Update: Protecti has been acquired by Freelancer.com (owner of Escrow.com, the world’s largest online escrow service). Contact Escrow.com for further information.
Many riders have either experienced a ripoff, bounced cheque or “lemon” when trying to buy or sell motorcycles online or privately, or at least they have heard of others being ripped off.
Now Australian company Protecti has started a local service that offers peace of mind for both the buyer and seller. (An international version is being considered.)
Protecti works by holding the money in trust until the transaction is totally compete with the vehicle (motorcycle or car) received and approved, and the seller receiving the full amount.
It assures the seller that the money is actually there – no waiting for cheques to clear or bank transfers to be approved.
Buyers and sellers can also make arrangements for the vehicle to be delivered and inspected by a trusted mechanic by an agreed time before the money is released. It’s reassuring for interstate sight-unseen purchases over the internet!
The service can also be used for local/face-to-face transactions because it’s easier and safer than a bank cheque or bank transfer.
Protecti not only offers protection and safety, but also convenience, says founder Simon Lenton of Melbourne.
MotorbikeWriter, which has defended and protected riders’ rights, is now a partner with Protecti and will be a vigilant monitor of the service. If you have any concerns or complaints about the service, email us here.
Simon says they have multiple levels of security to guarantee private buyers and sellers.
“We built the system from the ground up, using bank security levels and a Microsoft security expert,” he says. “We also own our own hardware and the servers are stored in Australia data centres. We also have our own insurance and the funds are held by National Australia Trustees, a third party, who are indemnified.”
Simon started this cool service after his brother bought a car on eBay and was ripped off $10,000.
“In the past and with many online transactions once you click that “Buy” button there is that sick in the stomach feeling,” he says.
“Firstly, you hope it arrives and secondly that the item is as good as it appears in the pictures. It really can be pot luck.
“On low cost items it is a risk many are prepared to take and platforms like Gumtree and eBay are happy to cover the losses to protect their reputations if something does go wrong. But when it comes to big ticket items like motorcycles and cars the protection from the platforms is removed in the fine print and the sting of losing thousands of dollars is a big risk none of us want to deal with.”
Protecti charges a small fee for their reassuring services based on the amount of money held. Up to $10,000, it costs just $50, reducing as the price goes up. For example, a $30,000 vehicle would require a $140 fee.
Fees are payable by the buyer or seller or split between the two by mutual agreement.
If the fee is paid by credit card, there is a 1% surcharge payable by the buyer.
Payment can also be accepted through Bpay which provides extra confidence for the buyer as “everyone trusts their own internet banking portal” Simon says.
It also means the buyer receives reward points on the purchase and they don’t have to hand over any of their credit card details to Protecti. It’s also a lot easier than applying for a personal loan.
Simon says their service can extend to most transactions, not just vehicles.
Protecti removes much of the risk of online and face-to-face private transactions, allowing buyers and sellers to trade with confidence knowing that they will get what they pay for and get paid for what they sell.
If you are not satisfied there is even dispute resolution built in to the Protecti service.
Sellers will still need to be vigilant when selling over the internet.
Avoid spam emails and text messages from “oil workers” who want your address so they can send a friend around to inspect the bike. The scammers then visit in the middle of the night to steal your bike.
Never give out your address to a “buyer” unless you have a secure property. Instead, meet at a neutral place such as a service station.
And never let anyone take your bike for a test ride unless they leave their wallet, driver’s licence etc as security.