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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi forum -- after seeing all of the scams reported, I want to avoid potential problems in my next purchase, so want advice on how best to avoid pitfalls.

Scenario is this: I have found a used bike from on the MTB classifieds I am interested in purchasing from a guy in california. I am in Maryland, and he has sent 1 photo of the bike, which looks good.

So, my questions to you -- wise people in the forums -- include:

What additional questions should I ask him ab out the bike?
what is the best method of payment?
What is the best way to ship it?
Do I use anything like escrow?
anything else that I should know?

Thanks,

Garrett
 

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Cod

COD is the safest method. However it will cost you more.

NEVER USE WESTERN UNION and don't use any escrow company that a seller suggest.

Talk to them on the phone. Most scammers will not do this and at least you will know they are here in the states.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks! Have others...? Please post them.

Thanks -- this is good information. I was relieved to see that someone had some recommendations, as I was getting worried that no-one would offer any. Any other suggestions from people in the forums?

Thanks again

G
 

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probably too late now...

but ask for photos of specific bits of the bike. If they have to take fresh photos - it proves they have the product in their possession.

- Joel
 

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As a Seller:

I would be happy to give a Buyer a specific photo of the bike or part.

Give a specific measurement off the bike.

Take a phone call (done that for first time buyers to help them with nerves and address sizing issues as best you can over the phone).

Use Paypal (Buyer Protection available).

Give tracking numbers (watch for fakes though).

However, I would never do a COD and would never sell to someone who requested one. Western Union or Escrows (way too many fakes) gets the kibosh as well.

- Try to buy from a repeat seller, someone with good feedback here or someone with a long posting history in the forums. Ebay is another good option as there as several good sellers there who always have affordable bikes for sale and you can check the feedback to see how many bikes they have sold.

- read the list of common scams, as most scammers are cut and paste types. Also look for bikes within driving distance and pick them up. Or email and ask if you can see the bike in person or pick it up with cash. I sold my last mountain bike to a nice buyer who came down from the D.C. area with cash (saves me the hassle of packing it too).

Happy buying!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
good protocol?

Thanks for the advice... here is what I am thinking is a good protocol for my purchase of a bike across the country (at least I think so).

1. chat on phone
2. have the bike packed by a bike shop (speak with bike shop if possible)
3. pay him using paypal
4. have the bike shipped using UPS? USPS? or another (what shipping company is cheapest for bike box?) with a tracking number, and insurance
5. make sure to get the serial number and check with bike builders to confirm
6. schedule pick up from the probike shop where the bike is packed
7. get shipping code
8. even if I am not religious pray. ;-)

Am I forgetting anything?

Thanks for any additional useful advice... I want to minimize hassle for him and me, so that both of us are comfortable with the sale/purchase.

Garrett
 

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gmehl said:
Thanks for the advice... here is what I am thinking is a good protocol for my purchase of a bike across the country (at least I think so).

1. chat on phone
2. have the bike packed by a bike shop (speak with bike shop if possible)
3. pay him using paypal
4. have the bike shipped using UPS? USPS? or another (what shipping company is cheapest for bike box?) with a tracking number, and insurance
5. make sure to get the serial number and check with bike builders to confirm
6. schedule pick up from the probike shop where the bike is packed
7. get shipping code
8. even if I am not religious pray. ;-)

Am I forgetting anything?

Thanks for any additional useful advice... I want to minimize hassle for him and me, so that both of us are comfortable with the sale/purchase.

Garrett

Garrett,

Sounds like you are on your way. Plenty of bikes are sold every day from the classifieds and Ebay. Last two years I have sold 5 bikes that way myself, and bought plenty of stuff.

Don't forget:

1. Research the seller. Run a google search on their name. Check their feedback closely for an Ebay sale- have they sold bike stuff before?

