Bike Buyers Monday Tip: The bike thief you’re worried about might be one of your loved ones
Bike Buyers is in the business of purchasing motorcycles which then find themselves on the showroom floor of the famous Fire It Up dealership in Fourways, and the number of motorcycles on the Fire It Up floor suggests they are damn good at what they do. Collectively, they have many decades of bike buying experience and will be sharing their knowledge with The Bike Show Website every Monday, offering tips, advice, guidance and warnings regarding your bike buying or selling experience. For this week’s tip, we look at a growing trend in bike theft where the thief is a member of your own home.
People are at ease with the people around them; their friends, their partners or spouses and even members of their own family. The most common seen example of this is someone in the household that has strayed into the world of drugs, but other examples include a member that has gone into financial distress or even a new romantic interest that has no sincere interest beyond being a con-artist.
Either way it is someone you trust and feel relaxed around. Someone who can gain access to your bike’s ever valuable registration papers. While you’re at work, they get hold of your papers, take your beloved motorcycle and head off to sell it at a dealer or privately under the amiable guise of “I’m selling it on behalf of someone else”. Very often, said dealer or private seller will go for it on account of this person being in possession of the registration papers. Sometimes, it goes even further where the person will first re-register the bike in their name and sell it on behalf of themselves.
By the time you get home, your bike legally belongs to someone else. You can still go and report it stolen, but it becomes trickier because you don’t have the papers. This becomes a problem for the buyer of your bike too, because that person has made the payment and taken possession under good faith on account of there being papers, only to have the police arrive and remove everything when the bike is eventually reported stolen.
There are ways around this. The best method is to make sure your registration papers are kept somewhere so that only you have access to. As much as you trust your loved ones, remember that you are usually the last person to find out that they have a serious drug or financial problem.
For the potential buyer, there are ways of avoiding buying a bike that has been stolen even though there are papers. The obvious tell tale sign are the words “I’m selling it on behalf of someone else” with papers that have a different name on them to the person you are dealing with. If that’s the case, insist on speaking to the original owner, and if this becomes a problem then you have serious reason to be doubtful. The other warning sign is that the owner on the registration papers has been changed very recently. If this is the case, ask to speak to the previous owner and, again, if this is a problem then again be suspicious.
Dealers like Fire It Up have checks in place to help weed out dubious sellers, and even if one somehow gets through the net, their integrity policy means that you will not be left dry should the bike later be found to be stolen. Dealing with dealers that are well-known and dealers with a reputation for integrity is always the a safer option, whether you are selling or buying.