Post-scam rant... What would you do?

Hi all,

I was scammed not long ago. I can't help thinking about it, which makes me quite frustrated and upset, so hoping to end this annoying situation, I appeal to the :monkey: wisdom. :thumb:

A few weeks ago I was searching 2nd hand websites looking for a ~200$ mtb (to make a commuter). I spotted one, called the guy asking the usual stuff and he said something like "it's perfect, nothing worn out or scratches". I found it hard to believe, but I've seen bikes used once and stored forever, so I gave it a chance.

Later on, I met the guy (he came with his young son, poor guy) and gave a quick and very light ride with the bike. Certainly, it had no scratches (I later found some storage marks covered by paint). The stanchions had lost some coating, but I didn't think much about it as it was a very cheap fork and worked ok. No play on the wheels, either. The guy made a comment about me looking so carefully at the bike (he expected me to trust a complete stranger, it seems), but since everything seemed ok -save what I then thought was a derailleur adjustment-, I bought it.

Once home came a few surprises. Some replaced bolts (can deal with that), a missing piece in the seat collar which made it impossible to lower by hand... and a worn out transmission. Worn to the point that you'd bust your knees against the stem when pedalling from a stop. Worn to the point of broken and fin shaped-teeth in chainring and cassette. That chain was never changed or oiled (even worse, it was greased) and had made 2 world tours.

All of a sudden, the pieces matched with a cold feeling in my spine; the guy nervous about me inspecting carefully the bike, telling me to "try the height first before lowering the seat", the stanchions, being unclear about the size, etc. It was a scam.

So I call him a couple of days later, expecting to set things clear. He picks up the phone, recognizes my voice and the show begins; immediately starts attacking me (insults, threatens, and so on), and hangs off. I immediately call back to try to set things straight, but it's futile; the bastard insists that's perfect and keeps insulting, with me angryly answering back at his lies, till I realize I won't get anything out of it and hang.
I then regretted not being more aggressive, but (for good or worse) I'm not that kind of guy, and these situations affect me more than I wished. At least, I thought, I tried.

Yet, days later, the issue keeps coming to my mind, like it's unresolved. But I don't think this can be "resolved" any further. I sometimes think of calling back just to tell him to go **** off, yet I know I would get nothing out of it (apart from another headache and knowing I had the guts to "annoy" him once more).
How could I have skipped such an obvious thing as a wasted tranny? How didn't I hear all the alarms going off even before seeing the bike? My only relief is that this serves me as a lesson, and that I should be able to resell the bike (honestly) without too much loss.

Well, enough for the rant. Ever been in this situation before? What would you guys do?:thumb:
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Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
borcester rhymes
Try this: http://www.ebaumsworld.com/jokes/read/80431337/

But seriously, you didn't get scammed, you just did a ****ty job inspecting the bike. You really don't have anybody to blame but yourself in this case, as much as it sucks. Some people just don't understand what a good bike is like or is supposed to be, so sharktoothed chainrings and ****ty setup ain't a big deal.

Personally, I think you should take this as a lesson in not buying on emotion and being more thorough. I'd go out and put the $25 into it that you need to, and put on your happiest face possible. Seriously, a ****ty QR seat collar goes for $5, plus a $10 chain, plus a $25 cassette, and you'll probably be good to go. Getting a replacement crankset (used) with chainrings won't be that expensive either. I just picked up two for $20 with a frame and fork and derailleur.

FWIW, I'm not trying to insult you, just tell you how it is. I bought a very rare car that I was super excited about, and ignored the warning signs (puddle of coolant, white smoke, reservoir overflow) and weeks after I bought it, I had to sink another $2600 into it just to get it running. I should have turned and ran, but instead I let my heart make the choice and I ended up broke. I had nobody to blame but myself, as I should have known, but I just didn't think.


Feb 13, 2004
looking for classic NE singletrack
$200 for a worn out, name-brand mountain bike with shifting problems is the going rate out here, at least in Madison...

By the way, if the drivetrain has *that* much wear and tear, how does it not have a *single* scratch on it? New frame/paint and transplanted parts?

Oh, and he was probably nervous because he'd just stolen it 3 hours earlier and needed his fix...
As I see it, my biggest mistake was not turning around at the first alarm sign (and there were many) and doing a better test ride. And while I inspected the bike, I should have carried a list to avoid skipping anything. A website with user reputation should have helped, too. But I don't see how it was just a "bad purchase".

If you buy something "as is" (= the classic car example, I guess), both seller & buyer agree that the item's exact conditions are unknown, so it's up the buyer to decide if the risk is worth. But if you're told "it's perfect, no worn parts", we'll all agree that you should expect (at the very least) something with light use. If it isn't, the seller is either lying or selling something blindly -either way it's his fault..

I've bought many things 2nd hand (through forums). Thankfully, most people are honest and just want to get a few bucks for their unused stuff. Some will even sell you the item before clearing the payment, or make a small refund when an unexpected defect arises. But picking up the phone and start insulting it's confessing the fraud, IMHO. It's not a subtlety (like a slightly bent rim); even on flat ground, the chain jumps... And the guy -suposedly-rides and builds his bikes. Of course he knew about that.

Sandwich, no offense taken. ;) I enjoyed the joke, too bad we have caller id. I don't plan to keep the bike; not because of the repairs, but because the sight of it gets me in a bad mood. Scammed and then insulted is just too much.

dante, it's very strange indeed. After a quick look, I couldn't find chips or scratches in typical areas, apart from a couple of spots painted over in the seat stays (as if it was a commuter or road bike). Yet the overused tranny, or the sun bleached paint on the fork ("special edition", in his own words). Perhaps the tranny was switched, who knows. BTW both the guy and the kid seemed typical middle-age people. Well, I guess there is little else to do now besides wishing him to spend the money on medical treatment.
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Tirelessly Awesome
Jan 30, 2003
Lima, Peru, Peru
I would think the guy had a great frame that he loved and found it convenient to buy a new bike for the OEM parts which he swapped out... happens all the time.
this. happens all the time.
i dont see a scam really... you got to see the bike and check it for yourself. it was a lousy inspection if you didnt noticed a greased chain and ****ty casette/chainring. but still, its a $200 used bicycle (which apparently even has a suspension fork on it), so i wouldnt expect very much.
a new inexpensive chain/casette/chainrings shouldnt set you back more than $70. reasonable repairs for a used bike.