The johnnyclayton Unofficial & Personal Ten Point guide how to spot a fraudulent or Scam Motorcycle Auction
I have written this guide to help the interested people looking to purchase a motorcycle on eBay avoid some of the scam auctions which ruin the great eBay experience not only for themselves but for those who trade here regularly.
1) UKP or UK Pounds
Most foreign keyboards do not have the £ symbol on them. So the people listing these fake auction have to enter the price they want in as UKP or UK Pounds. They also sometimes list UK sterling, but the main reason they say “pounds” is that is sounds more English.
2) Silly Cheap Prices
IE a £10,000 bike up for sale for £3000. Someone would have to be seriously skint to take a hit that big on a bike. The example I think best serves this is when I saw an Honda CBR1000RRR up for sale for £3000 when they had only just come out in this country and hard to get your hands on. If it sounds to good to be true, it is almost certainly not true.
3) Technical Spec Details
When the bikes description looks like nothing more than technical specification which has been pulled from a manufacturers website. This means the scammer doesn’t have a clue what he / she is selling so they simply copy & paste all the bikes spec’s from the manufacturor's website or the first available website they come across.
4) No UK Number Plate, or Foreign Number Plate
When you look at the pictures of the bike it has no number plate or a foreign number plate. The scammers do this because they don’t have a UK number plate or know how our numbering system works in the UK. No number plate isn’t always an indicator, but tied in with other “markers” it will be another give-away.
5) Silly Low Miles
A bit like the silly cheap prices. How often do you see a bike up for sale with only 130 miles on it? Answer, usually not, and if you do, it will almost certainly be from a bike shop. To me this gives the impression that the scammer has taken a demonstrator bike from thier local shop to take the pictures of that bike, not a bike that actually belongs to them.
6) Wants Payment by Western Union Only
In the item description they will offer PayPal & other forms of Payment, but when it comes down to it they only want payment by Western Union. Western Union is an untraceable payment option abused by scammers so much that eBay UK have now banned this as a payment option. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER send payment to anyone using Western Union money transfer.
7) Crated & Ready to Ship
If you see pictures of a lovely bike, and the seller states that the bike is crated and ready to ship anywhere in the world for a super cheap price. If the bike is advertised like this, then there isn’t a bike to be brought. I had one where the chap said he was in Germany, I said I wanted to fly out and ride the bike back. He soon stopped emailing me.
8) The seller has Zero Feedback, or feedback indicating the seller has only ever purchased items on eBay.
This is a bit of a dodgy one as you often get genuine sellers with zero feedback trying to sell their bike. But taken in context with other markers then be very wary.
In other cases there are seller which appears to have oodles of feedback, say 272. But if you check their feedback you will find that they have only bought, say, porcelain dolls, there is a reasonable chance that the original persons eBay account has been hacked, it does happens occasionally. In the cases of zero feedback or “doesn’t look right feedback” ASQ the seller and ask if you can come and look at the bike, or a phone number to talk to them about the bike. This has pretty quickly decided for me if the seller is genuine or not.
9) The Sellers Location looks downright dodgy
IE the seller puts Canterbury, London. The reason for this is there are not many scammers who have been to England so their geography of this country is a little vague and they are quoting place names which are well known outside of the UK.
10) Incidental Markers
When you look at the pictures there are no kerbs, in the UK we have kerbs at our roadsides. There are foreign number plates on cars/trucks in the backgrounds. Other Non-UK items in the pictures IE fire hydrants. There is poor spelling in the listing/auction details. Etc.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive but a quick checklist / guide on what to be wary of. I’m sure many of you have heard about the chap who went to buy a Harley and got ripped off for many thousands of pounds. If he had followed some very simple and basic precautionary measures I am positive he would still have his money today, or his desired Harley!
None of the ten points that I have offered is conclusive proof, and taken individually I am sure that in all ten points there are genuine reasons for why that might be the case. However in most cases of scam auctions there has been more than one marker.
Remember the scammers are as clever as clever can be, so what makes them easy to spot today, might not be the case next week. They too can read this guide and “improve” their auction accordingly!