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Test riding bikes from private sellers.

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Quo Vadas, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. Can anyone offer advice on how you go about protecting yourself (and bike) when you sell it privately and a prospective buyer wants to test ride it. Not sure if there is some sort of indemnity form that you can get them to sign before they ride it. Short of asking someone to have all the money upfront, what is the normal process I should be following so that I have my ass covered in the event that they damage the bike. Thanking you kindly.

  2. Mate,
    This topic has been covered many times here in the forums, as it's a process we all very regularly go through from time to time.

    I read an advert today in Bikesales (no folks, I'm not ready for a 3rd bike yet !!!) - I was very impressed with the wording used by the seller to describe his 'test ride' policy.

    Basically Quo Vadas, it's totally your call but the method I have employed with all bikes I have sold in the past was to allow them to test ride a bike provided the casholas are in my hand before I throw them the keys.

    It's a happy medium for all, it's all dealt in a friendly manner and this way nobody is unsure where they stand. I've never once had a problem employing this method however each to their own.

    Good luck..oh, and do yourself a favour and try the search function (y)
  3. I agree with Nickers - but go a step further and put that agreement in writing and have them sign it - they can not dispute it then, where as with a verbal agreement they could dispute and say that that was never an agreement
  4. Thanks motolegion,

    I knew there was something I left out (y)
  5. Hi Nickers. Thanks for your feedback. It suppose it makes sense getting $$ upfront and i'll also draft up a contract/agreement to cover my ass. I shall let my fingers stroll over the search function before posting a possibly already covered topic. Danke.
  6. Hi, Quo Vadas. I thought hard about this when I sold my VTR250. I was less worried that they'd prang it than that I'd never see them (or my bike) again. I'm not sure where you stand if you gave your keys to the bloke that pinched your wheels... Anyway, what I did was:

    1. Make sure their address and telephone number are real and that they are who they say they are.

    2. Size them up when they arrive. Often, especially if its a LAMS bike they're looking at, they'll come with a friend or the old man, so you can be pretty sure they're not going to split. Haven't really had to think about selling anything bigger yet and how I'd play it if someone turned up alone. I'd probably ask to keep hold of their licence, passport, car/bike keys, whatever, until they arrive safely back. They've got to get there somehow, and I've I've never seen someone with riding gear on a bus or tram. Just make sure whatever they've got to lose is significant enough to mitigate the risk of their disappearing.

    3. Find out whether they've ridden the same model bike elsewhere. If they are just looking to go for a ride at your risk, time and expense, tell them to piss off. Or better still, go annoy Peter Stevens. That's what the pricks are there for.

    4. Ask them where they are going to ride and what they plan to do. They could lie of course, but if you feel they can't be trusted, they probably can't. (The bloke who bought mine was straight from a rider course and didn't seem too confident, which was a worry in itself. However, he only wanted to ride it up and down the street to satisfy himself it actually worked as described and tracked straight. All I asked of him was when he did a u-turn at the end of the street, he punted it round with his feet, so that he didn't drop it. Still, most are going to at least want to go as far as the nearest highway...)

    5. Get a commitment from them that if they bend it, they bought it. (It's flimsy thing, the gentleman's agreement, but it can't hurt, and at least it's one more string in your bow.

    6. Lastly, but most importantly, get a deposit in cash that is at least as much as your insurance excess (incl. whatever extra excess will cover them). In fact, think about doubling it. It won't cover the hike in your premium for long, but it's better than a poke in the eye... At least you'll know whether they're serious.

    I'm sure people will have other suggestions. In the end, its always a risk. Also, I don't know what the deal is, legally, if they kill or injure themselves on your machine. The thought of that frightens me. Anyone know?
  7. Just my 2c - I wouldn't buy a bike before I test rode it, and I certainly wouldn't give a guy I'd never met before the full price in cash for a bike before riding it or negotiating the price - how do you know a dodgy seller hasn't removed a hundred or four? You'd never be able to prove it afterwards unless you count it.

