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When buying a bike from a place like craigslist...

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When buying a bike from a place like craigslist...

Old 10-04-20, 06:06 PM
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IGH_Only
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When buying a bike from a place like craigslist...

or any private party, how do you get comfort that the bike isn't stolen?
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Old 10-04-20, 06:20 PM
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You don’t. Trust your gut.
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Old 10-04-20, 06:36 PM
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You really don't know, but if the seller gives you any reason to question it, don't do the deal. By the time you meet to buy the bike, you will have their cell number and email address.
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Old 10-04-20, 06:54 PM
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Ask to see the original sales receipt.
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Old 10-04-20, 07:02 PM
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The two red flags I've read about are: 1) A deal too good to be true, and 2) seller with no explanation for why they have the bike, or who can't describe its particulars in a coherent fashion. "Selling it for a friend" isn't a believable explanation.

Deals-too-good-to-be-true are largely a thing of the past because the same technology for selling things online, also allows people to research prices online.
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Old 10-05-20, 05:17 AM
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I've seen a couple of high end, year old, full suspension bikes go on sale for something like $500 before. The bikes usually sold within a day.

Beyond that I guess trust your gut is as good as the advice gets.
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Old 10-05-20, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
Ask to see the original sales receipt.
That only works if they’re the original purchaser.
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Old 10-05-20, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by sarhog View Post
That only works if they’re the original purchaser.
Buying from the 2nd or 3rd owner means the bike is "well" used. So unless it's a low end recreational bike... i'd avoid it.
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Old 10-05-20, 09:40 AM
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"Selling for a friend" is a legit thing around here. I'm always suspicious if the story doesn't match the ad. If the person knows nothing about bikes, seems nervous about meeting (personal fave: "if you want to ride it, I need to hold the cash in hand to protect my interests" .... uh, no, guy).

Sad to say, if one's bike is stolen, I can't imagine not being on CL and FB every day, looking at listings.

But here's the one that can really clinch it: suggest meeting at a police-sponsored "transaction zone" (almost every community has one now, or you can always use the PD parking lot) and see what they say. There may be good reasons for someone to not want to be at a police station but I think only sketchy people give a hard 'no' to that suggestion.
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Old 10-05-20, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Danhedonia View Post
"Selling for a friend" is a legit thing around here. I'm always suspicious if the story doesn't match the ad. If the person knows nothing about bikes, seems nervous about meeting (personal fave: "if you want to ride it, I need to hold the cash in hand to protect my interests" .... uh, no, guy).

Sad to say, if one's bike is stolen, I can't imagine not being on CL and FB every day, looking at listings.

But here's the one that can really clinch it: suggest meeting at a police-sponsored "transaction zone" (almost every community has one now, or you can always use the PD parking lot) and see what they say. There may be good reasons for someone to not want to be at a police station but I think only sketchy people give a hard 'no' to that suggestion.
Good idea - this is how I do both sales and purchases these days. There's added safety, it weeds out people who may not be really committed to buying, and assuming it's a transportable item it's better than going to someone's house/having them at your house.

Also, a thought on the mention up above re: having a seller's phone/e-mail by the time you meet... I used to do things that way to try to cut down on spam (insisting on sharing info to "prove" that someone is "real"), but I have found that it doesn't work & isn't necessary. In the past I've collected info and given out my phone # only to arrive and find that the person doesn't show - then I'm asking myself, "Why did I give out my phone number for nothing?" You can actually do the whole deal through the anonymous Craglist email back & forth without providing anything more than a name to call you and exactly where/when you'll be, and maybe a description ("I'll be the guy wearing a white hat, in a green car with an orange bike on the back of it.")

