How To Avoid Buying A Stolen Bike
How to avoid buying a stolen bike
Supplied by guest blogger Tom Chapman
Searching for a second-hand bike is the same as searching for any valuable performance equipment; there are definitely bargains to be had out there, but it’s important to make sure you’re not being scammed. Of course, being over charged for an item is bad enough but, cost aside, if the item is stolen, you’re going to find yourself in a lot more trouble!
According to Trimetals more than half a million bikes are stolen every year. While owning a stolen bike will not only have a negative effect on your conscience, but could also put you out of pocket. If police track down the bike, and return it to its original owner, you have no right to compensation. So, with the aim of making the world a better place, and ensuring that you don’t end up taking an unfortunate financial hit; here are some tips on avoiding purchasing a stolen bike.
Maintain a healthy level of scepticism
Common-sense is still one of the most important tools in the repertoire of anyone looking to buy second hand goods, especially bikes.
· One of the most tell-tale signs of potential bike theft is unwillingness on the part of the seller to provide detail when it comes to the bike they’re selling. There could be an innocent explanation for such a lack of detail, or hesitance to revel them, but it can be a fairly reliable indicator of dishonesty. For example, if the picture displayed online is a generic picture of the model of bike in question, as opposed to a candid picture of a clearly owned bike (a non-professional picture inside a garage, for example), alarm bells should start ringing.
· Similarly, asking the seller questions before purchase, such as “why are you selling the bike?” and “how long have you owned it?” can be a great way of ascertaining the honesty of the seller. Once again, there could be an innocent reason for a lack of detailed response, but it could also be an indicator that something may be amiss.
· Another obvious indicator is price; if a normally expensive model of bike is being sold at a ridiculously low price, there are good odds that a thief is trying to offload ‘hot’ property as quickly as possible and that, despite the savings, you should probably stay clear.
· Ultimately, if you remain suspicious of the bike’s origins, you should ask the seller for a receipt or proof of purchase. Not everyone holds onto these, but if the deal already looks shady, this should be enough to make you look elsewhere.
Be proactive, and cover your back
As well as applying common-sense prior to the transaction itself, it’s also wise to be more proactive; ensuring that you have protected your potential new investment from problems down the line.
· An obvious step to take here is to check the security mark, if one is available, against the free Bike Checker. Even if it is a stolen bike, it may not flag, but you can at least be sure that, if it does, it probably is stolen.
· While inspecting the bike, keep an eye out for paint work as well, specifically if it looks like it has been recently repainted. It may be useful to have a look online at what colour schemes the model of bike you’re going to buy is normally available in. If the bike you intend to purchase is in a shade normally unavailable, it’s been recoloured. The motives for repainting a bike may well be pure, but can also be a tell-tale sign that the bike has been stolen; altering its appearance will make it harder for the original owners to track.
· Take precautions when meeting an unknown seller. Meet in a public place, where possible, and take a friend with you. It’s not unknown for bike thieves to mug potential buyers. It almost certainly won’t happen to you, but it costs nothing to be prepared.
· Should you decide to go ahead and purchase the bike, ensure that you obtain a receipt, and contact details, from the seller. Should you find out anything less than savoury about the history of the bike, this may provide you with a means of recourse… but at the end of the day, if you’re suspicious about the sale you shouldn’t go ahead with it.
Once you’ve secured your ideal bike, you’ll want to make sure that it can’t be stolen; but fret not, we’ve got you covered there as well!