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Thread: buying a bike remotely

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    St. Louis

    Question buying a bike remotely


    Does anyone have experience with buying a bike remotely? ie: If you agree to price with the seller, and intend to have it shipped, how do you make the title/cash transfer and not be at risk? I know EBAY has protection for this sort of thing, but the bike I am after is not on EBAY.

  2. #2

    buying remotely

    buying at a distance involves some risk. you gotta except it. it's a smart gamblers problem. what can you afford to lose? doing your due diligence, though, can cut that risk A LOT.
    i bought mine from someone in the san francisco bay area who was selling everything to gather cash to travel around the world for a couple years with his wife. (so he said.) we talked on the phone a number of times and i got a good sense of him (i thought). he seemed responsible, intelligent, and good for me, obsessive about his bike. he said he did quite a bit of his own maintenance but for some things took it to his local bmw dealer. i asked if i could call the dealer and ask about him, his bike, and his commitment. he gave me the number. instead of calling the number he gave me, i looked the dealer up in the phone book and called. they knew him and said that he was extraordinarily responsible (almost religious!) and his bike was in superb condition for a '94 (it was a k75). the seller and i talked several more times. we finally agreed on a price and how to get the bike to me. i was going to fly out from santa fe, nm to see it and verify that it was as he said it was. i bought my tickets and told him when i would arrive. the day or so before i was set to go, some serious (but frustratingly ridiculous) issue came up with my 7 year old's school that suddenly caused remarkable havoc in our house. it would be better to stay and take care of it. (my wife was beside herself at the situation.) i called the seller to ask if he could just send the bike as we had discussed. (he would take it to the dealer; it would be picked up from there by my shipper.) the seller balked by my not coming, but because we had talked several times and HE HAD A SENSE ABOUT ME (it works both ways) and he finally said ok. i wired the money. he sent big boxes of accessories and fed ex'ed title, documents, receipts, files he had kept, etc. a week later, it arrived at my local bmw shop in nm for it's initial pre-ride inspection. they said the bike was perfect! i was pleased and relieved.
    the transaction worked out well. it was certainly risky, $3900 worth. i justified the gamble a bit by thinking that even if it was a scam, it wouldn't RUIN me. you do what you can to assess the seller and all those involved.
    ADVICE: keep good notes, vet everyone (even the vetters), and verify all that is verifiable. then, if all seems right, plug in your intuition and good sense and send your money. now, until your bike arrives, you will be in a unique "period of hope."
    as an aside, i preferred to buy locally, but couldn't find a k75 anywhere nearby.
    if you google "buying used bmws", you'll find several sites that give bunches of good information. good luck. d

  3. #3
    P Monk
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Orange, Texas

    Bought 2 on ebay

    I bought a 2000 LT and a 2004 RT both on ebay.
    Got a good deal on the LT and an exceptional deal on the RT. Basically I bid a price that I didn't think I would ever win an auction but it did. In both cases I worked it out with seller that I would have a cashiers check when I picked up the bike. In both cases the seller was honest about the condition of the bikes. by picking up the bike in person I was at least able to inspect it before handing over a check. Ask for a lot of pictures if it makes you more comfortable.
    Bottom line is I would do it again.

  4. #4
    Last year I bought a bike "remotely" from a relatively frequent poster to this forum. Although it was a statement I made semi-in-jest on the Airlist that prompted his offer to sell the bike.

    The seller sent me a picture of the bike with a price and offer to transport to my house for a very modest additional price. The bike was not road worthy due to some (minor) carb issues.

    I thought that he was joking at first, as that bike had been on my wish list for some time (R75/5). When I established that he was serious, I jumped on the offer. I was wanting another "project" bike.

    Other than the carbs, there wasn't much wrong with the bike. But since I've not fooled with a /5 before, I'm taking my time and taking the bike apart as a learning exercise. Mostly I'm cleaning, disassembling, cleaning, (replacing the odd gasket & seal), lubing, reassembling, and adjusting. I am painting some odds and ends (e.g., battery box parts, license plate holder).

    This was one of those deals where the seller sent his bike to a good home and the buyer was very happy with the purchase.

  5. #5

    buying remote

    Greetings, I bought my R100RS from the east coast of the US, I live in Whitehorse, Yukon. I researched the bike, did a VIN# check with motor vehicles in the State that I bought it from. When I purchased it I had the owner send me the ownership. Overall, it was an adventure - after I bought it I took it to a BMW mechanic for a once over, changed all the fluids and then headed across country for a 5000 mile trip back to the Yukon. It was just an add gas trip and a new set of tires in Victoria, BC before heading up the Alaska Highway. I have bought several vehicles by distance and so far have not had any surprises or regrets. It is important to realize that there is always some risk.

    Mike - Yukonairhead2
    '81 R100 RS

  6. 08-28-2006, 04:40 PM

  7. #6
    I purchased my Rockster off ebay. The auction had lots of pictures. Always look at the background of the pictures as much as the item itself. E-mailed with the seller to answer additional questions about it. After I won the auction I Paypaled (is that a new verb?) the seller the deposit. Made arrangements with the seller to make final payment (cashiers check) and pick up the bike the following weekend.

    Drove most of the way on a friday night (6 hours). Hotel. Drove the remainder saturday morning (3 hours). Inspected and rode the bike, completed the transaction and loaded the bike in my pick-up. Drove home (9 hours). I would have rode the bike home, but it would have too much for me to do on an overnight.

    The bike was financed through BMW financial, so I had to wait for the seller to payoff the bike and then send me the title. He had the entire transaction spelled out in the Bill of Sale, which we both signed and each kept a copy. Once I met him and saw the bike I didn't have any worries. I received the title about nine days later.

    It's a terrific bike, I'm one happy camper.
    Last edited by userw5; 08-28-2006 at 07:04 PM.

  8. #7

    A bit of protection

    I sold a K75RT from Montana to Virginia. The buyer had immense amounts of info and images from me. Once we had a deal, we had a timeline as follows: He sent a cashier's check for half, which I immediately took to the bank. The banker verified when the check had cleared and stayed cleared (that's a second delaying step); I sent the papers to him but still had the bike, just in case. The second half arrived as another cashier's check plus the buyer paid for and made all the arrangements for the shipper to come get the bike. At this point, he's out as much as I had at risk. We were both thrilled. The bike has a good home.

  9. #8
    The only bike(s) I ever bought "sight un-seen" were known to be derelict. Even then, there might be a surprise. I just could not bring my self to lay out serious cash for a bike that I could not inspect first.

  10. #9
    Jim Bud
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Sedalia, CO
    Why not have the bike inspected at the dealer closest to the seller...

    you make the arrangements over the phone, he brings in the pay for the work via credit card...the dealer gives the report to then decide if you want to buy...

    should aleviate alot of concern about the condition...
    Jim Bud...

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