Here's a tale a mate just related to me. It concerns a car but it's applicable to motorcycles equally. He found a suitable vehicle on Carsales. Rang up, arranged to look at it. He checks it out. The owner's friend who is supposed a mechanic with his own business has serviced it throughout its life. Friend appears happy with it. He does a "handshake" deal, handing over $200 as a deposit (vehicle price is $35k) dependant on RACV check. That night the mate looks it up on Vicroads. Discovered that while it has no encumberances, it's registered but it's also registered as being written off. He calls the guy who's minding it (the mechanic). He asks to confirm that he's serviced it throughout its life to which the guy says "yes". This was based on the mate sighting the service book earlier that day and seeing all the stamps in the appropriate spots. Then the mate asks, if that's so why has it been declared as a writeoff. The fellow then says that he knows nothing and to talk to the owner, which he does. The owner then waffles on something about a small fire resulting from a faulty alternator which caused a "little bit of damage". He said that his mechanic mate is aware of all of this.The mate challenges this. A bit of bluster later and the mate says that the deal is off and that he wants his dough back otherwise he'll front up to the seller's father's shop (where the vehicle was when he inspected it) and make a right **** of himself in front of customers, etc. So, moral of the story - before handing over any dough, deposit or otherwise, do these sorts of checks first, then look at forking out dough for RACV inspections and payment of deposits. I think that this is really applicable for bikes, given that they are a higher risk of being crashed at some stage. And it doesn't take much to write one off these days, either.