Bike Buyers Monday Tip: Private selling is now more than dangerous, it could be lethal
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 into how scammers are now targeting private sellers, and it’s getting lethal.
We’ve all heard stories about how some one has been ripped off by a dealer, bikes put on showroom floors and then abused or bikes sold by a dealer and then the money never paid. These stories are horrifying, but not nearly as bad as the new wave of crime that has swept over the world of private vehicle sales. The car industry has started wising up to this scam, so they have started targeting the motorcycle industry, and the method behind it is somewhat unnerving.
Most private sellers advertise their motorcycles over the internet these days, making use of popular classified sites and facebook. In doing so, they advertise exactly what motorcycle they have, exactly what it is worth and even provide contact details. Once these ads are up, scammers will phone the advertiser, ask all the right questions and arrange a date and time for viewing. The seller then gives the thieves their home address and happily opens the gate for them. Once the bike has been wheeled out of the garage, the thieves pull out guns and even force the owner to load their own bike.
To make it sound even more believable, the thieves are sometimes using ladies to make the initial phone call, claiming this to be a surprise for her boyfriend. Not long before the scheduled time, the lady will phone again, make some excuse and say that the boyfriend is on his way. Said boyfriend then does the deed when he arrives.
It’s not always in the person’s home – often the thieves will suggest meeting in a public place, viewing the motorcycle and then handing over a bag of cash. They then take the motorcycle while the happy seller starts driving home, only to be involved in a cash heist a few traffic lights away.
Sometimes all these forms of robbery go very bad, shots are fired and lives are lost. It truly is a horrifying situation.
The safest method of avoiding this is to sell via a dealer, however should you insist on selling privately, there are ways to be cautious, though. The first is not to let the person into your home, nor provide your address. What you’re doing there is making yourself an easy target. Instead, suggest meeting somewhere you can trust – your local friendly bike dealer for example, who can also advise on the transaction. Make sure the money clears in your account before you hand over the keys and the papers, and definitely do not accept cash. Rather ask them to deposit it into your bank account at the nearest bank. When they become tetchy about either meeting at a time or place of your desire, or depositing the cash, rather stay clear. It might be your life at stake.
Bike Buyers and Fire It Up are happy to assist with any private sales, whether it be using their shop as a location, assisting with the terms of the deal or helping with finance or servicing.