With bicycle theft being an increasing problem, there are a number of effective strategies to make it difficult for stolen bikes to be sold in the second-hand market. Once stolen, many bicycles end up illegally available for sale on the street or online. It is important that you know what to look for to avoid buying stolen bicycles. If you are planning to buy bicycle from an individual seller as opposed to a bike shop, there are a number of things to check in order to verify that the sale is legitimate.
Firstly, check the ad carefully. Bike thieves are most likely looking for a quick sell. They will heavily under-priced the bicycles. So, check for the price. If it sounds too good to be truth, it is! If you feel that you are getting too much of a bargain then be aware! In such cases it is worth digging a bit deeper.
Also, be suspicious of stock photo adverts, and always ask to see the actual bicycle picture. Be aware of ads that are too short and lack key information. Sellers who go through great length to remain anonymous is a good indicator that something might be wrong. Poor grammar and spelling errors are also good indicators of dodgy sellers.
Ask the owner if he/she has the purchase receipt. Next thing to do is checking for the bicycle’s serial/frame number. Once you have this number you can check it online to see you that number is linked to lost or stolen bikes.
It is also important that you check your seller. If they are reluctant to give you key information such as phone, email, or name they this could be a sign that they have something to hide. Be careful if you notice that they sale a lot of under-priced bicycles from a storage or garage. When meeting the seller in person choose a crowded public place, preferably close to a police station. Make sure you don’t go alone. So, if you want to help stopping the ever increasing sale of stolen bicycles follow these simple steps. Also read our Guide to Buying a Second Hand Bicycle