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Classic Cycles & Parts 1900-1986

Buyer & Seller Tips

Buyer & Seller Tips

Tips For Buying & Selling Classic Motorcycles:
The internet offers some great opportunities to buy and sell classic motorcycles & parts that may not be available locally. Classic motorcycles and parts are sold and shipped around the world all the time and in most cases buyers and sellers are quite happy with the experience. However there are scammers out there trying to steal from honest people so do your research on how to avoid getting ripped off.


Get to know the buyer or seller by speaking with them over the phone. Do not conduct the entire transaction by email or text messaging. Ask lots of questions. Do not conduct business with someone who will not provide their phone number or allow you to call them. If the buyer or seller makes any unusual requests or if anything makes you uncomfortable don’t deal with this person.


Be extremely careful accepting checks. Never release your motorcycle or title until you are absolutely sure that the check has cleared the issuing bank. Get real confirmation from the bank that the check has cleared and that the check is not fake (this usually takes about 2-3 weeks – consult with your bank)! Scammers have gotten good at creating fake or forged cashiers checks and money orders. Never accept money orders. FakeChecks.org


If the buyer overpays you with a check and asks you to refund by wire the over-payment, its probably a scam. There is no legitimate reason why anyone would give you a check or money order and ask you to wire money anywhere in return! Never accept payment plans. If something sounds too good to be true its probably a scam. Please read our SCAM ALERT page.


If you accept PayPal login to your account and make sure the funds are there. Don’t be scammed by a fake email or fake receipt that says you have received money.


Some sellers accept Electronic Wire Transfer. The seller must provide their bank routing number and account number to receive an Electronic Wire Transfer. Although this is the same information that is on every check that you have ever written be certain that you feel comfortable providing this information. If it is an international transfer you will also have to provide your banks Swift Code. An ACH Transfer is different than an Electronic Wire Transfer. Research your options and ask for professional advice when sending or receiving any form of payment.


An Escrow service works as a trusted third party that holds the funds in escrow while the seller or shipper completes the logistics of the deal. The buyer and seller agree on the terms, the buyer transfers the funds to the escrow service, when the buyer receives the motorcycle the escrow service releases the funds to the seller. This is generally considered a safe option in the exchange of a high dollar classic motorcycle however beware there are scammers that pose as escrow service providers. Also, don’t fall for a scam buyer that has set up a fraudulent escrow service. There are plenty of A+ rated escrow service companies listed at the Better Business Bureau, do your research.


If the sale is to be a cash transaction in a considerable amount, sometimes the two parties meet at a bank. The bank has a machine to count the bills and the seller can make the deposit right then and there.


Seller, do not release your classic motorcycle, title, or keys until you are absolutely sure the payment has cleared. Seller, do not release your motorcycle to the shipper without first receiving a Bill of Laden and condition report from the driver. If the bike is being shipped overseas the shipper will most likely require the seller to initially email a copy front and back of the title and Bill of Sale and then expedite by courier the original documents with tracking, the export shipper has to have these documents for Customs. Seller, do not send any of this until you are completely satisfied that the payment has cleared.


Pre-Purchase Inspection
In the case where the buyer is not able to personally inspect a classic motorcycle the buyer can hire someone that has experience and knowledge with classic motorcycles to take a look. If it is for real the seller should have no issue with this.


Test Drive
Some things to consider: Does the buyer really know how to operate a motorcycle without tearing it up or getting hurt? Is he going to come back or just keep going? Is the bike insured and registered? Is this guy just kicking tires and joy riding? Some sellers allow a test drive but require the cash in hand first. Some sellers prefer to demonstrate that the bike performs as described.


A Message to Sellers: Please be honest and list your classic motorcycles and parts accurately. Classic motorcycles are a great hobby and business, please do your part and represent your items accurately.


Things that help close the deal: Use a lot of good quality photos in your listing. Some buyers want to see a photo of the frame and engine VIN numbers as well. A video of the bike in operation is helpful too. Include a well written description of your bike, don’t be vague. Describe the condition of the bike; original, restored, good for project or parts, how well it runs and performs or not, if the motor is stuck or free, etc.


A Message to Buyers: Do plenty of research on the type of classic motorcycle that you are buying. Educate yourself on the make, model, year, VIN numbers and value of the bike you are interested in.




Please read our SCAM ALERT page.


Please notify us immediately if you suspect a buyer or seller is not legitimate or a listing on our website is a scam. If we determine that it is a scam we will end the listing, block the scammer from listing on our website and we will notify the authorities.


Please notify us and the proper authorities if you have been scammed:


Contact Hopson & Taylor at: vintage.bikes@hotmail.com

Contact your local authorities, the FBI and the FTC.

FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center

FTC Complaint Assistant

FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)


Here are some more tips:

FTC Tips

Better Business Bureau