Spotting scams and frauds when buying and selling a bike

Buying and selling through MCN includes an unrivalled range of in-built protection for buyers and sellers alike. We screen emails and calls so we can block known fraudsters and nuisance callers. We also theft check all road legal bikes advertised by private sellers. To be extra safe we recommend following these guidelines:

The easiest way to spot a scam is to take a step back and consider whether the deal being offered is just too good to be true. You'll find it normally is.

If you've received any offer to buy your motorcycle without the buyer wanting to view it, and it's worth more than £500, then alarm bells should start ringing.

Would you buy a private secondhand bike without at least taking a look at it?

If you receive any emails from foreign buyers offering to pay by money transfer, then it's almost certainly a scam attempt. Unless you've got a particularly rare classic, it's unlikely to be interesting enough to be worth them shipping a normal motorcycle around the world.

You'll find that the offer normally involves them paying more than the bike is worth, sending a shipping agent, and asking you to send the difference back to them. That's because the money transfer will show in your account before it has actually cleared, and once you've sent the difference, you'll find that the money transfer has bounced and you're out of pocket.

If you're taking any payment other than cash, phone your bank to check exactly how long before payments will be cleared and don’t let go of the bike until you are sure they have cleared.

The full asking price in cash is also the best deposit for allowing a test ride. If you've got any doubts at all, don't let the bike out of your sight. A bike/car left as a deposit might turn out to be stolen, and a friend/wife or family with them might end up doing a runner.

A good set of basic rules is:

  • Never send money to the buyer or a third party in any form
  • Don't accept payment from a third party
  • Be very wary of international buyers.
  • Never deal with buyers who only communicate by email
  • Never give out your bank account details
  • Always meet the buyer
  • Avoid meeting a prospective buyer somewhere risky, like a motorway car park in the middle of the night