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Monday, September 7, 2009

Selling your Royal Enfield on CraigsList?

What's it like trying to sell a Royal Enfield motorcycle on CraigsList or eBay? After months of listing Royal Enfields for sale on this blog, I think I have a notion. I've also actually sold a Honda motorcycle on CraigsList, so I have some personal experience of the process.

If you read the ads you'll quickly pick up hints. For instance, this message, from a man trying to sell a Royal Enfield in Maryland:

"I am not interested in making money on the Internet, I am not need of Target or Walmart gift cards so please don't fill up my in box with your stupid online opportunities. My penis is big enough, at least according to my wife and my cash flow is fine so please send your ridiculous online opportunity to someone else. Better yet, how about getting a real job and making a real contribution to society? If you are interested in the bike -- please keep reading."

That tells you that when you put yourself out there you can expect to be contacted by people who have other things in mind than buying your motorcycle. Some are just nuisances. Some, probably, really are crooks.

Usually, your first contact will be a message from someone with a common name simply asking "is the bike still for sale?" This is just someone trying to get your direct email address. CraigsList initially shields your identity. The person contacting you sends their first email to a CraigsList address that is just a sale number. But, if you hit the Reply Button and respond to their email, they'll see your real address.

It's hard to tell what else they have in mind, but one clue they are phony is that the message will say nothing about your specific motorcycle. They probably send the same message to everyone in the category.

You'll see the same pattern in the more complex scams that follow. "I'm interested in buying your item, please send details," they may write, without referring to what your particular "item" might be.

In the classic scam, the crook agrees to "your price" but plans to write the check for a bit more, to cover shipping, pick-up or delivery. When his "agent" arrives at the door you're supposed to hand him the difference in cash. Apparently, if they send this message out often enough, they will find someone foolish enough to fall for it.

Keep your guard up. As for including in your ad a plea that scamsters not bother to contact you, I doubt that works. But it makes amusing reading for me.

1 comment:

  1. I've been following your blog for a while. Always on the look out for a good Enfield for sale in California.

    One thing I've noticed about people selling Enfield's, at least in California, is that they have an over inflated sense of the value of these bikes.

    Can a bike that's 6 years old still command 85% of it's original retail value? Seems a little far-fetched to me.

    ReplyDelete

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