Where to Buy a Scooter
If you're buying a Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Vespa or similar Japanese/Italian scooter there's no difficulty finding a dealer. Just look on the web or in the phone book, find the closest dealer and drive over to their showroom and see what they have on display.
However if you're looking for an inexpensive Chinese Scooter, you have a problem in most states since actual dealers with showrooms are few and far between. Most of the importers seem to be in California, probably because that's where the ships from China off load their cargo. Your only real choice if you live in most other states is to buy the scooter mail order from a website or via eBay. So which dealer do you pick, there seem to be dozens of them?
While it would be great to find a dealer with many Chinese scooters
on display, it's not very likely that you will.
Well, there may not be as many as you think since a number of scooter importers operate under multiple names. I guess they have worked out that the more names they trade under, the better the chance that you'll pick them. If there were 20 dealer websites for scooters and 19 of them were really the same company, they'd definitely make more sales than if there were just two websites and they only had one of them!
Check the address and phone numbers of a few of the web dealers and see if there's more than a slight similarity between them. Which dealer you chose and which model scooter you pick is a bit of a gamble. You may see 20 different similar looking 150cc scooters. Which one is best? The answer is that they may be mostly the same. They all probably use the same GY6 clone engine with slightly different combinations of wheels, tires and bodywork. You really don't know in which Chinese factory they were made and in all probability the dealer/importer doesn't know either. Their Chinese contact ships them scooters in a box which goes to their warehouse. When you order one they ship it out of their warehouse and on to you.
Be sure to check whether shipping is included in the advertised price. Cross country shipping on a scooter can be $200-$300 depending on the shipper, so if you see a very low price advertised it may not include shipping. You'll see a lot of "Free Shipping" being offered, but it';s not free. It's simply added into the price of the scooter. So you may see the same scooter advertised for $1100, or a similar scooter for $1300, but with "free shipping" included.
It doesn't hurt to call the dealer on the phone. First you see if they actually answer the phone, then you can get some sense of if they know anything about the product that they are selling. If they have a technical support line, try calling that too and see how long it takes someone to answer. Ask about the availability of spare parts (though you can't always believe the answer).
I've seen complaints about almost all of the companies selling Chinese scooters. They mostly complain about lack of after sales support, lack of spare parts and lack of knowledge on the part of the seller about what they actually sold. It's really not a pretty picture.
I purchased a scooter from bike2go.com, who also trade as powersportsmax.com and who are the same as Deealinc.com. I'd give them maybe a 4/10. The scooter did arrive OK, though it took them 3 weeks to ship it. It seemed like it finally shipped the day after I threatened to cancel my order if it wasn't shipped that week. After I assembled it (which took a couple of hours), it started up just fine. However they screwed up the paperwork and the first Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (required for registration in my state) was rejected by the DMV. There were errors in the manufacturers name and VIN number. I asked for a new one and a week later after it hadn't arrived I spoke with them again and they hadn't sent it since the person I had spoken with had left the company. Eventually they sent a new one, but that one still had errors and the invoice had different information than the MSO, so again the DMV were not happy. I did manage to convince them to allow me to register the scooter, but I'm still waiting for yet another corrected MSO so that I can get everything squared away with the DMV. On the phone (once I got through) bike2go aka powermaxsports aka deealinc sounded helpful but they just didn't seem to know what they were doing. Despite my explaining in detail what they should be do and sending them 3 emails with all the details of what should be on the documents they sent, they still got things wrong. They really didn't seem to be very familiar with what they were selling. All in all, not a good experience. Sometimes they would answer the phone OK, sometimes I'd hold for a while and eventually get an answering machine. The scooter is running OK after I fixed a fuel leak and electrical problem which caused the headlights to be intermittent. I don't know if another dealer/importer would have been any better. You read complaints about almost all of them if you search the web.
If you're an eBay fan, there are always a large assortment of scooters available there. If you find a seller with a large number of positive reviews, you can sometimes get a very good deal on a scooter, but again, don't expect too much in the way of after sales support. Make sure you're aware of shipping charges if extra. They can be several hundred dollars on a scooter.