Selling can be stressful, worrying that you got the advert right, the price right etc, and then comes the time when the phone rings and someone wants to see your bike. What to do!
The main thing is to stay safe and stay in control. While the vast majority of people are honest and trustworthy the sad fact of life is that there is a criminal element out there – and while you want to nail that sale you need to do all you can to protect yourself against thieves and fraudsters.
Thieves can pose as potential buyers. When someone rings or emails DO NOT give out any other your personal details (apart from your name and address) or identification details of the bike as fraudsters can make clone documents. If they’re a genuine buyer, they will simply want to see the bike.
When a respondent calls to make an appointment, make sure you get a name, address and telephone number. You can then call them back to be certain that they are who they say they are and arrange to meet, most preferably in daylight.
We would advise you meet at your address and – despite what some people suggest – not at a service station or car park. Note the registration of the vehicle in which they arrive. It is also a great idea to have a friend or family member with you at all times. If there are documents with the bike then do not let them make copies or take photos of them.
Have the bike ready to inspect but try not to let strangers into your garage or see your security systems. Tell them the bike is not normally kept at home but at a secure location. If they are up to no good you don’t want them or their mates returning to acquire the bike without paying!
Do not hand over the bike until you have been paid and the money secured. Make sure that funds have cleared and that the money is in your account or in your hand. If the ‘buyer’ tries to rush you into handing over the bike, insisting that a cheque is fine or before you can count or inspect banknotes – don’t let them. Stay in control!
Cash has always been king but beware of forged bank notes. If the buyer insists on a cash sale, both of you go to your bank and pay it into your account before handing over the bike – your friend can stay with the bike.
These days an electronic money transfer is both quick, simple and secure and again you can do this at your bank or at the buyer’s bank. There are of course other safe ways of payment such as PayPal but not everyone has an account or wishes to pay the commission.
Do not just accept a cheque and hand over the bike and do not get involved in any third party payments or part payments. There are scammers out there who ask for your bank details so that “a mate who owes them money” will pay the balance. Just say no.
Finally, prepare a simple written sales agreement “bike sold as seen” (receipt) that both you and the buyer sign and date.
As we said, the vast majority of people out there are honest enthusiasts simply looking for a good bike at a good price. Just take care – and sell that bike!