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I have become really perplexed with my experience with motorcycle dealers as of late. Here's my situation: I'm currently looking for a 2015 or 2016 (preferably the latter) Versys 650LT. Ideally I would like to trade in my 2012 Vulcan 900 Custom to eliminate having to sell it privately. I have contacted a number of dealers to inquire the OTD (out-the-door) price, since some dealers like to add on several hundred in "fees", and to try to get an estimate on what they'd give me for a trade-in value on my bike. Additionally, due to my job, I am generally unable to speak on the phone during normal business hours, so I explain in the initial contact that email / text works best. The following is a synopsis of what I've experienced...

Dealer #1. I contacted this dealer near St. Louis, MO to inquire on a bike that I thought had an excellent price. I was immediately contacted by a customer service rep, indicating a salesman would be in contact. Sure enough, the salesman contacted me the next day, and asked if I could swing by so they could value my bike. This was an immediate red flag, as my contact info clearly showed where I was from (6 hours away), which indicated to me that the salesman didn't even bother to look at the request fully. In either case, I responded that I was unable to swing by due to my location, and again reiterated what information I was looking for. Several days went by, then he emailed me back and bluntly said it was sold. A week later I noticed another bike that seemed cheap, so I emailed back inquiring about that one. That was two weeks ago, and I haven't received a response yet.

Dealer #2. I contacted a dealer in the Dallas, TX area. Again, explained that I was looking for the OTD price, and would they be interested in a trade-in. Was contacted that same day by a salesman who asked if I was still interested in the bike, to which I replied what info I was looking for. He said the OTD price would be "around $xxxx". I asked if he could provide a breakdown, as it was unclear if he was including taxes in that number. Three days later he texts back and simply asks if I'll be paying cash for it, and asked when I planned to pick it up. Keep in mind that he never did answer my questions, nor did he give me a breakdown of the cost.

Dealer #3. I sent a request to a small-town dealer in south-central Kansas, and received an automated email response moments later indicating that I would be contacted. Three days later I emailed them again, asking if anyone was planning on getting back to me. The salesman replied that he never received an inquiry from me, despite me having received an automated response. The next day he asked for pics of my bike, to which I sent him some within the hour. I never heard anything back. Coincidentally, my girlfriend was going to be in that same town the next day, so I asked her to stop by the dealer. The salesman claimed that he got my email, but the pictures were not attached. Did he think to tell me that the pics didn't come through? Apparently not.

Dealer #4. I contacted a dealer in central Oklahoma. Despite me explaining why I was unable to speak on the phone on my initial request, I get an email from a salesman saying to call him. I respond, again explaining my situation, and again explaining what I am looking for. That was four days ago, and I have yet to hear anything back.

In all of my correspondence, I have been polite, courteous, and professional. However, I feel like I am having to practically beg to get any of my basic questions answered. It clearly comes across that none of these dealers are truly interested in selling a bike. Quite frankly, I am not real interested in giving my business and hard earned dollars to a company that doesn't seem to care to give me the time of day, cannot answer any of my questions, and ignores me. How do any of these dealers stay in business, when this is how they treat their customers? I'm about ready to forget it, and just keep my Vulcan.

Sorry for the rant. I just need to vent my frustration of the situation.
 

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Most dealers are open outside of "normal business hours", so I would think you'd be better off talking to them on the phone, than trying to text/email for everything. What dealer in St. Louis were you contacting? I'll let you know whether they are worth while or not.
 

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Those are dealers that obviously don't need your business to stay in business. Bike dealers today are like car dealers 40 years ago. Games, games, games.

There are dealers who truly want to sell bikes though. When I bought my FZ-07, I got an OTD price from the 4 dealers within 100 miles of me, and compared their price to a firm price from a dealer 6 hours away. We are talking a bike with an MSRP of $7300. The OTD range was $1500 from low to high.

It is hard to negotiate a trade in far from home. It would have to be a dealer that knows he can sell the cruiser a lot faster than the Versys.
 

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Put yourself on the receiving end of this email inquiry about the purchase of a bike...It reads eerily similar to the countless scam messages any one selling inevitability gets everyday. Far away, can't talk, value my trade blindly, etc...Try to make the time to talk with someone as that can go a long way in this "e" age of communication... Good luck on the "V" pursuit!
 

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Dealers are dinosaurs and most of them are running themselves out of business whether they believe it or not.

