There is an old saying that you should never buy a pig in a poke. We all know the dangers of buying something without actually seeing it or feeling it, however many of us do shop online. We feel confident buying online from places like Amazon or Eddie Bauer because we know of the the quality of the products and the integrity of the company. However this is not the case with many online sellers of motor scooters or motorcycles.

To protect yourself, before you buy a scooter or motorcycle online or on Craig's List, think about the following considerations, as they may keep you from making a very expensive mistake:

First, what type of warranty does the seller offer? Is it in writing and what does it cover? In many cases, there is no warranty, either implied or expressed. This means that you have to pay for all of the repairs. If the warranty is not in writing, you need to get it in writing. If the seller will not put their warranty in writing, it is time to look elsewhere.
Is there a reputable repair facility where you live that is qualified to repair this model? Just because you have a warranty, in writing, does not mean that you will be able to have the vehicle repaired. You must take it to a facility that is authorized by the manufacturer or seller for repairs. Additionally, not every scooter shop or motorcycle dealer can repair an off-brand bike. Be very careful, an inexpensive bike is not a deal if you can never ride it.
What is the cost of the vehicle and how much does it cost to ship? Will it be fully insured should any damage occur during transit? When buying online or on Craig's List, you need to consider what the vehicle's cost is, then add applicable taxes, shipping costs, and insurance if the transport carrier does not provide it in the shipping cost. Also you need to inspect what the insurance covers should something happen during transport of the vehicle.
Will the vehicle come to you fully assembled, or will you have to assemble it all or in part yourself and do you have the skills and the tools to do it correctly? When scooters and motorcycles are shipped from China, they are shipped in crates and must be assembled before you can ride (or sell) them. Ensure that if you buy one online or on Craig's List, that it comes to you completely assembled, with all of the systems checked and tested, air in the tires, fluid in the batteries and brakes, and bulbs in the lamps.
How will you get the vehicle registered? Do you get a title to the vehicle or only an MCO (Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin) and will Florida accept it from that seller? Some sellers and some scooter manufacturers are not registered with the state and therefore the vehicles cannot be registered in Florida Your first question of the seller, whether online or on Craig's List, should be if you get a title to the vehicle or just an MCO. Next, you need to know that the seller is allowed to sell motor vehicles in Florida and, more importantly, if the manufacturer is registered with Florida Department of Motor Vehicles so that their vehicles can be sold in Florida. Not every Chinese manufacturer can be sold here. Finally, you need to ask who will register the vehicle for you. If you have to, expect a 1-3 hour wait at the DMV.
What if you need parts, are parts available and is the manufacturer still in business? If you don't buy from a dealer, is there a dealer in your area that carries parts for this make and model of scooter/motorcycle? More importantly is there a dealer anywhere, including online, from whom you can get all of the parts necessary to keep your bike moving?
Does the vehicle fit you? Not every scooter is a good fit for every rider. Some are bad for riders with long legs and some are bad for riders with short legs -and you won't know until you sit on one. Some seats are higher than others, some seats are farther forward than others, and floor plates on some scooters are wider than others making it hard for short people to keep both feel on the ground at a stop. Just as you would not buy shoes without trying them on, you sould not buy a scooter or motorcycle without sitting on it. The differences may surprize you.
Does this vehicle have a two-stroke or four-stroke engine? If you don't know what the difference is, that will be an issue when maintaining it.

(C) Seminole Scooters, Inc. 2011-2012