Your bike is up for sale and someone comes along and offers you more money than you’re asking, would you be pleased or would you smell a big rat?
Your natural reaction may well be to rub your hands and say, ‘my lucky day has come.’
But what if the prospective buyer hasn’t even seen the bike in the flesh? Would you still be as trusting? What follows is a true story and the subject of it is a friend of mine called John. He lives in Co Antrim.
Now John had decided on a change of machines and in order to get the best deal he decided to sell his BMW R1150RS privately so as to put himself in a stronger position when bargaining with a dealer.
He advertised in a well known specialist magazine and soon got an email from a potential buyer who said he would give the asking price plus an extra £100 just to ensure that John didn’t sell to anyone else.
One read of the email was enough to alert John that the offer was a scam and I’m going to reproduce it in full, grammatical warts, spellings and all, to prevent anyone from being conned. (Note to sub, please do not change any mistakes in email)
‘I saw the advert of your bike which is for sale. I am okay with the conditions of the bike and I am ready to buy from your. I am based in Dublin, Ireland, but at the moment am engaged in a lot of things to come for the viewing of the bike.
‘Am okay with your price and am ready to give you extra’s of £100 extra for securing of the bike so it would not be sold to another buyer and for you to know how commited I am in buying from you.
‘I will like you to know that I can’t come for the viewing of the bike as earlier stated cause I’m very busy at work right now but with what I saw on the advert I am satisfied.
I will like you to send me some pictures of the present look of the bike. I love this particular model. I will be very happy if the bike is mine.
‘I will also want you to know I will be paying you with a banker’s draft, the amount on this draft will be more than the price of your bike (overpayment). The excess fund on the draft will be for my agent for pickup of the bike and some of my other items I already bhought inside and outside UK.
‘Once you have funds cleared in to your account you will deduct your total money plus the extra’s from the funds and wire the excess to my agent for pickup so that they can proceed with the necessary paperwork and arrange with you a convinient date and time for pickup.
‘If this is okay by you, you will have to get back to me with some necessary information which will be needed for this transaction to proceed. The information is as follows; your full name, your full address with postcode, your telephone numbers both office and mobile/home numbers.
‘N:B the name you give will be the name you will see on the cheque and it will be sent to the address you mail to me. Your phone number is for time to time contact. Also if any buyer contact you about this particular bike, please tell them it’s already been sold cause am ready to make payment as soon as I get thoes details needed from you.
‘I am looking forward to a happy transaction. Hoping to hear from you soon.’
This email should scream scam, scam, scam. Yet I read in the bike press from time to time about people who have been taken in by similar emails or phone calls. I see at least four ways by which the ‘buyer’ would attempt to prise money from the seller or steal the bike.
My friend John immediately recognised it for what it was. Interestingly, he also received a few more in similar vein. I suspect that the writer is east European who occasionally strikes lucky with a very naïve seller.
Remember you’re likely only to be offered more for your bike if it falls into an exclusive category of machine like Honda’s RC30, a Brough Superior, or a Vincent. And in today’s money strapped times, even monied people don’t have as much money as before.
There’s another side to this scam. A conman advertises a bike for sale, well below its market value. And are there people taken in? Of course there are. They get so excited at the thought of snatching a bargain that they leave their brains in neutral. The conman gets their money but they get don’t get the bike.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. You’ve worked and saved hard for your cash and your bike: don’t throw them away.
Next week: Yamaha’s new Super Tenere: GS beater or an also ran?