Scooter Guy

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Everything posted by Scooter Guy

  1. Regardless of if one thinks the prices paid were high, low, or otherwise, and regardless of the condition of the cars themselves, that's exactly what it boils down to: buying a car with really unique provenance. And remember, the opportunity to buy those exact cars from the Lambrecht auction won't ever happen again. They might pop up for sale from now until the end of time, but you won't be able to ever buy them from THE event again. I would say that that matters, others wouldn't care one bit.
  2. I like eBay, use it A LOT, and have more-or-less jumped to their defense each time an eBay thread comes up in which some sort of complaint is being expressed. There are people looking to actually make sales on eBay that start with reasonable prices and let the auction run it's course and then there are people that seem to have some kind of burning desire to put stuff up for sale with "I don't want to sell it" prices (or you might say a "make me sell it price"). The folks that WANT to sell and set up their listings accordingly generally do pretty well and get their stuff sold for more-or-less what the market will bear. The others set some pie-in-the-sky price and sit on their item month after month after month. I suppose you could look at it as asking price vs. selling price and that those with those crazy asking prices rarely sell anything at the stated price. Every once in a great while a buyer comes along that is either uninformed or simply doesn't care about the price and buys one of those things...hard to believe but it does happen. Those kind of sellers really aren't competition, they should just be making your listings look more attractive. The "I don't want to sell it" folks USED to be able to just about get a free ride out of eBay by listing the item too high and having it not sell. Ebay used to allow free re-listing of unsold items with no limit. Now they only let you do it once and there are other restrictions in place making it a lot less appealing to deliberately try to do that. It also used to be A LOT easier to get in touch with sellers directly and do transactions outside of eBay, another area eBay is trying to crack down on by restricting access to certain information. Still, a lot of this type of seller is trying to pull off just that, you've just got to read between the lines. There are a lot of (I think) really uninformed buyers on eBay, too. In my case, I generally keep to scooter/motorcycle stuff. It's funny to sit back and watch prices get run up through the roof on beat to h**l parts when GOOD used or NOS parts are available for less money...they just might not be on eBay. But life's too short to worry about what other eBay buyers and sellers are doing with their money.
  3. No problem. I think it's extremely cool that you've invented something that sounds so interesting whatever it is. For $2, I'll probably by one just because of the story even if I don't need whatever it is. Anyway, I just don't want to see you having problems with things that an attorney (and I'm not one) could have helped you overcome. I really admire your "I'm going to tackle this" approach and the fact that it does not intimidate you. Honestly, I wish I was able to be a bit more like that, but I look at the process and think of all the potential issues and it just boggles the mind. Sorry, my comments probably stem from the fact that my day job is pretty much entirely based upon me imagining worst-case scenarios and figuring out what to do about them relative to my industry. I really do wish you the best and hope that everything goes your way and is successful.
  4. I don't mean to rain on your parade but I see a lot of possible issues here. First, you've apparently uncovered that something quite similar to your product was granted a patent in the not-to-distant past. This is potentially a major issue and something that (at least in my opinion) should be signaling you to drop everything and check into it before you spend another dime on your product with the intent to patent it and bring it to market. You seem to be want to do everything yourself come hell or high water rather than using a patent attorney. You've mentioned that the services of an attorney are cost prohibitive, which I can understand, but I think you're taking a huge risk. Knowing that, plus the quote from you I've included in this post leads me to ask this: if you can't afford or don't want an to use an attorney to get the patent, how in the world do you expect to protect the patent without one if you believe it has a high potential to be stolen? Having a patent gives you the right to defend your idea/product/design, but does not guarantee any sort of action would ever be taken by the government (patent and trademark office, for example) to actively stop anyone from stealing your idea or selling their own version (even an exact copy) that infringes on your patent. A copy-cat product simply would not be able to be patent, but that doesn't mean that others won't try to copy your product and sell it themselves. Keeping track of that sort of thing and going after those that exploit your invention is your problem. Personally, I don't see a one man operation having a very good chance in that kind of situation. An attorney isn't necessarily a golden ticket, but think of it this way...would you be more inclined to take a cease and desist from an attorney seriously or from the inventor himself? And if that someone didn't stop, what would you do about it?
