I cannot stress too much how absolutely essential it is to fully check any vehicle before you part with your money. For example, there is currently a motorcycle listed similar to the one above which I believe to be a Category 'D' write off because I was offered this vehicle privately and told this was so and there is physical evidence to back this up.
1. If possible, go to see the vehicle and always ask if the vehicle has ever been damaged, written off or has finance owing (I ALWAYS get a VRM or HPI report on any vehicle I purchase-even from a dealer)
2. Make sure the keeper(not necessarily the owner) has their name and address on a complete (not just the 'green slip' or a photocopy) log book V5C and make sure all the numbers correspond to those on the vehicle ID plates.
3. I'm selling it for a friend/relative/I took it in part ex/I lost me license etc. are all part of the usual patter of the dodgy dealer. It may be true but why take it on face value?
4. If you don't know what you are looking at then take someone with you who does or get a professional check done. Shiny bike/car syndrome has been the undoing of many a punter, you need a dispassionate eye to put a potential purchase into perspective.
5. Avoid meeting halfway to view a vehicle, how would you know if the address matches on the log book?
6. If the seller does not have any service history/mot's or it is incomplete how can the mileage and mechanical condition be verified?
These are just a few of the most basic rules. I've been buying and selling cars and bikes for years and I still get that deadly buying fever .