A very real guide to sniffing out fake bike deals
Let’s discuss what you should look for when you make purchase a bike online.
The specs of both the item and the seller
A number of admins require a list of specs sellers need to indicate before they allow posting. Jjay de Guzman Gonzales of Buy and Sell Bike and Bike Parts Ph (now called Bike Stop Ph) requires the following:
- Actual photos
- Condition (whether used or brand new)
- Contact number
- Meet-up location
- Reason for selling (optional)
It is to your advantage to prefer those who take extra effort to fill in details. However, if you see something you cannot resist that lacks detailed descriptions, message the seller directly.
At the same time, try to do a bit of sleuthing yourself. Check if their personal pages are legitimate. If it was created just a few days or even months ago, that’s more likely the work of a scammer. “Admins filter members with bogus accounts. It is an automatic deletion for those with hazy accounts to prevent scams within the group,” says Arvin Lasala of Best Buy for Cyclists – BBC.
Page admins are usually accommodating when it comes to inquiries like if the seller has some previous infraction or if a particular account has been placed on their watchlist. Usually though they adopt a one-strike policy for this.
Research, research, research
Take the specs provided with a grain of salt. Image-enhancing apps are convenient to use so take a closer look at the image of the product and read the specs carefully. Be wary of terms referring to imitation products like OEM, replica, version of, cheap China carbon, etc.
However, in the absence of these terms, do lots of research online. Use Google image search to generate product photos, then compare these with the picture of the item for sale to determine if it looks original and well-kept.
Another great avenue is forums. Major local biking websites have dedicated forum pages. You may join these conversations to post queries. You will be surprised at how more than willing they are to give you their two cents.
When it comes to pricing, it’s best to consult dedicated and established selling websites just to have an idea of how much brand new and secondhand items cost.
Now, when something pops up that is too good to be true, well, it probably is. These bike deals could be fake, they may not be well-maintained, or the seller just wants to get rid of it fast because it’s stolen. “Ask, ask, ask, ask, canvas, canvas, canvas. That simple!” says Lasala.
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