  5. I am really not qualified to speak to much more on intellectual property laws or offer any legal advice. I will say that it seems that perhaps I was a bit off and that intellectual property law is really no different than patent law to the extent that patents seem to be one way to legally protect your intellectual property which is a design for a product in this case. Intellectual property seems to be nothing morethan the overall umbrella under which a patent would fall I would highly recommend hiring an experienced patent attorney to help you through this and make sure that you've dotted every "i" and crossed every "t." You absolutely MUST have an exhaustive patent search done as step #1. Without doing that and knowing FOR SURE what the outcome is you are wasting time and effort (in my opinion) and are spending money developing a product you may NOT be able to patent. A good patent attorney will do this search for you as quickly as possible and, I suspect, probably more comprehensively than any of the rest of us could ever do from home. I wish you the best, but It seems like you're making the process 10x harder by trying to do this yourself without really knowing how to do it.
  6. It is important to remember that eBay is a business, and a large publicly traded company at that. "They" (as in eBay management) are obligated to act on decisions that are mandated by the board of directors. That board is elected by and acting in representation of the shareholders. Management must keep shareholder interest (namely making money on their investment) in mind with every decision that they make including things that might seem far too small and detailed, such as search results and filtering. Manipulating those things can mean thousands of dollars in potential increased revenue for the company. The eBay experience depends a lot of which side of the transaction you are on: buyer or seller. Ebay has become very "buyer centric" with their policies (not a bad thing in my opinion)...and without the bidders/buyers happy, nobody comes to their site to sell (thus becoming eBay's customer). This is exactly why eBay has almost completely gone to a "buyer is always right" kind of approach to sales policies, fees, feedback and dispute resolution. I am of the opinion that many that complain about being a seller on eBay are not familiar with current policies. First, the average "Joe B. Hobbyseller" can list 50 items per month for free (no insertion fee) depending on how well you follow ebay policies (on categories, listing type, etc.). Sellers also get free photos (up to a limit) for each listing, and the final value fee is a flat 10% of the TOTAL (including shipping) to a max fee of $250. I don't personally think that's a terrible deal as it boils down to a 10% commission to sell on eBay as a hobby-level seller doing up to 50 items per month. Yes, it's terrible to have eBay take a piece of your shipping, but eBay was getting ripped off by sellers trying to skirt fees with low selling prices and high shipping prices, so they had to do something. It's the add-ons that can really run the fees up. If you can live without those items, selling on eBay is not unreasonably priced, in my opinion. Ebay MOTORS is a bit different (and they have exclusions on vehicle categories anyway), but they don't FORCE you to list you auto related items under Ebay motors. As a collector, I view eBay as invaluable and have again and again found and had the opportunity to purchase all sorts of "impossible to find" things that I would have never known about or had the opportunity to purchase otherwise. Ebay has essentially made the world a smaller place: I'm able to buy things from all over the world because sellers know that eBay traffic is incredible and that the exposure and chance for success there is high: millions of hits per day and (depending on who you ask), it's one of the top 20 most visited websites in the world. You just can't get that anywhere else for the price. I've done thousands of transactions on eBay including buying 3 collector level motor scooters and a moped. The safety, customer service, and integrated payment system all make eBay very easy to use and quite low risk as a buyer. Many have tried to "build a better eBay" and nothing has found mainstream success. Start-ups just can't compete with such an established brand. Even "special" sites have been started for the sale of specific items ranging from cars to electronics. They've either all failed or are barely limping along. It takes sellers to attract buyers. But sellers won't come around unless there are buyers...kind of a catch-22 situation that makes eBay even harder to compete with. Think Craigslist is the answer? Guess what...eBay owns 25% of them. Special interest sites, such as this one, are the only real, viable alternative in my opinion. They gather like minded people and often provide a free classified section. The trade off, of course, is that you are 100% completely on your own in the transaction from top to bottom. Getting back to searching...it's pretty well been covered by the other posters. Also, running a google search for "how to search on eBay" brings up a lot of interesting sites, some of which go WAY into depth on doing all sorts of advanced searches and how to weed out the garbage.
