Selling in safety

Last week we offered you some suggestions on making sure the bike you buy is the real deal and you are not being conned by fraudsters. Here we look at the other side of the sales equation: how can you make sure you sell your bike securely?

One day, you’ll have to hand over the keys to your motorbike, scooter or moped to a new owner what if you are selling a bike? If the first rule of bike buying is always take it for a test ride, how can you prevent a ‘would-be buyer’ who’s a crook from riding off on your bike into the sunset while on a test?

The first idea, take the bike round to their house for the sale. Check it is their address: be suspicious if they are waiting outside for you. Ask for proof of address, on a bill or letter. It may sound over the top but this person is a stranger to you; check they are who they say they are.

Before any test ride starts take a photo of their driver’s licence before they set off. Make sure to take a good look at their licence before taking a picture to ensure it is theirs. Take pictures of your bike, too; it could help in tracking it down later. You could also think about fitting a bike tracker, too.

Investigate the buyer. See if they have a social media profile through which you can check up on them.

It’s also advisable to have collateral against the buyer during a test, such as holding the full asking price in cash. If that’s not an option, insist on a deposit or other collateral. If they’ve driven to your house, ask for their bike or car keys – but remember, if they are crooked enough to steal your bike, they may have previously stolen the bike or car they’ve turned up in.

Another good tip is to make sure you have a friend with you to corroborate your story if things go awry. They can be a witness during the situation in case things go south for whatever reason.

Before the test ride tell the potential buyer how long they can ride it for – 10 minutes should be enough. Ask what route they will use. Another good idea is to let them ride the bike with a virtually empty petrol tank; they won’t be able to get too far and will have to stop to fill up, which may help the police catch them.

Finally, the simplest move would be to follow them while on their test ride, in your car or on another bike – or get a friend to do it for you. Just tell them what you’re going to do – a real biker will understand.

Getting your motorcycle stolen during test rides while your selling is a common worry. Even if you take all the proper safety precautions, there’s no guarantee of what people will do. Insurance should reimburse you what your motorcycle was worth if it was stolen by a potential rider, even if you initially consented to let them take it for a ride.

Finally, a word on payment. While holding the cash while they take a test ride is one way to ensure nothing funny goes on, remember that makes you vulnerable to a later crime, so be careful. If you are handling a lot of cash for the transaction, have someone with you. It’s better to ask for the money to be transferred straight to your bank account. It’s quick and easy, and the money should be moved over in the time it takes to tell the bike’s new owner all your best stories of times on the bike.

Never accept a cheque, and don’t listen to any excuses about the ‘money’s been delayed’ – it’s a scam.

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