safely selling used portable generators

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Topic Author
rk6
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Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:32 pm

safely selling used portable generators

Post by rk6 »

I am in central NJ. I have three portable generators I want to get rid of, so that I can make room for newer ones.

I am not as concerned with the sales price I receive, as I am with selling them to someone who will indemnify me in case they injure or kill themselves.
In fact I would be willing to give them away for free. I could take them apart and leave them on the curb for the pickup-truck metal guy to pick up, but that seems like a big waste. I could also leave them whole for him, but I have talked to him and he's a nice guy but does not strike me as a person who would be willing to sign a "hold harmless" agreement.

Has anyone ever gotten rid of used generators safely with no liability concerns? Local electrical companies are only interested in used whole-home units like Generac that they can cannibalize for parts.

I also realize that there's a lot of people in Texas who could use a generator right now - but shipping these individually as an end-user, even if I could find a taker that meets the above, is not practical. Money donations are best in these cases.
bloom2708
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by bloom2708 »

Facebook Marketplace
Craigslist

Take a few good photos. Explain the good and bad.

Stuff sells if you price it right.

I bought my generator from Craigslist in 2005.
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead
Topic Author
rk6
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by rk6 »

Thanks, but Craigslist or Facebook is not a option. My concern is not that someone will think they purchased an inferior or broken product.
random_walker_77
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by random_walker_77 »

Selling with full disclosure and clearly disclose all risks in writing / email. craigslist isn't so bad in that it anonymizes emails and if you meet in a parking lot, your risk might be somewhat minimized simply because any litigious buyers might have a hard time tracking you down. Assuming that you consider this a very low risk, between the documented written disclosures, and the difficulty in tracking you down, your risk is probably pretty low.

The other way is to get a very clear contract between you and the buyer. Now, the buyer probably has enough info to track you down, but as long as the contract is bulletproof and conforms to your local state laws, your lawyer's handiwork should protect you.
random_walker_77
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by random_walker_77 »

Or can you donate them to goodwill or similar? Some of these places even accept drop-off donations with minimal documentation. Their whole approach is to fix up and resell these goods, so that ought to protect you.
bloom2708
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by bloom2708 »

rk6 wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:29 pm Thanks, but Craigslist or Facebook is not a option. My concern is not that someone will think they purchased an inferior or broken product.
I don't think we are following your line of thinking.

Why is a generator different from a lawn mower, car, bike, roller blades, weed trimmer, etc etc.

Do you know these generators are non-working or need repair?

Sometimes we just can't help.
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead
Topic Author
rk6
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by rk6 »

Appreciated but again Craigslist is not a option and the paperwork part again seems like more trouble than I can justify, especially if I have to pay a lawyer. They are in working order but the total value of these 3 generators used is probably < $1K.

I was hoping someone in central NJ would say "I sold my old generator to XYZ Electrical Company in NJ and they had a waiver of liability that they signed and gave me." That I would do.
scophreak
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by scophreak »

Is this really any different than selling any other "used" item? Perhaps I'm naive, but I've never really considered this as an issue. Should I actually be concerned when selling an item? I'm not a lawyer, but if it makes one feel any better would a simple sales contract stating that item is sold 'as-is' be sufficient?
Topic Author
rk6
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by rk6 »

People are missing my point, which means I am not making it clearly enough - this is not about the as-is of the generators, it's about the person not being able to come back and sue me because they *claim* they had no idea a generator could suffocate their entire family if they ran it overnight in their living room.
squirm
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by squirm »

Better not sell your car.
123
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by 123 »

Perhaps an independent equipment rental yard. The kind that rents equipment for home improvement, including yardwork (even small tractors/mowers) and ladders, paint sprayers etc. (In many places a lot of this market has been taken over by places like Home Deoit.) The equipment yard should get you off any hook because it's likely presumed they have superior knowledge in the field. Can't guess about whether they''d buy them or you could just donate them. Theoe kinds of equipment yards often sell used gear to those who might have an extended or recurring need for something.

Edited to add:
If you can locate a small mom-and-pop yard they are more likely to sell used equipment on consignment, maybe you get 1/3 or what it sells for. Something to consider. Many of these places rent generators for use on small to large construction sites. If a contractors needs power for tools and the electric is not hook up yet he needs to get power from somewhere.
Last edited by 123 on Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Fully describe the thing and put it on craigslist. I have had contractors and landscapers pick up tools from me. An example:

Power washer. Needs rebuild and some parts are included. I've tried starting the 5 hp briggs engine and I just give up. Someone who knows how to fix small engines should be a perfect buyer. $25.

Note that I made it quite clear that it doesn't work, there are replacement parts included but I don't know if more are needed and although I gave it a try, I'm just done with this thing.

This thing sold in about 4 hours.

Another: Gas noname hedge cutter. Bought at Home depot about a year ago. I can get it started but have to hold the choke on continuously to keep it running. I've gone back to my electric trimmer. $15.

