Buying and Selling

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Auctions aren’t just online!

Have you ever been to an auction? It’s amazing how many people today think eBay is what auctions are like. I remember going to auctions because you could find deals that were from 50% to 90% less than the cost to buy something. You go to auctions to find great deals. The emphasis is on great.

Today, people sell things on auction sites expecting to get near what they paid for something or what it would cost at a retailer. He bought the bike for $20,000 and put $5,000 of accessories on it. A year later, he expects $25,000. The fact is the buyers looking at it on an auction site are thinking more like $15,000 to $17,000. If they wanted to pay retail, they’d go to a retailer. If they wanted the exact same accessories, they’d get them new if they’re paying retail.

Real, live auctions have the advantage of being able to see the object.

Now, I’m not discouraging auction sites. Sometimes you can find that person in touch with reality that is selling for a great price. The point is, as a buyer, do your research and have patience. Look around at less obvious places, like your local newspaper or classified magazine. The times have changed, but the concept of going to an auction to pay nearly book value doesn’t exist. Don’t do it.

I do feel the need to give a plug for reputable local dealerships and re-sellers. They can often offer warranties and services you can’t get through online purchases. That counts for something. Returns on accessories are even a better possibility and much easier. Check them out carefully first. They aren’t all reputable. But if you buy it from a dealer 1,000 miles away and they give you a 1 year power train warranty, you still have to move it 1,000 miles to make it good. Local has advantages.

So, reality has two sides. The sellers have to realize they do not offer what a retailer may have. They typically don’t have a service or warranty element. Online auctions rarely have the opportunity to inspect the bike or accessories. Buyers have to be patient and look for that great deal. They have to consider what they give up with an online purchase and weight the prices against the lost services. Both have to comprehend reality and compromise.

That said, I’ve bought bikes both ways. I’ve bought new, used, local re-sellers and online. I’ve had good experiences and bad experiences in both. You have to do a lot of homework either way to get a great deal.