2. Make sure the bike is shipped with insurance (UPS has been know to crush a few bikes).

3. Chat on the phone, ask for a measurement (such as the head tube).

4. If it makes you really nervous, only go with well proven Ebay sellers (long feedback histroy of bike item sales) or known Classifieds Sellers. Also, RBR favorites like GVH Bikes (sponsor of several RBR charity bikes for the Lance Armstrong Live Strong Charity) sell bikes at pretty darn good prices and impeccable feedback without any of the risk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks

Thanks again Coolhand -- really helpful to have your advice.

I'll be buying from the MTB review classifieds. Pictures of the bike appear genuine and I'll be chatting with him later to ensure that everything seems appropriate.

UPS insurance -- good idea.

Thanks again. I'll let you know how it goes.

Garrett

Coolhand said:
Garrett,

Sounds like you are on your way. Plenty of bikes are sold every day from the classifieds and Ebay. Last two years I have sold 5 bikes that way myself, and bought plenty of stuff.

Don't forget:

1. Research the seller. Run a google search on their name. Check their feedback closely for an Ebay sale- have they sold bike stuff before?

2. Make sure the bike is shipped with insurance (UPS has been know to crush a few bikes).

3. Chat on the phone, ask for a measurement (such as the head tube).

4. If it makes you really nervous, only go with well proven Ebay sellers (long feedback histroy of bike item sales) or known Classifieds Sellers. Also, RBR favorites like GVH Bikes (sponsor of several RBR charity bikes for the Lance Armstrong Live Strong Charity) sell bikes at pretty darn good prices and impeccable feedback without any of the risk.
 

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I need an opinion as to a sale

Hey guys,

I'm a long time RBR trader. I just had an interesting transaction fall through and I'm interested in what you all think. I feel guilt for allowing it to fall through but felt protecting myself comes first. Here's what happened...

I put an ad up and started talking to an interested party first through email and then over the phone. We spoke consistently 3-4 days straight and finally came to a deal. I email him final detail and requested a money order as this is normal protocal for a transaction.
So I received a check in the mail and it was a personal check. I talk with him about it and asked him if he wanted the bike to go out immediately that day to cancel the check and wire the money. Otherwise, I could wait for the check to clear and then send it. He just ended up cancelling the check immediately and said that we could write up a buyers agreement and each have a copy and then he would wire money. I just called off the sale because it was getting a little too complicated. Should I have just sent the bike off that day and taken my chances with the personal check? All the other transaction I've had I just receive payment and then send it out? Any opinions

Thanks,
Carrie
 

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Wait for check to clear!

I'm a buyer not a seller but every add I've seen or deal I've done involving a personal check the seller waits for the check to clear (up to 10 days) before sending the product.
If he was not willing to wait he should have sent you a USPS money order. I'm not clear as to the extent, but I'm under the impression that a USPS Money order provides some legal protection for both parties.

However, it sounds like you used the deal killer word "wire". Under no circumstance would I deal with someone via a "wire".

Sending someone you don't know money or a product is a scary thing. I will be sending a $700.00 check out Monday. Even though I feel I have done enough to verify he is a legit seller I will not feel at ease until the bike arrives and I take it out of the box.

Good Luck
 

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The reason people prefer USPS Money Orders is.....

because they are the most difficult to fake. They use a multi-colored background, and guess what? Thay all look the same, no matter where in the country they are purchased. Most bank MOs are much plainer and simpler, and are easier to fake.
 

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Re:

Yeah, I always hate using the "wire" word but he wanted me to send the bike immediately with just a personal check in hand. I can't remember if I wrote this in my forum post but I had emailed him asking for a money order but I guess he decided to ignore that email. Although I'm a very trusting internet seller, that made me a little weary. I gave the wire as an option if he did want the bike to go out right away. Thanks for the reply Lifelover, it's much appreciated.
 

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Why not COD?

Hello,

I am curious. Why should COD not be used? It's cheaper than escrow.



Coolhand said:
As a Seller:

I would be happy to give a Buyer a specific photo of the bike or part.

Give a specific measurement off the bike.

Take a phone call (done that for first time buyers to help them with nerves and address sizing issues as best you can over the phone).

