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Re: Buying/Selling on eBay

I bought a car and a motorcycle on eBay Motors in the past year. Both transactions went very smoothly. One should be careful buying online just as you would offline.

The car was bought cross-country and shipped to me. Even with shipping, I figured that I saved about $4000 versus buying one here in Northern CA where dealers seem to think their used cars are made of solid gold. In my case, the car was a few years old, but still under factory warranty. I had a friend who lived near the seller check it out and give me a thumbs up. It was shipped from Chicago to San Francisco in about a week and delivered right to my office. In this case, the seller was a licensed dealer. You'll notice that some dealers post their state license information in their listings which helps to verify that they are who they are.

The bike I bought was relatively hard to find locally, a Triumph Thunderbird. This was an individual selling his own bike. He lived in a small town in Northern California about 200 miles from me and had essentially no local market for this bike. He told me that he had listed it in local papers for weeks with no bites. Likewise, I never would have found it locally to me. I had a long phone conversation with him, checked out tons of pictures on his listing, and ended up very happy with my purchase.

Some other points of advice. For cars, you'll notice that the VIN in the vehicle information section is a hyperlink. eBay offers a great discounted price for an Experian AutoCheck (background check, title, mileage, salvage, etc.). For $4.99 you can get one check or for $9.99 up to ten in a couple of months. If you're comparing some cars, this is totally worth it. Imagine, if the seller says he's in Texas but the background check says it's in Washington.. you'll have some serious questions to ask.

Also, emailing the seller is important. I was looking at a BMW recently and part of the description didn't make sense to me. I wrote the seller twice with a straightforward question and received no response... I passed on the car and kept looking.

Don't overlook eBay's feedback system. You can see details of previous buying and selling transactions for the person you're dealing with along with comments left by the other party. I wish I could get this type of information for local dealers?

If possible, use Paypal to send your deposit, they add additional protections on top of the regular eBay fraud protection insurance and help to verify the identity of the seller. Never, ever, send money out of the country via Western Union... the money is gone and there is no way to trace it.
 

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Re:One other thing

Also, remember that eBay's fraud protection and free warranties only apply if the item sells on their site (if you're high bidder or use Buy It Now). In other words, be suspicious if the seller pushes you to complete the transaction off of eBay ("send me a deposit check and I'll cancel the auction.")

There's definitely some urgency to end the auction if you're interested and don't want to risk getting outbid. A way to combat this is to have the seller add a Buy It Now price so you can end the auction online.

A friend recently sold his old car on eBay Motors and did this. The buyer was in Canada and my friend was in Southern California. It served as a bit of an official "handshake" on the deal, they were able to leave each other feedback, and the buyer had some protections from eBay on the purchase. Yeah, my buddy had to pay the additional $40 fee for the sale, but this is refunded by eBay if the buyer doesn't comes through.
 
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