Seller Gave out a Bike for Free, Then Wanted Us to Give It Back

Just wanting to get other people's opinion on this matter.

A seller was giving away a girl's bike for free on Marketplace to whoever could come and collect it first.
I thought it'd be good for me to use for learning/practicing how to ride a bike, just on a temporary basis until I can buy a proper one later on.

So we picked up the bike from the seller. My hubby then cleaned up and did some repairs and chain replacement on the bike to get it working properly. The bike ended up being too small for me, but I still used it to learn and practice with.

We eventually decided to re-sell it on Marketplace for a small amount (which we thought covered the cleaning and repairs). We then get a message from the original seller requesting that we give him the bike back, stating he much prefer to give the bike to a more deserving kid/family.

My issue is:

  1. Who is he to decide who is more deserving or not? He had the choice of giving it out to another kid/family or getting rid of it asap. He chose the latter.
  2. Once sold, how is it his business about what we do with the bike that he gave away for free?!

I don't think it's unreasonable of us to re-sell the bike?! Thoughts?

P.S. We ourselves have given away plenty of items for free on marketplace, and not once have we asked for the items back. I could care less whether the buyer used it or re-sold it to someone else. Once sold, it's no longer my business. Thank you.


  • How about just pass it along for free to someone who needs it.

  • We eventually decided to re-sell it on Marketplace for a small amount

    Yeah, that's not kosher…

    • +21 votes

      Depends on how much time and money OP has spent.

      I am imagining a rust covered bike with broken gear, etc that someone has spent a solid amount of time cleaning and replacing parts. If OP is charging a token amount for their effort, fair enough.

      If OP has hosed it down and replaced the chain and is expecting RRP money, yeah, probs not.

      • Even then, could use the pay it forward method if the amount is small (let's say $25). If OP isn't necessarily in need of the small amount of cash, could pass it onto someone in need of a bike.

        The question posed really comes down to the reader's morals, and financial status

        • OP could but it is not expected of them. Certainly not expected to the point of where someone else has the right to make the demand.

          • @tshow: It would be pretty frustrating to pass on something for free, only to then see it advertised for sale (again, we don't know over what time duration and how much it's listed for).

            Happens too often on giveaway FB groups, to then see the items listed for sale by people wanting to make a quick buck, rather than someone who genuinely would've relied on the generosity. Basically a good deed is being cancelled by a selfish deed

            • @spackbace: Salvos, vinnie's, etc do it.

              Honestly, I would say it is worse for someone to feel entitled to something they've given away vs someone trying to make a little something from an item they've been given.

              • @tshow: They are literally charities.

                False equivalence overload.
                Eyes won't stop blinking in disbelief.

                • @ozbjunkie: You obviously do not know the operational model of these establishments. Your facetious jabs are quite ironic.

                  I encourage you to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

                  • @tshow: Yeah they don't pass 100% of their takings onto anyone… But whatever % they do pass on is more than the OP by a factor of infinity.

                    • @ozbjunkie: I'm glad you bothered to edify yourself after your boldly ignorant assertion.

                      Interesting that you would still cling on your high horse after that.

                      If you want to talk about tax percentages and infinity, you may want to go back to your reading and consider tax deductions and exemptions before replacing one ridiculous claim with another.

                      • @tshow: Percentage of takings passed on to the "needy" by those charities = nonzero

                        Percentage of takings passed onto the needy by OP = 0

                        Blind assertions, but reasonable ones which do not contradict any evidence I've seen.

                        How many times to we have to multiply 0 until it becomes nonzero?

                        • @ozbjunkie: Your assumption is that OP doesn't contribute whatsoever.

                          As soon as OP bought the replacement parts, GST is paid. Part of GST goes to state run welfare and charities.

                          I have demonstrated without a doubt that the contribution is not zero. You know the difference between infinity and not infinity? Ironically, it is infinity.

                          • @tshow: The difference between infinity and anything is infinity. But I'm not talking differences. I'm talking factors.

                            And then there's the issue of countably infinite vs uncountable infinite.

                            Hmm. So these charities give out less than 10% of the value of items sold? Would have to be considerably less than that given that government spending doesn't lead to all GST going to the needy.

                            Well best conclusion given presently available evidence is charities produce more good works than OP unless they pass on less than 10% of monies taken in. Would need to see a reference for that. It's your claim that those charities are woefully inefficient, after all.

                            • @ozbjunkie: And here I thought you actually went and learnt something.

                              Read the business structure of these charities you are blindly spruiking. Most of the stores are not classed as charities and not registered as NFP. They are franchise owned and classified as a business.

                              • @tshow: I'm not spruiking charities, I'm suggesting even woefully inefficient charities still accomplish more for the needy than money in the hands of one single private citizen who appears to not wish to donate this bike, that they received for free, to some needy kid.