  7. There is no real parts source for the Forall. The scooter specific items are extremely hard to find and nobody is reproducing any of it. The best bet with something like that is to buy the finest example you can and then find a second one to use as a parts donor. However, since these aren't exactly common machines, and you've already got what you've got, my best advice under the circumstances is to keep an eye on ebay and check out events like the Vintage Motor Bike Club meet in Portland, Indiana each July or the swap meet in Davenport. Please post a photo of what you have...I'd love to see it. Also- check out usscootermuseum.com and check the Forall section. There are quite a few photos of my late production (1960) Forall. It is all original and 99% complete.
  8. Yep, that gets to the heart of the matter, Restorer32: Fly by night shippers often operating outside of the law and/or DOT regulations. I guess since I've said that much, I can go on and say that the one time I shipped though them, the carrier I was using was suspended from the site for not operating legally, unbeknownst to me and having represented themselves otherwise. I was as careful as I could be as a layman to check into the shippers legitimacy. I actually ended up contacted by the authorities and asked to cooperate with their investigation and prosecution of the particular carrier I was working with. It seems that that person had been under the microscope for some time and I was just among the last "victims" before the authorities pulled the trigger on trying to put the brakes on him. Mind you that this was while the shipper was in possession of my stuff! I eventually got my stuff, but it was a nightmare. The problem with the site is that ANYONE with a truck, trailer, van, or empty car trunk can go on the site and register as a shipping provider, so many are illegal operations. The site does NOT screen them, guarantee them, or intervene if there are any issues (you can spend days trying to navigate their site to find all of the fine print). They are simply providing the forum, or so they say. Illegal shipping is not always intentional on that site either. In some cases, the "one man operation" type folks don't even know they're operating illegally until they run into a shipping problem and the (now unhappy) shipper exposes them to the authorities that go "hey...wait a minute." Does that mean that everyone on the site is illegal in one way or another...no, of course not. It boils down, as always, to "buyer beware" and "you get what you pay for."
  9. Uship...been there, done that. I would encourage anyone thinking about arranging shipping though Uship to do their homework on what uship is, how it works, what happens when there are problems ("customer service"), who EXACTLY is going to be shipping your stuff, and when/how you're going to pay for the service. Buyer (shipper?) beware. I think that's about all I can say about it without breaking the forum rules, I suppose.
  10. I read the vintage scooter magazines out of the UK and first heard about Ankor Wax there. I really wanted to try some and have discovered that it is not available in the United States despite being made by Morris Lubricants...a company selling other products in the United States. I even had the US distributor and several dealers look into stocking it or special ordering some for me and they have all said that they can't get import it to the US because it's "a dangerous chemical." So, I located a guy selling the stuff on UK ebay and asked if he'd be willing to send it to me. He agreed to try it, and lo and behold...it worked. A quart sized bottle of it showed up in the mail one day simply wrapped in brown paper with my address on it. How that ever made it through customs and ultimately to me, I'll never know. I used it on a vintage vespa with "patina" that I did not want to repaint. It's kind of like a syrup like version of WD-40 and dries like a tacky wax. From there it can be left alone or buffed. Being sticky and thick, it was HARD to buff without gunking everything up, but I was happy with it once I got it done. I'd recommend the stuff, but our US folks are going to have a difficult time finding it.
  11. After years of looking at them and thinking about getting one, I finally bought one of them a year or so ago. It's actually a motorcycle jacket (also from California Car Cover). I actually am able to store 2-3 scooters in one motorcycle bag for long term storage. The main idea for me was keeping dirt, dust, and critters out. Moisture control with these bags is an issue though. They come with small desiccant bags, but went a little further and bought 4 four pound desiccant bags on ebay (intended for use in gun safes) to help absorb moisture inside of the bag. The bag I have is the model with the deluxe lining with the rust inhibitor in it that apparently also combats moisture, but I didn't think adding desiccant was a bad idea. It is probably overkill, but they were cheap, so why not. However, I do routinely open it up and let it air out. I want to make sure I'm not trapping moisture in the bag and that I'm able to air out any fumes, etc. I'm not sure how breathable they are (I don't think they are supposed to be) either. I also dry out the desiccant bags in the oven every now and then, but it's a long, slow process so I don't do it as often as I probably should.