    I wouldn't have a problem with a deposit though, although I've never been asked. However, I drag my gf along for a second opinion and she chats with the seller during the test ride - I guess they've considered that good enough.
  8. As a buyer I would have the cash show it to the seller and have a friend who will hold the cash there with the seller while I take a test ride

    I also take my licence and passport and give it to the seller to hold as as security so they know I am .genuine

    If i was to be pulled over for licence check while on test ride would explain why i didnt have licence on me to the cop -- if he/she wasnt understanding about it then he/she is a asshat useless eater
  9. That sir, is a very very good idea as a compromise although may not cover mechanical damage even if there is no accident but rather the bike gets reved to bugger or they chew up the gearbox etc
  10. My bike insurance policy covers me, even for theft, providing I have the potential buyers license, so I'm happy to offer test rides. When buying my latest bike, I took a private bike out for a spin, just had to have a chat first and give him my license.
  11. i would'nt allow test rides, but make that clear from the first inquiry and welcome any other mechanical inspection.
    but if i was to allow a test ride, i'd want to be convinced they new how to ride a bike and i'd follow on another bike... and have potential buyers phot id in my possession.
    generally i would'nt give out my home address to a phone enquiry... but i did sell a bike from home about a couple of years ago.. only because i had 2 weeks of work so i'd likely be home if someone rocked up to steal it.
    basically i met interested parties out the front of the house, did not invite them inside.. i have cameras mounted around the front of the house and stayed in clear view of them... and i had my biggest dog sit inside the screen door... she won't take her eyes of me when i'm talking to strangers...and i made it clear to interested parties that she could get through that door if she wanted to, so just no sudden movements.

    if you don't have good security at home (you should if you own bikes) you can arrange to meet the buyer in the local police stations car park.
    or perhaps offer to ride the bike to the buyers mechanics workshop and meet them there to view and check over the bike..

    bike theft is just too common and so is identity theft... a test ride is just too high a risk that you won't see them or the bike again in my opinion.
  12. Be very careful with that. If there's an argument and the dog intervenes, my understanding is that the other party can get the dog put down under dangerous dog laws.
  13. as a buyer i would NOT be comfortable handing over a large sum of cash to test ride a strangers bike!

    as a seller i go with gut instinct after a convo. with the person. questions, answers all give me an indication as to whether i should let test ride. i sight the license, of course, stipulate conditions and tell them if they bin it they wear it.
    granted, i've only sold one bike but this is the method i would employ again.

    inspection of bike is best to do off-site like a mcdonalds carpark or something...final transaction can be done at home or theirs...
  14. It was good to read your opinions since soon I'll pass through this as a buyer ;)

    I would definitely leave the passport and licence, as for some deposit not sure. What if the seller tells me...."What money?" when I come back?

    However, I would agree to sign an agreement to pay any damages done during the try out.

    What if the seller comes for the ride as a pillion? I know, its not the same as driving it on your own...and the seller wouldn't like to ride behind a stranger too....heh

    But them I'll reassure him that I have driven bikes for over 20 years and he/she should feel safe....

    Heh, we'll see ;)

  15. That part is easy, bring a receipt book and get their signature that you gave them the deposit.

    The same applies when you come to actually BUY it, you need to put a deposit down since likely the RWC will need to be done or re-done, so how do you know the seller won't run off with the deposit and say "what money?". Write out a receipt, simple :)
  16. smart thinking agent 99
  17. I'd never buy a bike without test riding it first (actually, as soon as I wrote that I realised I just bought my new Shiver the other week without testing it - but I had ridden 3 separate Shivers before it), let me rephrase - I'd never by a private sale bike without test riding it first.

    I'd probably feel a bit iffy about leaving a deposit on the bike too. A 'test' ride is just that, a 'test' it's part of the process you go through in deciding whether or not you want the bike (not a final stage in your commitment to buy the bike).

    I've always just made a point of being up front with sellers about what I'm looking for, and the fact that I'm still considering other bikes/other people's bikes. Between that and leaving my keys and licence with the seller - I've never had an issue taking any bike for a quick test.

    If someone wanted me to sign a 'you break it, you bought it' agreement before taking their bike out, I'd be more than happy to commit to that.
  18. Thanks for everyone's comments/feedback. I have typed up a form that i will use and a cop has sited it and said that it will stand up in court. It get's details such as their full name, licence number, rego and make/model of bike, my details, test date and time, signature of both parties and a statement about any damages etc to the bike will be paid for by the interested party. I have 2 guy's coming over on the weekend so they'll be both filling out the forms should they choose to take the bike for a spin.
  19. Happy to help Quo - that's what community is all about
  20. I've my worn gear on buses, trams and trains ;).

    So far, I've paid for my bikes by direct deposit; it provides me with a record, and reduces the running around I have to do. The other party would probably be putting it in their account anyway, after all.