The beginner’s guide to buying and selling vehicles on eBay

Buying and selling bikes and cars on eBay has grown massively in recent years, as people becomes less nervous about purchasing big ticket items online.

Less nervous doesn’t mean complacent, though. The first thing to know is that eBay does not offer its usual buyer protection on vehicles, so this one really is a case of buyer beware. That said, buying on a credit card or a PayPal account will give you more protection.

If you’re buying a bike that you want to use for motorbike training, it’s worth getting some advice from a reputable training centre. Make sure you go and see the bike before even thinking about parting with any cash, otherwise you’re just rolling the dice. Most listings are up for at least a week, so there’s no excuse if you’re serious about it. If you really can’t make it, make sure you get it professionally inspected and get a full report.

It’s all too easy to get sucked in by auction fever. Don’t get overexcited and definitely don’t get overexcited after having a few pints at the weekend. Check prices for similar models of the same age, mileage and condition. The attraction of these auction sites is getting a bargain, so make sure you are. But if the price seems too good to true, it almost certainly is.

Always, always get a HPI check. It’s going to be cheaper than buying a bike that might be stolen, clocked, written-off or has outstanding finance on it. You don’t want the police or bailiffs turning up on your doorstep to take your pride and joy away. Ask the vendor lots of questions and be very wary of someone who doesn’t answer them or avoids the question(s). Also make sure you check a seller’s feedback rating. If someone doesn’t have a decent rating, there’s going to be a reason.

If you’re interested in selling a bike yourself, decide on what you really will accept for it and stick a reserve on. It will cost you extra to do this, but without it, your bike could go for a lot less than it’s worth or what you expected to receive for it. Could just be a slow weekend.

Take lots of pictures from lots of different angles and be honest. If there’s scratch or a ding, take a close-up picture and describe it. If there’s something that’s really good, take a picture of that.

Extras like an aftermarket exhaust, coloured screen or fancy air filter won’t add much to the price you get. You’re best to put it back to standard, as long as you’ve kept the OE parts, then sell the parts separately. You’ll make more than you ever would selling them as part of the deal.

One final tip is to list the bike for 10 days from Thursday to the following Sunday. This will give you two Fridays and two Saturdays, and while you don’t want to buy a lemon after you’ve tottered back from the pub at the weekend, there’s no harm in someone else paying over the odds for your bike after they’ve had a few sherbets.