2001 Ducati Monster; 1996 R1100GS; 1985 RZ350; 1977 RD400
If he really wants to use an escrow account, have your attorney do it. They have escrow bank accounts. Let your atty cash the check. Once it clears, then the atty can send him the title. Let the buyer pay your attorney. No need to use escrow.com.
Attorney's can be disbarred for violating escrow. They are the safest bet when there is distance.
Other then that, they can wire you the money, or FedEx you a bank check. When the funds clear (maximum of 2 days), then you will FedEx him the title. Wires can be reversed within 24 hours of receiving. Check must clear within 2 days (Check21).
The only rule, written or unwritten, in a private sale is: there are no rules. Plenty of con artists on each side of the table. Have you been contacted by an agent for an Ethiopian prince yet?
Seriously, will your local dealer take the bike on consignment? Yes, he gets a nice cut but you get some security that things will go right.
In September of 2004 I had just bought a 2004 RT and had two Suzukis in my garage that had to go. I listed them on Evilbay and both sold in less than a week. In 2007 I bought my 06 RT and listed my 04 on Ebay and a gentleman from Canada responded by email. I answered a question or two and he came down to southern Oregon and looked at the bike. He left a deposit and went home to Canada. A week or so later he returned and handed me the cash and took the bike. Three bike sales and never a problem. Just dumb luck I guess.
Marty - in the western Oregon mountains.'06RT, (gone '04RT, '86 Venture Royal, '81 Yamaha Virago920, '82Suzuki GS1100GK, '76 Suzuki GT750, Triumph 750 Bonneville, BSA Road Rocket 650, 61" Harley knucklehead)
If I think the offer is too low, I just don't sell it.
But I have realistic expectations when I buy or sell something. I know my bike isn't special and there are lots more like it, some better even. So I set a realistic price and stick with it. I had three offers in 20 minutes last time I sold a bike, but I only advertised in IBMWR among the BMW community.
My one fundamental expectation is truthfulness and honesty. Those are the rules, period. If I detect any even tiny bit of lack of honesty - no deal, goodby!
It was there however I came to the realization that employers who steal almost always get away with it because the employee base is allowing it to occur. If EVERY employee refused to steal the employer would not be able to steal. Ultimately I finally had the nerve to quit for the sole reason I just couldn't keep stealing from people. From every dealer position forward I always told them it was critical that the store operate in an ethical manner. By dealer 3 I had 5 years experience under my belt and I was good at what I did. I had no issues getting hired and I had no issues in running an honest business. I can honestly say from dealer 3 forward I never ran into another thief again. It does pain me to see people frequently assume and accuse the dealer is a thief with no facts to back it up. I have experienced the opposite.
You do have dealers make mistakes however. That's normal and expected. Any dealer I worked with would ALWAYS cover any dealer mistake. But, and this is most critical, if the customer never tells the dealer about the mistake what do you think happens? Nothing but angry customer feelings over how he/she has been ripped off and/or the entire store is screwed up or you name it. It is never complimentary. People act the way they do but I'm not sure how they feel never advising the dealer of the mistake is the best way to handle it.
Are there bad guys out there? Obviously. Do they really exist in large numbers? Not in my experience.
This was outside NYC too, on Long Island.
As far as the question, is it commonplace? It depends on one's moral compass. I wouldn't say all dealers are thieves, but can you say most never did anything unethical? Hard to say. If we find a good one, keep patronizing the the place.
I go back to what I said previously because it represents truth. Employees going along with the employers unethical methods allow those methods to continue. The mere fact employees choose to allow it means they are condoning the unethical action. Being afraid of losing your job is nothing but an excuse to continue on with wrong. I know because I've been there and done that I'm sorry to say.
Stop and think for a second. If you have a boss who lies and steals every business day that in effect is telling you his or her employees have agreed to lie and steal every day. People really need to take a step back and look at their own actions before they start blaming others.
Then when that good, honest dealer has trouble staying in business we hear all about how it was BMW's fault for requiring gray paint or some such nonsense.
Go find a good dealer. Develop a relationship. Patronize them. My first choice is now 1000 miles away. I've dealt with them for 30 years. My next choice is 450 miles away. But they get my business too.
I live 53 miles from the nearest town. I do buy some stuff off the Internet, but get most things from the local merchants in town because I need them to be there. As for BMW parts - my favorite dealers get the business.