't deliver and have any future in commerce.
 
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JoePah

Well-Known Member
@Marty How many electric bike do YOU own, and for how long? I've owned three during the last 6 years, and can tell you that a single speed pedal assist electric bike with throttle is fine.

My bike weighs more than a Sondors, and is a DD hub motor. I shift once in a while but I don't really have to, and wouldn't miss it one bit. And with a geared motor it would provide even better starting torque.

As far as we know Sondors is still trying to meet his original ship schedule..

Sondors has done a much better job than FlyKly, Riide and Porteur, all of whom have charged more, and missed all their deliverables by a wide margin.

And unless you've purchased a Sondors, why are you badmouthing him? What has he done to you? LOL
 
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JoePah

Well-Known Member
This may answer your question---pretty much covers it all

http://www.ecbm.com

Good article... Have to wonder if someone buys an electric bike or kit direct from China and some thing goes wrong, what is their recourse? Don't think there is any.

People who buy into crowdfunding should know that it is a crap shoot, with well meaning individuals with very limited experience. I've funded a couple and you can see the struggle for them getting something to work at all, let alone reliably. It is fun to watch to though..
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
@Marty How many electric bike do YOU own, and for how long? I've owned three during the last 6 years, and can tell you that a single speed pedal assist electric bike with throttle is fine.

My bike weighs more than a Sondors, and is a DD hub motor. I shift once in a while but I don't really have to, and wouldn't miss it one bit. And with a geared motor it would provide even better starting torque.

As far as we know Sondors is still trying to meet his original ship schedule..

Sondors has done a much better job than FlyKly, Riide and Porteur, all of whom have charged more, and missed all their deliverables by a wide margin.

And unless you've purchased a Sondors, why are you badmouthing him? What has he done to you? LOL

Excellent point about the one gear. In higher levels of assist, I can go for an entire ride in the same gear - about 6th. It's amazing what bionic legs can do.

As for Sondors, that woeful campaign has its own forum, so all I'll say here is that time will tell. Lots, and lots, and lots of time....

...as for bad mouthing Sondors, is truth considered "badmouthing"!
 

Marty

Member
Joe;
I currently have four electric bikes and one old Mongoose Ascent mountain bike. The four electric bikes are: A folding bike with 26 x 1.95 mild mountain bike tires, 8-fun 350 watt hub motor, internal 36 volt, 10.2 amp battery, much the same motor and battery as the Sonder's bike, but 10 pounds lighter. Also, three light weight, high geared, single speed, bikes (as shown in the photo). 28 x 700 c wheels, 30 pounds.

My thinking is going towards lower powered, geared hub motors. I have two with pedal assist only, a 180 watt hub motor and a 24 volt battery. They get you up to speed and up hills much like a geared bike would, but much faster and easier. Very much fun to ride.

One bike has a 200 watt hub motor, a 36 volt, 10.2 amp Samsung battery, (the same battery Sonders is using) and a thumb throttle. That bike weighs 34 pounds, This is one amazing bike. It was stolen with the intent to copy it and sell it on Indiegogo. I'm certain that the thief, a skate board shop, can't copy it because they don't understand the thinking that created it. An earth scorching Yelp review of the people involved got my bike back. It's a long, and interesting story, but a story for another time and venue.

I think I know the specs of the Sonder's bike, and I'm fairly certain of the cost. I am skeptical that they can actually deliver bikes for the price charged, as I am certain that the specs they give are far from accurate.

Sonder's did a great job of something, but I'm sure we disagree about what that was. I'd say it was marketing.

I love riding the lower powered bikes because they ride like a good bike with the switch turned off. With the switch on, the motor gets you up to speed and up hills. I over ride the top speed, so the range is hard for me to determine, I think this is a great combination. It turns out that you don't really need a lot of power.

Oh, and I had another amazing bike, 250 watt hub motor, 36 volt, 10.2 amp, in the style of the folding bike I now have. It did 22 mph, had a range of 27, w/throttle only at top speed. Did 44 miles on power level #2, 14-16 mph. That bike was stolen out of a garage. The build quality was lacking, but the specs were amazing. I suspect a little over volting because of the speed. I liked that bike a lot.

But I like all my bikes, which is why I keep adding to the fleet. The folding bikes fit in the trunk of my Honda Civic, and in the back of a Mini Clubman, which eliminates a lot of trouble hauling it around.

