Buyer’s & Seller’s Safety Guide
The first step in buying or selling through an online classified advert is to confirm that the bike, buyer and seller are legitimate. Yes, all 3!
Scammers use all sorts of tricks that almost always seem to be 'too good to be true'. If it sounds too good to be true, then it will be.
Read our recommendations below before buying or selling a motorcycle online, one on one. Alternately arrange for the exchange of money and bike to be made by a professional third party.
Buyers can consider a pre-sale inspection or use one of the motorbike transport companies that offer a hand-over service, which ensures that both the bike and money are exchanged fairly.
The Golden Rule with any purchase – whether you’re buying or selling, is to use common sense and never take anything at face value.
We recommend the following…
Verify the Buyer and Seller:
Contact the person "by phone" not just email. At least one call should be a landline phone (not mobile). If you are unable to talk directly with the seller you should be 'very' wary.
Bikes sold on BikeNut are restricted to Australian residents only. We do this by blocking IP access to our forms. If you discover the seller is overseas, then you know something is not right. Any excuse for why they refuse to talk should be treated as very suspicious.
Verify the Vehicle
Only buy a vehicle that you can personally inspect before hand. Any legitimate vehicle seller would welcome an inspection if it increases the chances of selling it.
If the seller is interstate, ask for recent photos of the vehicle, or even photos of a specific part. Check the photos with any that were originally posted with the advertisement to see that they’re one and the same.
Although it’s best to purchase only from sellers in your area, if the seller of what you’re after is interstate, try to arrange for someone you know in the seller’s area to inspect the vehicle.
Even if this isn’t possible, ask the seller if this would be an option once you’ve contacted an associate. If the seller or vehicle isn’t genuine, they’ll most likely offer a number of excuses as to why you can’t see the vehicle before payment is made. Again, you know something is NQR!
NEVER purchase anything before verifying that you’ll get what you paid for.
Avoid buying anything that you cannot pick up in person. If possible, arrange for a friend or someone you trust to get the item for you and also pay for it at the same time.
Ask for proof that the seller is the legal owner of the vehicle. Proof of Ownership can include the Vehicle Title, Registration details, and the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
If you do purchase a vehicle that turns out to be stolen, you can be held accountable unless you can prove that you took reasonable effort to ensure that the seller was the rightful owner.
Verify the Advertisement
Although we do check ads, pay close attention to detail! Read the advertisement carefully and check that area codes for contact phone numbers match up to the address given within the advertisement.
Question the Price
Ask yourself if the price is reasonable or realistic. If the price seems overly low or high then it’s starting to ring alarm bells. Many scam artists will either try to make a quick snatch at your money by offering a high sale-price, hoping they’ll draw in at least one victim.
Or they may play the percentages, offering a ridiculously low sale price in order to draw interest from many buyers.
Regardless of what’s on offer or how much it costs, you should always try to learn everything you can about who you’re dealing with.
The safest means of purchasing a vehicle and ensuring you get what you paid for is to have the process handled by a professional third party. There are many companies operating nationwide that offer pre-sale inspection and reports for potential buyers.
You’ll also find companies that can offer a hand-over service – ensuring that both the vehicle and the money are exchanged fairly. For Companies that can help in offering secure methods of transportation, payment and pre-purchase inspections please visit – Motorcycle Pre Purchase Inspections
Avoid payments that are made by Telegraphic or Wire Transfer, money order or bank cheque. Never accept any request for payment to be made by Western Union. Cash On Delivery is ideally the best method of purchase.
Protecti - Safe Payment ServiceWe recommend trying Protecti for the payment handover, they offer a service that protects both the buyer and seller when purchasing a motorcycle. Protecti holds the payment in trust until the transaction is completed.
Do NOT accept cheques that are over the agreed price of the purchase.
A common scam that can occur through auctions and classifieds is that the “buyer” will send a overpaid cheque – a payment of more than the agreed upon amount.
They then request that you fix the mistake by sending the difference in cost back to them, usually via wire transfer, Western Union or other means that are untraceable at their end.
Do not cash the cheque and do not send any money to anyone making this request! Chances are the cheque will bounce and you’ll be left out of pocket for both the difference that you’ve wired to them and the transaction fees for the failed cheque.
The banks will hold you alone accountable for the cheques or money orders that you deposit.
Timex Construction Inc UK
Just to let you know I have been contacted by Timex Construction Inc UK saying they will buy my bike and give me more money than asked for..
My partner googled it and it is a SCAM. thought you would like to let your other sellers know this bit of information. Just google Timex Motorbike Scams and it was a few pages into the list. Very dodgy. Tell your sellers. I will be contacting authorities to advise them of the scam.
PayPal & Western Union Scam
I have received an offer for my bike and they have requested my PayPal details. I then got a fake PayPal payment advice, requesting I send an extra payment the buyer had added in - for insurance & pick up, saying that full amount of $6,500 would be released once payment of $750 was sent to Western Union.
Scam Resources & Articles