5 Tips to Avoiding Internet Motorcycle Buying Scams

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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Being in the market for a new project bike for 2WheelTuesday I have had the pleasure to review numerous websites looking the next project bike.  While I have found plenty of honest people trying to sell their bikes I have also encountered quite a few scams.  This led me to believe their must be plenty of people that must have been scammed by these thieves.

I recently found a smoking deal on a bran new Ducati Multistrada Pikes Peak edition.  The asking price was about five thousand less than all other bikes on the market.  I already thought it was a scam based on previous experience but thought I would give it a try anyway.  I emailed the “owner” asking for an appointment for a test ride.  He immediately responded that he moved out of the country and now resides in England.  I stayed persistent asking for more details and the “owners” story kept becoming more elaborate almost equivalent to a soap opera.  So instead of taking it further I reported this scam artist to the website owner to have the listing removed.  So we have compiled a list on how to spot and protect yourself from an online scam.

5 Tips to Avoid Scams when buying Motorcycles online

  1. The most important tip.  Never send money up front.  This is just asking for problems.  Instead arrange a shipping company that will either to COD (Cash on Delivery) or find a way to keep the money in escrow until both parties are satisfied like Escrow.com
  2. If it sounds to good to be true it probably is.  Make sure you check the prices of the same model motorcycle with similar features, mileage, etc to get a good idea for what the price should be.  If the price is a big percentage off the price start becoming cautious until you find out all the facts.
  3. Verify the details.  Try to obtain information from the owner like which dealer they purchased the motorcycle from, service history and where it was serviced, and if it is all possible get a copy of the motorcycle registration and/or insurance.
  4. Try to find a dealer where the motorcycle is located to do a quick maintenance check on the motorcycle.  To ensure the bike is in the same working condition as the owner claims
  5. Ask for references.  Ask for references from the owners employer, motorcycle clubs, the website in which the bike is listed, or any other sources to get as much information about the owner.  Also a copy of a passport or drivers licene will also help if things go sour.

These tips should help you avoid the most common pit falls.  However if you spot a website listing that you believe is a scam don’t hesitate to contact the website as many of them have fraud departments which will help you verify the owner or squash a potential scam.

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