A landscaper came and said that these types of tools typically last for a year. He replaces the carb and they run well. He asked if I had any other tools. It was gone the day I listed it.

If you need an indemnification from the pope and the queen and a couple Vulcan ambassadors, forget it. Find your local scrap steel yard and go sell or donate it for scrap. If you're as scared as it sounds, go to the scrap yard. Drive around the weigh in scale. Dump it in the steel pile. Drive out. Nobody knows who you are and nobody cares as the thing gets dumped into the shredder. I suppose you could do something similarly by taking the thing apart and putting the pieces into recycling.
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thewizzer
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by thewizzer »

This strikes me as one of those issues that only the Bogleheads can dream up. Has this ever happened before?

Anyone can sue anyone for anything. Now winning that lawsuit, that’s a different matter. Like others have mentioned, how is this any different than someone claiming a used lawnmower chopped off their toe or a used car without anti-lock brakes caused the crash? Unless you are building these generators out of spare parts in your garage, any liability would likely fall with the manufacturer of the product, not the seller.
bloom2708
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by bloom2708 »

rk6 wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:45 pm People are missing my point, which means I am not making it clearly enough - this is not about the as-is of the generators, it's about the person not being able to come back and sue me because they *claim* they had no idea a generator could suffocate their entire family if they ran it overnight in their living room.
We aren't missing your point so much as not understanding. The other day I put a plastic grocery bag in the garbage. I sure hope the garbage collector does not put it over his head and then wrap it around his neck and suffocate. That would be pretty horrendous. I kid, I kid. :D

Maybe just keep them?
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead
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TexasPE
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by TexasPE »

Google "PORTABLE GENERATOR SAFETY OSHA", print out the guidelines, and have the new owner sign and date the thing, stating that he/she has read and understood the SAFETY issues. Give a copy to the new owner and retain one for yourself. Done.
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Nate79
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by Nate79 »

Give the owner a print out of the owners manual. That's what the manufacturer or Home Depot does (it has all the operating instructions and warnings).

This isn't that complicated.
Silverado
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by Silverado »

rk6 wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:45 pm People are missing my point, which means I am not making it clearly enough - this is not about the as-is of the generators, it's about the person not being able to come back and sue me because they *claim* they had no idea a generator could suffocate their entire family if they ran it overnight in their living room.
Ok, so a 'new in box' generator would cause you the same anguish.

You better drill holes in the blocks and scrap them.
Katietsu
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by Katietsu »

You probably have a charity that would accept them. I would check to see if you have a Habitat for Humanity ReStore that sells used appliances and building materials. This seems right up their alley and hopefully you are comfortable that Habitat for Humanity would not sue you.
goaties
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by goaties »

Could you consider donating to Habitat for Humanity? They must use generators at their jobsites. Maybe they could give you the indemnification you are looking for.

(was typing this while previous post posted! Great minds....)
adamthesmythe
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by adamthesmythe »

I don't think there is anything you can do that will totally and completely protect you from a lawsuit. Heck, if you leave parts out on the sidewalk for garbage you could be sued if someone trips over them.

You COULD write up a bill of sale that states "seller's liability is limited to a refund of the amount paid."

If something like that doesn't feel like it's enough just take it to the dump. And remove any identifying information so they can't track it to you.
redmaw
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by redmaw »

Nate79 wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:44 pm Give the owner a print out of the owners manual. That's what the manufacturer or Home Depot does (it has all the operating instructions and warnings).

This isn't that complicated.
+1
Topic Author
rk6
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by rk6 »

Thanks to everyone for your feedback and ideas.
iamlucky13
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by iamlucky13 »

rk6 wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:45 pm People are missing my point, which means I am not making it clearly enough - this is not about the as-is of the generators, it's about the person not being able to come back and sue me because they *claim* they had no idea a generator could suffocate their entire family if they ran it overnight in their living room.
If you haven't modified it, and include the manual, which has all the warnings the manufacturer uses to protect themselves, and who as the party producing a consumer product is the one with obligations under consumer product safety laws, I don't see what legal basis they could have.

I don't think even excluding the manual would really be a credible basis. Modifying it could be a different matter. Theoretically, they would have to prove to a reasonable degree of certainty that the modification created a new hazard, but it's my perception that this standard of evidence can be pretty inconsistently applied.
Thegame14
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by Thegame14 »

CAn you PM me? I live in North NJ and would take one off of your hands and sign a waiver.
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jfn111
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Re: safely selling used portable generators

Post by jfn111 »

thewizzer wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:59 pm This strikes me as one of those issues that only the Bogleheads can dream up. Has this ever happened before?

Anyone can sue anyone for anything. Now winning that lawsuit, that’s a different matter. Like others have mentioned, how is this any different than someone claiming a used lawnmower chopped off their toe or a used car without anti-lock brakes caused the crash? Unless you are building these generators out of spare parts in your garage, any liability would likely fall with the manufacturer of the product, not the seller.
+1 Just wow
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