The folding bike (and the Mongoose) is going to Burning Man this year, so I expect it to never look as good as it does right now.

I'm glad I found this site, interesting conversations so far.

Marty
@Marty How many electric bike do YOU own, and for how long? I've owned three during the last 6 years, and can tell you that a single speed pedal assist electric bike with throttle is fine.
 
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Marty

Member
Good luck determining the legal status of anything connected to the Storm campaign. Essentially, a contributor buys nothing, so there is no sale. There are perks. That is the word they use. Contract law is out the window. Nothing is reduced to the terms of sale. There are no terms of sale and there is no sale. There is a generalized obligation to deliver the perk, which may vary from the offering specifications to a substantial degree, and can change at any time. None of this means there are not honest people who will use this means to raise capital.

In the case of the Storm (Sondors) bike, the products will be shipped from China to the buyers. Sondors, as best I can determine, will never own them, so he does not pass any sort of title to a contributor who receives a product. He may be an agent between the the Chinese factory and the US recipients. How do you make a liability claim against someone who has isolated himself from being a party in any kind of transaction?

There doesn't even appear to be any sort of company, because they don't produce or own anything. These are guesses. They offer no information.

Murky stuff.

George
You are right about everything you said, but, things are changing, the currency of the new economy is trust, look around at all the new stuff that requires a level of trust, Uber, Air BNB, and crowd funding is certainly part of it.

Our level of trust follows us around as it never did before, and you have a lot to go on figuring out who to trust, and you have to trust someone to get what you want.
 
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JRA

Well-Known Member
Marty, just curious as to why your company name is efixie? While the bikes look like fixed gear bikes they are not fixed gear and use geared hub motors allowing them to coast freely? More like an eoney.

I like the concept though as that is probably as much bike as most people need to get around town on. Wouldn't work in a really hilly area though, I know I have tried. But for flattish terrain and head winds usually associated with such it should be fine and keeps the bike light.

And just an FYI but if you read this you will see that the site admin actually prefers those that have a business relating to e bikes make it known: http://electricbikereview.com/community/threads/ebr-etiquette-please-be-kind.1952/
 

Marty

Member
JRA
I had to look up eoney, can't find it, I'm in the dark. Its a fixie STYLE bike. Most fixies use the non fixed side of the hub. Ever ride a real fixie? One guy stopped me and wanted to trade bikes on the bike path. I didn't know his bike was on the fixed side, and I got on it at the top of a big hill. It was quite a ride.

I'd love to see you ride it in a hilly area, it works great. Where I live there are lots of hills. On flatish terrain you might as well leave the switch off, but it's great for acceleration.

I added something to my signature, if you don't agree, please let me know. Thanks for the tip, I wasn't aware.
 
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George S.

Well-Known Member
George
You are right about everything you said, but, things are changing, the currency of the new economy is trust, look around at all the new stuff that requires a level of trust, Uber, Air BNB, and crowd funding is certainly part of it.

Our level of trust follows us around as it never did before, and you have a lot to go on figuring out who to trust, and you have to trust someone to get what you want.

Yeah, I will never be able to keep up with this stuff. You should really pursue this, or someone should. Might be the core idea.

I know Ebay tries to create 'trust' with algorithms and ratings, stuff that does follow you around. I'm sure Alibaba and Aliexpress want to do this. I look at a battery on some sites, or on Ebay, and just wonder what I am really buying. If they solved that, sales would go higher.

Almost every institution I grew up with will probably be extinct in 10 or 15 years. I ran across Lending Club six months back, peer to peer lending. Hand them a big chunk of cash, even though they only exist on the Internet. But what they do makes perfect sense.

Right now, crowdfunding and ebikes looks like people buying cheap in China, hopefully because they know what they are going, and then offering it here, without capital or credit up front. I could see designer ebikes, maybe one or two guys with a fantastic insight and reputation, doing CF bikes at high prices. I'm actually not that into ebikes. What @FTC Complaint calls arbitrage will almost always disappear. It would disappear now if people trusted Ali.

In the end the Sondo was about trust, and still is. Some people trust the guy, some people are totally bent out of shape that people trust the guy. It really is almost that, more than the cheap bike. Everything shifts. It's all something of a leap of faith.