  12. This type of scam is well known and is called the "system is down scam" in which everything seems fine until it comes time to pay and the seller then claims to have some sort of technical issue and thus needs to be paid (usually) by Western Union or Moneygram. Scammers using photos found online has always been an issue and is probably the most difficult aspect of a scam to pick up on and ultimately to combat. I even had a guy several years ago that tried to "sell" me something that was already mine (and was never offered for sale) by pulling some photos I'd posted online and emailing them to me in a for sale ad. Oops. This is why it's important to consider the overall "package," meaning what was the communication like? What payment method is requested? Does the seller seem at all knowledgeable about what they are selling? And so on.
  13. Maybe it's just me, but if it takes requesting photos of the item with a current newspaper to make you feel good about doing a deal, well...in my opinion you shouldn't be doing the deal. I can tell in about 2 seconds (on the phone or by email) if a seller is legit just by the way they conduct business and answer questions. A quick phone call can usually give you all the info you need to know about the seller and their legitimacy if you're unconvinced by email. Sure, I ask for photos, but I've never had such questions about the legitimacy of a seller that I've ever had to request a photo of the item with a current newspaper! If things seem that fishy or questionable that you have to ask, it's a deal you should probably be running away from. I don't bother responding to scammers. I add them to my blocked senders list / spam filter, delete the message and go on with life. Engaging them in conversation is just a waste of time though some may find the exchange a source of amusement. As for pickup in person, some people just don't want to do that. I'm one of them. Perhaps I'm paranoid, but I do NOT offer local pickup at my residence for anyone unless it is a friend I've know for years that has proven trustworthy. I don't do friends of friends or anyone else, I don't care who you are or what your online forum reputation is, you're not invited in. I'm very private in general and take the safety and security of my family and my property and possessions very seriously, so I don't invite strangers onto my property and don't want people looking around my home or garage and definitely don't want them to go away talking about it to other people. I'm happy to come to you, but I don't want you to come to me. Don't get me wrong, my home is not a fortress and I don't live in a constant state of fear, but with the world the way it is these days, I'd like to try to preserve some shred of privacy and anonymity. If someone doesn't want to buy my stuff because I won't let them pick it up and my home, then so be it. I'll throw it up on Ebay and ship it halfway around the world to someone I'll never meet and who will never know my personal address. My point being that if someone is adamant about no pickup in person, don't just jump to the conclusion that they are crooked...they might just be someone like me. And, use your common sense when doing deals, folks! It''s really pretty simple to keep yourself safe: -If it seems to good to be true or it seems questionable, it probably is. We've all heard that forever but seem to need a reminder sometimes. -Get the info! Name, address, phone number, etc. It's amazing how many people do deals without ever knowing this stuff! The Ebay mentality, I guess. Know where you're sending your money and where your item is coming from! -Don't be afraid to call a seller. I've never had a seller refuse a simple phone call to put a deal together. -Don't send Western Union (ever) and use extreme discretion when sending postal money orders as they are essentially the same as cash. -Buy stuff from the person that owns it. Be leery of sellers selling things for their "friends." -Ask for photos, but don't make the seller jump through ridiculous hoops by taking silly photos to pass your smell test. A FEW photos should give you enough info to know if you want to proceed or not. -Don't buy a car without paperwork. Many threads on this forum have certainly been a testament to that! -If you suspect a scam, do a little google searching on the name, email, and text of the message. If it's a scam, chances are someone posted it online, somewhere. -When in doubt, trust your instincts and walk away.
