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The Internet has connected the world and has made it much easier for businesses to research and purchase used sweepers, but it has also made it easier for scammers to take advantage of people and then quickly disappear.

You can be pretty sure established dealers, and manufacturers engage in honest sales practices. They have too much invested in their organization, community, and reputation to try to take advantage of buyers or sellers. But sometimes buying from a dealership or manufacturer might not an option.

To make sure you don’t become a victim, take your time when buying a used sweeper from individuals. If the seller doesn’t let you see the equipment, tries to route all transactions through a third-party payer or does not communicate through regular channels, there’s a good chance a scammer is trying to take advantage of you.

Here are some precautions you can take to protect yourself:

Stick to reputable online listing sites.

Quality used equipment listing sites are the best way to make sure you do not get scammed. They will either charge sellers for listing or require a membership to post listings. Plus, these sites do not allow any transactions to happen online but simply make it easy for buyers to find the equipment they are looking for and then put them in contact with the seller.

Avoid sites known for fraudulent activity.

Sites such as craiglist.com and ebay.com have a lot of honest people buying and selling equipment but are also the most targeted sites by scammers. Yes, eBay has precautions in place to protect buyers and sellers; however, if you are a victim of a scam and report it, you’ll wait for a lengthy investigation process to hopefully rule in your favor. And Craigslist has no responsibility for anything bought or sold on the site.

Check The Seller’s Credentials.

If you decide not to purchase from an established dealer or manufacturer, obtain as much information as you can about the seller before you buy. Ask the seller for a list of individuals who have purchased from them before and then talk to the people on that list to confirm the seller is truthful. Also, ask the seller for other reputable business people that can vouch for them.

Ask Even More Questions.

Ask the person that you’re thinking about doing business with a lot of information about their organization, the sweeper’s condition, and previous owner’s operator. You also want to make sure that the sweeper truck has been cleared for any liens.

Get a Written Bill of Sale and Title.

Good business practices require that you get a written bill of sale from the seller when you purchase a sweeper. Ask to see the title and make sure the seller is listed as the current owner. Make sure there is no lien on the title and if there is make sure there is a release clearly noted either on the title or via certified statement from the lienholder. An MSO/MCO is not the same as a title and is only transferrable by a licensed dealer. A title is a ‘must’ have! Some states don’t require a title for sweepers. If you are a seller in one of those states, be prepared to obtain a title to transact an out of state sale. If you are purchasing from an owner in a state that does not require a title, check with your DMV on the requirements for obtaining a title in your state. Better to find out before you buy than get stuck with a sweeper you can’t put on the road!

And Simply Trust Your Instincts.

Whenever you think “this deal is too good to be true,” it probably is. Expect to pay a fair price for any used sweeper that you’re going to add to your fleet. If you’re selling a sweeper, and the buyer doesn’t haggle or offers you more than you’re asking, you should be concerned. If something doesn’t feel right, walk away.

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