Peak Design, the bag and accessory maker that created one of our favorite backpacks, is launching a new online exchange in the US for people to buy and sell used Peak Design products. The Peak Design Marketplace opened in beta form in March, but today the used gear storefront opens for anyone looking to buy and sell gear...provided it was made by Peak Design.
To sell a product on Peak Design’s marketplace you have to register it on the company’s site (it offers instructions in video form) and provide pictures and details of the current condition of what you’re unloading. Peak Design says it reviews every listing and has the right to approve or deny anything before it shows up for sale. The company also provides a recommended sale price, but you can set it to any amount you choose.
Buyers will be responsible for covering the shipping (Peak Design tacks it on to whatever price is set) and sellers are responsible for shipping directly to the buyer. Theoretically, that direct shipping could also save on the additional cost and environmental impact that comes with shipping to a third location first, which can be required by other secondhand marketplaces and storefronts such as ThredUp and Patagonia’s Worn Wear.
Peak Design is also guaranteeing some basic benefits to used gear — like customer service and a lifetime guarantee — no matter how many times the gear has changed hands. Peak Design’s lifetime guarantee covers manufacturing defects and “Failures or breakages that render part or all of your product to become non-functional,” but not misuse, neglect, or cosmetic blemishes.
The disadvantage of Peak Design’s “Craigslist for camera bags” (besides being limited to one brand of product) is how sellers get paid out. Once a buyer receives the product you sold, they have to confirm that what they received is in the same condition as promised. Once everything’s confirmed, the seller gets paid. Peak Design will let you keep 100 percent of your profits for in-store credit or 75 percent if you want to be paid out in cash. The company says it doesn’t pocket that missing 25 percent, and instead uses it to pay Recurate, the company that helps manage the marketplace and sends out prepaid shipping labels for sellers.
Setting up a marketplace for used gear is a clever idea: it seems like a good-natured ad for the durability of Peak Design’s products, and it adds a way to try them out for a cheaper price than what they would cost new. Peak Design frames it as environmentally motivated as well — fewer vehicles burning fuel transporting products and less unnecessary packaging. The company also claims Marketplace sales are “100 percent carbon neutral,” though not all carbon offsets are created equal (or even used).
Losing 25 percent of what you could earn from a sale is not insignificant and will likely force some people in to taking the store credit or selling elsewhere. But more than that, because of the restrictions, 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 of actually shipping your things, but you could earn more than the flat fee Peak Design might offer if it was running a a trade-in program itself.