  14. If you really want the sort of cover you're describing, look at the offerings from California Car Cover. That said, some things you should think about before you buy and use a cover: -You don't want to put a cover on a car that isn't perfectly, spotlessly clean. The dust, dirt, and road grime on the car will scratch the paint when the cover is dragged across the top of it. It might be only micro-marring level scratches, but it's happening nonetheless. I wouldn't cover a car that I'd been driving for a few days nor one that has been sitting outside for any length of time. -If it is windy or the cover can shift at all, it will rub all of the dust, dirt, grit, and grime into your paint work as if it were sandpaper. -If it rains, you'd better hope that cover is really water proof because you absolutely do not want water sitting between the car and the cover, especially as things start to dry out. It can cause hazing and cloudy spots. Those can show up especially badly on dark colored cars with clear coat, so if that fits the bill for you, something else to think about. Also, if you get caught in the rain, do you really want to have to run out in a downpour and either put the cover on the car (while getting soaked) or take the cover off the car and try to stuff it into a bag? -Getting them on and off without getting them dirty or dragging them on the ground is harder than it looks. The best way to do it is to use more than one person, which isn't always possible. -If the cover gets dirty, it's not something you can wash in a home washing machine. You'll need to take it somewhere where you can put it in a very high capacity commercial washing machine. Not impossible to do, just a pain. As has already been said, I think you'll get tired of having to deal with the cover. Sure, they can do some good, but they can also cause a lot of damage. If you have the car for the purpose of driving it, then do just that and detail it when you come home. Park it in the garage as often as possible, otherwise consider the vehicle "in use" and just do the best you can to take care of it.
  15. Just last month, a 1954 Mercedes F1 car with documentation sold at Goodwood for more than $29 million. Apparently this is highest price ever paid at auction for a car. There are many articles and discussions of that car online which you can look up if you're interested. That said, there have been rumors for years of private transactions in which $30M + is paid for the best of the best cars in the world. For the extremely high end cars like that, private sales are typical and the details of the transaction are never made public (not that they should be, mind you), so the rest of us will never really know what's going on and how much was paid for any given car.
  16. http://forums.aaca.org/f131/questions-concerning-buying-parts-another-aaca-354126.html Same guy, same email, and same scam has been discussed in the "forum questions" area of this site. Avoid.
  17. I don't think Uhaul rents enclosed car haulers anywhere, if by "car hauler" you mean an enclosed trailer big enough to put a car in. Enclosed cargo trailers in various sizes, yes, but enclosed car haulers from Uhaul? I don't think there is such a thing anywhere.
  18. No, not quite. More like they'd be able to come and take it and would have every right to do so provided they had the legal documentation to prove ownership (ie, the title). You'd be left with nothing and would be out whatever you'd spent on a vehicle that never legally belonged to you. If this thing pops up as a stolen car and the rightful owner wants it back, they sure as heck don't owe you a dime for it in order to get it. Definitely don't expect that. You're far more likely to have legal trouble for being in possession of stolen property than you are to have an owner willing to fall for extortion. Putting up a fight can only land you in more trouble. Sorry, but it's true. It's the risk you take when you buy a vehicle with no documentation, no title, and/or no VIN number or plate. You've got a mess on your hands, that's for sure.
  19. This is information is absolutely spot-on. I've shipped several times with Greyhound (usually per buyer request) and can tell you this: Package shipments will get bumped for passenger luggage, which means your package could end up pulled off the bus at any point along the route. And, keep in mind that Greyhound routes don't always "make sense," so what you think the route is vs. what the route really is could mean that your package was pulled off the bus at a town that seems to be 60 miles out of the way. Also remember that Greyhound stops aren't necessarily bus depots. Many stops, especially in small towns and along rural routes, are McDonald's restaurants, hotels, hardware stores and the like. If you're shipment gets bumped at one of these stops, good luck tracking it down and don't expect to see it anytime soon. Your box could literally sit outside, unsecured at some stops. Lots of stops have no staff, no Greyhound phone line, and no regular schedule. And since their tracking is really horrible (if you're used to UPS, FedEx, etc. you'll go nuts), you pretty much need to put your package on the bus and say a prayer that it will eventually come out on the other end. If your stuff gets "lost" and eventually "found" along the way (maybe the label was ripped off or similar), it will end up at the Greyhound headquarters in Dallas, TX at a facility they have downtown. It will sit there until YOU decide to go on the hunt for it. They won't go looking for you, that's for sure. It's not exactly the kind of place you want to spend any time trying to get someone to give a darn about tracking down your shipment of car parts. Been there, done that...just not for car parts. Not a pleasant experience though my item was eventually located and was ok. An interesting shipping method that has not been mentioned is shipping by rail. I've shipped with Amtrak several times and it's been great. Very inexpensive, liberal size and weight limits, and FAR less handling along the way than with Greyhound. They have a much, much better tracking system that is "commercial grade," if you can call it that, and quite honestly it's much more pleasant going to the train station that it is going to the bus depot. Also, with Amtrak you also don't have to worry about getting bumped or having your package untraceable while held in transit for some indefinite period of time. On the flip side, Amtrak's package shipping network is far more limited so you have to ship city to city. Depending on your proximity to a "big" city with Amtrak package service, it could be a headache. I have found that this usually takes no longer than ground service from UPS, FedEx, etc. Other options exist, of course, depending on the size of the item and how you're able to pack it, such as one of the many LTL freight lines in addition to the mainstream commercial carries like FedEx, UPS, DHL and so on.