On the other hand, I sell a lot of bikes and cars online. I can tell you that 99% of the interactions you describe end up going nowhere. I don't even respond to most people that can't pick up the phone and have a conversation. Those dealers know you are price shopping and they don't want to play that game.

Walk in with cash and show them you are a serious buyer. Only then will you find the real OTD price.
 

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Running out of Time

Normally I wouldn't respond to this. I heard for years the awesome deals, never ever saw them until late winter / spring 2016, that is when I bought my 2015, they are usually January February March and early April. A couple things, as everyone has said, texting / email, good luck, once you have a message, you could be the manager for the region, and just caught one of your dealers under selling . Even calling on the phone is questionable. The way I would do it is partially the way you have done but in 3 stages. First explain you can't cal between these hours, briefly explain what you want to trade and a address where you can send pictures and possibly a short video of your bike. Next try and get a name and phone number you can call during your available hours . Now a days there is face-time, skype , numerous ways to communicate. The only time to expect a price in a email or on paper is when you are ready to buy, at that time ask if you can use a credit card for $500 down and then do the final transaction when you arrive, this can all be worked out. I found my 2015 on Kijiji , placed by a dealer, and in all honesty, the very best dealer I have ever found, 100 KM from me, however I have a local one 20 KM away, will never deal with them again, unless it is a breakdown situation and I can't get to my good dealer in time.

I hope this helps, as has been said before, I have sold numerous stuff, wasted hours of waiting and replying to no shows and price checkers, and in reality you may be better off trading with the dealer rather than a private sale.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Put yourself on the receiving end of this email inquiry about the purchase of a bike...It reads eerily similar to the countless scam messages any one selling inevitability gets everyday. Far away, can't talk, value my trade blindly, etc...Try to make the time to talk with someone as that can go a long way in this "e" age of communication... Good luck on the "V" pursuit!
Under normal circumstances I would agree. However, I typically am not in a position to be able to call dealers while I am at work. Plus I typically work 6 days a week. Nothing should be unbelievable or abnormally unusual about that. Plus, when dealing with large purchases I prefer conversations to be in print, in case I need to reference something that was said previously. Emails and texts are not a new thing. In fact, for many people these days it is the preferred form of communication. It's not like these are private individuals and I am taking them away from their private lives. It's their job to try to sell motorcycles.

Also, since I failed to point out in my original post, when I tell them I'm looking for numbers on my trade-in, I specifically mention that I realize they cannot make me a hard offer without seeing it in person, and that I am just trying to see if we're even in the same ballpark. Since some of these dealers are anywhere from 3-6 hours away, loading up my trade-in and driving 6-12 hours roundtrip on the hopes that we can agree on prices is not ideal.

Those dealers know you are price shopping and they don't want to play that game.
Well of course I'm price shopping. They wouldn't go and spend several thousand dollars on something without checking prices from a few different sources first, why should they expect me to?
 

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It doesn't sound like any of them need to do the amount of work you seem to require of them to purchase a bike. Plenty of people show up in person, with their trade, to talk numbers. Try that. It isn't their fault you live hours away.
 

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I think it's still an old business. Lots of face to face dealing. They haven't quite caught up with the rest of commerce yet.

I tried to buy from a local dealer, I tried working with them over email and phone, and it just wasn't working out. I had a broken leg at the time and only wanted to make one trip - to pick up the bike (I'd have someone else ride it home). I ended up just buying from a private party instead.
 

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It doesn't sound like any of them need to do the amount of work you seem to require of them to purchase a bike. Plenty of people show up in person, with their trade, to talk numbers. Try that. It isn't their fault you live hours away.
How hard is it to give someone an OTD price without a trade. Than tell them with out looking at your bike it could be worth x amount of dollars" no guarantees"
Or tell them with this OTD price we are not interested in a trade.
 

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How hard is it to give someone an OTD price without a trade. Than tell them with out looking at your bike it could be worth x amount of dollars" no guarantees"
Or tell them with this OTD price we are not interested in a trade.
OTD means they have to calculate tax, title, fee, etc. That means involving the finance guy. They need to know where you are located because that affects the numbers.

They need to know if you are paying cash or financing because that affects what they are required to do.

There are dealers that specialize in distance buyers and they are easier to deal with.

There are dealers who don't sell many bikes. Most of their sales are ATVs and / or watercraft. They don't necessarily want a bike trade in.

I have driven 6 hours one way to fetch a bike.
I have flown and rode home for a deal.
I recently traded my truck 1000 miles from home while on a work trip at a mega dealer who had exactly what I was looking for at a price I was willing to do.
 

