The motorcycle is a collectors item: A 1981 Yamaha 1100cc Midnight Special with a little more than 18,000 miles, and it is for sale.
Caldwell resident Jeff Katz was aware of the problems sometimes encountered on Internet classified ad sites, but he was also aware that selling his 1981 Yamaha might draw a higher price if he went outside the Treasure Valley.
Only 250 of the 1100cc motorcycles were made in each of 1980 and 1981, and only 250 of the 850ccs were made in each of those two years, Katz said of the collectibility of the motorcycle. I owned a 1980 from 81-89 and this one for 2 years.
When he received the offer that was near what he posted for, he was grateful. But what came next perplexed him. The person interested in buying his bike lives in Canada.
To transport the bike across the U.S.Canadian border, U.S. Customs needs the title, signed over to the buyer 72 hours prior to bringing the bike across the border, Katz explained.
He said this has raised some red warning flags in selling the motor-cycle to the person in Canada.
Immediately, Katz put in place a three-point plan for the sale. He shared it with BBB:
1: Katz will use a title company to set up an escrow account where the buyer will deposit U.S. funds.
2: After the funds clear, Katz will sign the title over to the buyer and send a copy to U.S. Customs. (U.S. Customs said to print the buyers name on the title before sending the title to the agency since the buyer will still be in Canada; the buyer can sign it after inspecting the motorcycle).
3: The buyer will inspect the bike and either:
a: He will release the funds from the escrow account to Katz, who will sign the title and turn the title and bike over to the seller, or
b: The buyer has the right to refuse to purchase the bike if it is not as Katz described it to him. In which case, the funds will be released to the buyer and Katz will keep the bike and title.
The Better Business Bureau warns that online classified sales work best when you deal locally with folks you can meet in person. Follow this one rule and avoid 99 percent of scam attempts on Internet classified ad sites, such as Craigslist.
Æ Never give financial information bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.
Æ Avoid deals involving shipping or escrow services and know that only a scammer will guarantee your transaction.
Æ Never wire funds via Western Union, Moneygram or any other wire service. Anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
Æ Fake cashier checks and money orders are common, and banks will cash them and then hold you responsible when the fake is discovered weeks later.
Æ Craigslist is not involved in any transaction, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer buyer protection or seller certification.
Katz said he has decided not to send the motorcycle title to Canada, but he has made arrangements for the potential buyer to inspect it later this month.
I have no intention of shipping the bike, I am very familiar with that scam, he said. Either he picks it up in person or he does not get it.
Well keep you posted on the outcome.
Robb Hicken: 947-2115