                                In terms of assumptions, I'd posit that your assumption that the OP will perform some charitable work, or that the government will use that money with greater efficiency than a charity, seems more of a stretch than my reasoning above.

                                But in seeking the evidence that apparently have and refuse to share, what am I missing here? Seems registered as a charity to me.


                                • @ozbjunkie:

                                  1. I never posit that OP is doing it for charity.

                                  2. Neither did I say government is more efficient.

                                  You claimed that "they are literally charities".

                                  I cannot be bothered actually referencing the most basic of concepts - the shops are not charities. A shop by default is not a charity. They may carry the banner of a charity but they are classed and operate as a business. Your claim is false and your disparaging remarks are irrelevant and in fact ironic.

                                  What is undeniably true is that OP has incurred cost that is taxed. OP is not a business and isn't exempt from tax. Said tax does go towards charitable causes and the needy.

                                  You're just wrong on all fronts and shifting that goal post all over the place.

                                  So, summary. "literally charities". Literally "not".

                                  You claimed OP made zero contribution. That is wrong by a factor of infinity. Ironically, that was the word you chose to describe OP's relative lack of contribution.

                                  Anyway, if that isn't sufficient hand holding to show you why your claim is down right wrong and your remarks are just silly, I don't know what will.

                                  • @tshow: The shops being charities is not a concept, it's a simple fact that is either true or false. I had a look for evidence of your assertion, but I feel like that's your job.

                                    If we are considering the tax implications, then really the OP selling the bike may deprive our weathered economy of a full price brand new bike sale, which of course would contribute to the government's funding for community projects. But now it seems we are getting too deep into something simple.

                                    You equated a private citizen getting something for free and then selling it with what the way charity shops function. I claimed false equivalence. Regardless of whether the shops are registered as charities (something I still see no evidence for or against), they fund the broader organisation that is indeed registered as a charity as referenced above. So, still false equivalence, the shops are a fundraising arm of charities, OP is not a fundraising arm of charities.

            • @spackbace: I mentioned in my post that we've given away items for free before, and I have no problem with people deciding to re-sell it. If they make a profit then good on them for making someone else's trash into treasure. What they do with it is their business, no longer mine.

              My issue is with the original seller asking for us to return the bike that we cleaned, repaired, and made usable.
              And for him to suggest that we were less deserving than someone else.

              • @thriftsnthings: Just tell the seller on Facebook to stop messaging and block them straight away, the bike is in your possession and no longer that sellers, so it is up to you to give it back or keep it. I reckon you just block them immediately

    • that's haram yeah

    • How the hell do you figure?
      Once OP took possession of the bike, it is theirs. Whether they sell it, smash it up to hundreds of pieces or decide to donate it to charity, it is their choice entirely.

  • You could do one before the other or just skip to the end.

    1. Inform them you have spent some money on it and you are selling it for less than your investment.

    2. Tell them to piss off.

    3. Ignore them.

  • From his point of view he gave the bike away as a good will gesture and now that person is flipping it for a profit.

    Sort of understandable…but obviously he hasn't seen it from your point of view either.

    Just give it away for free like brendan suggested.

    • No, the spent money on the bike and wish to recoup some of that money.

      So the original owner gave them a bike that wasn't fit for purpose, they made it fit for purpose.

      • I understand that OP spent money on the bike, I'm just trying to show the point of view from the original owner's point of view. OP is welcome to give the bike away without the chain.

    • We understand that it was given away as a good gesture. I actually got a bike that I could use and learn with.

      I guess my question is, how is it any of his business anymore to tell us what to do with the bike?

      The small amount isn't even really a profit, considering the $ on the new bike chain, labour to clean off rust, repair and re-assembly.

      So if for example a piece of furniture was given out for free, and we decide to repair/refurbish it to make it usable and re-saleable… we shouldn't be doing that because it's not kosher?

      • +12 votes

        I guess my question is, how is it any of his business anymore to tell us what to do with the bike?

        It's not. Period.

        You don't have to try and justify yourself. The bike is yours. Heck, if you were going around getting free bikes, fixing it up and selling for profit, I'd give you a pat on the back.

      • I guess my question is, how is it any of his business anymore to tell us what to do with the bike?

        It's not, feel free to ignore him.

        could always say "hey thanks for getting in touch, appreciate where you're coming from. We've done a bit of work and spent money on repairing the bike. We're just to recoup some costs (actually at a loss)"

      • The original "seller" hasn't a clue.

        I see this type of thing a lot on PIF sites where the original person gives away a slow cooker with no lid, the new owner buys a lid for $40, doesn't like the slow cooker and puts it for sale for $20 and the original person has a big whinge.

        You aren't doing anything wrong or unethical but don't be surprised if the original person keeps harassing you every time you advertise.