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OTD means they have to calculate tax, title, fee, etc. That means involving the finance guy. They need to know where you are located because that affects the numbers.

They need to know if you are paying cash or financing because that affects what they are required to do.

There are dealers that specialize in distance buyers and they are easier to deal with.

There are dealers who don't sell many bikes. Most of their sales are ATVs and / or watercraft. They don't necessarily want a bike trade in.

I have driven 6 hours one way to fetch a bike.
I have flown and rode home for a deal.
I recently traded my truck 1000 miles from home while on a work trip at a mega dealer who had exactly what I was looking for at a price I was willing to do.
I understand what your saying . To me its still not a big deal one or two emails back and forth should get you an OTD price. Since I travel for a living I have bought bikes from out of state dealers .Its not a big deal for them to figure out taxes and title fees.I can understand stand flight levels aggravation.
 

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How hard is it to give someone an OTD price without a trade. Than tell them with out looking at your bike it could be worth x amount of dollars" no guarantees"
Or tell them with this OTD price we are not interested in a trade.
It isn't a matter of difficulty so much as return. Those big dealers who advertise extremely low prices on Cycletrader get dozens of those e-mails everyday. If enough people actually showed up to buy after that process, they'd be all over it. If their OTD prices aren't jacked up with fees, they already have enough people coming in (even from hours away) they don't have to waste time with internet looky-loo's and price shoppers.

In short, all of those dealers wouldn't have ignored the OP if there was much chance of anything coming from their efforts.
 

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It isn't a matter of difficulty so much as return. Those big dealers who advertise extremely low prices on Cycletrader get dozens of those e-mails everyday. If enough people actually showed up to buy after that process, they'd be all over it. If their OTD prices aren't jacked up with fees, they already have enough people coming in (even from hours away) they don't have to waste time with internet looky-loo's and price shoppers.

In short, all of those dealers wouldn't have ignored the OP if there was much chance of anything coming from their efforts.
I know what your saying but you have to treat every inquiry as a potential sale . That is how I bought my last 2 bikes. I saw the add and thought it was a come on just to get me in the door. I emailed the dealer asked for the OTD price .They emailed me back told me just to add my state sales tax to the advertised price . And if I was paying cash I could take the title( paper work) to my own person to get it done cheaper. If not just add 75.00 for the paperwork. I emailed back and asked if they would take a deposit via cc. They emailed me back and said yes. So If I take my time to email someone about a price I'm a serious buyer. Just bought the wife's car like that about a month ago.
 

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I know what your saying but you have to treat every inquiry as a potential sale . That is how I bought my last 2 bikes. I saw the add and thought it was a come on just to get me in the door. I emailed the dealer asked for the OTD price .They emailed me back told me just to add my state sales tax to the advertised price . And if I was paying cash I could take the title( paper work) to my own person to get it done cheaper. If not just add 75.00 for the paperwork. I emailed back and asked if they would take a deposit via cc. They emailed me back and said yes. So If I take my time to email someone about a price I'm a serious buyer. Just bought the wife's car like that about a month ago.
No, they don't have to treat any inquiry as a potential sale. The number of sales they lose by ignoring e-mail inquiries must be less than the expense of entertaining all of the inquiries that don't result in sales, or they wouldn't be doing it. While dealerships are in business to sell bikes, they don't owe a sale to anyone. It seems the only way the OP is going to get a bike bought is to present himself and his trade in person somewhere and talk to someone, and the way he has been treated by the Cycle Trader sellers, maybe he should consider trying his local dealer. The savings on the price would probably mostly be eaten up by travel expenses anyway. Not to mention that he is probably going to use a local dealer for any recalls or warranty work rather than travel several hours to have it done. Either that or the OP has left something out that explains why nobody seems to want his money.
 

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I have become really perplexed with my experience with motorcycle dealers as of late. Here's my situation: I'm currently looking for a 2015 or 2016 (preferably the latter) Versys 650LT.
When I was looking for my 2017 almost all my local dealers said they had them in stock on their websites but in reality did not when I called. They were "on their way".

Looking for a 2015 or 2016 may not be in stock despite what some website is telling you.

I will add when I bought mine after the deal was done the salesman said it was great to do a deal over the phone. And this was coming from the internet sales manager. I never asked for him, just he answered my first call about the 650LT. Admittedly it was shocking he said that but it told me talking over the phone and then in-person worked "best" for this dealership.

