Peak Design launches a new used gearbox

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Peak Design, the bag and accessory maker that created one of our favorite backpacks, is launched a new online exchange in the US for people to buy and sell used Peak Design products. The Peak Design Marketplace opened in beta in March, but today the used stuff store opens to anyone looking to buy and sell stuff … provided it’s made by Peak Design.

To sell a product on Peak Design’s marketplace, you must register it on the company’s site (it offers instructions in video form) and provide photos and details of the current state of what you are unloading. Peak Design says it reviews every listing and has the right to approve or decline anything before putting it up for sale. The company also offers a suggested retail price, but you can set it to any amount.

The Peak Design Marketplace during the beta period.

Buyers are responsible for paying for shipping (Peak Design will lock it to the price set) and sellers are responsible for shipping directly to the buyer. Theoretically, that direct shipping could also save on the additional costs and environmental impact associated with shipping to a third location first, which may be required for other second-hand markets and storefronts such as ThredUp and Patagonia’s clothing worn.

Peak Design also guarantees some basic benefits for used equipment – such as customer service and a lifetime warranty – no matter how many times the equipment is changed hands. Peak Design’s lifetime warranty covers manufacturing defects and “defects or breakages that cause part or all of the product to malfunction,” but not abuse, neglect or cosmetic imperfections.

The downside to Peak Design’s “Craigslist for Camera Bags” (except it is limited to one brand of product) is how sellers are paid. Once a buyer has received the product you sold, they must confirm that what they have received is in the same condition as promised. Once everything is confirmed, the seller is paid. With Peak Design, you can keep 100 percent of your winnings for in-store credit or 75 percent if you want to be paid out in cash. The company says it won’t pocket that missing 25 percent, but instead uses it to pay appealed, the company that helps manage the market and ships prepaid shipping labels for merchants.

Setting up a used equipment marketplace is a smart idea: it seems like a good-natured advertisement for the durability of Peak Design’s products, and it adds a way to try them out at a lower price than what they would cost new. Peak Design also calls it environmentally friendly: fewer vehicles that burn fuel and transport products and less unnecessary packaging. The company also claims that the Marketplace sales are “100 percent carbon neutral,” although not all carbon offsets are equal (or even used).

Losing 25 percent of what you could earn from a sale is not insignificant and will likely force some people to withdraw the store credit or sell elsewhere. But more than that, due to its limitations, the Peak Design Marketplace is sort of an outsourced version of a traditional trade-in program. You have to do the extra bit of work to actually ship your stuff, but you could make more than the flat fee that Peak Design could offer if it ran a trade-in program itself.