  • This is why I don’t give stuff away on Scumtree or Fartbook. But, in saying that, if you did some maintenance work on the bike, you are at least entitled to get back what you put into it.

    If you are just trying to flip it to churn a profit, that’s your business and if the previous owner doesn’t like it, then best they don’t give things away in the future. People will always take advantage of others, and if they can get something for free and flip it a week later for a profit, then that’s just how it works.

  • Very slack to try to profit from it in anyway

    • Very slack to try to profit from it in anyway

      What part of this equation don't you understand?

      Cost of worn out bike = $0

      Cost of chain = $20

      Time to fit chain, adjust brakes, remove rust, other minor service work to make bike usable and safe = 4-8 hours that the original owner couldn't be bothered doing. Call it $40 at a minimum.

      Why wouldn't you at least try and recoup the cost of parts? Or all we all a charity for the lazy and incompetent?

  • Of course you have the right to do it, but you shouldn't. Even if you spent money repairing it, it doesn't look good. Also maybe the woman just wants it back now that it looks nice, but what you should care about is your reputation online. Convince this woman you did put time and money into it, but also donate it to a church or something and forget it about it. Don't give it back to her imo, you put the effort into fixing it so you should get the karma for donating it. I only say a church because I can't think where else you could give up a bike and be reasonably be sure it'll be given to a low income kid. Maybe your local community center runs kids programs and the person in charge of that would know who to give it to?

  • Ask the seller to pay the costs you incurred on fixing it up if they want it back

  • It feels good to give your unwanted items as freebies to people who genuinely need it, so it's understandable that the guy is pissed to see you flipping it. You robbed him of his good feels, man.

  • To be honest, I wouldn't give it back. Like anything else on the "marketplaces" like facebook and gumtree, once you leave, it's final. The transaction is over.

    But it it was me, if I got something for free, I wouldn't then go and on-sell it. I wouldn't even take anything for free that I didn't actually need. Someone else can probably make more use out of it than myself.

    The people that gave it to you probably saw that you were selling it after getting it for free and felt pissed off because they think you're profiting from it. How long was it between you getting it for free and you putting it back up for sale? I know you said that you intended to "learn on it", so if it's just a few days or a couple of weeks, then I would assume that you didn't actually learn on it and your real intentions were pretty clear from the beginning! lol

    • particularly since the OP's user name is "thriftsnthings" - it has a strong implication that thrifting is one of the users hobbies.

      Of course - you are in the right to go ahead and do what you want with it, OP, but don't try to kid us that this wasn't your intention in the beginning!

  • define "small amount"

    10 bucks?
    20 bucks?
    100 bucks?
    200 bucks?

    • I think the lack of response says it all

      mate if u selling it for the.value of the chain
      thats fine
      if u selling it for the value of the chain and say 20 bucks for the time and effort to clean thats fine

      if.u selling it for hundred, cause ur time in very valuable, its getting iffy

      end of the day it doesn't matter, they gave u a freebie and u fixed it, can't use it and sell it

      as long as u can sleep at night case closed!
      if u starting to feel bad, and need to post on a bargain forum asking for opinions… timw for church confession for you bro

      • The amount would’ve been disclosed if it is actually “small”. The fact that op has been online and didn’t answer the question says it all. Anything over $20 is not small considering a new girls bike can be had for $50 - $80.

        Does he have the right to tell you to give it back? No.
        Is what you are doing unethical. Definitely yes.

        • Unlike some, I don’t have the time to regularly monitor and respond to comments on my post. I also am under no obligation to disclose the exact amount. A small amount is a small amount. Periodt.

          It’s probably the same amount that it would take for anyone else who was receiving that bike, to clean and repair. It’s probably saved someone else the time, money, effort of fixing it.

          Also, I would consider it “immoral” if maybe I stole the bike and then tried to re-sell it; or maybe if I coerced, manipulated and deceived the seller into giving me the bike. As per original post (if you read it all), the seller gave it away to whomever could collect it first. Kind gesture acknowledged.

          Hubby fixed the bike so I could actually I use it to learn. And I have, but I did find it harder to learn when the bike is not the right size, hence why we decided to re-sell.

          I personally don’t see anything “immoral” or “unethical” with that. But if others see it that way, all good. People are entitled to their opinion.

          I’ve also mentioned previously, that we have given away items for free. I have no issue with buyers re-using, refurbishing and/or re-selling the item because:
          1. It’s no longer my business with what they do to the item
          2. I don’t have the time check in on the buyer or trawl marketplace to see if they’ve tried to re-sell the item
          3. It defeats the purpose of the kind gesture, if you’re asking the buyer for the item back and suggesting that they’re not deserving enough (kinda rude and a tad invasive imo).