Good luck in your search. Getting on the phone is the best way but that doesn't seem to be an option.

.
 

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Right now is their busy season. A few warm weekends and everyone just got their income tax checks.

They're crazy with sales questions, wannabe owners, price shoppers from two states away, and trying to get people financed.

The service bays are filled with all the bikes that arrive in March and April - because why would anyone want to get their bike fixed in December when it's cold ? Just wait until one week after they wanted to actually ride it.

I buy and sell several bikes a year. From this limited sales experience - I can tell you that I give preference to local buyers and those who pick up the phone and call. If there's a trade involved - then I have to see the trade, in person. It's amazing what some consider "Excellent condition"

If sales are going well - the salesmen are likely to only pick the low hanging fruit. If the sale requires a lot of attention or the buyer is a pain in the backside, then the sales guy is probably going to ignore him.

Our local dealer is in a mode right now that can only be described as "frantic". I'm staying away until the dust settles.
 

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Back when the V650 first became available in the US - 2008 - and had just been named "MOTY" by Motorcyclist magazine, I was waiting for my new AZ 'winter-residence' home to be finished building, and wanted a new Versys to be 'delivered' at the same time.

I sent e-mails to EVERY dealer around or near Phoenix, explaining the above, asking for a price. ONLY one responded, so I gave him a credit-card deposit as well as a "target-date" to pick it up (completion of building my house), then picked it up simultaneous to the house "closing", rode it there and put it into the garage to wait till we would come down for the winter, about a month later. :thumb: - :thumb:

For the LAST car I bought new in Calgary, a Mazda Protege5, I approached the two (or three...) Mazda dealers in person one morning, explained that I WOULD buy one that day from which ever one gave me the lowest price, but that I would NOT come back to 'dicker' on a lower price - WHATEVER price they gave me that morning would be the FINAL price - NO trade-in.

FIRST salesman I spoke w/ agreed w/ my request, so I detailed what I wanted; he listened, writing it down; THEN said he would have to go to the sales manager to get HIS input....

I told the salesman that IF he wasn't going to do what we'd agreed to do just minutes before, that he was dishonest, and under NO circumstance would I buy it from them. Went to the other (or other two) dealer(S), got a price and bought the car, just like I had said I would.
 

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I just bought my Versys a couple weeks ago. They were busy as hell. I sent emails to 5 dealers and only one replied (several days after I bought my bike from someone else). Called three: two weren't interested to discuss much other than sticker prices over the phone and were more of the "come have a look" type and the third gave me a specific breakdown of the OTD price and some initial negotiations on the pricing with the vibe that more could be done in person.

I don't know for sure if things are better with emails at other times of the year, but I'd say right now is the worst time for that kind of communication. They will give priority to phone calls and even then, the shops are full of customers looking to either buy a new ride or get theirs ready for the season. It's fair to assume online inquiries are an afterthought right now, especially considering those using that mean of communication are usually the flakiest customers.
 

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Wow - sounds to me like a lot of the folks above might be working for the "stealers," with all the excuses they're making. I'm with you, FL410 -- I don't know how these sales people sell anything at all.

It seems to me that they won't deal over the phone OR online because they want to get customers in the shop for the hard sell. Apparently there are enough really stupid impulse-buyer types to keep these places in business. And what they don't make in sales, they make up for in service charges. My local Kawi, etc. dealer charges $125/hr. for labor. I told them I never even paid that much to have my Harleys worked on. When they gave me a quote of $150 just to LOOK at my bike, I went home and figured out to fix the problem myself. I told them flat-out I'll never be back there again.

Plus, even though I was there for service, I had some 20-something salesboy following me around the entire time I was there, like a desperate puppy. He even put his hands on my bike when he was talking to me! I told him to take his hands off my bike, and to be grateful I wasn't a 1%.

I have also seen a lot of "bait and switch" going on. I see a bike at a good price, so I call the dealer. They tell me to come on in, and when I get there, tell me that the bike was just sold. OR there's the $2500 worth of fees they somehow manage to tack on. Getting an OTD price, itemized, is practically impossible until they have your money.

I was lucky - I bought my 2015 Versys slightly used from a little place in western PA south of Pittsburgh. I lived four hours from there, and they gave me the real price over the phone, so I made the trek and bought the bike. But here in FL, I have yet to find an honest dealer of any kind, except for Fletcher's H-D, which was sold 5+ years ago. All around here, it's caveat emptor.

FL410, I wish you the best of luck. But hang in there -- it's worth it!
 
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