I have been on the hunt for an affordable (aka cheap) Honda Dream to bring around with us while we are vending at vintage Motorcycle events and last night my ship came in!
This seemed like the perfect opportunity to discuss Craigslist Buyer and Seller best practices.
As a Buyer:
1: Do Not Wait to Pick Up the Item
The longer you wait, the better chance someone else will try and snipe your deal. This can end badly as you may take time out of your day to go pick up a bike you thought was yours only to find out the seller sold it out from under you to someone else.
Knowing that you play above board on Craigslist transactions does not mean the seller (or any other buyer) does the same so whenever possible, it’s always best to just get the cash in the sellers hand and the bike in your garage as soon as possible.
2: Do Not Negotiate Price AFTER Agreeing to Buy Something
If you are not ready to commit to purchasing an item until you negotiate for a better price, do not say you will buy it. I told the seller I would buy the Baby Dream before negotiating the price. That means I committed to paying the asking price. Agreeing to buy something and showing up and trying to deal on the price is bad form. If you are not ready to commit to purchasing an item until you negotiate for a better price, tell the seller you would like to come look at it first or if that is not possible, negotiate the price over the phone BEFORE committing to the purchase.
3: Be Prepared to Walk Away
If the seller agreed to sell it to you and upon arrival they try and negotiate for more money, they are in violation of the verbal contract. It’s as much the buyer’s job to hold sellers accountable as it is the seller’s job to hold buyers accountable. This also applies to the condition of the item. An example would be the seller says it is title but you arrive and find out it is not. You can leverage that and re-open price negotiations since the seller was not being truthful or walk away.
At the end of the day it’s just stuff so if a deal goes bad, walk away.
4: Do Not Offer More Money if the Seller Says the Item is Sold
That is just bad form especially in the tightly knit vintage motorcycle/scooter community. Instead be happy for whoever scored it and move on as it obviously was not meant to be. The next one that comes up will be better, cheaper or closer or a combination of those things so just wait for your turn.
As a Seller:
1: A Deal is a Deal
If you have accepted the buyer’s offer, the deal has been cast. Sometimes other potential buyers will contact you after you have agreed to sell it and will offer you more money. By accepting someone else’s offer, you have violated the verbal contract you made with the original buyer. No sane person is going to take anyone to court over a broken verbal contract on a sub $1k motorcycle on Craigslist, but the court system recognizes the verbal contract so remember that. Plus it is the right thing to do.
2: Do Not Negotiate Price After the Buyer has Committed to the Deal.
If a buyer says they will take something and then shows up and tries to talk price, remind them they already agreed to pay the asking price and the time to discuss price was over once they committed to purchasing the item. They are violating the verbal contract by trying to negotiate price AFTER they have agreed to purchase it. If you priced it fairly, someone else will gladly pay the asking price or have the wherewithal to negotiate price prior to committing to the purchase.
3: To Hold or Not to Hold
This gets tricky as agreeing to hold something for a Buyer is a risky proposition and your discretion. Many Buyers will say they will buy something and then disappear. If you decide to hold something, never agree to hold it for more than 1 day. If someone wants you to hold it longer than that, you might want to consider a non-refundable deposit of $50 or more but even then, I would only offer that if it was only a matter of them finalizing loan details. If they want you to hold it for an extended period like 3+ days then I would require them to commit to the purchase and full payment. You can supply the vehicle title (or bill of sale if no title) and keys once you have received full payment as a gesture of trust to the buyer.
4: Never Release the Vehicle Until You Have Received Full payment
I know this sounds pretty basic but sometimes buyers will request that they pay half up front, have the vehicle picked up and they will pay the rest when it is delivered to them. Guess what? They probably will never pay the rest and good luck getting it now.
It’s important to note that myself, Corazzo or Mods & Rockers LLC is not liable for any of the information provided here. These are merely suggestions on how to handle yourself respectfully when buying or selling Motorcycle or Scooters.