VanMoof tells former customers, ‘take back your broken bikes now or never’

VanMoof’s fall from grace has turned into a downhill rolling dumpster fire as the fallout continues to spread. The latest episode in the saga is seeing VanMoof give its customers a final warning to come get their broken e-bikes that were in for service at the time that the company declared bankruptcy last month.

A hastily typed sign taped in the window of VanMoof’s once flagship store in Amsterdam had just two large words in capital letters, “WE’RE CLOSED.”

Below was fine print instructing any VanMoof riders whose e-bikes were still held by VanMoof that their last chance to come get them at the shop would be between August 16-18. “No appointment needed,” the paper declared.

Many riders had initially rushed to the store after VanMoof’s public financial collapse, but found locked doors leaving them unable to claim their bikes. Eventually, so many riders reported the company for bike theft that the Dutch police had to issue an announcement asking riders to stop calling in theft reports against VanMoof.

Many of those bikes now being offered back to their owners were never serviced and will need to be picked up still in their broken state. In fact, that’s largely what lead to the e-bike maker’s downfall.

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Once the most-funded electric bicycle maker in the world, VanMoof filed for bankruptcy last month after several quarters of financial issues stemming from their e-bikes’ high failure rate. The company used a number of tech-forward components, many of them proprietary, which meant that servicing the e-bikes was much more difficult and costly.

It’s a trend that has seen recent pushback in the industry, especially in light of VanMoof’s downfall. Industry leaders are now promoting the value in using readily available parts that can be serviced at any neighborhood bike shop instead of more limiting proprietary and costly technology.

The discussions are occurring against the dramatic backdrop of VanMoof’s fall from grace, even as it seems to hit every branch on the way down. The company’s London store was repossessed by its landlords a few weeks ago and its German operation just officially filed for bankruptcy yesterday.

While VanMoof’s US stores seemed to be operating as normal shortly after the Dutch bankruptcy last month, now riders are claiming that some stores haven’t responded to service requests and other riders are unable to pick up their bikes currently being serviced at non-responsive VanMoof stores.

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