What do you do when you see, or hear of something which is too good to be true? You know what they say – if it’s too good to be true then it generally is. Madoff proved that. New Labour proved that. I could go on.
Last week I spotted a scooter in Angloinfo, our local web forum. I’d been looking for a small 50cc moto for Guy. It’s a bit of a pain running him about at the moment and when he goes to Lycée it’ll be even worse. The idea was to get him an old scooter, work on it, get it running, get him used to running about in the lanes on it, get him tested and then let him loose. J, of course, has other ideas. He’s her little boy!
I’d been looking at the forum for ages and we’d almost got a scooter a few weeks ago but the guy never phoned back, which was probably just as well as the moto was a girlie white/cream colour. And then the other night I spotted an advert for a nearly new scooter, a PGO Big Max 50, which I’d never heard of. I looked it up on the web and other than some criticism of its rather pedestrian performance, it seemed an ok machine. Strangely, the price had been reduced by 20% within a couple of days of the first advert. I say strangely because generally scooters are snapped up within hours of being advertised on Angloinfo, so for a nearly new machine to not only be available 5 days after the first advert (how did I miss it first time round?) but to be reduced because it wasn’t selling was interesting.
I looked it up on the web again. It was being sold with only 1200 miles on the clock and was now half the original price and it was only 9 months old! Very strange but I couldn’t ignore it. I would regret it.
I sent a few e-mails and agreed to go down to Antibes (about 1 hour away) to see the scooter. The guy was working and suggested I meet his girlfriend who was the actual owner. He said she was pregnant and didn’t want to drive a scooter in her condition, hence the sale. It sounded fishier and fishier.
Having met the girl, who was distinctly pregnant, I was then led down lane after lane to a very ‘ethnic’ part of Antibes. A door opened and I was led up a steep flight of stairs to a rather dark, dingy apartment. There seemed to be people and kids everywhere but in the corner of the kitchen stood the PGO Big Max 50. It was gleaming.
I was told that the bike hadn’t been used since January, that the keys and papers were in another place but if I left some money as a deposit it would be reserved for me. I could return for the scooter the following day to test it and complete the sale.
Everything told me to get the hell out of there but the ‘too good to be true’ deal made me hand over €100 and say I’d be back early the next morning.
I then met J and her friend for lunch and we went to the local police station to check the bike out. Everything was ok and I was back in Antibes at 7.30am the next morning, with a bag of dosh to complete the deal.
A few test runs up and down the lanes, the ritual handover of the money, the completion of reams of paperwork and the bike was mine, I hoped!
It’s now back in Tourrettes and Guy is delighted. Within minutes he had photographed it and had the pictures on Facebook. Every time I look at it and consider the price paid, I think it’s all too good to be true. Maybe the wheels will fall off next week and it will prove to have been …… to good to be true.