How To Protect Yourself When Buying Used Kitesurfing Equipment
Unfortunately, despite the ubiquity of information on the internet, it is still easy to be swindled and misled online. However, when buying a used kiteboarding kite, there are a couple important steps to take to better protect yourself as a buyer. While they aren't foolproof, the below tips will certainly create a methodical approach that will help make the transaction more secure, and hold the seller to a greater degree of accountability.
Before purchasing a used kite, the first and most important step is to identify what kitesurfing gear is appropriate for you. If you are new to the sport of kiteboarding, you will want a bow or hybrid kite manufactured after 2008 or 2009. Not only will they have modern depower technology, but also better relaunch and safety systems, essential characteristics for early learning and progression (Or, you could always go with a 2012 Cabrinha Vector 11 meter complete for $899, which passes the above litmus test with flying colors). Even more experienced kitesurfers will want to steer around from older kites, as the technology has changed so significantly.
The next step is to do some research on the seller. This is especially applicable if you're purchasing from Ebay or a forum. Investigate their feedback ratings, and how long they have been registered. This is obviously more useful if they are an active, frequently posting member, but if not it may also indicate that they are really just interested in a quick sale. Once you begin contact, you'll want to record all of their information. With Craigslist postings, for example, it will likely be taken down by the author once you buy, so if you use that as a reference point, all that information will be lost. Make sure to get a phone number, and make some sort of verbal contact. This allows you to not only further verify the details, but also gives you a brief glimpse into their personality and character. If it doesn't seem natural, it may be shrewd to not move forward with the transaction. Getting an address can further reify the buyer. Websites such as whitepages.com allow you to search by name and zip code to verify the person's address, which allows you to confirm you are actually dealing with the person they claim to be. Be sure to also establish expectations for contact. Realistically, some people prefer one medium to another, and so you should set up designated channels to avoid miscommunication and confusion.
Once you've thoroughly gone over the kite, which includes discussing repairs, amount of use, parts replaced, whether it remains firm after being pumped up for several hours, etc. (it may even be useful to gather their level of experience so to better place their particular perspective and knowledge on such things), you need to figure out payment. One of the best systems tends to be cash on delivery, or COD, in which the buyer pays for the package upon delivery. While it has a small additional fee, it protects the buyer from paying for equipment they never get and having to unnecessarily claim a refund with PayPal, as well as making sure the buyer gets the correct kitesurfing gear before accepting a package. From a seller's perspective, it prevents fraudulent or even no payment if they agreed to ship the package before receiving money. For the seller, it may be advantageous to require a preliminary deposit that covers two-way shipping expenses in the event the buyer refuses to pay upon delivery, which puts the onus back on the seller to absorb the shipping charges. For additional peace of mind, you can always opt for insurance.
While most exchanges will go just swimmingly, the few that don't can easily sully the entire experience for you. By approaching the deal with due diligence and caution, you can make the whole process much more secure, and maybe even score some exceptionally priced kitesurfing gear. If you ever have any questions on used kiteboarding gear, such as if it would be right for you and if the price is reasonable, don't hesitate to call us at 800-622-4655. We are happy to lend our expertise. Or, check out our demo and clearance section for some great kitesurfing gear at even better prices!
Years Kiteboarding: 3
First Kitesurfing Kites Purchased: 2004 North Vegas and 2005 Cabrinha Element