Buyer beware

Check out a seller’s his­tory be­fore hand­ing over cash

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

Let’s talk about traders of mo­tor­cy­cles and their re­lated parts. It’s get­ting in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to de­ter­mine who’s a private seller and who’s ac­tu­ally run­ning a busi­ness on the sly. Print clas­si­fied ad­verts high­light trade sales in bold type, or mark them as ‘Trade’, and they also tally how many ad­verts you place. If they think you’re do­ing more than a private in­di­vid­ual should, they may in­sist you de­clare your­self a trader.

The tax­man al­lows a ‘prof­itable hobby’ – mean­ing if you have a stamp col­lec­tion, and you sell a few and make a few quid on them, or even sell an en­tire col­lec­tion and make a lot, you will pay no tax un­less they think you bought with the in­ten­tion of sell­ing for a profit.

ebay is no­to­ri­ous for peo­ple hav­ing mul­ti­ple iden­ti­ties and ad­dresses. Peo­ple also change their ebay names. Some just punt out stuff and hope no­body will no­tice. I’m cur­rently look­ing at the his­tory of a bod who sells bike brochures and ser­vice books.

He’s sold about 100 in the last year: that’s two a week, and he may use other sales meth­ods too. That’s trad­ing, and he is likely to be caught sooner or later (the tax­man mon­i­tors ebay).

You can click on a seller’s feed­back rat­ing, next to their user­name, and ex­am­ine their feed­back. That can be fun – I re­mem­ber one buyer I had whose feed­back re­vealed, a cou­ple of years pre­vi­ously, that he’d bought a load of vintage porn and some­thing called a ‘cock and ball clamp’ (I am ig­no­rant of th­ese de­vices and happy to re­main so). If you click on the user­name it­self, it will show you whether the seller has changed his han­dle, and when.

It’s all some­thing to re­mem­ber if you are sold a pup and the seller proves un­co­op­er­a­tive.

NEXT WEEK Why older bikes can have hid­den ex­penses.

Is Emma a shifty bike trader in dis­guise?

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