Last thought is this: I've dealt with people via Craigslist that I thought communicated very oddly or poorly, and found the deal went just fine, with pleasant, smooth completed transactions. I've also dealt with people where things seemed very straightforward and then never came together, and been very surprised at that. So now I try not to let my first impression dictate too much!
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Old 10-05-20, 10:16 AM
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When I sold my first recumbent, I gave the buyer the owners manual that came with it.
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Old 10-05-20, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
When I sold my first recumbent, I gave the buyer the owners manual that came with it.
did it say "sit down"......"pedal"

the end
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Old 10-05-20, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Charliekeet View Post

Last thought is this: I've dealt with people via Craigslist that I thought communicated very oddly or poorly, and found the deal went just fine, with pleasant, smooth completed transactions. I've also dealt with people where things seemed very straightforward and then never came together, and been very surprised at that. So now I try not to let my first impression dictate too much!
Yes on the poor communications. I sold a computer recently on CL. The guy that bought it was Asian and spoke broken English. The thing I didn't understand was that he insisted on giving me a tip in addition to the purchase price. I tried to refuse, but he just wouldn't take my no and insisted that I take the tip.

Just watch for the obvious email scams - I send you cashier's check for more than your price, and you ship to my friend in Youadumb***istan.
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Old 10-05-20, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
Ask to see the original sales receipt.
Good Luck with that.
I have yet to sell or buy a bike with an original sales receipt. Heck I couldn't find the receipt if I wanted to on the bikes I have bought new and still own.
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Old 10-05-20, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
Buying from the 2nd or 3rd owner means the bike is "well" used. So unless it's a low end recreational bike... i'd avoid it.
Plenty of garage queens out there from "I'll try biking" people.
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Old 10-05-20, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
Plenty of garage queens out there from "I'll try biking" people.
Most likely then the 1st owner.
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Old 10-05-20, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
Buying from the 2nd or 3rd owner means the bike is "well" used. So unless it's a low end recreational bike... i'd avoid it.
Really bad advice.

There are tons of great mid-level and high-end vintage bikes out there that have seen a few owners. My '80s Bertoni is now on its fourth owner. If I ever sell it, that would be fifth. It will live on for decades and decades to come.

Asking for an original sales receipt is ridic.
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Old 10-05-20, 11:59 AM
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If the description doesn't read like the owner knows anything about the bike, like not knowing the size, or if the description is something like "Litespeed titanium bike. Large" and nothing about the age or the components, avoid. If you spent the money to buy a Litespeed(for example) you'd know more about it than nothing.
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Old 10-05-20, 12:08 PM
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There is really no way of knowing. 'too good to be true' is not a good guide. Sometimes good deals happen.

A lot of thieves strip the groupset and components off and sell them piecemeal. There is really no way to know whether it;s stolen or not when you are buying parts. I've bought lots of parts and bikes off CL and Ebay and I never worry about the provenance of the stuffs I am buying.
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Old 10-05-20, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Really bad advice.

There are tons of great mid-level and high-end vintage bikes out there that have seen a few owners. My '80s Bertoni is now on its fourth owner. If I ever sell it, that would be fifth. It will live on for decades and decades to come.

Asking for an original sales receipt is ridic.
The odds of a vintage bike being stolen and sold is a small fraction. I bet most of the stolen bikes are in the $100-$500 range since that's probably 90% of whats in garages.

As with any rule.. there are exceptions.
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Old 10-05-20, 12:32 PM
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It's not comprehensive by all means but if you get the serial number of the bike you are interested in you can search the database at bikeindex dot org to see if has been marked as stolen.
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Old 10-05-20, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
The odds of a vintage bike being stolen and sold is a small fraction. I bet most of the stolen bikes are in the $100-$500 range since that's probably 90% of whats in garages.
I would guess most stolen bikes are vintage, because most bikes are vintage. Thieves don't know and they don't care.

Except one ($500), all my vintage bikes are worth at least $700/ea.
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Old 10-05-20, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
I would guess most stolen bikes are vintage, because most bikes are vintage. Thieves don't know and they don't care.

Except one ($500), all my vintage bikes are worth at least $700/ea.
I bet most bikes are stolen out of a garage, or left unlocked outside.

The percentage of vintage bikes of the whole is a very small number. Go to any police auction and most bikes are "beaters" and kids bikes.
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Old 10-05-20, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
If the description doesn't read like the owner knows anything about the bike, like not knowing the size ... avoid.
Very few owners know how to measure a bike properly. Those of you that don't buy and sell regularly should probably avoid responding to this thread.
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Old 10-05-20, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
The percentage of vintage bikes of the whole is a very small number.
Do a craigs search on "vintage" in a town like Seattle, Chicago, or New York.
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