Flipping Birds: Flock of impounded scooters headed for auction

The scooters are available at Seibert’s lot in Southside. (Photos by Mike Platania)

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the remaining Bird scooters held in impound were up for sale by Seibert’s for $105 apiece. Those scooters will be offered for auction Aug. 12 at 9 a.m. at Seibert’s Southside Plaza facility. 

Left for dead by their California-based owner, hundreds of electric scooters that were impounded by the city last year are now up for grabs.

More than 300 scooters owned by Silicon Valley startup Bird are for sale by Seibert’s, the local towing company that rounded them up at the city’s order in 2018.

Bird dropped hundreds of the dockless vehicles in Richmond unannounced last summer, which at the time was in violation of existing city code related to blocking the right of way on sidewalks. Seibert’s, which contractually handles the city’s towing, gathered the scooters by the truckload and has been holding them at its lot at 642 W. Southside Plaza St.

A quartet of Bird scooters along Broad Street.

Bird never retrieved the devices, freeing up Seibert’s to sell them off. It held an auction on Monday for about 375 scooters, advertising on its site that they were “previously owned by a rental company and are locked,” adding that they’re being sold “as-is with no guarantee as to condition or operation.”

Following the auction, at which about 25 scooters were sold, Seibert’s is now set auction the remaining scooters Aug. 12 at 9 a.m. The scooters are made by China-based Xiaomi and retail for about $400.

Bird did not respond to requests for comment. Seibert’s declined to comment, citing a company policy to never speak to the press.

Despite its initial blitz into Richmond last summer, Bird has yet to return to operate in the city under the newly enacted rules that allow such companies to rent their scooters here.

Meanwhile, other competitors have begun to make their move, with Bolt becoming the first such company to launch legally in Richmond. Several others have applied for permission to do so.

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Twyla Butler
Twyla Butler
2 years ago

I am curious about the 25 that were purchased the first time they were offered up for sale. Was the buyer able to “unlock” them for use?

Robert M Rubano
Robert M Rubano
2 years ago
Reply to  Twyla Butler

You could buy a new brain from china and get them online but to be honest it’s not worth it. You can get them new on amazon for a couple hundred with warranty and a folding handle. Bird isn’t buying them back because they’re not worth that much to them.

Brendan Westfall
Brendan Westfall
2 years ago

Right Twlya?? I would absolutely pick one up for 75% off if they are easy to jailbreak like a phone, so to speak.