      • I think the lack of response says it all


  • The original owner gave the bike away to you and now you are free to do whatever you want with it, even selling it is reasonable if you have fixed it up, therefore costing you your time and labour that you want to recover.
    People do the exact same thing on Gumtree all the time, pickup broken stuff for free, fix it and sell it.

    He gave away his rights to the bike when he gave it to you.
    Do as you wish with it and ignore them or they can pay the repair/labour costs if they want it back.

  • how much are you trying to sell it for?

  • I call BS.

    Hubby fixed the bike in order to make a profit.

    • Read my post. Hubby fixed the bike for me to use and learn how to actually ride a bike.

      • Can we get the listing and pictures?

      • If you are profiting from the original owner’s generosity only you know. The original owner appears to be upset as he feels taken advantage of.

    • And there is nothing wrong with that.

      It is not just industrious but repurposing that bike and potentially reducing the demand for new bikes can only be seen as a positive.

      It is purely the emotional component that is triggering negative remarks.

      How I wish there were more people like OP's husband. We would have less waste and people may even value their belongings and keep it is a serviceable condition so they may sell it themselves.

      If everyone is like OP's husband, we would have a better society. If everyone is like the boomerang giver, it would be toxic.

  • Who is in procession of the bike now is the owner, if the ex owner want it back he can pay the price.

  • How long have you had the bike for?

  • How much did you spend on it?
    How much are you trying to sell it for?

  • Simply, ignore.

  • Well, you did help him make space by getting rid of the bike. He is a bit weird for contacting, I don't think he thought it through.

  • Not his bike anymore, End of story.

  • Yeah C'mon OP. How much did you spend on it. And how much are you trying to sell it for?

    And why is this information missing from your post.

    Little bit dodgy mate, little bit.

    You can do whatever you want, it's your bike.
    But everyone else can point and laugh at you while a little bikeless child cries and walks around their neighbourhood without shoes… And now everyone is sadder than they have to be.

  • I'm pretty sure it went like this

    You spent $10 on a chain and some labour to fix the bike up, and now you are selling it at market price rather then free + $10.

    While I would normally say, the bike is now yours you can do whatever you want with it, these exact kind of actions ensure that free good will gestures will no longer happen.

    This is why I simply throw stuff in the garbage rather then give it away, dealing with the people isn't worth it.

    • If you're going to throw it away, you wouldn't have been salty that someone received it at no direct cost and would have no cause for distress that someone is selling it, potentially for profit.

      The problem is with people giving out what is probably worthless and thinking it is some gods gift to humanity to be shared freely. It's a bike that didn't work, not agape love.

  • It is your bike as it was given to you - so you can do whatever you like with it, unfortunately your actions will have an effect larger than just you receiving money for something that was given in good faith to you…..

    What does the person (+family and everyone they talk to about this) now think? very likely along the lines of "how dishonest and I will never give away something again"……

    Ultimately it makes no difference what people say here, you are doing something that is immoral and goes against the whole "treat others as you would expect to be treated" mantra. I am sure you would complain about this if it was done to you.

    If you have the mental capacity and EQ then think about the bigger picture and not your greed, there is little cost in cleaning up and maintaining a bike, you are simply using that is justification for your decision.

  • If your original intent wasn't get a free item to sell for a profit, I have no issue you now selling it to cover your cost and not making a big profit. I would explain this to the seller but if they don't listen or agree, ignore them as they are judging your "worthiness" based purely on see the bike being re-sold

  • The bike is now legally yours.
    So its none of thier business what you do with the bike.
    They can purchase it back from you at your asking price if they want it back.

  • What sort of bike? I might buy it for the cost of a chain and some labour.

  • I have a belief that once I give someone something I need to let go of all care, responsibility and liability with regards to what the recipient does with it. I don't even expect to be thanked for it. Unfortunately, the original owner of the bike isn't like this.

    People have often re-gifted things I have given them and I refuse to be upset because I was the person that wanted to gift it in the first place.

    To me, giving someone something is not about controlling the item once someone else owns it. Again, unfortunately the original bike owner isn't like this. I think giving someone something and trying to control what they do with it is rude.

    People have gifted me items and wanted me to keep them for the rest of my life, but I refuse to be a prisoner to material items. When I'm done with the items, I will sell, donate or toss, depending on what is best suited.

    I wish others were less attached to controlling their items once they are gifted away. I think people need to let go of the items they gift /donate to others and like Marie Kondo would do, thank the object for what it has done for them over the time they did own it. Following an item over it's lifetime to see what the recipient has done with it is narrow minded and ridiculous.

  • What is this, reddit /amithearsehole ?
    People do this all the time (get stuff for free then get rid of it). Whether you do it yourself for profit, or effort, or free, or conscience is up to you. Block them and move on.

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