What VanMoof’s bankruptcy means for you and your e-bike
After a long period of financial struggles, this week saw the Dutch bike manufacturer VanMoof officially declare bankruptcy. Have you got a VanMoof e-bike? This is what the news means for you and your bicycle.
What’s been going on with VanMoof’s finances?
Started by two Dutch brothers, Taco and Ties Carlier, back in 2009, the past few years have seen VanMoof bicycles take over roads and bike lanes, not just across the Netherlands, but in cities around the world. According to the company’s website, around 190.000 VanMoof bikes have been sold in total.
In spite of this global success, last week reports published by the NRC and FD revealed that the company was in dire financial straits. According to the FD, VanMoof was no longer able to repay the interest on loans it had taken out with private investors, while the NRC reported that the company had “run into problems by concentrating too much on rapid growth.” According to the most recent annual accounts, reported by NOS, the company incurred a loss of 77 million euros on a turnover of 82 million euros in 2021.
After negotiations about a new capital injection broke down, Van Moof was granted permission to delay repayments by a court in Amsterdam. By 3pm on July 12, all of the company’s European stores had been closed down - including the one located at the head office in Amsterdam. At the time, a press release published by the company explained that the decision had been made for security reasons.
When was the Dutch company declared bankrupt?
On Monday, July 17, VanMoof announced that the Court of Amsterdam had declared the Dutch side of the company bankrupt - but explained that this did not impact the foreign subsidiaries of the firm.
In a message to workers, the Carliers thanked the company’s hundreds of employees for their work over the years: “We are grateful to all of you and regret that we cannot accomplish this mission together. We are saddened, but above all, we feel proud of what we have achieved.”
What does VanMoof’s bankruptcy mean for their bikes?
So what does this news mean for VanMoof’s services and employees?
Is it still possible to buy a VanMoof e-bike?
If you had planned on buying a VanMoof bike, or had recently placed an order for one of their bikes or bike parts, then you’re out of luck; the company has ceased all outgoing deliveries, and it’s unclear when - or indeed if - deliveries will be resumed.
If you have placed and paid for an order with VanMoof, the company’s trustees are looking to set up a system that will allow you to request a refund.
I have a VanMoof bike, will I still be able to use it?
If you are an owner of one of VanMoof’s bikes, then the company emphasises that your bike “will remain functional and rideable”, as they “aim to keep [their] app and servers online and secure ongoing services for the future.”
It is, however, worth noting that if your bike is still under a two-year warranty, then that warranty is no longer valid.
My VanMoof bike is in need of repairs, what can I do?
If you have already sent your bike to VanMoof for repairs, then you are free to collect it from one of the company's repair stores located across the Netherlands - although there’s no guarantee that the repairs will have been completed.
If you have a bike that is in need of repairs, then your options are seriously limited. As VanMoof bikes can only be repaired by VanMoof, and the firm is no longer carrying out any repairs, you will likely be stuck with your broken bike for a while.
If you’d hoped to find another way to carry out the repairs, the options are pretty bleak too; while earlier this year the car servicing and repair company KwikFit became an official partner of VanMoof, the company has already reported that it can no longer obtain the parts needed in order to repair the bikes, and that many parts are already out of stock. They will, however, still be able to carry out simple repairs, such as replacing the tyres or brakes.
If you want to try carrying out the repairs yourself, then that will also be difficult as, as mentioned above, VanMoof has ceased all outgoing deliveries - including for parts.
Can I sell my VanMoof?
You can certainly try. After the news of VanMoof’s financial situation broke last week, hundreds of people across the Netherlands took to Marktplaats to try and sell their e-bike.
The police in Amsterdam have reported that some VanMoof owners have submitted questions about what the company’s bankruptcy means, with some even submitting a police report for theft. In a statement shared on social media, the police have asked members of the public who are affected by the bankruptcy to not to file a report with the police: “Bankruptcy is a civil and not a criminal matter. No matter how annoying, the police can do nothing for customers for this reason.”
What will happen to the staff at VanMoof?
The company reports that it employs a total of 700 workers. As a notice period of six weeks applies in the Netherlands, staff will remain employed by VanMoof for the coming six weeks. The Employee Insurance Agency Netherlands (UWV) will be responsible for paying salaries, and technically staff are required to continue to come to work unless told otherwise by management.
Is this the end of VanMoof?
In a statement on the VanMoof website, the company explains that its trustees are “setting up a sales process…in order to find a party who is willing to continue the activities of VanMoof.” While the future remains uncertain, it’s clear that those behind VanMoof hope that the company will be able to live on.
If and when a sale goes through, the company will update the information for customers who are waiting on a delivery, a refund, or are in need of repairs.
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