Our busy lives demand both constant access and infinite choice. The online marketplace for aerial lifts meets those demands 24 hours day, seven days a week. Though you are able to sift through countless purchase options at the click of a mouse or the tap of the screen, the important thing to remember is: caveat emptor (buyer beware)!
The key to buying aerial lifts online is to become an educated consumer so you don’t fall prey to scams or equipment that is misrepresented by a shady seller. Here are some tips to help you achieve success in your online purchase.
1) Ensure that the seller is reputable
First and foremost, how do you know that the seller’s identity is legitimate? You’ll need to confirm this by checking public company records.
Transparency increases if you are dealing with a company that has a large customer base and a long history of doing business in the online marketplace. Bonus points for working with a publicly traded company, as they are required by law to publish financial statements. With this information, you’ll be able to tell if the seller is financially healthy and stable.
2) Conduct a background check
Have you confirmed that the seller has the legal authority to sell the aerial lift you’re trying to buy? Look out for liens and possible stolen equipment.
You’ll need to find out if the seller owns the machine outright. If this cannot be confirmed, it’s time to do some sleuthing. You can request that the seller presents you with an invoice for the aerial lift. The seller’s name and the name on the invoice should match exactly.
For extra precaution, ask for the equipment’s serial number or product identification number (PIN) if you can’t see it in the images provided on the auction site. To establish that you’re not about to purchase a stolen aerial lift, contact your local police station and ask them to run the number. Additionally, the National Equipment Register’s IRONcheck feature (ner.net/ironcheck), which tracks stolen equipment, will legitimize your sale.
Financing your equipment is also an excellent way to ensure your transaction is above-board. Most institutions will establish that the machine has not been reported as stolen as part of the financing process.
3) Read the reviews
Customer testimonials published on the company’s site by the company itself are great, but digging into unsolicited reviews is key. Facebook, Google, and eBay provide feedback that is easy to access. Look for sellers that have a lot of reviews and a satisfaction rating of at least 95%.
You can also visit the Better Business Bureau’s website (www.BBB.org) for the U.S. and Canada. Simply search for the seller’s business and see if there are any troubling complaints logged.
4) History counts
Are you sure you’re getting the best value on the equipment you want to buy? Take a look at historical data regarding sale prices to get an accurate picture of what you should be paying. Compare that with other online retailers. If you are able, consider conducting an asset appraisal, which many online auction houses (such as The Ritchie Brothers) offer.
5) Inspection speaks louder than words
If you can, take the opportunity to inspect the machine in person before you buy. If you’re not confident you’ll be able to spot anything out of order, ask a qualified mechanic to tag along if your request to inspect is granted.
The best place to inspect aerial lifts is undoubtedly the seller’s place of business. If you are unable to inspect in person, request detailed, crisp photos of the equipment. It is advised that you test the machine in every possible function/scenario possible. If you’re looking at pictures, don’t hesitate to ask detailed questions if you feel unsure about any aspect of the aerial lift’s appearance. Here’s a short list of “red flags” to look out for when inspecting machines.
- Does the engine fail to start or does it have a weak start?
- When the engine is started, does it generate plumes of smoke?
- Upon starting the machine, do you hear strange noises?
- Are fluids leaking from any part of the aerial lift, including underneath?
- Are the tires in good working condition?
- Was the machine ever seized?
- Do you spot signs of welding?
- How many hours of operation has the machine accumulated and during what time frame?
- Are there signs that indicate oil and coolant have mixed together?
- Can you confirm that the computer controls work properly?
- Can you confirm that the machine hasn’t been involved in any accidents?
- Are the brakes in good working order?
6) Getting exactly what you’ve ordered
To ensure the aerial lift arrives in the condition in which it was presented to you online, check the terms of the transaction before you pay. Utilize websites that facilitate a secure escrow process. Some websites will hold payments in escrow until a buyer receives the machine they’ve ordered.
Always request an invoice, receipt, or any other documentation that clearly names you as the owner of the equipment. It is not recommended that you pay in cash. Instead, opt for a certified check. Leaving a paper trail proves that you have, indeed, paid for your aerial lift.
For more information about buying quality equipment online, contact us today. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about purchasing your next machine.
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