Who doesn’t like a bargain? I for one am completely crazy about bargains. From Electronics to vehicles, I love to look around auctions and classified ads, to see if something catches my eye. Now (un)fortunately this trait is shared by my husband as well. And one of our favourite pastimes is browsing Ebay Motors, to look at the offering of cars and motorcycles. Now it’s true that you are risking getting a raw deal – perhaps someone lists a vehicle with hidden problems, or worse yet, there is no vehicle at all, yet you end up paying a deposit after winning that tempting auction…
However, that’s a very small part of buying vehicles on Ebay. Let me tell you my own personal experiences buying the Honda CB500 on Ebay…
In a place not far from here, in a time long long ago (1 mile from here, 1 year and 2 months ago)….
My husband was miserable taking the bus to work every day (Men! Especially those that love to drive!). And it didn’t help that we had planned to go to Ace Cafe that day with some acquaintances… We had the idea firmly in our heads that we needed a motorcycle. Now the alternatives to Ebay, especially because we were on a tight budget, couldn’t really compete. Our budget was £1000 including insurance and a helmet, and AutoTrader had nothing appropriate within that range, but Ebay had lots of bikes, ready to go; Taxed, MOT’ed and in full working order!
So it had to be Ebay. We had picked two bikes we were interested in; a Honda CB250 (because it was cute, and at the time I was hoping I’d get to keep it), and a CB500 – fairly impulsive decisions both of them, we did not go and see them in advance even!
So after coming back from Ace Cafe, both bike auctions were set to finish within 30 minutes from each other. That evening, I (being the nerd in the house) had the nerve wrecking task of winning a bike in an auction. My first ever Ebay auction actually! The CB250 was first up, and I tried my best (crude) Ebay bidding strategy. It involved just placing a bid and seeing what would happen. I didn’t bid particularly high, instead I saw the minutes count down, kept refreshing the page, and was outbid (or “sniped” as they call it) within the last 30 seconds of the end of the auction – too soon to do anything about! Of course I was devastated for a moment there, but went right on to the next auction. Had a quick discussion on what the plan of action should be – pestering my husband to give me an exact figure he wouldn’t go above under any circumstance (response: “I don’t know!”). And this time I waited patiently, until about 2 minutes before the end of the auction. I bid some amount I came up with myself. As those two minutes passed, I furiously kept refreshing, and even increased my bid a little to prevent the previous sniping experience from happening again!
As many of you must have noticed, the last bit of the auction is where all the action happens! And indeed, someone tried to steal this bike away as well, but didn’t bid high enough so that night itself, we had gotten ourselves into completely uncharted territory! About to buy a bike, from a guy we didn’t know, who said he didn’t have the V5 back from the DVLA yet as he’d just bought the bike not so long ago, without even seeing the bike in advance! We arranged for some insurance, called the seller to arrange a day and time for the pick up.. and before we knew it, we were on a bus to Staines (where we’d never been before), carrying 792.20 in cash, one helmet, and a print out from Multimap. We reached in the pitch dark, managed to somehow find the road we were looking for, and my husband had his first go at riding the bike. Luckily it was an easy match for him, and he rode it all the way home, while I went back on the bus again (as I didn’t have a helmet).
Luckily all ended well, the V5 was sent to us within a few weeks, and now it’s still working and being used by me to commute every day. But it could’ve gone quite wrong! In my next post I will give some tips and precautions you should take if you are looking to buy a vehicle off Ebay.