Top 5 Pitfalls of Buying a Motorcycle Online
There are many advantages to purchasing a motorcycle online. For example, you can compare prices at various different locations before making your decision. There are also a lot more available options online than at a dealership. And finally, you can negotiate with private sellers and purchase a bike for much less than its value. But buying a motorcycle online also comes with its pitfalls.
The following is a list of five common problems people face when purchasing a motorcycle online along with ways to avoid them and the solutions that CycleCrunch provides to prevent these pitfalls from interfering with your experience on our website.
1. The internet is full of scammers.
When communicating through a computer screen, you can never be 100% certain that you are speaking to an earnest person, especially when it comes to purchasing a high ticket item like a motorcycle. This can be intimidating to people who aren’t used to making online purchases.
There are a few tell-tale signs that the person on the other end is a scammer. The first is that they refuse to speak to you directly over the phone. If they insist on texting or sending emails, that is typically not a good sign. They will also recommend that you pay using methods like PayPal, Western Union or a money order because these types of payments can’t be reimbursed once the transaction is made. Another way to sniff them out is by asking to see the bike in person. If the seller makes excuses, then they’re most likely a scammer.
Getting scammed sucks, so we do our best to vet every listing available on our website. Every listing created on CycleCrunch is confirmed by a member of our customer support team within 24 hours of being created. Our team is also available from 9am-5pm ET Monday through Friday to answer any questions a buyer may have. If there appears to be a problem, we can call the seller for you and also advise you in what to do in various situations.
2. Payment methods aren’t secure.
Online transactions can be intimidating because they usually require exchanging personal information and the obvious, sending money to someone with only their word that a motorcycle will be sent to you.
When purchasing a motorcycle from a private seller online, we recommend using escrow.com. The first step is to begin a transaction on their website. Once registered at escrow.com, both parties agree to the terms of the transaction. The buyer then pays escrow.com, who then verifies the payment. Once the funds are validated and secured, the seller is notified and can ship the bike. When the buyer receives the bike, they accept the merchandise online and the funds are released to the seller. This process ensures that both parties are protected. If you don’t want to go through this process, you can always request that the buyer send a check, but don’t deposit the check to your checking account right away. Instead, have your bank create a new account and validate that the check is not fraudulent.
3. Shipping arrangements get complicated.
There is no instant gratification when purchasing a motorcycle online. Depending on where the bike is being shipped from, it may take up to a month to receive the bike. That could be a long time to wait for a motorcycle considering the amount of money you’ve just paid for it.
The first step to avoiding this problem is to choose a reputable shipping company. On CycleCrunch, there are a few shipping companies that we recommend: Haul Bikes, UShip and Keyboard Motorcycle Shipping. These companies offer quality service for fairly affordable prices. A main reason we recommend these companies specifically is that they know how to properly store motorcycles so that there are no damages to the bike during the long journey to your front door.
4. Pictures and descriptions can be misleading.
Many online sellers aren’t the best picture takers. If you are browsing for motorcycles, you will most likely skip over listings with poor quality photos. Or maybe you’ll take a chance because it is the make and model you’ve been searching for. Even if a seller posts quality photos, they are ultimately in control of what angles of the bike are photographed and they can omit certain details of nicks and scratches on their motorcycle.
Even if you are purchasing a motorcycle online, it is highly recommended that you visit the bike in person before making payments. In addition to getting a good look at the bike, you may be able to test ride it, or at the very least have is started up or checked by a local dealership. If you are unable to visit the bike in person, you can always request more photos of the bike, specifically from angles that aren’t provided by the seller. It is also recommended to request photos with a high resolution so that minute details are visible. On CycleCrunch, our sellers are able to upload an unlimited amount of photos and a video to their listing. Many take advantage of this feature and post many photos. We also encourage sellers to post the best quality photos possible and work with the sellers to upload them to our website. Sellers are also able to leave very detailed descriptions of their bikes. However, some choose to be more descriptive than others.
5. Communication can be hard to manage.
When you are dealing with a seller online, communication is limited to email, direct messaging, or phone calls. Communicating can be made difficult due to different time zones, preferred communication methods and schedules. Also, how can you ensure that the seller received your message or that they will respond quickly?
A serious seller will make the time to talk to you. Private sellers who list on CycleCrunch have the choice to display their personal phone number, purchase an anonymous number, or display no phone number. If there is no number provided, the seller can be contacted at the bottom of the page by sending the seller a message through the website. Messages that are sent through the website or by an assigned anonymous number are monitored for spam by a member of our customer support team. Once the message is approved, it is sent to the seller by email. They can also access their messages by logging into their account on our website. By monitoring messages, we are ensuring that your messages aren’t buried under spam. It also leaves a paper trail. So if the seller says they haven’t seen the message or that they were unable to access it, we can assess the message for them and get you in contact with the seller as soon as possible.
Hopefully the idea of purchasing a bike online is a lot less intimidating now that you know what to look out for. You can get started by checking out all of the available motorcycle for sale on CycleCrunch.