AVOID SCAMS & RIP-OFFS
There are some simple steps that you can take that will reduce your chances of being ripped-off or scammed when buying or selling a used dirt bike.
- Never allow yourself to be rushed into Buying or Selling a dirt bike (or anything else for that matter)
- Dirt Bike Buyers should be suspicious of advertised prices that are much lower than the expected market value
See the The Red Book
- Only consider buying a dirt bike if you can personally inspect the bike or have some one you know and trust inspect it for you before purchasing
- Avoid buying any bike that you cannot collect in person (or have collected by a friend or trusted associate)
- Dirt Bike Sellers should be suspicious of any offers to buy that are above the asking price, particularly from interstate or overseas buyers ... and Do Not pay any requested up-front commissions or transport costs
- Whether buying or selling - Always insist on Complete and Verifiable Contact Information, including: Name, City, Email and Phone Number (land line)
DO NOT ACCEPT EXCUSES!
- Insist on talking to the buyer or seller over the phone ... if it's one of the many Internet scams it will probably end here
- Dirt Bike Buyers should ALWAYS insist on seeing and getting Full Documentation and Proof of Ownership prior to any form of payment, including: Vehicle Title or Receipt, Registration Number and/or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) - Note that it is the buyers responsibility to make sure the bike is not stolen
- Never pay for anything until you are completely sure that the deal you are making and who you are dealing with is totally legitimate
No one can keep you out of trouble better than yourself. So be careful, be thorough and take your time. If it even vaguely feels wrong, just walk away!
A Completely Legal Scam
And lastly what I call the scam of scams, which has its own unique irony and symmetry. It follows on from this idea:
Q - What is the quickest way to get rich?
A - Write a book about How To Get Rich Quick.
Or in this case, write a Motorcycle Buying Guide book, about how to get the best possible deals when buying or selling your bike and how to avoid getting scammed at the same time.
And wouldn't you know, there is even a special "Online Offer"!
You can pay less than $20 (if you buy now) for these e-books (plus a bunch of reports), that the author claims have an "actual value" of over $300!
Please ... ;-)
Key Points To Avoid Scams and/or Rip-Offs
When Buying or Selling A Used Dirt Bike
• NEVER Be in a Hurry to either Buy or Sell
• DO Not Send Money Unless You Are Certain the Buyer or Seller is REAL
• Do Not Deal with Anyone Who Does Not Provide Comprehensive Contact Details
• Insist on Proper and Complete Documentation
• ... And if you are Buying, Always Remember ... Buyer Beware !!
Buying or Selling a Used or Second Hand Dirt Bike
HOW TO AVOID SCAMS & RIP-OFFS
Scams and Rip-Offs of All Flavours
Scams and Rip-offs have been around for as long as there have been gullible humans ... which is like saying, damn near forever.
For a buyer, a rip-off is usually where you are tricked or deceived into paying way more for something than it is actually worth or where you pay for something that you never get.
For a seller, a rip-off is where you deliver the goods and then either don't get paid at all or don't get paid the full amount.
Whereas a rip-off may be an isolated event, a scam is usually a trap intended to catch as many unwary buyers and/or sellers as possible.
While many scams are designed to play (and prey) on our trust and ignorance, some of the most successful scams are aimed simply at human greed. Particularly the idea of our getting something for nothing or getting more than we are asking for.
There are two primary flavours of scam. The first is an attempt to simply trick us into making a payment. The second is an attempt to get at our personal or financial details (Bank, PayPal, etc.) with a view to accessing our funds and/or committing identity fraud. Sometimes both of these objectives are cleverly combined into the one scam.
AVOID the Pressure to make Quick Decisions
If you want to avoid getting ripped off or scammed then the first thing to be aware of is, that being in a hurry makes you both a target and a potential victim. Never be too eager to make a deal.
Creating a 'False Sense of Urgency' is a standard sales technique, even with legitimate buyers & sellers.
The whole, "get in now, it's a great opportunity that won't last" approach is generally total bullshit. It is simply a deliberate attempt to keep you off balance and force you into making hasty decisions (which are often ones that you will regret later).
In this case, the buyer or seller doesn't want you the take the time necessary to carefully consider your options and properly evaluate the transaction you are about to make. So they create a false sense of urgency or fake time limit to pressure you into an on-the-spot commitment.
Take your time and don't fall into their trap. Whether you are buying or selling, make sure you are getting what YOU want out of the deal. Being in a hurry is only the quickest way to get screwed over.
If it "Sounds Too Good To Be True" ... it probably is!
There are certain financial realities to buying and selling. Buyers will always be after the lowest price and sellers will always aim for the highest price.
