If you’re selling a motorcycle online, you have to watch out for trouble. Whether you’re on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or some other site, try and do a little research on your prospective buyers. Get as much information about them as possible before they come to look at the bike and when they get there. A brief google search will alert you to the fact that he or she is wanted in 10 states for murder or bike thefts. Ask for a copy of a driver’s license and check for a motorcycle endorsement. If they don’t have either one, don’t let them test drive the bike. If they act shady about showing you their ID, that’s a big red flag.
After selling numerous used motorcycles, I created a form I call the “U Break It U Buy It” form, which I have the rider sign in front of one witness after getting a copy of the driver’s license and insurance. It requires the rider to do an inspection of the bike before riding and I sign acknowledging that I rode and inspected the bike and found it operated safely. If the person test riding the Motorcycle crashes it, then he or she is the new owner.
If a buyer pulls up in an automobile, you can never truly know how well he can actually ride until he twists the throttle. Having all parties sign takes at least some of the ambiguity and liability from the seller and places some duty on the buyer. Imagine the headaches that come without such a document when the test rider makes it down the block and dumps your nice bike on the cement. If that person is injured, you have a swearing match and a lawsuit. If the bike is damaged and the rider walks away with no injuries, you still have a busted bike that probably won’t sell and a person that can walk away saying it wasn’t his fault. He could claim the motorcycle was “defective”. Research, inspect, sign and then ride. That is the smart way to sell a motorcycle.
Lastly, beware of scammers and psychopaths. I had a client call recently about what he could do about a test ride gone bad. He was selling his street bike on Facebook and a guy messaged him to inquire about the price and a test ride. After a few exchanges, they met and the guy hops on the bike and rides away NEVER TO BE SEEN AGAIN. Thankfully the bike was recovered since the detectives had the Facebook messages for leads but the bike was pretty trashed up and the rider was nowhere to be found. The fact he is facing trouble with the law does not fix the damages to the bike, nor the heartache that seller experienced as he frantically messaged the guy about the motorcycle.
Buy smart, sell smart, and get your local friendly lawyer involved BEFORE you try selling a motorcycle online to a stranger. You wouldn’t buy your house or rent your apartment without a paper exchange, so why would you allow a similar transaction to occur with only a Facebook message or text to protect you. Reach out if you have any questions and see you out on the road!!!