  20. How did this car end up in the US? Did you import it? They were Japanese market only, right?
  21. I did manage to make a stop at the museum about two weeks ago. I've been there a few times (both at the old Iowa location and the current one) but never get tired of it. So, I did get a chance to see the scooter exhibit I mentioned above. Frankly, it was a bit disappointing. Really all the museum did was gather up most the scooters that they already had and consolidate them into one area. The area the scooters were in was L shaped and they built a shelf to put the smaller scooters up on and parked the larger ones underneath, on the floor. It saved space but made it hard to really see the scooters up close and have a good look at them. Further, while some of their scooters were nice examples, quite a few really were poor examples that were either not in great condition, or they had major components that were incorrect (think engines and the like). It also seems that the exhibit cards were poorly researched and not proof-read prior to being put up. The info card for an American Moto Scoot started off by telling me about the aluminum body of the Rumi Little Ant. Oops. I think that if the museum had put the word out that they REALLY wanted to do a scooter exhibition, they would have found a lot of interest in the scooter community and would have managed to obtain some very, very excellent examples for display.
  22. It is good practice to NEVER click on links to Ebay, Paypal, your bank, the credit card company, etc. that you receive in email. NEVER. Darn near 100% of the time they are scam / phishing links put into bogus emails. Instead, go directly to Ebay, Paypal, etc. and log in. Any official message they may have sent you will appear there for you to read. With your credit cards and your bank, ALWAYS call them at a number you know is good (look on the back of your credit card for that). Don't give your info out to anyone over the phone either. Ever. It seems like common sense, but it's easy to fall into the trap. Be careful out there, folks!
  23. It was not uncommon in the past and still done today with waxoyl or ACF-50. It seems to be particularly popular in the UK with the Land Rover and VW crowd. I know a couple of folks that still religiously spray the undersides of their older vehicles with their used motor oil; they dump it into a garden pump type weed sprayer with a hand held wand and go to town. It's very, very messy.
  24. AMEN! As a "younger person" with a family and a full time job, it is almost completely out of the question to attend shows and club events held during the week. Scheduling events to fall squarely over the weekend (or perhaps even Thurs-Friday through Sunday) allows for working members (and the vast majority of the general public) to participate at some level simply by virtue of not interfering with their work/career lives. Since the retirees have the flexibility of operating without the constraints of work schedules, their attendance and participation would not be adversely impacted by weekend scheduling in principle. Going a step further: Public attendance and participation is something I think many clubs overlook when scheduling their meets, instead thinking only of their own members. Yes, I understand that the members pay dues, perhaps vote of issues, etc., etc., but if by virtue of scheduling you exclude the public, what's the point? Most people don't think "Hey, it's Tuesday night...let's go to the car club meeting / show / tour, etc." The interested public is the future of ANY organization and should not be forsaken.
  25. Half Price Books buys (and sells) "used" magazines. They give you virtually nothing for them, but it would be a way to get them cleared out and end up with a few bucks. They have multiple locations in the DFW area, so finding one that isn't too far from you shouldn't be a major issue. Their flagship store on Northwest Highway is buying magazines constantly and they have a surprisingly good automotive magazine and book selection there.