So when something comes along that is at an extreme, like a seller advertising an unbelievable bargain or a buyer making an "over the top" offer ... then it is worth being more than a little suspicious.
Buying a Dirt Bike - Beware of the Ultra-Cheap
The saying "you get what you pay for" is generally true.
If some one is advertising a dirt bike for sale and it's really cheap, there is a high probability that the bike will have some major mechanical problems. These problems may not be apparent from just a casual examination of the bike.
Sometimes a really low price is advertised as "Owner Must Sell". The excuse will be that they are moving interstate, moving over-seas, or about to purchase a new bike ... and there will of course be times when this is true.
However if the advertised price is absurdly low, then it's just as likely that the bike is stolen, built up from stolen parts or is just totally stuffed. This is often just another example of creating a false sense of urgency.
There is another sales practice called "The Hook". This is where a seller will advertise a really low priced item which often turns out to be either a total piece of crap or doesn't even exist (they may tell you for example, that it's already been sold).
In reality, this ridiculously low advertised price was published just to get your attention and generate some initial interest. Once you've started making inquiries, they will try to up-sell you to a substantially more expensive item ... which of course ... they just happen to have available for sale (must be your lucky day). This is an old and fairly common used car sales technique, that is now also quite prevalent on the Internet.
Selling a Dirt Bike - Beware of the Over The Top Offer
WARNING: Just because you have listed your dirt bike with a reputable online advertiser or classifieds section does not mean you will be protected from Scammers.
If you are selling a dirt bike, you will generally be expecting a potential buyer to meet your price or offer a lower price than what you are asking for the dirt bike. Scammers sometimes make use of this by offering more than what the seller is asking for.
This little psychological game of making a substantially higher offer often throws the seller off balance as the endorphins kick in and they start thinking about how much financially better off they will be if they make this sale.
There will of course be conditions (read: strings attached) to such a deal. These conditions will generally include a very tight time-frame (the limited time offer again) and some kind of up-front commission or transport payment by the seller (that would be you).
And that of course is the scam right there. Unless of course they are also trying to get you to provide your Banking or PayPal account details for future identity fraud.
The Overpaid Cheque Scam is another one to look out for and is a variation of the above. This comes in two main flavours, but the buyer will generally be international.
In once instance the buyer sends you a cheque for substantially more than the requested purchase price and then asks you to transfer (via EFT, PayPal or Western Union) the difference to their shipping company (also overseas) to facilitate pickup and transport.
In another case the buyer sends you a cheque for more than the asking price, then apologises for their mistake and kindly asks that you to transfer the difference back into their nominated account.
Of course, in both situations their cheque is a dud (though it may take you up to six weeks to find that out) ... so there will never be a sale and you will lose any money you transferred to the scammer's account.
Even though some banks are on the lookout for these bogus cheques, don't count on the banks saving your bacon. The transaction and any losses you incur as a result of it, are your responsibility.
AVOID Offers that Appear Confused or Unclear
Confusion is another standard trick employed to distract both buyers and sellers alike. This will include emails written in a fuzzy or broken English that leave you guessing at exactly what the author is trying to say. Often the only things that readily make any sense are the dollar amounts mentioned.
These scam emails will generally never mention the item being sold by name, make or model. Always referring to the item for sale as "it".
This way they can use the same stupid email for just about anything.
Scam emails will usually also contain no meaningful contact information (and if there are contact details, they will almost certainly be fake). And you won't be given contact information even if you ask. There will always be a list of interesting excuses for why they can't be reached. Emails like this form the basis of many internet scams.
How To Check for Scams
By their very nature, scams are targeted at the masses and essentially work on percentages. Even if only one person in every few hundred gets successfully scammed, it still amounts to a tidy income (possibly several thousand dollars a time) for very little work by the scammer.
Scams work very simply because there is always some one silly or greedy enough to fall for the deception.
Though the Internet has added yet another dimension to the landscape of scams, it also provides the simplest and best mechanism to avoid them. Taking just a few minutes to do a reasonably thorough online search (or reading an article like this one) can save you from a world of grief and substantial financial loss.
Here's an example:
While my brother was selling his
KXF450, a dude emailed him with an offer. The email was from a Bill Owen (firstname.lastname@example.org). A simple online search (Google) of the email address revealed it to be a scam.
There are quite a few web sites dedicated to exposing scams of all sorts. Just do a search on "online scams" or visit the Australian government's SCAMwatch web site to get started.
There is no end to human ingenuity when it comes to getting something for nothing.
Your financial resources and the security of your identity are your responsibility.