Use Paypal (Buyer Protection available).

Give tracking numbers (watch for fakes though).

However, I would never do a COD and would never sell to someone who requested one. Western Union or Escrows (way too many fakes) gets the kibosh as well.

- Try to buy from a repeat seller, someone with good feedback here or someone with a long posting history in the forums. Ebay is another good option as there as several good sellers there who always have affordable bikes for sale and you can check the feedback to see how many bikes they have sold.

- read the list of common scams, as most scammers are cut and paste types. Also look for bikes within driving distance and pick them up. Or email and ask if you can see the bike in person or pick it up with cash. I sold my last mountain bike to a nice buyer who came down from the D.C. area with cash (saves me the hassle of packing it too).

Happy buying!
 

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No funds = no shipment. No exceptions. COD is certainly not foolproof. Also, phony "escrow" services modeled after real ones are a major scammer trick. I will do phone calls at work and home. I will do photos of any part you want. I will measure the bike. You can search my handle here for the 7+ bikes I have sold and review my Ebay feedback too.

But at a certain point I draw the line. All "escrow" requests get deleted without comment from me, as they are almost always scams. No one has every asked to do a COD, and if they did I would simply refuse and direct them to Paypal's buyer security features. I always use my local bike shop to professionally pack and ship the bike so there is always a thrid party they can pay to inspect the bike if they want.
 

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I checked a few courier's COD policies and confirmed what you said. So, aside from no-name escrow services, would using Escrow.com be a safe escrow transaction? They are a well established and reputable company.
 

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COD's

bigkidneys said:
Here is another way to check if they are legit. www.zabasearch.com. Pretty scary how much it can pull up about someone. Thay have addresses about me when i was a kid!

J
I thought that with a COD the buyer sees the delivery (bike in box) before he hands over a check, money order or whatever. the delivery service is responsible for accepting the check. the seller is at risk in this scenereo. paypal will only provide buyer protection on eBay transactions. i can not find a link on the paypal site that protects any other confiquired deal, even between two paypal verified buyers if it's not through eBay. i recently killed a "too good to be true" deal after seller wanted me to wire money after i recieved e-mail from shipping company and then they would deliver bike. i don't think COD is a bad idea. it removes some of the "trust me" element.
 

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cmg said:
I thought that with a COD the buyer sees the delivery (bike in box) before he hands over a check, money order or whatever. the delivery service is responsible for accepting the check. the seller is at risk in this scenereo. paypal will only provide buyer protection on eBay transactions. i can not find a link on the paypal site that protects any other confiquired deal, even between two paypal verified buyers if it's not through eBay. i recently killed a "too good to be true" deal after seller wanted me to wire money after i recieved e-mail from shipping company and then they would deliver bike. i don't think COD is a bad idea. it removes some of the "trust me" element.
I just came across the same type of deal... should i assume it's a scam? I asked him for a phone number so we can chat about the deal.
 

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You can get a tracking number from the FexEx or UPS site without them picking up anything. Box could be empty too.

Make sure he actually has the bike- ask him if local pick-up is an option as you have a friend in the area. That one usually works like a charm.
 

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gmehl said:
Hi forum -- after seeing all of the scams reported, I want to avoid potential problems in my next purchase, so want advice on how best to avoid pitfalls.

Scenario is this: I have found a used bike from on the MTB classifieds I am interested in purchasing from a guy in california. I am in Maryland, and he has sent 1 photo of the bike, which looks good.

So, my questions to you -- wise people in the forums -- include:

What additional questions should I ask him ab out the bike? Find out how new it is and what shop he bought it from. I just had my Trek Madone shipped from New Brunswick, Canada all the way to Victoria, BC. What we did was ship with Fedex. Also, we had the payment go through the shop where he bought the bike. I payed the store with Visa, the store took its 2% fee and gave him the money. The store also sent me a receipt for the purchase. I now had an avenue that was more legitimate.

Hope this helps Garrett.

Chris
 
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