Buy scooter online... sounds like a great way to save money and time, doesn't it? But is that reality? Often it's not... Read this page before you shop at that online scooter store & buy a gas scooter online...
Unscrupulous companies from outside the US often exploit a loopholes in US importation law to bring in poor quality scooters from China.
They sometimes get past customs by claiming that the scooters are for off-road usage. That enables them to get around the rigorous and expensive testing that the DOT and the EPA require.
The DOT and EPA tests ensure that legitimate companies comply with all applicable safety and environmental standards that are required by US law, so it's not a good idea to bypass them.
So, if you're considering the option to buy a scooter online, you should know that it's against the law in the US to sell untested, inferior scooters as street legal vehicles. In addition, these fake street legal scooters are also of little use as off-road scooters, despite the manufacturers' claims, since they have street tires and very little ground clearance.
In reality, you'll could find if you buy a scooter online, that these cheap scooters are also unable to perform as advertised – if they even start and run at all. From what I have read, there are very few reputable vehicle manufacturers that allow their products to be sold and shipped directly to the consumer.
The reason for this is because hardly any of these imported scooters are ready to be used "right out of the box". Most all of them, if not all, need a fair amount of servicing first. They need to have all fluids, hoses, nuts & blots and such checked... and maybe replaced.
Most consumers are not prepared to do that kind of work. Dealers might be.
To ensure that you receive a quality product you should not buy scooter online unless you have a dependable mechanic all lined up who will inspect and repair it for you before you ever attempt to put it on the road.
A better idea is to buy scooters directly from a trained, professional dealership, who has either ordered the scooters online themselves or who imported them. This better ensures that your scooter will be properly uncrated, inspected, tuned and delivered to you in proper condition. It also guarantees your valuable warranty will be activated.
I've heard of cases where innocent people buy cheap Internet scooters only to discover they're basically non-functional from the get go. And, reputable mechanics are often unwilling to work on such junk.
If you try to contact the company you buy a scooter online from, chances are you'll find the "warranty" is virtually worthless and your money will be lost.
There is another side to the story, however... And one of my regular readers, Jim Zeiser, has had great luck with his cheap Chinese scooter (read his story here). Jim says the key is choosing your online dealer wisely, because there are known crooks... but also some very reliable online dealers. Do your homework!
Also learning a little something about maintaining/repairing your scoot can help, because as I've already pointed out, sometimes these cheaper online scooters require more care.
The bottom line is that the buyer should beware if you buy scooters online! If you're looking for a maintenance-free scooter like I was, then I don't recommend you buy a scooter online. But if you're willing to tinker... or know a mechanic who will do it for you for a reasonable fee, then go for it! Just be sure that you go into any online deal with your eyes wide open...
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